Matthew and Suzanne's Igloo
Matthew and Suzanne’s Igloo

Today’s Daily News has an article about an igloo Suzanne and I built in our front yard. (See article below) I submitted a photo of it to their online photo gallery on Tuesday, and then yesterday, Wednesday, two different reporters called up and asked about coming up to check it out. Sounded good to me, but I told them it might be hard to get here with all the snow and ice. A reporter and a photographer came, but they walked from the end of the county road, about a half mile. You can view even more pictures of the igloo and snow storm at our
house here:

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Fort Farnell
By Venice Buhain
Jan 08, 2004 – 07:33:22 am PST
Reprinted here by permission from The Daily News

Matthew, Christina and Suzanne Farnell of Woodland started with snowballs. Six
hours later, they had a 4 1/2-foot-high igloo.

The igloo, built last Friday, housed Matthew, 22, overnight Sunday.

Wasn’t it cold? “Yeah, a little bit,” Matthew said Wednesday afternoon. But the cold didn’t faze him. “We do backpacking a lot in the mountains, and sometimes you get ice on your sleeping bag.”

Though Sunday night dipped to 20 degrees, the igloo’s interior was not cold enough to freeze Matthew’s [water] bottle, he said.

Igloos are not typical structures in Western Washington, but they are traditional Eskimo shelters built out of packed snow and much larger than the Farnells’ front-yard igloo.

The Farnells’ igloo on the family’s 15-acre wooded property on a hill was more like a pup tent, with enough room for one adult, or two smaller people.

Instead of carving snow blocks out of hard-packed snow, the Farnells built a ring of 3-foot diameter snowballs and stacked more snowballs on top, packing the spaces tightly with snow. Their igloo is about three layers high.

No one taught the three how to make an igloo. They just improvised.

“Oh, we’re builders,” said their father, Charlie Farnell, a woodshop teacher at Woodland High

“We’ve seen lots of pictures,” said Suzanne, 15.

It was their second front-yard igloo. Their first, built two years ago, lasted “four of five weeks” — well after the rest of the snow melted, said Christina, 17.

Self-discovery is a family trait. Matthew, Christina and Suzanne are self-taught Web page experts, frequently winning awards and prizes in state contests. Matthew has run his own Web design business for three years.

All three were homeschooled by their parents, Charlie and Peggy Farnell. Matthew is now pursuing a bachelor’s degree in mathematics through a distance learning program with Verity Education in Michigan, and Christina is earning a degree at Lower Columbia College.

The three also give piano recitals after learning to play from local teachers through the Suzuki Method, which emphasizes learning by ear before learning to read music.

Matthew said he would advise would-be igloo builders to wait until the conditions are right. Their first attempt earlier last week failed because the snow was too dry, he said.

“You have to have the conditions right so the snow sticks together,” he said. Their father suggested adding a vent so fresh oxygen can circulate.

Matthew said the next igloo will be even more ambitious. “I’d like to make one that I can stand up in.”

By Published On: January 8, 2004Categories: Uncategorized0 Comments

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