Friday, October 28, 2011

Squirreling: Preparing for Hibernation

I am determined that this year will not be like last.  LAST year the winter hit us hard and long... and we were not prepared.  As the hailstones battered the skylight on Wednesday night, I made a list:

Fuel:  This year we have laid in a pile of logs.  I am not convinced they will see us through to February, but at least we have made a start.  I may start buying a few bags of wood from the petrol station and hiding them in the Bothy as second-line defence against FL's through-the-night fire-hugging addiction.  Sssh - don't tell!  He insists we have enough logs from our own trees.

Food:  I am working through the contents of the freezer in preparation for a major re-stock.  This winter, I hope to always have a week's worth of meal ingredients in reserve, in case we get snowed in.  And we have twelve jars of runny marmalade in the cupboard.  If all else fails, we can have toast for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Garden:  I harvested all three of my courgettes before the first frost - yes, you read that right:  my nine plants produced three baby courgettes between them.  I also collected two handfuls of broad beans from my 15-plant plot.  So that's about two beans per plant - fabulous!  I am seriously considering abandoning the veg garden next year:  so much work for so little return.

The herb garden has done better.  New flowers are still appearing, including a deep red hollyhock from seed planted at least two years ago, if not three:  now that's what I call an incubation period!  My tulip and allium bulbs are all in the ground.  The garden has had its final weed for the season - you won't catch me out there again til the spring!

Wool: Despite extreme temptation, I came away from the Glasgow School of Yarn without adding to my stash.  But I was torturing myself with the memory of the Skein Queen stall, where every colour glowed more tantalisngly than the one next to it... so I signed up for the email list.
Ha!  A couple of days later I received an invitation to join the Queen's Surprise Yarn Club and was powerless to resist.  Each colourway is inspired by a book or a film, so that will perk up my reading list too. 
I have enough wool to last me at least two years. (Make that five:  I have no shame.)
But I will knit more cardis!
And next year I am sure I can knit a pair of socks every month.
Just let me get Christmas over...

Fabric:  I have the fabric I need "in stock" for several seasonal projects.  Once Betty Jean is finished I will get back to sewing. The only vacancy in my stash is for coat-material.  That's OK.  No rush.

Great Plains basic l-s top
Wardrobe:  My switchover purging session left me topless and grumpy, with very few "outfits" to call upon.
So this week I caved and bought three long-sleeved t shirts to see me through the season in presentable layers.
 Otherwise, I fear I would have worn my black Audrey-esque trousers and polo-neck sweater every day from now until the tulips bloom.  I really miss my short-sleeved blouse collection!    I still need to stock up with tights and thermal vests...

Please don't tell me I could have sewn my own long-sleeved t's.  I know.  But by the time I found the fabric I wanted and sourced a pattern, it would have been springtime again.  Life is too short.  I was cold.  And I need all my time for knitting. ; )

Office shoes

Shoes:  Sensible black ankle-boots have been purchased.  They are neutral, comfortable and immensely "safe".  I will probably wear them every day it is cold or wet or windy but not actually snowing.  Yawn. 

But the same internet shopping basket contained a pair of burgundy wood-heeled "70's does the 40's" funky lace-ups.  I wore them yesterday and they made me smile!  And they were in the Sale. :D

Reading Matter:  I have been loading my online wish-list at the local library, including the first two Skein Queen book inspirations.  This is not a snow-proof plan, as the library is seven miles away, but at least it makes it likely that I will have at least one unread book on the shelf at any one time.

What am I reading right now?  The Little Friend by Donna Tartt.  My daughter insisted.  It contains far too many snakes for my liking but I am almost done.  I can't stop now.

And Fitness:  This is an odd one to "stock up" with, but I really must ensure I go into the cold weather with some physical reserves.  It has been too easy to get into the habit of letting the dog run along behind the car instead of walking out  in the weather beside him.  FL can no longer walk the fields for hours on end, but I have no excuse.
The other day I deliberately walked from the end of the road up to the farmhouse, lifting my knees high in the air with every step.  I must have looked like an extra from a Monty Python film, but it was exercise.  I could hear the ball and socket joints grinding with every movement.  Not good.  : (

What about you?  Are you ready for winter?


Sigrid said...

"Winter" what's that? I'm in denial right now.

I keep thinking I should make long sleeve tops, but actually, it's a lot like growing zucchini in your climate: not worth the effort.

ashley0107 said...

I bought some Doctor Martins for my winter boots! Last year I made do with: pair of socks, plastic bag over my feet, pair of socks, converse shoes. Hmm, yeah, as you can probably guess, my feet were cold and eventually wet :( But Doctor Martins will last for many years and will keep my feet warm and dry :D
I also bought some thicker tights. And I had to get my winter coat out last week for a very frosty morning!
It's crazy to think you can get snowed in! I've never lived anywhere where it snows that much!
Ashley x

Lorna said...

Winter arrives later here and even when it does city life means we are only 3/4 mile from the shops. We never get so snowed in we can't walk. I admire your organisational skills. My menopausal brain means goldfish have a better memory than me.

beate said...

winter in berlin feels like the russian border is just on the eastern edge of the city, -10 to 20°c, lots of snow the last years. i bought feltboots, a furcoat, quiltet petticoat and norwegian sweaters - so i´m preparet (sorry for bad english). and i have to wax my ski :-)

Tanit-Isis said...

