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What do you do in the Winter?

 
pollinator
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Hi Everyone,
I'm in Vermont, which seems more like "the great white north" than Eastern USA.  I hope I'm in the right forum.  I spent the last 8 years in Africa. This will be my first year back in Vermont.  I'm feeling kind of bleak as I face the long, dark winter.  What do you do during the winter?

Maureen
 
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Hi Maureen;  Welcome back to winter!  Oh and Vermont as well. I spent much time there as a child.

Winter can be fun, you just need to decide if you like being outdoors or warm and snuggly.
We split wood, we go hunting / hiking carrying a rifle, we go skiing , we cook, we eat ,we sleep, we do other fun things...
Board games, I personally love playing Omweeso (national game of Uganda)
If you have internet its a great time to cruise Permies!
I like online (fake $) Texas holdem Poker.
Wife likes hidden object games.
And then there is NETFLIX'S !  Binging on our fav. shows!

Then there is the flip side... car's that won't start, getting stuck in the snow, plowing, plowing and more plowing. Shoveling snow ...

I guess you get some bad with all the good.

Welcome Home!
 
pollinator
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Hi Maureen.

We keep a forest of potted avocado trees in our apartment. They get a supplementary light, as we have no window to the south. We must have over a hundred plants in total in our 600ish square foot place.

If you have the will and resources, you can do many different scales of gardening indoors, from sprouts to salad greens, to fruiting starts for the next season. Usable lights have come down in price in the last couple of decades, at least in terms of value for output.

Personally, I put on winter tires, wear comfy sweaters, add comfy blankets to the couch, and make plenty of delicious soups and stews. I shovel snow and hope each storm will yield a paid snowday. And boy do I hope for storms.

There used to be a huge snowbird demographic that would migrate south for the winter, going back to the end of the 19th century, at least.

Or there's the bear philosophy of winter. I like that idea. Eat lots in the autumn, sleep all winter, and wake when the birds return in the spring.

I was thinking that this winter it might be a great idea to start building an ice wall along our border with the untied states. Imagine if people along the border, perhaps on both sides, got together to build segments of ice wall in whatever way they thought best, and documented it on, I don't know, Instagram, maybe, as a mockery of the whole concept. We could then watch the ice walls melt, perhaps capturing them on web or trail cams and speeding up the footage at the end of it. Plus, it would keep those white walkers out.

Winter's coming.

-CK
 
master pollinator
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A Chinese proverb says, "The start of understanding is to call something by its real name." To me that name is Harsh.

Winter is harsh.

There is no getting around out, so the first way I thrive in the winter is to realize one major thing. In the winter, everything takes longer. You have to put on more clothes in the Foyer. You have to let your car warm up and defrost first. Engines do not always start...that is just winter. I am not saying party hard because of it, I am just saying, accepting it, goes a long way in the winter.

My other suggestion is to GET OUT THERE. The worst thing you can do is lament about winter, so try and get outside. Buy a pair of snowshoes...hiking is amazing on snowshoes, those nasty swamps you have to hike miles around in the summer, you dart across frozen ice in the winter. And you can sneak up on wildlife because you are silent, and you are pretty much alone in the winter too. It can really be fun, and when you do winter stuff like I do, you realize winter is too darn short, on average about 10 weeks of snow...yes 2.5 months, that is it. It goes by way too fast.

But do not neglect the Dr. Have your doctor check you for D3, it is in short supply in the winter, and make you glum. If it is low D3 is cheap and easy to get over the counter. It goes a long ways in energy levels and mood.

And if all else fails, jump in the car and head to a little ole farm in Maine. I do not have much, but I always have room, and I am only 4 hours away. We'll toss on a steamy stockpot of Fish Cowdah, crush some crackers and discuss what we are going to plant in our gardens in the Spring.

BTW: It is saying I am spelling chowdah wrong, but I have no idea how it is really spelled?
 
gardener
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Xc skiing, ww  kayaking, more reading, playing music, restaurant s, rubbing dog belly, movies.
 
