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Making sure we get exercise every day is something we know is not only good for us physically, but is good for our mind and spirit, as well. In Woodbury, we have the wonderful advantage of several opportunities to be outside, enjoying the winter months, by engaging in several different activities.

One opportunity we have is to enjoy one of the five ice rinks located throughout the city. These rinks are located at Ojibway, Shawnee, Kargel, and Evergreen Parks, as well as the park at Colby Lake, located on the southeast corner of Valley Creek Road and County Road 19. All five of these locations have both hockey and pleasure skating rinks, and provide a shelter in the staffed, heated warming house when you need to take a break from the cold. You will find more information regarding these facilities on the city of Woodbury Web site.

Woodbury also provides approximately one hundred miles of groomed trails. Bob Klatt of the Woodbury Park and Recreation Department advises that we use caution when walking on these paths. While the paths are groomed, he reminds us of the ice beneath the snow, and suggests wearing shoes or boots that will minimize falling.

We also have Colby Lake. My husband and I built our first little house in Woodbury more than 27 years ago. The first winter we lived here the ice on Colby Lake froze before the snow fell. He tells me this happens once every 5 years or so. The ice can be unpredictable and choppy, causing a person who is blissfully skating along to come upon a fissure or uneven patches that will cause problems.

I grew up in a large family in southern Minnesota, and while we would occasion the warming house at the park near our home, it was never my favorite thing to do. When I married my husband, he was much more of an outdoors' man than I was an outdoors' woman. He told me I had to learn how to skate, but I had so much trouble with the figure skates and the toe catching on the ice, that I could not master it.

Off to Strauss Skates in North St. Paul we went, and before I knew it, I was the proud owner of a pair of well-worn, men's, used Bauer skates. When the guys all saw that I had on Bauer skates, they were impressed. I had no idea what they were so excited about, I just appreciated the extra support for my ankles.

When ice on Colby Lake was ready, my husband insisted we try my new-used skates on the clear expanse of sheer ice. The entire lake stretched before us and we were the only people on the lake that sunny, winter day.

As we skated to the north end of the lake, we both were amazed to see a cow - yes, that's right, a cow, standing on the ice.

I asked him recently if I had dreamed this scene and he assured me that it actually did happen.

We have no idea where the cow came from. In the early 1980s, there were farms throughout that area of the city. Whether the cow had escaped from its barn that frosty, winter day, we will never know. Exactly how it found its way down to the ice, and how it was relieved of its fate, will also remain a mystery to us. Rescuing cows from an icy sheet of ice was out of our realm of expertise and experience. When I tell people this story today, no one can believe it.

Be sure to enjoy each new moment of daylight as we progressively move toward spring. And don't miss the wonderful, wintery experiences we have waiting for us in our very own city of Woodbury.

Take some time this week to go outside for a walk or strap on your skates and head to one of the outdoor rinks located throughout the city. Spring will be here before you know it and you don't want to miss the fun waiting for you. Who knows, maybe you'll spot something as unbelievable and unforgettable as a cow on Colby Lake!