Ice & Snow & Winter Blues

It is barely into January, just past Christmas, and already I am longing for spring and green things and eating fresh from the garden.

Fall 2013 001

Like much of North America, we had a very cold, snowy December. Much colder and snowier than the previous couple of winters. And ice. The big ice storm that crippled Toronto and other places. Today, a flash freeze warning because after the chinook-like above 0*C temperatures and high winds last night, we are headed back into a deep freeze tonight. The kids didn’t have to go to school, but I had to go to work. It was hard to get going in the dark morning.

At work, the roof is leaking and plaster is falling off the ceiling. Lots of excitement. Which I came home to as well. Water leaking in the kitchen because the ice dammed up under the shingles on our 100-year-old-plus saltbox addition. Thankfully, at work, there were a lot of capable volunteers around to work on a solution. And thankfully, at home, my husband is not afraid of hard work, and scooped off sheets of hard-packed snowice.

So what to do to chase the winter blues?

I tend to work on a lot of creative projects, full of colour.

I sew frilly aprons.

Frilly Apron

I make cards.


I crochet. (See another post- Crocheting Dutch Doilies).

The pattern for this can be found at

Flowers in the Snow- I found the pattern for this Norwegian afghan online (
I need 192 medallions before I can piece it all together. Right now, I have 102…

I also paint and renovate.

(You really don’t want to see photos of that— you know the saying–¬† sometimes things get worse before they get better…)

My teenagers are really into real fruit smoothies, and that’s all they want for breakfast lately, so I oblige. No mother ever said no to healthy eating (at least, I hope not!). Lots of colour & nutrients there. A great little pick-me-up during porridge season.

I also pore (pour, poor ?) over seed catalogues, carefully selecting this summer’s crops. (My favourite company is Vesey’s in Prince Edward Island). I love the colour of food I can grow in my own backyard!

And doing all this can help me forget a little the stress of winter, and maybe even make me look forward to winter come next fall. (Maybe).

What do you do to combat the winter blues?


Crocheting Dutch Doilies

Crocheting with my grandmother, “Oma” in the winter is a warm memory from my first year of marriage. I had moved far away from friends to be with my husband, and was admittedly a little lonely (although I am not sure I admitted it at the time).

It just so happened that my widowed grandmother lived across the street from me, and I suspected she was lonely too. So about once a week in the evening, I would go visit. We would sit together, have tea, and talk about crocheting, needlepoint, and other handiwork. She could still make the intricate, cotton thread doilies at her age, from memory.

This doily was a wedding gift from my husband's Oma. She was in her 90s when she made it.

She would also talk to me about her teen years in Holland, and about marriage. She would sometimes give me advice, but I think she mostly listened. She was a good soul, and I felt very safe with her. I felt like I could tell her anything, and that she wouldn’t think less of me for it. I really don’t know how much I did share with her, but maybe she saw through me anyway. And that was okay.

Just being in her presence, especially by myself with no other family members present, was a blessing. It was like a little oasis. I always left her place happy, with songs in my heart.

Not once when I phoned her to ask if I could visit did she say no. True hospitality. I am thankful that I had a caring Oma. I am glad that I got to know her a little better on my own terms, before her decline.

She gave me the gift of herself, and I am grateful.