Chris Kott
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I think the jury's out on pronunciation, but I believe it's spelled "chowder." I would also accept "chowdah," though.

-CK
 
thomas rubino
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Ha Ha

He's speaking "Maine-eack" a variation of the New England accent.
Also a nickname for folks living in that beautiful state!
 
Travis Johnson
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thomas rubino wrote:Ha Ha

He's speaking "Maine-eack" a variation of the New England accent.
Also a nickname for folks living in that beautiful state!



Hold on...you mean there is 26 letters in the alphabet and not 25? I always wondered where you guys put the R in words.

Maine law goes like this: Any R sound letter, proceeded by an a, is therefore always spelled ah.

Cah (car)
Bar (bah)
Cornah (corner)
Beah (beer)

In real life I speak like this, I have a real heavy Maine accent, but of course no one on here would know that because I type and not speak.

As for what I do in winter, I do a lot of prospecting...looking for geological features. I only do it in winter because in fall there are hunters, and in the summer and spring I would have to swat bugs. Winter is clear, quiet and I can see through the trees to see geological features I could not see if the leaves were on the trees.
 
pollinator
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Bake all the things. We do some snow activities, sledding and snowmen building being the top. Board games. Lots. I start my plants for spring WAY too early when I get green fever. There is a certain enjoyment in winter, the food and the time with family, but I'm with you. It's long. Too long.
 
gardener
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These are great replies and a great question!  I love hearing how other people live and thrive through what is, I find, a form of hardship.  I don't like calling an entire season that, but I am someone who really suffers in the cold and doesn't like it one bit...but has found things to like in it.

I'm from Oregon and the cold is sort of my nemesis.  My husband and I moved to the SW a few years ago and I found I absolutely love not being as cold as long (it still gets cold and has a real winter where we are living).  I still have my cold season things I like to do.  Winter is when I make things, summer is when I grow, store and prepare certain things for finishing in winter (like herbal tinctures).

1. Crafting, sewing and crocheting.  I never seem to have time to crochet in the summer, just too much to do!  Yet I really love to crochet and so waiting all year to do it just makes it so much fun.  Same with other crafts.  I try to save up things to use later, like dried seed pods and such.  One of my favorite forums on Permies is the Natural Fiber and Materials Forum . If you have access to the raw materials, winter has long been a traditional time for spinning, as well.  And if you are going to work on a project, you may wish to check and see if there is a PEP badge opportunity for it, like this one for making your own dishcloths!

2. Baking. I do almost all baking in the winter, in order to use the heat efficiently.  It heats me, the house and the food.  Some of the excess goes in the freezer for later.  In the summer, I try to streamline cooking.  In the winter I get leisurely and experimental with it.  My husband loves this time!  We eat very little sugar and I make a lot of desserts sugar-free with a squash base, so winter also works well as the really good dessert squash are all in season.  Kabocha types, red kuri and butternut are my favorite to make desserts with.

3. When I'm more organized I also make gifts in the fall/early winter.  Wreaths are a nice winter activity.  Making jams, chocolate-nut butter, and also soapmaking is a great winter activity.  Here's a great thread on soapmaking for beginners on Permies:  Sources for Beginning Soapmakers

4. Writing... it's a great time for me to go through all those thoughts that have built and I've been ruminating on through the warmer months. Currently, I'm adding little by little to a document I hope to turn into a book.

5. This is an herbalist thing, but I usually squeeze tinctures in the winter and also make cough syrup and lozenges.

6. I'm finally in the house consistently enough to listen to podcasts without having to stop them every few minutes to go in and out of the house!  Yes!  I'm currently listening to the Geoff Lawton ones; they are excellent.  List of Paul and Geoff Lawton Podcasts  I also try to find better holiday music at this time.  I like Celtic stuff.

Now I'm all excited.  So many things I can play with are spinning through my head... figuring out how to make wooden crochet hooks, finishing some metal artwork I started last winter, baking bread and making chocolates while listening to podcasts on soil building... this is how I get through winter as a person who dreads the onset of winter and being cold.  It works!

