Saturday, January 07, 2012

Why We Need Winter

The Never-Ending blanket
As I write this morning, there is a clear blue sky outside and as of five minutes ago a chickadee was singing happily not far away from my patio. There is barely any snow to speak of outside, only patches  in deep shade, really. It's not cold out, but there is a chill in the air, it is 39 degrees F or roughly 4 degrees Celsius. All in all it feels more like April than January in Ontario! But while part of me worries about the way our seasons are changing and what effect it will have on our grocery bill, I am grateful for a lack of bone-chilling cold. Despite the fact that I am Canadian and despite the fact we are moving further North; I hate being cold. Go figure.
Winter is important though. We need the snow for next summer's water tables, the plants need the rest and the animals need the season so that they can follow their annual internal clocks and migrate...those that do. Gardeners need winter to prepare for the next growing season. You know how much I enjoy the planning, the seed catalogues and the dreaming. As Jacqueline said in response to my last post, seed catalogues are like a little bit of summer in the grip of winter. Even though there is no bone-numbing grip to speak of yet, seed catalogues are nice to use as both entertainment and a gardening tool. (Which reminds me, I'm expecting another catalogue shortly)

Knitters need winter too I think. Winter is a good time to learn new techniques, new stitches and try out new patterns. It's also a good time to look through the knitting basket and asses hibernating projects. I did that recently and I ended up frogging five projects! (For those of you who might not know what frogging is, it's a knitters term for tearing back a finished or unfinished project) All three of our sons have ADD, and we've found that occasionally, knitting helps focus the middle child. He doesn't do more than a few rows of a strip he's working on for a dog blanket, but it helps slow him down and focus his energies; and in the end, some lucky dog will have a warm smooshy blanket. While going through the knitting-basket-from-Hell I also found my own blanket in the works! For a couple of decades I had wanted a multi-square, multi-colored blanket. There were a couple of strips done, a few squares, but nothing much had been sewn together. So, in spite of the hat I've got started and first ever baby sweater that intimidates the heck out of me, I picked up the blanket again. I need a project to work on while I watch television, and it's always been the perfect one. There's a picture of part of it above.

All of this keeps me active during the winter, not to mention those two mile walks I mentioned earlier. On nice days like yesterday (much like today), it's a simple but soul-satisfying joy to walk down to the library and come home with a  few books in the backpack. This weeks reading list includes;
"Accessible Gardening:Tips & Techniques For Seniors and The Disabled" by Joann Woy
"Four Season Harvest" by Elliot Coleman
"How To Grow More Vegetables, Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Grains And Other Crops Than You Ever Thought Possible On Less Land Than You Can Imagine"
by John Jeavons (This is nearly a gardening bible for those who have very little space. Although I hear guerilla gardening is all the rage)
"Tea Bliss" by Theresa Cheung
"The New Organic Gardener" by Elliot Coleman

All that and a few audible books to listen to while the t.v is taken over by cartoons or CNN!
Is there a craft or skill you develop in the winter? What is winter supposed to be like where you live? Is there something you want to work on this winter?

Stay sharp, stay watchful.