Hello Cold Days

Winter comes but just one season a year and I try to embrace the chilly weather and what it brings to us. The spirit of winter is rest, relax, reboot and rejuvenate for the coming busy seasons.

There’s nothing you can do about the weather. Are in touch with winter season? Do you actually take time to enjoy the changes winter brings? Or does it just pass you by, except for the inconvenience and annoyance of it being dark early!  I do hope not, as with all seasons there is so much to give thanks for and wonder at.

Read that book that’s on your list -no excuse for not reading the book club book for next few months! Play cards or board games with family or friends in the long evenings – perfect for Friday and Saturday’s while the footy is on the radio. Clean the house- one can dream! Cook up a big pot of soup. Learn to knit a warm sweater- I think we all have enough beanies and scarves! Work on the patchwork quilt.

It’s also a good time to sort computer files, fabric stashes, the book stack and well, anything else that has accumulated over the other months of the year.

Bring out the slow cooker, fire up the wood stove. For me the long, light days mean summer meals such as salads and BBQ’s, stone and berry fruit and ice-creams.  But winter is the time of decadence and feasting. I love coming home, driving down the dark country roads at 6pm, knowing that for dinner is a slow cooked casserole on a pile of mashed spuds. Winter is also a time of puddings, rice and chocolate steamed being favourites and of course bowls of pea & ham or winter veg soup for lunch. Don’t forget that the chooks also appreciate a bowl of warm mash on these mornings.

Wonder at the light on a freezing cold morning, I love those mornings when it is properly cold, and you look out from windows on which Jack Frost has drawn his patterns to see the crisp promise of a sunny winter’s day. Going out to check the chooks water gives a good gauge of how cold it was overnight from the ice thickness in the bowl.

Give thanks to TV box sets that allow us to binge watch our favourite TV or movie series. I love making the couch all cosy and climbing into it in flannel pyjamas, cup of hot chocolate and the fire going. Bliss.

You know, staying warm is the key to winter.  Whether that means sitting by the fire, snuggling up with a loved one or pet, piling on the blankets, or having a warm drink. During the day, the best way to stay warm is to wear layers of suitable clothes, especially woollen tights, undershirts, and sweaters and shawls. Remember: a significant proportion of body heat is lost through your head – so now is the time to whip out the hand knitted  winter beanies. At night the hot water bottle, flannel pjs, extra blankets will keep you warm. Don’t neglect your feet – woollen socks and slippers/Ugg boots are a must-have for keeping you toasty warm all winter, including in bed. It is not the time to just crank up the heating while walking around in summer clothes and pjs; think of your power bill and the environment.

Although that all sounds so good, we need to also get ourselves outside. Bundle up and take at least a short walk. Exercise gets your body temperature up and your blood flowing. Take a walk in your garden and see how the plants are coping, esp. the ones who may be in a microclimate, a dry pocket, they may need a water. So will, any pot plants on verandas as they won’t get the rain! Chop the firewood, fill wood baskets/boxes for the house, wood provides many ways for staying warm!

One of my favourite ways to spend a few hours (okay days) is to browse seed catalogues and plan the spring/summer garden. Winter has many benefits in the garden, for nature it is dormant time, a quiet time. It hopefully brings needed rains. It provides the cold that is required for many plants to grow flowers or fruit the following year.

Whatever your take on winter, in contrast to our ancestors for many previous centuries, we should be grateful for the clothing, homes and food that keep us during the winter months.

The winter Solstice is June 20/21st scientifically the winter solstice is the day with the shortest period of daylight and longest night of the year, when the Sun is at its lowest daily maximum elevation in the sky. But it is also a spiritual time, as you prepare for the winter solstice you will discover that there is a real need for slowing down, for silence and resting. Take the time to listen to those things that speak without words.

So use these quiet months for recharging mind, body and soul, just like nature we cannot keep going ( growing and producing) without down time, and these dark nights and cold days are perfect for making a nest  of cuddly blankets, pottering around the home and garden, hang with those who make you smile and getting ready for Spring.

“In the beginning there was silence and darkness but within the silence and darkness there was and always has been love”

Connect with nature, live simply and we all benefit