One more tip.  My hands get super cold and I can't move them when that happens.  And they hurt.  This is possibly my worst problem with winter because it makes it hard to do all those things I like.  Including typing, so now it's off to my favorite hands-going-into-Raynauds-effect fix - washing dishes.  It's the only time I really enjoy washing the dishes... an odd side benefit of winter.



 
gardener
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[Maureen, I think of you every time I try to do something "the wrong way" here.... Last week going to 3 stores looking for black oat seeds to plant for rabbit feed. "Wrong time to plant, nobody plants them now, etc etc." (I found them, planted them, and they are 10cm tall already. so NYANYA.......)]

Half of my time in winter is spent figuring out ways to stay warm or conserve heat. I also bake to heat my house, and I have the same hand issues Kim describes. Washing the breakfast dishes in warm water is my mid-morning hand-defrosting break. Here we can still grow some things in the winter, so I get out in the garden, but when I lived in That Other State in New England That Says Chowdah (although we make it with quahogs) I spent a lot of time doing handwork and grading homework, since I was teaching, and any remaining time seemed to be taken up by warming up, defrosting, and cleaning the snow off my car. Things I do not miss.....
 
master pollinator
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I agree with Travis that things take longer in winter, with a couple exceptions.

It can be much easier to split firewood in the winter. I'm talking about wet stuff that won't be used until the following year. It can also be easier to skid logs and it do other thing on terrain that's not drivable in the summer. In Northern Canada , we have places that are inaccessible in the summer, but ice roads work quite well in the winter, if it gets cold enough.

Skiing and tobogganing can be done on grass, but in the winter you get going faster and crashes tend to give a softer landing. :-)

Will you be returning to Kenya, or does it look like this may be a permanent situation?
 
Travis Johnson
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In Maine at least, there is a huge uptick of babies born in May. In doing the reverse math, it is pretty easy to figure out what parents are doing when it starts to get cold out!

Just saying, winter is not ALWAYS that bad. A nice mug of eggnog, a good book by the fire, snuggle up with Mrs Johnson...you know...one thing leads to another... (LOL)

Edited to say: Do you think they had My Little Ponies in the 1930"s? Extra credit if you can spot it in the picture!
1930-retro.jpg
1930 retro
1930 retro
 
Dale Hodgins
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Those May babies would have to be conceived in August. I know winter comes earlier in Maine, but August seems a bit too soon.

Quite often, winter messes with my ability to earn money. When I have a demolition sale in the middle of summer, I'm likely to sell every brick and every other useful thing. The same products may go unsold if I produce them during cold weather. It gets even worse if I have laid them out on the lawn and they get covered in snow.

One exception to this is the uptake of free firewood. Most of the lumber I produce has been part of a building for 80 years or more and it is dry. So I have no trouble giving away the shorts, during the heating season.
 
Kim Goodwin
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Travis Johnson wrote:In Maine at least, there is a huge uptick of babies born in May. In doing the reverse math, it is pretty easy to figure out what parents are doing when it starts to get cold out!

Just saying, winter is not ALWAYS that bad. A nice mug of eggnog, a good book by the fire, snuggle up with Mrs Johnson...you know...one thing leads to another... (LOL)

Edited to say: Do you think they had My Little Ponies in the 1930"s? Extra credit if you can spot it in the picture!



So Travis, that's so funny what you said above... because I was just thinking how one of the reasons my husband and I are staying in the desert (even though he hates the heat) and not returning back north is because if I'm cold, the clothes stay on.  I cannot fathom how any children are born in July-Oct.  Nope.  Not happening.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I often sleep in unheated buildings, in Canada in the winter, and I am never cold, due to proper preparation. Those who heat their home, have it even better. I imagine bathing would be quite difficult or, at best brief. :-)

And that reminds me of Uncle Ab who was really a distant older relative. He visited my grandmother's house one time and she suggested that it was time for him to take a bath. "In the winter , are you crazy woman!"
Grandma loved to tell that story.

