Winter has been slow arriving this year. In a lot of ways it is hard to complain. The warmer weather is easier on our energy bills and makes for an less stressful commute, especially as a transit strike since October still has me driving when I’d much rather be reading, listening to music, or doing a better job with my gumboot posts. But at the same time there are a lot of parts of winter that I’ve been looking forward to that as a result of the warmer weather I’ve put off. But in the last couple of weeks winter has shown up in Toronto, the air is crisp and there is snow on the ground. I want to share a few things that make the dark, cold, snowy (or rainy) months something for me to enjoy and hope you too find positivity in the months ahead.
Getting (and Sleeping) Outside.
I wasn’t always a fan of spending time outside in winter until I started running a few years ago and kept on running right through winter. (Check out Jim’s past post on the lonely community of winter runners). I then realized that being outside in winter makes those dark vitamin D deprived months a lot better. Sure there aren’t seemly endless hours of sunshine and instead there are layers of every type of clothing imaginable, but there also aren’t sunburns or mosquitoes. This year, Jim and I are taking our quest to embrace winter a step further with our plan to complete a whole year of camping every month. And after sleeping outside on Dec. 23 and Dec. 24, with temperature dipping close to -20C the first night and waking up to a white Christmas the next, I can say that I’m looking forward to more outside time in the months ahead.
Seasonal Hobbies (and hobbies that adapt to the season).
When I’m not outside in winter I enjoy being curled up on a coach with cat on my lap, watching TV, which I do way more of in the winter (I’m re-watching The Wire right now). Two additional hobbies make this better, knitting and beer. I’m a seasonal knitter and it wasn’t until last week that I picked up the needles again, which coincided with Toronto’s first substantial snowfall. It means that when my tendency is more towards hibernation than outside, I end up with something cozy coincidentally makes winter better. Beer, which I’ve recently started brewing, had to undergo some adaptations for winter, which we’re still working out. The brewery has moved from friends’ backward to our apartment for the winter, where our back deck’s overhang and ground-level bathtub (for the beer chilling) means we can brew through the cold months. And as long as we figure out how to adjust for the higher evaporation rate in winter we’ll keep ending up with amazing beer.
Tomatoes, Endings and Beginnings
And finally, what would one of my lists be without a reference to tomatoes. I’ve just cooked my last fresh tomatoes a couple of days ago. That’s right, tomatoes that I grew on my back deck that have been slowly ripening wrapped in newspaper in the months since they’ve been picked in the fall. They were delicious. And while that should make me sad, it is only a mere month and a half until I plant tomato seeds again. In the meantime, I have cans of crushed tomatoes, homemade salsa, pizza sauce, and ketchup for the down-time in mid-winter.
What makes you happy about winter?