I don’t think the beauty of winter is fully appreciated.
I remember my grandmother telling me as a child that winter is a time for the ground to rest; that snow puts the earth into a deep sleep so that the soil can be revived and ready for the next planting season. My grandmother (still living) is the person I have looked up to most in my life. She is so wise, and loves to she her wisdom with me. Last week, she asked me what she could get me for Christmas. In recent years she has given me family heirlooms and treasures, but this year I wanted something different. I simply asked her for a handwritten tutorial on how she harvests chickens in her own words. Sure enough she wrote down on paper, with her delicate hands, how she slaughters chickens. She taught me how to do it when I was a child, and there’s no doubt that I know how to; but I wanted it in her handwriting. I want to be able to show my children one day, her hand written note and tell them that she taught me just like I am going to teach them. Money can’t buy that folks! For the upcoming winter I have made a list of things to help you appreciate the beauty of winter and enjoy it.
- Plan your garden for next spring
Draw out where you want things. If you have always planted tomatoes in the same spot there’s a good chance that you have depleted the soil of the nutrients that tomatoes take and, though butter beans may flourish in that same spot, your tomatoes will be lacking. Rotate your crops to keep the soil as balanced and nutrient-dense as possible.
I hate baking in the summer. It feels like my entire home gets hotter from the oven. Everyone in the household complains when they come in from the field and it’s even hotter in the house than it is outside. Use winter as an opportunity to really dial in your perfect loaf of wheat bread or yeast rolls.
3. Read a good book
Not just one either. Read at least a book per month. Read about things you are interested in, and don’t force yourself to read about something you absolutely hate. I find myself reading a lot of Joel Salatin books (Folks, This Ain’t Normal is my favorite!) and a lot of books on beekeeping. I also try to stick to actual copies of books, e reader versions just don’t have the same tactile effect as real ink-on-real-paper book. Plus old books smell oddly good.
4. Take some photos
At least one time this winter, find something beautiful outside and take a photo. It’s not hard. You can even post it to Instagram if you’d like (tag me if you do @megannhope21). Finding one beautiful thing in what most people call a bleak season will help you realize that the earth is resting up for a beautiful spring. Even if you hate winter, you can appreciate that sentiment.
5. Build something
Personally this winter I plan to get all the supplies for three raised bed gardens and two movable chicken coops. Once I gather all the supplies I need I will start building them. If you can hit a nail you can do anything. Scratch that. If you are a WOMAN who can hit a nail, you can do anything.
6. Do something crafty
Find inspriation to re-do a room in your home; redecorate, paint, turn old things into better new things, do something with a mason jar, make your laundry room pretty, just something! Pintrest has so much good stuff on it, I could spend all day on there. Go to Hobby Lobby and find a new craft project you think you’d like to try; knitting, crocheting, soapmaking, candlemaking, sewing, SO MUCH STUFF. Just find something and do it!
7. Clean your home
Go room my room, chore by chore. Deep clean. Don’t wait for spring cleaning. Go ahead and get it done. Clean out you freezers, pantry, kitchen cabinets. Create a pile of yard sell stuff to accumulate until a springtime yard sale or donate to Goodwill.
Take a trip to somewhere warm, after you get the chores done of course! And if you can find a responsible teenager to take care of your animals while you’re gone. Pay them well.
Join a gym and go workout! Go to bodybuilding.com and find a workout and meal plan for FREE! They also have a supplement store that is very reasonably priced. Get serious about your fitness goals and do it. Gain self-esteem and lift heavy. Don’t worry, you will not get bulky.
10. Spend time with friends or fur babies
Really take time to be thankful for all the positive people in your life. Happiness breeds happiness. Winter is notorious for making people significantly more depressed. The lack of warm weather and shorter days can be a mood killer. Realize that happiness is a choice and make it a priority. Do something nice for a friend without expecting something in return. Be the happy that you want and you will get it.
This is obviously not a comprehensive list, you can build on it and use it to make this winter the most productive one you’ve ever had.