Ab lived alone in a cabin that did not have indoor plumbing. The bath thing combined with an amazing amount of nose and ear hair, probably contributed to his living alone.
 
Travis Johnson
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Dale Hodgins wrote:Those May babies would have to be conceived in August. I know winter comes earlier in Maine, but August seems a bit too soon.



I honestly think the reason for the uptick in babies has more to do with the kids going back to school. These frees the parents up to do other things. I know I used to grin when the kids got on the bus and it was just Katie and I home.

The way our visitations run, my daughter goes to see her mom every 3rd weekend, and Katie's kids go to see their dad every other weekend. So the way the math works, every 6 weeks we were all alone...all weekend...until on one of those weekends, yours truly sired our fourth daughter, Katie's 3rd child, and my 2nd.  (I have 1, she has 2, and we have one together making for 4 daughters).
 
Dale Hodgins
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I know this is going way off track, but I recall the VCR being an excellent babysitter. It's important to provide food, a blanket and any other thing that might be requested in the middle of the movie. If they were real people, I would thank the Little Mermaid and Aladdin, for their help in this regard.
 
pollinator
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Living in a ski town I get so ski, besides that I do a lot of prepping and planning for the spring. Sprouting seeds, nursing seedlings mainly along with doing research on permaculture. I also do a lot of brainstorming on the future of the property I'm working on. I am in an apartment so my indoor project capacities are limited but over the long winter here I am able to approach projects that by nature take a long time.
 
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Maureen Atsali wrote:What do you do during the winter?



Winter? What’s that?!

(Travis: Wintah?)

Oh, you mean when the temperature drops to 20 C and we need to wear shoes outside? It’s no bother at all really, just swap out the beer for wine and maybe do more BBQ’s.

It’s nice, the flies and mosquitoes take a holiday and we get to grow ‘cold climate’ veggies.




 
thomas rubino
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Brrr You might  build a Rocket Mass Heater for those chilly 20 C nights !
You know while waiting on the Barbi.
 
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snow kite
build a luge like toboggan course in the backyard for my nephew
shovel lots of snow
 
pollinator
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Walking the dog. Hours reading in a warm bath. Hang at the library - I pull a bunch of books off the shelves and find a comfy chair and maybe a spot by the fireplace to peruse them. Scrabble with friends.
 
Dale Hodgins
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The lowest temperature that my wife has ever experienced, is 21 degrees Celsius or about 72 Fahrenheit. Last week she forgot to take her jacket to the mall, and complained bitterly about how cold the air conditioning was.

I had frost on my car yesterday and in explaining how cold that is, I told her to open the freezer and hold onto something for a moment. She has made me promise to get her really good winter clothing when she's allowed to come to Canada. One of the Filipinos who works at Tim Hortons, said that it's like being burned, but from cold instead of heat.

We both enjoyed the cool breezes at the top of Cebu Island. Low 70s .

My future winter plans are to leave Canada no later than October and not return until spring. While the rest of you are scraping and shoveling, I will be doing the same, digging holes for mangoes and bananas, and hanging out with the cobras, water buffalo and flying foxes.
Cebu-Island.jpg
Cebu Island
Cebu Island
 
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Kim Goodwin wrote:These are great replies and a great question!  I love hearing how other people live and thrive through what is, I find, a form of hardship.  I don't like calling an entire season that, but I am someone who really suffers in the cold and doesn't like it one bit...but has found things to like in it.

I'm from Oregon and the cold is sort of my nemesis.  My husband and I moved to the SW a few years ago and I found I absolutely love not being as cold as long (it still gets cold and has a real winter where we are living).  I still have my cold season things I like to do.  Winter is when I make things, summer is when I grow, store and prepare certain things for finishing in winter (like herbal tinctures).

1. Crafting, sewing and crocheting.  I never seem to have time to crochet in the summer, just too much to do!  Yet I really love to crochet and so waiting all year to do it just makes it so much fun.  Same with other crafts.  I try to save up things to use later, like dried seed pods and such.  One of my favorite forums on Permies is the Natural Fiber and Materials Forum . If you have access to the raw materials, winter has long been a traditional time for spinning, as well.  And if you are going to work on a project, you may wish to check and see if there is a PEP badge opportunity for it, like this one for making your own dishcloths!

