Ice on the Town

There’s ice on the town that the wind blew down
From Chicago late last night. . .

Nathan Davis, unpublished lyrics

We lived for ten years in cold country.  I mean, really cold country.

Here is one of the large windows in our living room on a winter day.

See the ice? The reason we took a photo of it is because it so rarely happened.  We were there ten years, and that happened maybe twice. To do that, the temperature outside looked like this.

The reason you get ice forming on a window is because no matter what you do, glass is colder than a wall.  Humid warm air inside the house comes in contact with the cold glass and condensation occurs.  (Exactly the same thing happens in summer with a glass of iced tea.)  If the glass is cold enough, as ours was down toward the bottom of the window, ice forms.

That was double-pane glass, by the way, in a well-insulated house.  But when it’s more than 20 degrees below zero, well, that glass gets cold.

Here’s Dave, with Liza Jane (Minnie’s predecessor), standing on our deck at the back of our house. Bitter cold that day.  Icicles.

Icicles are bad. They are not a good sign.  To form, there has to be some heat escaping from someplace that liquifies the snow/ice, and makes the icicle.

Dave is not unhappy in that photo because he knows exactly why the icicles formed there. That’s the vent for our furnace. There’s no way to not have a vent, and there’s no way not to have icicles if it gets cold and snowy enough.  But we had none anywhere else.

Here’s a well-built little cabin.  It wasn’t ours.  It belonged to a friend. Dead of winter (see? no sun) in mid-day.  No icicles.  Not a one.  No ice on the windows.  Well-built, well-insulated, not just the log wall, but an insulated floor and roof.

We did have this happen, often in the early spring.

That is actually our garage, not our house, but the ice berm was so cool looking, Dave photographed it.  We often got these forming outside our upstairs bedroom window.  The heat inside would rise, warming the roof just enough that the snow would slide slowly off the roof.

The Xmas lights are not Xmas lights.  They aren’t there for decoration. In Cooper Landing, the sun doesn’t rise above the mountains for several months. We lost the sun on our property in late November and got it back in February.  Days are very short. Nights are very long and very dark. I know this photo was taken after mid-February because there is sunlight visible across the street.

Big windows become large black squares on the wall and it can be depressing.  The lights provide something to see outside.

But here’s a photo of the windows in our dining room on a winter day.

No sunlight.  Looks sort of like dusk. That was mid-day.  Colder than shit.

Do you see ice on the windows?

You do not.

That’s because it wasn’t 20 below zero, and even if it had been, it wasn’t a room that gets a lot of moisture in it.  Those are double-paned windows, again.

So, ice on windows is not a good thing.  Ice on windows means there is warm humid air coming in contact with very cold glass.  If it happens when temperatures are cold like we’ve had here in the last week or so, it means that they are probably single-paned glass, and allowing lots of condensation to occur and, well, it’s a good way to have your garden shed rot from the inside out.

They don’t put good windows in a garden shed because they don’t expect people to live in them, or put wood stoves in them, and they certainly don’t expect anyone to cram 13 bodies into that small area, all of them respiring and putting moisture in the air.  Single-pane, cheapy windows are fine.  If the building is unheated and providing housing for a lawn mower and some fertilizer, there is no warm humid air to condense and form ice.

This is a bad thing, not a good thing.

This is something you try to fix, not something you celebrate.

We have a solid week of low temperatures in the single digits coming up.  I live in a well-insulated house that doesn’t get ice on the windows, and is well-heated. I have a nice warm bed, and don’t have to sleep on plywood in a loft.  I have a nice kitchen and can prepare a hot meal, or a hot cup of tea, whenever I want it.

Weather forecast for my area, significantly south of Breckinridge County

I am dreading this coming weather.  I despise it, because keeping the animals comfortable and warm occupies a lot of our time during exceedingly cold weather.  Frances has to come into the barn every night and that means we have to do room service.

I can’t imagine living in that shed in this kind of cold.  Those poor kids. Frances is a cow and she lives in better conditions.




20 thoughts on “Ice on the Town”

  1. I do have single pane windows, sadly. The storm windows don’t seem to work as well as they used too, so I even hang plastic.
    But to get ice on those, the temperature has to fall below 10° for an extended period of time. Several days. I had ice on Monday, -5°
    It hasn’t been that cold there, and I never get ice like that.


    I can’t wait till next winter. We’ll finally have those double pane windows.


  2. Im in Utah. We have snow. My chickens have better conditions than the kids do.
    But she is too ignorant to notice, or to lazy to care.


  3. Let’s not even tell her what would happen to that window if some one should splash water onto it. Water or tea or any liquid that is hot. Let’s not mention that the windows become very very brittle when ice forms on them. They are made like safety glass like a cars window. A small space with 13 people living in ti and lots of lil ones. Little ones that might want to tap on that pretty iced window. Common sense isn’t common in a garden shed.


