Apparently it’s been spring now for a couple of days, but never mind, Nova Scotia has decided that it’s not done yet with winter. What to do, what to do? No need to go shack whacky, cabin crazy, absolutely batty… there are so many great ways to pass the time. Here’s how I’ve kept from getting bored this winter.
1) Take the Dogs for a Snowshoe
Bored dogs are worse than bored kids, so what better way to burn off excess energy than strapping on the snowshoes and taking them for a stomp through the woods? Never mind that the snowshoes mean you only sink up to your knees instead of up to your waist. Enjoy the hilarity of large dogs leaping through the air and then disappearing again into the snow like breaching whales. Throw the frisbee and watch the slow motion chase. Return to the house exhausted… the dogs, because they had a ton of fun, and you, because walking through 4 foot drifts in snowshoes is like trying to swim with bags of concrete strapped to your feet.
Winter is the time for comfort food, which means lots of fat and lots of sugar. It’s the season to bake up a storm (no pun intended). Bake cookies, bake breads, bake cinnamon buns and muffins. Feel your pants slowly snug tighter and tighter around your waist. Promise yourself that tomorrow, once all the treats are gone, you will go on a diet. Check the forecast and realize that another storm is brewing, Take pity on yourself and head back to the kitchen. Repeat cycle every 2-3 days.
3) Haul Water
Curse the frozen water lines in the big barn. Curse the heated water buckets that don’t work worth a damn. Fill the buckets in the small barn, then carry them across the yard to the big barn. Give them to the animals, head back to the small barn, do it over and over. This is an excellent form of winter crossfit. Carrying across ice improves your balance, carrying through drifts improves your stamina, carrying in blinding whiteouts improves your mind-body awareness. All forms of carrying improve the likelihood that you’ll suffer from multiple tennis elbows and the occasional back muscle spasm. Which leads to number 4!
4) Take Long, Hot Baths
It’s winter, you’re chilled, you ache. What better way to combat those miseries than a nice hot bath? Fill the tub with the hottest water you can handle. Throw in some bath salts. Pour a glass of wine, note that you’ve acquired a little extra winter padding and resolve to do something about it, climb in and feel the cold leave your bones. Just start feeling relaxed ( despite the tiny and uncomfortable tub) when the dogs scratch at the door to go out and pee. Curse the dogs, get out and grab a towel, let the dogs out, wait while they take longer than usual, finally let them in again, head shivering back to the bath. Suds up your armpits and get ready to shave. Hear a loud banging noise downstairs. Get out of the bath again and rush to see what’s going on, The door has blown open and the wind is smashing it back and forth. Freeze your butt off securing it, then scurry back to the warmth of the tub. Just get warmed up again when you hear horses in the driveway. Scramble, still wet, into the first clothes you find, run outside and herd them back to their corral. Fix the gate they’ve ripped apart out of boredom. Head back to the tub. Realize the water is now cold. Chug the wine and go bake something.
5) Clear Snow
Snow clearing is exhilarating, it’s good exercise, and it gives you the freedom to leave your bloody house and procure food, supplies, and human contact. It can also kill lots of down time, so boredom is never an option! Spend hours piling the snow higher and higher, and then revel in your excitement as the wind picks up when you’re done, blowing all the snow back into your driveway and walkways. Give up and become a hermit.
6) Clean the House
With a constant supply of shedding dog hair, dust and ashes from the woodstove and dirty barn boots traipsing through? Yeah, right… dream on!
This winter we fixed up two rooms… our laundry room had a makeover to become my soap production room, and we hauled the motley crew of misfit shelving out of the pantry and built in shelves that actually work and fit. The best thing about doing renos in the winter is that you have to stay in the house with the mess you make, so you’re extra motivated to get it done quickly. The worst thing about renos in the winter is that you have to stay in the house with the mess you make, so if you run into problems and the disruption goes on for an extended period of time, someone might die. No bodies ended up getting put through the snowblower this time, so I think our renos were a success.
8) Visit Friends
What fun is snow if you can only bitch about it to yourselves? Take advantage of the winter season to bitch with as many other people as possible. Bitch over coffee, bitch over beers. Misery loves company, and everyone you talk to is guaranteed to be just as miserable as you. (Ok, so we really didn’t do much of this one… too busy clearing f#*%ing snow. Grumble, grumble.)
9) Go for a Drive
Gas was at an almost all-time low this winter, so we took advantage to go explore our new neck of the woods a little. It’s the perfect time of the year to see what fields look like covered in snow, what back roads look like covered in snow, what the North Mountain looks like covered in snow… you get the drift. We discovered all sorts of snow-covered nooks and crannies that we’d never seen before. Exploring is fun, especially when you see new things (covered in snow).
10)Dig Deep and Enjoy Your Extended Existence
When all else fails, winter allows you to enjoy the fact that time slows to a crawl. Light is short, limiting the amount of time you have to enjoy outside, so days feel rather long. Nights are longer still, with howling winds tossing maple syrup buckets against trees, branches knocking against your roof, and screen doors slamming as winter poltergeists come and go from your porch. Sleep doesn’t come easy, so you can feel like time all but stops. And who doesn’t want to live longer? What a bonus!
I love winter, I really do; my asthma is less severe, there are no bugs to drive me nuts, I can bundle up in wooly clothes and feel cozy instead of constantly sweating like a pig on a spit. But I’m done. Now that I’ve given you an exciting list of things to do with the tedious winter months, perhaps spring will suddenly appear. Just to be sure, though, I think I’ll go buy a toboggan. That should guarantee the snow melts in record time. If I’m wrong, you’ll find me curled up in a ball rocking back and forth in the corner of a goat stall, weeping. Winter activity #11 – suffering defeat.
Add it to the list.