A Long Winter’s Nap
Well, it’s that time of year again, here in Manitoba. When we batten down the hatches and say goodbye to our neighbors for a few months. When it drops to -30 degrees outside, there’s a choice to be made between socializing and surviving. Ha!
There is something to be said for this cold and stark time of year though. The elegant architecture of the trees around us is now on full display. Every winter, these graceful sentinels share new patterns from the previous summer’s growth. They are a sight to behold as they sway in the wind.
There is also a certain hush that falls across the land when it is blanketed white with fresh snow. Newly fallen snow crystals absorb sound waves resulting in a rather calm quietness in even the most densely populated areas.
Here at The Olenick House, we’ve almost got preparing for our long winter’s nap down to a science. Almost. It’s difficult to nail down an exact system because every winter is different. Some years render more snow than the city plows can handle. Other years, it actually becomes too cold to snow that much. One remaining constant though is that, at this time of year, it is ALWAYS ridiculously cold. Lol The exterior temperature can fluctuate quite a bit which makes keeping an even interior temperature of 72F a challenge. Not to mention, when you live in an old house and the winter wind comes whistling through all the cracks!
Mother Nature can spin her winter yarn however way she wants. Darren and I always manage to make things cozy by catering to our senses.
One way we accomplish that is with color. Bright, happy color. Vitamin D deficiency runs rampant here in Manitoba at this time of year, so the happier, the better! A few weeks back, right after the first frost, a friend of mine invited me to the Assiniboia Downs Antique Show. We had a lot of fun. So many beautiful things to feast the eyes on. One item that found its way home with me was a pair of hand-embroidered pillowcases. A delicate, yellow rose pattern with expertly threaded leaves and accents in variant shades of green along the edges. I just fell in love with them as I did with several other “must-haves”. These will be displayed prominently on our bed, with those happy flowers beaming in stark contrast to the white and gray landscape outside the windows opposite.
Come January, the bleakest time of the year, I also like to fill our rooms with fresh flowers. The local stores help to prop up our moods buy filling their floral sections with Spring flowers early. I love that, so I tend to add a few bunches of tulips or paperwhites to my shopping cart as I head to the checkout aisle.
As an additional means of color infusion, memories of family and travel, framed with colorful mattes adorn our entry and hallways, brightening our daily outlook as we pass through.
I find that a quick and easy way to cozy up the kitchen is by baking. I’ll pull double ‘cozy’ duty by baking something divine in the oven that we enjoy with a hot mug of something. On this day, I perused my cookbook shelves and my eye fell upon one that I had purchased while out with my sweet mom, some 25 years ago. My son was about to come into the world and I wanted to start collecting recipes that I could make for him as he grew. This particular one was all about cookies.
Flipping through the pages, a simple peanut butter cookie recipe seemed to jump out at me from the page. Perfect. The warmth of the oven and the aroma of the cookies filled the kitchen, while my heart filled with another kind of warmth. Sweet memories of my mom and my boy when he was little.
One most luxurious way to create that sense of coziness for a long winter’s nap is to change out our spring duvet for a more lush winter one. Then cuddle up in bed on a particularly chilly night with a good book. This season is a fantastic one to catch up on all of our reading! So, I gather all of my been-meaning-to-read titles and place them within easy reach on my nightstand. As I’m busy ‘nesting’, Darren simply reloads his kindle. To each their own, I say! With some dependable reading lamps, some happy greenery and a candle to finish out the scene, we’re all ready for cozy.
While reading, the house seems to come alive as the song of the whispering winds flows through those tiny spaces. Yet any stir from wildlife outside is absent. They have diligently collected their rations and retreated toward safe haven. Gentle music plays soft in the background while the temperature plummets outside. The sun disappearing below the horizon leads to the warmth factor within rising. The hearth with its glowing embers again becomes ablaze as Darren, I and Lily (our kitty) all settle down for a long winter’s nap.