2. Baking. I do almost all baking in the winter, in order to use the heat efficiently.  It heats me, the house and the food.  Some of the excess goes in the freezer for later.  In the summer, I try to streamline cooking.  In the winter I get leisurely and experimental with it.  My husband loves this time!  We eat very little sugar and I make a lot of desserts sugar-free with a squash base, so winter also works well as the really good dessert squash are all in season.  Kabocha types, red kuri and butternut are my favorite to make desserts with.

3. When I'm more organized I also make gifts in the fall/early winter.  Wreaths are a nice winter activity.  Making jams, chocolate-nut butter, and also soapmaking is a great winter activity.  Here's a great thread on soapmaking for beginners on Permies:  Sources for Beginning Soapmakers

4. Writing... it's a great time for me to go through all those thoughts that have built and I've been ruminating on through the warmer months. Currently, I'm adding little by little to a document I hope to turn into a book.

5. This is an herbalist thing, but I usually squeeze tinctures in the winter and also make cough syrup and lozenges.

6. I'm finally in the house consistently enough to listen to podcasts without having to stop them every few minutes to go in and out of the house!  Yes!  I'm currently listening to the Geoff Lawton ones; they are excellent.  List of Paul and Geoff Lawton Podcasts  I also try to find better holiday music at this time.  I like Celtic stuff.

Now I'm all excited.  So many things I can play with are spinning through my head... figuring out how to make wooden crochet hooks, finishing some metal artwork I started last winter, baking bread and making chocolates while listening to podcasts on soil building... this is how I get through winter as a person who dreads the onset of winter and being cold.  It works!

One more tip.  My hands get super cold and I can't move them when that happens.  And they hurt.  This is possibly my worst problem with winter because it makes it hard to do all those things I like.  Including typing, so now it's off to my favorite hands-going-into-Raynauds-effect fix - washing dishes.  It's the only time I really enjoy washing the dishes... an odd side benefit of winter.





THIS!!! Kim, I could have written this, except for the location, lol! I grew up in northern IL, & in MI's 'mitten', so the dreaded lake-effect snow ruled our winters, and that was back in the 70s, when we got hit with some SERIOUS snow - think 'chest-deep' on Dad!! Lie Travis said, everything slows down, out of necessity. There is the bundling up, and stripping down, that easily adds half an hour to each trip outdoors, plus the drying time in between, for everything you wore, out there. Moving around outside is slower, too. You're bundled up, which shows you down, and you have to breathe more slowly, to keep your lungs warmer(at least when it's bitter cold), because that bitter cold air hurts. We have livestock, so there will always be some necessary regular, outdoor activity. Honestly, I think that keeps you healthier, because it forces you to get out and get some fresh air, and connect with your land and critters. But, to revisit an old phrase, I love the indoor activities of a winter 'cocoon'. I think the one big thing I'd add to the above lists would be snuggling up with hubs & the fur babies, in front of a crackling fire. Maybe with a good book and pleasant beverage of choice, be it wine, a mug of chamomile, cocoa, or Irish coffee.
 
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I grew up in a part of Alaska where winter lasts about seven months of the year, and spent several years there when my kids were young.  In addition to a lot of things already mentioned, my daughters had ponies, and would hook plastic sleds on behind one of them - as many as three or four, depending on how many kids were with them - and go galloping down our gravel road, slinging most of the passengers off into the snowbanks when they went flying around corners!  They had a lot of fun, and by some miracle nobody ever got hurt. Some dogs love to pull sleds, too, though they might not go as fast.  Or  there is skijoring....
 