  4. I was thinking the exact same thing when I saw the photos they put up of the ice. Although it is quite pretty, it is most definitely not a good thing. Our home is one of the very few ones that were built on site in our “neighborhood” (everyone has 5 acre plots for miles around, the vast majority are manufactured). This house was built as a 2 story, with the upper floor as living space and the lower floor as a garage. The previous owners (the only other owners other than ourselves) renovated the lower floor into a living space with a utility room/bathroom, 2 bedrooms, and a livingroom. The utility room houses the furnace, but it has absolutely no heating source. The upstairs bathroom also has absolutely no heating source. When we get down into the teens and single digits the upstairs bathroom gets ice pretty badly if we aren’t diligent. I have several portable space heaters that we use in the unheated rooms. Fortunately, the woodstove is near the utility room so that helps a great deal; we can leave the door open to the utility room and it evens things out a great deal. The actual furnace is of little use since they brilliantly decided to install the vents in the ceiling.

    I feel so bad for those kids. Heck, I feel bad for *my* kids when they have to take a bath in our unheated bathroom on really cold days, so I put a space heater in there before they get in and have their jammies/towels in the dryer so they are warm when they get out of the tub. When I think about the Ns bathing a newborn in that shed, I am horrified. Babies don’t heat regulate well for quite awhile. I know they go to the grooming salon to bathe now (which I definitely have an issue with for the older kids, that doesn’t afford much privacy whatsoever), but at some point they weren’t and they had newborns. You don’t have to bathe newborns real often (certainly not daily), but you do need to give them a bath at some point.


  5. My windows are now 20 years old and double paned but aren’t as air tight as they used to be, we’ve had 8 people living and cooking and showering and washing clothes in the house for the past two weeks. It is very cold outside. Getting close to that -20F the past few nights. I have only a tiny bit of ice around the edges of some windows. I have never seen a window that looked the one Nicole posted in all of my years of Canadian winters. If I did, I’d be turning on a dehumidifier stat, because there is way, way too much moisture in that room for the outdoor temperature.


  6. I’m in PA. It’s very cold! Since the N’s are under CPS watchful eye, I wish they would get an unannounced mid-day visit to the stead on one of these cold days. Just to make sure everyone is OK. I do worry there may be a shed fire if the kids try to keep warm while they fend for themselves while the parents are at the shop.


  7. You’re right Sally… that ice will cause rot. When all that ice melts on the windows, the water will run down and pool on the windowsills and probably get behind the walls as well.
    The same with the icicles. One of their pictures showed that they didn’t finish the ceiling. It’s just bare particle board! The runoff from the roof will flow down around and under the edge of that metal and particle board roof trapping the moisture between the two and down the wall. I’m sure Jacob ended up having to tear a lot of that out of the old shed. Maybe that’s even why they got a new shed as the old one was full of rot and mold.

    It has got to be miserable for the kids sleeping in that loft with a block of ice for a window! They’ve slept in worse conditions though… like when they had to sleep in the van in the wintertime! What parent puts their pride before their children’s health, safety and welfare?! Need I ask?


  8. It hasn’t been that cold yet here up on Lake Erie but it’s only December. We’ve lived in our home eight years. It’s 101 years old. We still have the original windows on the first floor. They are beautiful and the leaded glass is cool. We also have storm windows. We’ve never had ice form on any window even when it’s been -20. Our house though is well insulated, the prior owners added blown in insulation. We put new vinyl siding, put on a new roof and added insulation to the attic since it’s living space now.

    I’m glad you explained the whole ice thing. I thought it was weird because Kentucky is much warmer than up here and I was confused. That shed just cannot be safe for children to be living in. It’s a sad situation and unfortunately the parents don’t give a shit.


  9. I’ve lived in cold places (northern New England, northern Idaho near Canada, the Cascade mountains..) and I’ve lived in some places that were close to 100 years old with the original windows and had terribly inefficient wall heaters as the only heat source. Even in 30 below weather I’ve never seen anything like that shed window. It reminds me of the little house on the prairie books where they describe frost swirls on the windows. In 2017, these people are so lazy they have reverted back 150 years. Except that in Little House, they may have had dirt floors but I guarantee their cabin was a billion times cleaner than the Nog shed.


  10. “Frost forms on windows when they are exposed to cold air on the outside, moist air on the inside. Moisture in the room’s air (water vapor) is drawn to the window pane, and when the outside surface temperature lowers past the dew point, that water vapor solidifies into liquid. That liquid then freezes into ice crystals, and you’ve got your frost.

