Fostering curiosity in kids (and their parents) since 2011

The Bubonic Snowflake & other perils of Snowpocalyse 2013

The Snowpocalypse is upon us. When The Five-Year-Old and I heard that Governor Patrick had ordered the roads in Boston had closed to all non-emergency travelers, we decided to take a walk. Before you call the Governor to report us, this is what our neighborhood looked like at the time.

A girl bends over a branch on the ground. There is almost no snow to be seen.

My daughter bends over a fallen branch. Given the calm weather, this tragedy was not the result of the current Snowpocalypse. (Photo: Shala Howell)

Clearly, there wasn’t much going on. The news made it sound like it might be our last chance to get out for a while, so we wanted to make the most of it.

Plus The Five-Year-Old had some work to do.

If you’re going to have a Snowpocalypse, you might as well make snow cream.

Snow cream is pretty much the only part of winter Daddyo enjoys.

He’s been openly planning to make snow cream all week. My kitchen counter has been taken over by a small platoon of sweetened condensed milk. If the supplies are any indication, he’s planning to make use of every inch of the two feet of snow we’re expected to get here over the 24 hours.

To make snow cream, you will need some snow.

All the talk of snow cream has made The Five-Year-Old pretty eager for the storm to arrive, as you might imagine. As soon as she saw the first flakes starting to fall, she ran outside with her little blue cup to collect enough snow to get a head start on treat.

The results were suboptimal.

A little girl displays an empty blue cup. There's no snow on the ground either.

My daughter didn’t have much luck catching snow in her little blue cup. But she shouldn’t feel bad. The ground isn’t having much luck catching snow either. (Photo: Shala Howell)

For The Five-Year-Old, anyway. Mommyo was pretty happy about all the running around required to collect those few drops of water.

Fortunately for The Five-Year-Old, Daddyo had better luck. He’s clearly fished for snow before.


Instead of running around trying to catch snow in a cup, Daddyo simply waited for the storm to really get going and then put a giant silver bowl on our snow covered grill. (Photo: Shala Howell)

Snow + condensed milk + vanilla = snow cream

Once Daddyo had collected enough fresh snow, he added some sweetened condensed milk and a touch of vanilla.

A hand holds a bowl of what looks like vanilla ice cream in front of a snowy window.

Snow cream! (Photo: Shala Howell)

SNOW CREAM! Ah, sweet nectar of the Snowpocalypse. Totally worth the inner chill that sends you scurrying under the nearest blanket after you’ve eaten it. And that slightly unsettled feeling you get while waiting to find out whether the e. coli that live in the upper atmosphere and form the basis of snowflakes are the sort that will kill you or not.

Daddyo: “Wait. Are you telling me that you can stick out your tongue to catch a snowflake and get the plague?”

Fortunately for us snowflake catchers and snow cream connoisseurs, Georgia Tech microbiologist Kostas Konstantinidis thinks that the vast majority of the bacteria living in snowflakes are harmless.  Of course, he’s not completely done analyzing his sample of snow-encrusted bacteria yet. He could still find some pathogens in there, and if so, he says, that could affect the way disease spreads through the world.

Daddyo: “Bubonic snowflakes. Awesome. How has the human race survived?”

So, what are you thinking about today?

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6 Responses to “The Bubonic Snowflake & other perils of Snowpocalyse 2013”

  1. sogalthoughts

    Thanks for stopping by. I don’t think about what might be in the snow cream. I just thank the Lord for it and eat it!! Our snow is gone. Snowy the Snowman melted completely away last evening. Sniff.



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