pollinator
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Winter is "no bugs!" season, so there's one plus.  A second plus with the freeze-up is "no mud!", and mud we have in copious amounts.  My wife is pretty crazy about working sun up to sundown on property projects, either repairing what the pigs have wrecked ("Gosh....they really are strong aren't they!") or on some re-design of a previous build, that the chilly winds of winter usher in a welcomed respite from the grind.  Also, I find that it's easier to take co-workers up on after-hours gatherings in town, so there is some re-invigoration of a social life in winter that is absent at other times of the year.  Tractors and equipment get some maintenance during this time and finances are examined and considered against the tax rate and projected outlays for the past and approaching year.  Wood that was chainsawed and stored earlier in the summer is split during the weekends and used up during the week to stoke the wood stove.  Finally, with all of that produce harvested in the fall and stashed in the chest freezer and with no concerns about heating the house up with the oven, it's the time of year to investigate and prepare new dishes and baked items.   All in all the day goes pretty quickly.   But the pattern does get too old at just about the right time and when the days start to lengthen again, the chickens are laying pretty steadily at that point and the cooking changes to accommodate.  Then it's time to plan for planting, flooding, projects, or trenching.
 
M. Phelps
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i had to look up skijoring
sounds like fun!
so would snow kiting count as skijoring since you are "motoring" up hills etc?

some examples of pros snow kiting:




winter has never been the same
 
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Maureen,

Winter is my stir crazy time and that’s when I concoct new schemes.  I spend a lot of time on Permies where people temper my ideas.

In my area, winter is pretty mild, but that bothers me.  I like a cold, hard winter and mis having a real winter with real snow.  We commonly get a lot of rain and the ground turns muddy so I then pine for spring when I can launch into another far fetched project.

Eric
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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M. Phelps wrote:i had to look up skijoring
sounds like fun!
so would snow kiting count as skijoring since you are "motoring" up hills etc?

some examples of pros snow kiting:





winter has never been the same



I had never heard of snow kiting!  It is amazing!  And looks like it could be really dangerous, too!
 
John Suavecito
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When I became an uncle, I went xc skiing with my brother, sister in law and kids.  Someone had a "pulk", which you could rent for $75 a day 20 years ago ($125 now?), or buy it for $400 then ($500 now?).  It is a sled that you pull behind you when xc skiing.  You can haul kids in it.

I thought, "I could build something like that pretty cheaply."  I looked it up online and built one.  We used them for years, until our kids became too big. Then I gave them to friends who had smaller kids.  They are really fun for families, and a great way to introduce your kids to the great outdoors.  We would ski pulk for part of the day and go sledding and throw snowballs, make snow angels, etc. for the rest of the day.  Fun for everyone!

John S
PDX OR
 
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We get a cold winter where I live in the Himalayas, only a couple degrees warmer than Vermont. We were using seasonally attached greenhouses to heat our solar buildings, and of course we grew some flowers and vegetables in them, but then I received Eliot Coleman's books, The Winter Harvest Handbook and Four Season Harvest and got inspired. He produces and sells vegetables all year in Maine (yes, Maine) using various methods, some of which are easy to do tomorrow, and some of which require planning or building during summer.

Our greenhouses are just a UV-resistant plastic greenhouse sheet attached along the top of the ground floor, buried along the bottom edge, and sealed in one way or another on the east and west ends. Last winter I was growing about 10 different kinds of leafy greens, which produced at different times over the whole winter: various kinds of kale, red and green lettuce, both kinds of arugula/rocket (perennial and annual), spinach, mustard greens, mizuna, claytonia, parsley; fennel bulbs and carrots; basil and cherry tomatoes till early December; herbs like dill, chives, rosemary, cilantro, mint, anise hyssop, dragonhead (a local herb).

Puttering around in the greenhouse helps me get sunlight and a greenery fix in winter.
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Travis Johnson
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Sleds are great.
I like snowshoeing because I can go anywhere in the winter, and my treks further away are possible because there is no long walks out around bodies of water, I just trudge right over those swamps, ponds and streams that I would otherwise have to go around. And I can pack more stuff because I put my gear in a sled. Instead of towing it by rope though, I bolt a hinge to one end of a narrow board, then make a loop on the other. In that way, my sled has a pole that attaches to my belt so no using my hands for hauling my sled. And when going down a hill, the pole keeps the sled from riding over the back of my snowshoes.