    Frost can cause damage. As it melts, it transfers moisture to whatever is next to it. If that’s a wooden window, it can discolor varnish and crack paint or even damage the wood. Frost can also melt off single-paned windows and seep down into a wall. If moisture is not handled swiftly and completely, mold can begin to grow.” -Bob Vila

    The Naugs have two big problems.
    1. Their shed isn’t well insulated…those windows are drafty pieces of cheap crap.
    2. Their moisture problem. That many people in that small of a space….simple respiration is going to destroy it. People lose a TON of water each day just by breathing. The water vapor gets into everything and causes high humidity that causes…rot.

    If they had any sense, running a dehumidifier might help. Keeping the place warmer might help. Even putting up plastic sheeting over those leaky windows and creating a pocket of air to insulate…would help.

    But you know…to do any of this, you have to care. You have to give a shit that your house is going to be ruined and you have to admit you have a blind spot and take action to correct it.

    As we’ve learned time and time again…the Naugs are incapable.


  11. I like how Nicole says, “The view from our bedroom window.” Hilarious.

    Bedroom window? Gee, can we see the view from the other rooms? …Oh, wait. There is but ONE ROOM. In a shed, no less. A shedroom, if you will – not a bedroom.

    What a poor job Nicole is doing, overall, keeping the Blessed Little Homestead shtick up. Unable to hide their vile hostility from their social-media following – that is, whatever’s left of it.

    Nicole should just keep posting that exact same photo! Only, change the “room” in the caption each time. For example, “The view from our billiards room window!” …Get creative, Nicole! Your followers wont even notice!
    And you can feel better about yourself by pretending you have a billiards room or a parlor, just like you pretend you have a bedroom! Keep on showing us what an awesome home-life you have.


  12. I want to read the rest of Nathan’s lyrics. Those couple of lines let the reader/hearer know that there is an incredible story attached to them. I want to hear the rest of the story.

    Also, what every one else says.


  13. Nicole wants everyone to think she is all wholesome and all about being self-sufficient, which we all know is bull shit. She relies upon the grid of others to maintain only the barest of living conditions. Water she buys or hauls from town, electricity from gas that she buys in town, a port-a-potty that was court ordered, and other than the wood stove, which the wood came from elsewhere, she is a grid glutton. To Nicole, everything is disposable. She uses a stove that doesn’t quite meet her needs, she tosses it on the shit stead and begs for another. They drive their cars without routine service until they are ruined and they get dropped off at the nearest shit pile, disposable diapers, disposable sheds, disposable forks…nothing she does is sustainable. I am convinced if her fat turd were more of a man and worked and contributed, they would be living in a double wide with all the amenities of the grid, but since they must survive on what little money they can beg, borrow, or earn washing dogs’ asses, she must save face so she says this all her idea. They want to haul water from town; they want to buy gallons and gallons of gas to run their generator for a few hours of watching TV; they want to eat out of dented cans. They are at best a homeless family living on land that is one payment away from repossession and living in the only structure they can afford. So, here it is, their new and improved tool shed that they had made so many plans for insulating and making it more people friendly and yet they have done nothing. This tool shed will be a dump soon, and they will do another upgrade with plans to let the next child in line take over the payments so they can get another newer model.

    On a side note, we have three cats who are indoor outdoor cats and they prefer outdoors, but it has been so damn cold, we brought them inside. There are feral cats that come up and eat food I put out and there are cats dumped in our area that are homeless that I put out food for because I cannot stand to see animals suffer hunger. Today, I am adding fresh straw to the little rubbermaid houses that we put out by our old well house (the well house has no roof) so that all these poor animals can have, if they want, warm places to sleep. This morning, I went out to add food and water for the day and sleeping in one of the houses was an old cat (recently dropped off cause I’ve never seen him) sleeping next to a rooster. I have no idea whose rooster it is but I put him in a little fenced area to offer him some protection. I sure don’t want him with my ladies; although, they are doing an awful lot of flirting with him. I guess I’ll ask around to see who is missing a rooster and an old cat. Maybe they just wondered off. My point is the Naugs let their animals suffer the extreme cold with no access to anything other than what they can find. What the fuck is wrong with her and what are her actions teaching those children?


  14. Ice on the town and the wind blew down
    From Chicago tonight
    I stayed home and you went to the bar
    I wanted to beg and plead
    But we always disagree

    There’s ice on the town that the wind blew down
    From Chicago late last night
    I’m stayin’ in while my mind goes to the bar
    All the angels ask me how I’ve been
    Over shots of lies and gin
    But I’m just here to see a friend about some lightnin’ in a jar

    Nothing really changed, everything got stranger around here
    I went a little crazy for awhile but
    Working on stage turning all these pages
    I left closed way back then
    Now the gin just keeps my eyes from getting’ tired

    I’d like a dance with the one who brought me here
    But you hated dancing almost as much as beer
    And anyway, you’ve been a stranger to me for well over a year
    Tonight, December sure is cold

    That’s version 1.