Those of you who can buy long-sleeve knit tops are lucky. Until I started sewing them last year, I don't think I'd had a satisfactory long-sleeve top since I was twelve. We have monkey-arms in my family...

Yes, I live in Canada. One of the cold parts, too.

This weekend's plan (between Hallowe'en prep) is to plastic-wrap the windows in all the bedrooms. If there's enough plastic wrap, the front bay window in the livingroom, too. In theory this will reduce the need for acessory heaters upstairs and save money all around. Also it may let me keep the space heater down in my basement sewing-room, instead of having to move it up to the bedroom.

Oh, and rake leaves. I've been waiting until they were off the trees, but the trees are pretty much bare now, so it's time. /sigh.

Sandy said...

Winter for me 300 miles (more or less) north of the Equator and 5,000 feet up on a mountain means wearing a sweater most of the day instead of just in the evening or morning.... sorry to taunt all you who are getting or will get snow shortly. Oh, and wearing socks and waterproof boots as it is the rainy season.

And it means encouraging the cats to sleep by my side as a little extra heat...

I don't miss the harsh winters of New England where I grew up and where they are having a record snow event today.

Oh, and I wanted to mention Pixel of Ink where you can get free books to read on line, so if you do get snowed in and are feeling feverish, there's another option - provided you have power for the 'puter.

Paula said...

That looks like a zucchini!

Joy said...

Mmmm, zucchinis (courgettes) are my favorite. Your garden production came out like ours this year. And the squirrels ran off with most of the tomatoes (I saw them running!).

I live near Sigrid, in the coldest state in the continental U.S. I'm freezing already. The next few months are looking bleak.

Carolyn said...

Wow, your winter preparations sound pretty intense! You are amazingly well-organised, and well-stocked up; very impressive.
I am in a part of Australia where the nearest snow is thousands of miles away :) but I still adore your new burgundy high-heeled lace-ups, absolutely delicious. They sure would put a smile on my face too!

Roobeedoo said...

This is fascinating! I love hearing about the geographical diversity of my readers: Beate is wearing quilted petticoats and waxing her skis while Carolyn is paddling in the sea! :)

Kestrel said...

My winter preparations have extended to the purchase of a pair of insulated, waterproof boots of the kind sold in Sunday paper supplements (don't care how they look, they are WARM) and also a pair of those ice grips to fit over shoes. The pavements were such a nightmare last year, for weeks on end.

Linda C said...

Replying to your comments on your readers' locations, ...and Linda started out today around 11:30 wearing jeans, a light weight long-sleeved top and a mohair, acrylic and wool sweater--and went back for her heavy jacket. When she came home at 2:45, she had shed the coat - and now by 3:38, it's just the top with the sleeves pushed up. This is supposedly the South, although the northwest party of the state.

Is the hottest part of most people's day around 3 or 4? It seems to be here.

As to the winter clothes, I have gotten them out. I am deliberating on some favorites (which seem to have stretched)-do I try to alter or just replace? What alterations are ridiculous to try--or too expensive to have done? I know I need a good heavy coat. I have a heavy full length down coat but it doesn't always work for everywhere I go. I also need at least one long sleeved white blouse. I could find a use for some rubber boots -ice grips would be good to have on hand. More heavy tights. A "good" dress or pants to wear to things like symphony, husband's office party, opera - those kind of things.
I would like to add some red to my wardrobe.

Any one have any ideas about the alterations dilema?


Kristine said...

As a member of the LDS faith, we are encouraged to always keep several months or more supply of food and other resources on hand at all times not only for winter. You never know when a disaster, unemployement, or an unforseen crisis might occur. Too bad we can't just live off zuchinni since our garden gives us more than we can ever eat here in the western united states. (um a courgettes--sounds like our local universities dance or drill team) :)

christinelaennec said...

"topless and grumpy" - an interesting thing to be! ;-)

Alessa said...

Heh, you're very organised! I'm still very confused by the fall weather here in Berlin. One day it's cold enough that you need a hat/earwarmers in the middle of the day, the other you can wear thin pullovers and an open coat, even at night - and I can't even tell by the weather! Though as Beate said, it will get cold eventually. :)

I had a clothing swap party today and traded off lots of stuff for the cutest 40s style skirt (which I need to shorten at the waistband to make it bigger) and a cute schoolgirl style wool skirt! :D The best part is that now I have a little room for new stuff in my closet!

argie said...

"Too many snakes" made me laugh. I read that might like Rules of Civility, by Amor Towles, which I just read from the library. Young woman in Manhattan in 1938...very entertaining.

I'm having a very hard time dressing for dog walking these days as the weather keeps changing here in NYC. This morning I had to take her out very early, 5 AM, and went out in a down coat but ended up roasting. She tried to eat lots of Halloween garbage off the streets. There were still drunk revelers out in costume. I wish I could walk her in some beautiful fields like you! Am jealous.

Your cardigan is gorgeous, by the way!