Now Katie...she is from New Hampshire. It might be "Live Free or Die", but it is also against the law for a New Hampshirite not to know how to down hill ski or snowboard. Katie snowboards.

As a family, we will go walking through the snow to get our Christmas Tree, make winter forts, or make cocoa. Even if snow is not on the ground, we have gone for hikes in the forest, look for gemstones out in the woods, and looked at ice laden waterfalls.

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Personally, I work full time at a wholesale nursery and tree farm.  Thanksgiving marks the official beginning of the slow season, with things generally picking up in the first or second week of March.  However, I'm still employed full time during the winter, working a mere 40 hours instead of the normal 60-70 in the spring and fall and 50 or so in the summer.  

During the winter, I sleep more, focus on stretching/yoga more, and dial in my morning and evening routines even further.  Lots of time spent getting caught up on computer work and other tasks, planning the next year...combined with healthy amounts of relaxation.  

Moreover, since my family and I are building a homestead from scratch, no existing infrastructure whatsoever when the land was purchased, there's always some project to finish up and other projects to plan.  The seasonal life can be challenging, but it's all I've ever known and wouldn't want it any different.

Perhaps after time living in Africa you may grow to enjoy and appreciate the seasons more than you ever have before!  

EDIT: Travis' photo and post also got me thinking...additional down time in the winter allows for more time involved in the community and engaging in more volunteer work.  It's a wonderful time to spend with friends and family since there are considerably less outdoor time consuming tasks to manage during the winter.  Oh yeah...and now that I burn wood for fuel, I'll be needing to factor in felling trees and preparing the next years wood (though I am considering continuing to outsource that on account of time constraints)
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Rob’s post reminded me that for several years we were involved with a very small community theater group.  We had fun, learned a lot, and entertained the little rural community where we lived (very rural - ranches mostly, and about 45 miles from town).  Our director was raised in a theater family, and taught us a lot, but then she had some health problems, and that was the end of the group because nobody else felt capable of taking over.
 
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Maureen Atsali wrote:Hi Everyone,
I'm in Vermont, which seems more like "the great white north" than Eastern USA.  I hope I'm in the right forum.  I spent the last 8 years in Africa. This will be my first year back in Vermont.  I'm feeling kind of bleak as I face the long, dark winter.  What do you do during the winter?

Maureen



Light the wood stove, carve spoons, sprout beans, make sauerkraut, play my instrument, make up an interesting tasty dish, surf the net to learn about anything, watch a movie, repot and care for indoor plants, scratch my dogs neck, feed the outside critters,  do some woodworking project, read a book / magazines, write in my garden journal, trim trees in my little forest, begin again!    
 
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I buy too many seeds and create super ambitious goals for the upcoming warm months.

About the chowder clip above....my Maniac opinion is that that's more Massachusettsy!
 
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I struggle more with the short days than the actual cold (and we get really cold here - forty below is not uncommon for stretches in January).  Sometimes I save vacation days to stay home on sunny days during the week, since I get to work before sunrise and leave around sunset during the shortest days.  I am fortunate to have a living room that has a long wall of south-facing windows, which makes it a luxurious place to be when the sun shines, even in January.  

We do a lot of baking, and shift our cooking from stove-top to mostly roasting in the oven during the winter, and let that help keep the kitchen warm.  We build snow forts when it's warm enough for the snow to stick together (there is a point where it's too cold to stick, and all you get is piles of loose snow).   The kids also sled on the slopes of the ditch, or on snow piles we make for them.  

I tend to spend a lot of time researching trees and plants and such, and placing seed and plant orders for spring.  We also spend a lot of time curled up with warm blankets and books.

We tend to get feeling pretty cooped up and 'over' winter by the end of February.  At that point, all we can do is hunker down and wait.  It happens every year, so we just kind of plan for it, and try to stay out of each others' way until we can get outside more.  
 
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