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ginny_mclean_petite_garden

How do you pass your winter days.......

After a long day of Christmas crafts and baking, I was browsing the internet looking for one thing or another, can't remember which, when as is usual, I got carried away on the wave of inspiration. It always leads me to a late bedtime and a promise to myself to tuck in earlier tomorrow. Like that ever happens! Anyway, among the interesting pictures and ideas I found tonight, I came across this site that I thought I would share. Perhaps she is familiar to some of you.

http://smartjane.com/

I love to decorate and craft and that is often how I pass the long dark days of winter here in the frozen north. My most recent undertaking is tinsel garland, tomato cage christmas trees for an outdoor display. As always, a desire to add a little color to the yard and garden has become a season finale! I now am living in the middle of a forest! I will share pics when the final tree is planted outside. :) Sock snowmen, gingerbread houses, snowflake displays and glitter animals are still in the works too!

I wonder what "normal" peole do in the winter? Wait, what is normal anyway? Love to hear how my fellow GWs in colder zones spend their winter days. :) Any ideas I have I am always willing to share too! :)

Namaste

Ginny

Comments (27)

  • Annie
    10 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    If it's sunny, even if it is cold, I always go outside. I take walks up on the hill, or just poke around in the garden for something to do. There is always something to do. I enjoy the colorful winter birds and their songs, and the funny squirrels, and I love the winter scenery. I take lots of pictures. I really enjoy the brisk air. If it's snowy, I make a snowman and catch snowflakes on my tongue. If my DH is home, we have a brief snowball fight and romp with the dogs. They LOVE our family romps, all year round, for that matter.

    If it's bitter cold, other than the early morning farm chores, I stay inside where it's warm. I really don't like the bitter cold...at all!

    When January rolls around, and the first gardening catalogs start to arrive in the mail, I start to get the growing bug again and start my tomatoes and other veggies for spring. Oh, the smell of those young tomato seedlings...

    I sew, I read and of course clean and bake. I enjoy cooking and baking. I write letters. I am a political activist, and although I am active all year, it seems like there is always a lot more to do in the wintertime.

    I'm a genealogist, and winter is my busiest time of the year for doing research. That is when most people start contacting me asking for help with their family research or wanting my family information.

    Mostly, I crochet. Everyone gets new hats, new scarves, or shawls every year. The little ones get new sweaters or ponchos. Sometimes the big ones do too.
    Keeps me warm and I love working with all the pretty colors.

    ~Annie

  • natalie4b
    10 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I buy seeds, plan a garden for the next season, plant perennials, and enjoy the crisp fresh air in a company of my gardening companion - cat Bobby Jones.

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  • carol6ma_7ari
    10 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I finally get my fingernails clean!

  • Annie
    10 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    "...normal people"...Ha ha ha. You funny lady.
    You always seem to be so upbeat and ramped up about everything you do. Wow, such energy!
    I bet if I hooked you up to my TV, I could save a lot of energy costs! Woohoo!!!

    ~Annie

  • gottagarden
    10 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I can have a great garden or a clean house, but not both at the same time.

    So in the warm months I have a great garden and a messy house. By October things are pretty bad!

    So now I'm catching up on cleaning, especially the garage where I just throw stuff anytime someone comes over. I also do all the things that I put off in the warm months - sort out my photos etc.

    And of course I read lots of garden books, do online garden surfing, and winter seed starting too.

    I actually enjoy the break from the garden, she is quite the demanding mistress!

  • wren_garden
    10 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    This time of year it is the mad push to get all the Xmas gift sewing done. Every year I say I am going to start earlier, but I don't. This time it will come round to bite me in the butt. I have been sick with a deep cold for 12 days. 12 days without sewing. Everyday will be full of RUSH orders now.lol.23 gifts to sew.
    The day after Xmas my thoughts turn back to the garden. Alot of time on the net planning and learning, books, catalogs and the wee bit of online ordering is done by the end of January. Then it is time to sew, draw and paint for the joy of it until the weather allows me back in the garden.
    As I have gotten older the years seem to get shorter. Wish every season was just 2 months longer. A 20 month year would work nicely.

