Enduring winter

black dog prancing over snowy bridge

Our first big snow was in November and it’s been winter ever since. It’s been a long season full of more days of deep cold and biting winds than I feel is natural. Or fair. My husband says it’s the first year he’s seen me give up on winter. All I know is that I’m grateful to have this delightful dog who makes every day in the snow seem like the best fun he has ever had in all his live-long days. Does this young canine not embody the very notion of having a spring in your step? In deep winter, no less?

With snow of a ridiculous depth that makes walking through our woods a little hazardous due to branches now at eye level, there is no denying that winter has overstayed its welcome.

wood walk in deep snow

For Reggie, winter is a season that never seems to lose its charm. Spotting my husband out for a quick ski around the property, he looked at me (in snowshoes) as if asking my permission, then bounded across the frozen pond to meet him. Not caring that this was the umpteenth day of winter.

black dog racing over a snowy pond

We’ve all been grateful for the milder days that have come our way just recently, meaning that we can actually look forward to going outside. Our youngest has spent many fine afternoons on our hill, sledding with friends, only to suddenly make the transition to his bicycle yesterday (and trust me, you’d think he was mad if you were here). Dry roads are all you need, who cares if it’s barely above freezing!

Being cooped up inside is always the perfect excuse for tending to the house, which lately feels as though it has fallen apart at the seams as my husband and I have been swamped with work (we’re self employed, so you will not hear any complaining). This past weekend we took every last item – save the budgies and the gerbil – out of our mudroom and companion bathroom, and washed the whole space down, acting as though we had spring on our hands. There is nothing like a spring clean to restore my faith in the universe. We used the day to finally put some decorative touches to the little powder room that has been looking unloved and untouched since we moved into our new house over three years ago.

old medicine chest with bottles

Even after a lick of paint, this old medicine chest – found in a ramshackle barn a couple of years ago – has that warm, slightly dusty ‘old’ smell. Which frankly, I find very reassuring.

clay pots, bottles and an etched tree

I was thrilled to finally find a place on top of the cabinet for a few much loved objects, including a tree etched in clay made by my older son at a family pottery class a good few years ago.

old-fashioned-light-mirror

A little mirror that we picked up in a local antiques shop last winter finally found the right home over the sink with a little picture that our youngest drew while we were engaged in this spring clean.

child's drawing of a tree in springtime

That picture is the perfect promise of spring and daily visits to look at it are part of my plan for getting through to the real thing.

stack of books and a basket

That, and visiting our stack of gardening and related books which also found a rather perfect new home on the empty shelf in this little room. I can almost believe that preparing seeds for spring planting may not be an entirely blind act of faith at this point. I think I see seed trays in my future. Next weekend, in fact.

16 Comments

Filed under Family, Farm life

16 responses to “Enduring winter

  1. Jill

    What a difference – I like it a lot.

  2. Old Man Winter may still be reigning outdoors but Spring had definitely come to your home. Nice bit of sprucing up there. :)
    Nothing like a dog to make Winter so much more enjoyable. i love to watch mine romp in the white stuff. I imagine he thinks it’s a gift just for him. :)

    • df

      Thanks John, it’s definitely the best solution I could think of. But I think you’re right, a dog feels that anything the universe sets out before them is just for them and they spin their enjoyment from that assumption. It’s so lovely to watch and a great reminder of how to appreciate the world. Dog ownership has a lot to recommend it! :)

  3. biggsis

    Hang in there my friend! Seed trays are a great antidote to winter that hangs on too long. You all really have been slammed this year. I hope the seeds sprout quickly and Reggie is soon covered in mud (now that your mud room is ready!) Your powder room looks very sweet.

    • df

      Oh no, the mud! If anything makes me fear the end of winter it must be the mud, but you’re quite right, hanging in there is the thing to do :) Mud means new life in these parts, so I must take heart! Thanks for the supportive words!

  4. It sounds like a tough winter for you guys and that you really do need a break in the weather! I’ve been in the French alps with a friends dogs and they love the snow too – bounding through it like it doesn’t exist.
    The personal stories and touches you are making around your home are to be treasured.
    Hope you get some seed sowing done soon

    • df

      Thank you Claire! Thinking of those dogs bounding through the snow in the mountains is wonderful; dogs just have a great spirit for enjoying what’s around them, don’t they. It has been good to do a bit of ‘nesting’ while the winter does it’s thing outside – if the garden were available to us all the time, we’d never be anywhere else!

  5. Lovely post, as always. Oh that Reggie is an absolute treasure! He must have Paws of Power (good name for a movie) – can’t imagine bolting around in powdered ice with no shoes on. Love his sharp silhouette against the white.
    Your son’s pottery tree is beautiful – love it when children create 3-dimensional art (a nice change from those reams and reams of seemingly self-multiplying sheets of paper)!
    Really hope you can get your seed trays out soon, and some natural warmth comes your way.

    • df

      Thank you Sas. I love Paws of Power! Surely Will Ferrell would be in that one! So true, too. He does come in and spend some time licking his paws, so he does feel the effects, but it never deters him. Family pottery was great for producing some truly special art pieces, but it also produced some odd things like a headset holder that my son thought was a good idea at the time :)

  6. Oh Dagne, hang in there! I have been longing for sun out here — though our days are plenty warm indeed. I hear you on the Spring Fever! This line was great, “he looked at me (in snowshoes) as if asking my permission,” sounds like your little buddy knows his mama. :) I LOVE that you decorated your house with the clay and drawings by your son. I hope they warm all of Canada and you can get back to your garden soon!

    • df

      Thank you Melissa! Even now, almost ten days after writing that post, we’re still firmly in winter. The snow has melted back a little, but more snow (and freezing rain) tonight, and we’re thoroughly fed up. You’re right though, spring will come, so we’ll just nurse our fever for it in the meantime! I bet you have lovely artwork by your kids throughout your home, I can just imagine it. Nothing else quite compares, does it? :)

  7. Once on a homesteading chat board someone who was contemplating moving from the South to Wisconsin asked whether the colder weather would be harmful to their lab. Someone responded, “Find Labrador on a map.” That struck me as funny and has stayed with me. Our lab Ginny loves the snow too. But the other members of our family do not. It has snowed 3 times already this March and we live in Virginia, not Labrador. Now there is more snow forecast for next week. Sigh.

    We’ve had some beautiful spring-like days lately, but I’m ready for the full-bore real thing!

    • df

      I’ve never heard that, but love it! That’s a Labrador joke I must retain. It’s easy to feel sorry for ourselves experiencing such an incredibly long winter, but at least it’s weather that we expect to have. I feel for you experiencing snow three times this month! Here’s to spring :)

  8. Winter is certainly tenacious this year in North America. But Spring will come…we’re just back from NZ and Australia, where they were heading into autumn, including cyclone weather. I gather from Gavin’s blog and others, and it was more than evident while we were there, that their summer was the Down Under equivalent to how we’re feeling about winter – it was so very hot and dry, that everyone is crying “enough already”.

    I’ve always thought that dogs are the very definition of optimist – they just always live in the moment, and enjoy what can be found in it. Labs are perhaps the best at it…

    • df

      Tenacious is the word for this winter, indeed! We just have to hang on all the tighter. I hear what you say about the weather they experienced Down Under, and I have to say that if it’s a choice between keeping warm or trying to find relief from extreme heat, I will choose the former.

      You must have had an amazing time, that’s a big trip. I visited once, about a dozen years ago, for a work conference in Sydney and tacked on a few days to see an old friend in NZ (Auckland). Wasn’t nearly enough time of course.

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