    Then there’s a page with drafts on it. Lots of them.

    There’s ice on the town that the wind blew down from Chicago late last night
    I should stay in but I’d be better off with you
    I need some saving from myself, or I might do me in again
    And somehow you know what I’m going through

    Seems like the bourbon isn’t lasting quite as long
    The more I drink the more I think I got it wrong
    Don’t wanna sink down any deeper
    But I know I’ll never keep her by my side
    So I’m just along for the ride.

    [draft two]

    There’s ice on the town that the wind blew down from Chicago late last night
    I should stay in but my mind’s leaving for the bar
    The angels ask me how I’ve been, through cheap perfume and dirty gin
    But even angels know I’m here to see a friend

    The things I couldn’t change before just started to get stranger
    Your reflection always looks you in the eye

    [draft three]

    There’s ice on the town that the wind blew down from Chicago late last night
    I should stay in but my mind’s leaving for the bar

    Folks around here like to scream and we’ve been known to have our fun
    Flashing lights and summer nights, me and my brothers on the run

    I don’t believe that God can set me free, but baby, we can try and see if
    I’m wrong about heaven, will you look for it with me

    [draft four]

    A whiter shade of Coltrane plays the blue notes
    And you meet each others eyes and force a smile
    You both hold the only thing worth hangin’ on to that you’ve found
    Whiskey and women only feel good for a while

    I’m only dancing with the one that brought me, baby
    Don’t be afraid of her, she’s only in my mind
    You know you got my heart, but my soul’s with the devil
    I’d take it back but now I’m way too lost to find

    All handwritten, scribbled on notebook paper. One of his friends thinks that those lyrics became a song called “Front Porch Light” but we have no recording of it and no complete lyric sheet, so I don’t know.

    There is a whole box here full of lyric sheets like that. After he died, Tony Rice’s wife (Tony Rice is a bluegrass artist) called me. She knew Nathan. She told me to go through his stuff, to look through every book and magazine in the house, to shake them all and go through scraps of paper, that I would find lyrics. And she was right. They were everywhere. He’d write it down on anything near when the mood hit him. Another friend said Nathan wrote “Blow” at his house one day on the back of a pizza box.

    I am working currently on a new website for him and part of it is going to be a section with all these lyric published, along with scanned images of the scribbled pages.


  15. When I began my journey into Nutter land, they were living in the shed that I guess is now Jacob’s.

    From what I could gather, the shed was close to the neighbor, near the property line. I read a posting somewhere that Nutter Nicole stated they couldn’t move the shed back, higher onto the property, due to the terrain and lack of a road.

    However the “new” shed is larger in size and further up the hillside. How was that accomplished?

    While I think the picture of the frozen ice is beautiful I shutter to think how cold it is. Forgive my ignorance but is it possible for the little ones to contract pneumonia from the cold?

    With the toxins that have to be leaching out of the shed I worry about the smaller children’s lungs and respiratory system being compromised due to stupidity. I call it stupidity because this is not the first rodeo (winter in a shed) for the Nutter’s. Why, why keep repeating things that simply do not work?


  16. but is it possible for the little ones to contract pneumonia from the cold?

    It is not possible to get a viral or bacterial infection from cold itself. What cold temperatures do is sap the body’s resources, making it more difficult to fight off bacteria or viruses when they invade. Those kids have grown up like this. They are probably pretty acclimated.

    I remember my first spring in Alaska and my total amazement when the daytime temperatures got above freezing. I mean above freezing like 35 degrees. Kids raised in Alaska started wearing shorts and flip flops. People complained bitterly when it got above 70 (about the heat). And here was I, sure that I would never put on short sleeves again in my life. Within a year or so, I was back to short sleeves in summer, although I never got to the point of flip flops in weather below 40 degrees.


  17. Sally, thanks for sharing the drafts of Nathan’s lyrics. As a writer I am always interested in seeing drafts and works in progress of other artists’ work. It helps me when others “show their work.”


  18. Thanks so much for the answer, Ms. Sally!

    I’ve been fascinated by Alaska for years and your sharing of the weather story really makes me smile. It’s funny what we can accumulate to.


  19. . It helps me when others “show their work.”

    It’s sort of fascinating to look through his stuff. There are bits and pieces of finished songs all over the unpublished stuff. He would lift just a phrase or a line and it ended up in the final product and the rest was ignored. I don’t write that way, so it’s foreign to me.


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