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What cheers you up in winter? January 8, 2013

Posted by ourfriendben in homesteading, wit and wisdom.
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Here at Hawk’s Haven, the cottage home Silence Dogood and our friend Ben share in the precise middle of nowhere, Pennsylvania, we hate winter. We hate treacherous ice and snow, gigantic heating bills, freezing by keeping the house at a warm and welcoming 55 degrees so we can hope to pay our heating bills, and above all, the horrible darkness that seems to cut down the light to 8 hours a day. (Mind you, we also hate summer, with its sickening heat and humidity; we’re all in favor of the moderation of spring and fall.)

So we try to cheer ourselves up in winter by thinking of every good thing we can come up with. For OFB, this means keeping the Christmas tree up and lit every single day (until Silence insists that it be taken down before Valentine’s Day), along with our other ornaments, and listening to our favorite Christmas music and enjoying our annual Scroogefest, when we watch every version of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol ever filmed. I’m also partial to a roaring fire in our woodstove, bringing warmth and history into our cottage home.

Silence and I both love watching our feeder birds, and we both seem aware of every second of lengthening light after the winter solstice on December 21. We’ve been thrilled to see a mass migration of one of our all-time favorite birds, the snow geese, just this past week, though we have no clue why they’re passing through in January. We’re also delighted by each snow- and ice-free day, since it brings us one day closer to spring and the end of all those hazards.

As for Silence, she loves making the rich soups, stews, dals, curries, and other dishes that give much-needed warmth and sustenance to the bitter season. She has an entire repertoire of full-bodied salads that hold up to the cold, and pairs them with rich creamy or pesto pastas, cole crops (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, and collards), and yummy sides like mashed or roasted sweet potatoes, lentils, roasted cauliflower or broccoflower, cold-weather slaws, and etc. Silence also considers the cold months ideal for knitting, which she finds incredibly relaxing. And for writing fiction; if only she could figure out how to e-publish!

We both enjoy watching travel DVDs like Michael Palin’s and Tony Bourdain’s, in the hope that we’ll be able to finally plan a travel vacation of our own. Or if not, at least we can enjoy the vicarious pleasures and vistas of Messrs. Palin and Bourdain’s trips. At least we can indulge in travel fantasies, such as heading out on US Route 66 for the West Coast, taking a train trip across Canada, going to Normandy, or heading for the Mediterranean or Japan. And while on the road, Silence would enjoy her beloved Food Network shows, such as “Chopped” and “Iron Chef,” which we don’t get at home.

Anyway, these are some of the ways we try to cheer ourselves up and endure another bitter, dark, miserable winter. How do you add special treats and activities to get yourselves through winter? Please let us know.



1. Huma - January 8, 2013

I craved daal chaval today but all I got was subway—Alas!

Aaarrgghhh, I was actually contemplating Subway for us for lunch today as well. What’s the world coming to?!!

Huma - January 9, 2013

Even their healthiest sandwich is appallingly similar to plastic!

Too much bread!!!

2. William - January 12, 2013

The fact it is winter cheers me up. It is different than spring, summer or fall. I accept what is given and enjoy it to the fullest. There is so much that winter offers if we only open our eyes to it!

What a great attitude, William! I wish I could share it. I love the winter feeder birds, but hate winter driving, hate being cold, and am afraid I’ll break my neck walking the dog or even walking up the hill to the mailbox. (Yaktrax to the rescue!) Not to mention hating paying soaring fuel oil and electric bills. Give me sunny 68- to 72-degree days anytime!

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