6 Tips for Making the Perfect Snowball

iStock/SrdjanPav
iStock/SrdjanPav

‘Tis the season for spreading joy, spending time with loved ones, and vanquishing your opponents in a fierce snowball fight. The ground might not be slick with snow in most parts of the country just yet, but it's never too early to start preparing for battle. Here are a few tips for stepping up your snowball game and crafting the perfect wintry weapon.

1. Wait for the right kind of snow.

As Popular Science points out, the perfect snowball requires snow with just the right amount of moisture in it. As you’re packing a snowball, check to see how much water you can squeeze out of it. If it drips, you may end up hurting other players by hurling an icy object at their heads. If it crumbles, it probably won't hit your target at all. Wait for snow with a medium amount of moisture in it.

2. If the snow is dry, try lying on top of it.

If you aren’t willing to wait for the next blizzard, you can add moisture to snow by lying on the ground for a few minutes and warming it up. You can also take snow from sunny spots or patches surrounding buildings, which tend to give off heat.

3. Dig deeper.

Snow that’s buried a few inches below the surface is better for snowball-making because it’s already slightly packed.

4. Rotate your hands while forming a snowball.

Scoop up a pile of snow, then bring your hands together while rotating them. Gradually increase the pressure as you pack it to help you achieve that perfectly round shape.

5. Make a bunch, then set them aside.

The warmth from your hands will cause the snowballs to release moisture, thereby making them softer. But if you set them aside for a little while, the moisture will freeze again and firm them up. Having a stockpile of the wintry projectiles also means that you'll be prepared for rapid-fire snowball-hurling (should the need occur).

6. Duke it out in freezing temperatures.

You’ll probably want to bundle up first (and please, wear gloves), but temperatures around 32 degrees Fahrenheit are perfect for forming snowballs. The snow won’t be frozen or slushy, and you'll be able to pack it into a ball more easily.

Wayfair’s Fourth of July Clearance Sale Takes Up to 60 Percent Off Grills and Outdoor Furniture

Wayfair/Weber
Wayfair/Weber

This Fourth of July, Wayfair is making sure you can turn your backyard into an oasis while keeping your bank account intact with a clearance sale that features savings of up to 60 percent on essentials like chairs, hammocks, games, and grills. Take a look at some of the highlights below.

Outdoor Furniture

Brisbane bench from Wayfair
Brisbane/Wayfair

- Jericho 9-Foot Market Umbrella $92 (Save 15 percent)
- Woodstock Patio Chairs (Set of Two) $310 (Save 54 percent)
- Brisbane Wooden Storage Bench $243 (Save 62 percent)
- Kordell Nine-Piece Rattan Sectional Seating Group with Cushions $1800 (Save 27 percent)
- Nelsonville 12-Piece Multiple Chairs Seating Group $1860 (Save 56 percent)
- Collingswood Three-Piece Seating Group with Cushions $410 (Save 33 percent)

Grills and Accessories

Dyna-Glo electric smoker.
Dyna-Glo/Wayfair

- Spirit® II E-310 Gas Grill $479 (Save 17 percent)
- Portable Three-Burner Propane Gas Grill $104 (Save 20 percent)
- Digital Bluetooth Electric Smoker $224 (Save 25 percent)
- Cuisinart Grilling Tool Set $38 (Save 5 percent)

Outdoor games

American flag cornhole game.
GoSports

- American Flag Cornhole Board $57 (Save 19 percent)
- Giant Four in a Row Game $30 (Save 6 percent)
- Giant Jenga Game $119 (Save 30 percent)

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No Squawking, Please: A Backyard Bird Library Is the Star of This Livestream

Bird Library, YouTube
Bird Library, YouTube

Many people discovered backyard birding when they were quarantined in their homes at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even if you have a vibrant wildlife population in your area, the Bird Library webcam is worth checking out. As Atlas Obscura reports, the bird feeder at the focus of the livestream resembles a tiny library where feathered guests can misbehave.

Librarian Rebecca Flowers and woodworker Kevin Cwalina were inspired to build the Bird Library in 2015. Located in a backyard in Charlottesville, Virginia, it features a miniature reading chair, bookshelves, and a reception desk. The decorations are even updated to match the seasons; the feeder currently sports a banner that says "Summer Reading." The main differences setting it apart from a real library are the bird seed scattered on the floor and the avian visitors.

The Bird Library attracts a diverse collection of patrons. Sparrows, cardinals, and mourning doves have been recorded perching on the librarian's desk and checking out the reading materials. The occasional squirrel has also been known to stop by.

Live video of the feeder streams on the Bird Library's YouTube page and website 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can play the video below to check in on the current guests. If the backyard Bird Library has inspired you to find birds closer to home, here's some gear for beginner naturalists.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]