Winter pastimes

Of the indoor kind. After an extraordinarily slow start to winter, including a disappointingly dull, muddy December landscape, we got a generous serving of snow that has managed to stay. Temperatures have dipped up and down, snow levels have fluctuated, but it’s firmly winter. It’s reassuring, as this is how it’s ‘supposed to be’ here at this time of year. Early on we fit in sledding and we always get out snowshoeing, but there is a lot more indoor time in the depths of January, there just is.

Toffee is partial to board games and the like:

Cat watching bumpershot

As long as she doesn’t have to over extend herself.

cat-lying-by-woodstove-with-boardgame

Caramel finds adventure everywhere:

cat-resting-in-wood-basket

cat-in-wood-basket

Both cats just enjoy hanging out:

reading-with-cats-by-the-fire-january-2016

Drawing and colouring have always been big at our house, but the trend in cool colouring books has been picked up in a big way by our local bookshop and we’ve been happy to test out some of their new finds.

boy-colouring-and-concentrating

Sometimes just doing nothing works.

boy-and-cat-in-chair

Reggie loves taking the lead on that one, especially after having a big walk through the woods.

og and cagt cuddling

Sometimes we like to look outside just to remind ourselves why huddling inside can be so nice.

cat-on-window-ledge-against-dramatic-sky

winter-sunset-eastern-ontario

Morning glories

It seems like everything in the garden is coming to an end for the year, to greater and lesser degrees, but not the morning glories. Perched on our back deck over the valley below, they have only just come into their own in recent days. Late to the party, stretching towards the sun, but just what’s needed right now.

Blue morning glory

Morning glories climbing bamboo

Morning glories against a misty valley

As winter wanes

After a great many weeks with more days in the minus twenties than we care to count, temperatures in our neck of the woods have bounced upwards recently. Getting outside for a ski, a snowshoe or just to do chores, has been much more enticing on these milder days, though in the evenings we invariably find ourselves clustered back around the woodstove.

Of course, the pets need no excuse; they curl up by the Ironheart whenever it pleases them, which is often. And when we can, we curl up with them.

The Ironheart in winter

It’s only taken us four winters, but we finally figured out how best to place our furniture in relation to our Ironheart woodstove.

Sofas placed around Ironheat woodstove

Early on in the season we had a fundamental rethink about our main living space, which is one large room with a kitchen at one end and a living area at the other with the Ironheart in the middle. When we moved in, we almost unthinkingly placed our dining table in the centre of the room and next to the Ironheart. It made practical sense, given that meals are served from that end of the room, but somehow it never felt right. It really didn’t make the most of Ironheart and opportunities for enjoying its warmth and the glow from the firebox.

Suddenly, this winter, we realized that the dining table really belonged over by the large windows at the far end of the room and our sofas felt most at home right in front of the Ironheart. Now, we have a room that just makes sense for us, with our dining table still near the warmth of the Ironheart, but able to give us views to the outdoors and abundant daylight, and our sofas ideally positioned to maximize exposure to the Ironheart. It’s where we read, chat, play games, think about work or even get a little work done, snack or enjoy a casual meal, hang out with our furry friends (Petkid’s readers will know that we now have two kittens as well as Reggie the labrador retriever), and just generally live. It has made the Ironheart even more central to how we live, and that’s made this winter that much better.

You can read more about how we decided to physically position our Ironheart in our ICF bungalow in this previous post.

Storing hay and wood

Woodshed addition to chicken coop

There are always outdoor projects on the go here, some bigger in nature, most smaller. Last year, looking for a quick way to store hay for the winter (we don’t have a barn or outbuildings apart from our small chicken coop), my husband put together a pyramid haystack. The very definition of a quick project.

It was a nice little project that quickly provided us with dry hay storage (not to mention a useful prop for our younger son’s games with friends, resulting in a misshapen stack the following spring!).
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