Hoarfrost, a term I am sure you may not have heard of, but if you live in the San Luis Valley it is one of the beauties of winter. Hoarfrost is basically the super pumped up version of frost. Here is how the Great Sand Dunes National Park explains it:
"Unlike most mountain valleys where cold air and moisture can easily migrate away down stream drainages, the San Luis Valley is essentially a flat, closed air basin. Frigid air settles off surrounding alpine mountains each winter evening, pooling on the valley floor below. (This is why Alamosa is often the coldest location in the U.S.) These temperature inversions, with icy air on the surface and warmer air above, trap and promote thick fog in subzero temperatures. Large crystals grow overnight (sometimes up to an inch long), making for a winter wonderland!"
I mean how cool is that?! It is so magical. You wake up to a heavy frost and then as you and the day start to wake up and stretch, the fog begins to lift revealing a white, pristine winter wonderland. The morning is so much more beautiful when you get to wake up to this. Of course it is wicked cold when you go outside, so it is so much more enjoyable from inside the car or house! It is true that we sometimes compete with Alaska for the coldest place in the US! I like to think that the sheep enjoy seeing this beauty as much as I do and I know they aren't fazed by the cold thanks to their nice wool coats :-)
If you haven't liked the Great Sand Dunes on Facebook, I highly recommend it as they not only post amazing photos but great information too.
Elena Miller-terKuile is the current generational farmer of Cactus Hill Farm. When not in the fields/with the sheep/dying fiber/in the garden/knitting away, you will find Elena..Lets be honest here....you'll most likely find her taking a nap!