  • natal
    10 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    We have an abbreviated winter down here, but it still gets cold. Plan to drape a string of Christmas lights in the lone tomato plant before covering it to try and keep it warm enough the next few nights as the temps drop to the low 30s.

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  • aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada
    10 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    This is the time of year I make my raspberry vinegar, jams and jellies from the berries stored in the freezer. I much prefer to do this now than in the summer when I want to be doing other stuff. I also knit and crochet fancy scarfs for the girls, I'll have to get the lead out if I want to get them done before Christmas. Then there's the wine, we just bottled an awesome chocolate raspberry port, first time for this and a sherry fortified with napoleon brandy, makes a nice gift:).

    The garden, well...... it has to take care of itself, right now it is so soggy with all the rain we've had it's best to stay out of it.

    Annette

  • christinmk z5b eastern WA
    10 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    -Annette, OMG. Chocolate. Raspberry. Port. Scrumptious!

    I do a lot of surfin' online during the winter, looking up plants I am not familiar with and researching new varieties coming out. This winter I am also going to be try and look online for more info to add to the "Comes True From Saved Seed" database I am attempting to compile.

    I will be doing seed trading and starting this winter/spring. I got my first grow light this year, so will have to decide what I want to grow under it and what I will winter sow.

    Oh yeah, and I will be taking care of all the annuals I am attempting to overwinter. I enjoy it though- it is rather theraputic having something living and growing to tend in the chilly months.

    That's just the gardening stuff! I also get 'antsy' inside so much, so like to take walks during the winter. I also read some, mostly the classics. And I enjoy trying new foods and cooking them at home. My latest obsession is falafels!! Lol.
    CMK

  • Ginny McLean_Petite_Garden
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    It is +9C today ( that's 48F) so I am feeling a little guilty for being in the house! In a couple of minutes I will be out in the garage looking for the outdoor lights for DH to string! Unusually warm weather up here! :) :( Mixed thoughts about that. :/ I like to hibernate in the winter since it gives me time to do all the inside stuff. I'm with you on this one Gottagarden! I like the cold so I can stay inside and browse books, catalogues and the web!

    Wren-garden ~ I too do a lot of sewing. Still have yet to get to my Christmas work as I have been making my forest. Not too much to do this year. Last night I found 3 more colors to make 3 more trees! I'm a maniac!!! What are you sewing this year? Got 3 more seed catalogues in the mail last week! Such fun awaits me when I crawl into bed at night with my highlighter!

    Natal ~ It is usually so cold here at this time of year that about the only time I am in the yard is to feed the birds, do poop patrol, and take pictures of snow! A bit different this year. DH is doing the lights as I type. A bit concerned about my trees walking away this year. First time I have done this "forest" decorating so I am a bit reluctant to put them out front, however, they can't go out back since I have 2 males doggies! :) Spring might be here sometime in June next year! If I get my ducks in a row, I can start tomatos and peppers in the garage under lights in the unit my DH built for me. :)

    Annette ~I have a brother and sister who live on the coast so they are sharing your soggy weather right now. :( Perfect for jam making though! Funny, I was dreaming about apples last night. Picking them and making apple jelly. Hmmm....another psychic moment??

    CMK ~ I have irises in the house for the winter and DLs in the garage. I haven't used my grow lights yet that I mentioned so this winter may see me in the garage a little more. Maybe while I am out there, I will sort it out too! I am interested to see how your grow lights work out for you. :)

    Annie ~ Your life inspires me if only for the history! I love to hear about your life in the country! I am envious! I am such an animal lover and nature freak!
    As for my energy level, I have slowed quite considerably in the past few years as my health and age have caught up with me but I try to stay positive. If you knew the circumstances of my real life, you would know why I work so hard at staying positive. I mean, besides the fact that I am a big kid at heart and I have 5 dogs who keep me in the moment every minute of every day! I think we have puppies coming around the 8th. Chloe won't tell me if she is actually pregnant and not having a false pregnancy! But Painter doesn't usually miss. Lol.....

    I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season thus far!

    Namaste

    Ginny

  • freezengirl
    10 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    As much as I always dread the approach of winter, when it arrives I am always stunned at how beautiful everything is and it seems a fair exchange. Winters are for turning inward, creative efforts, celebrations and just "being in the moments." I am still working on my degree so homework piles up on me, and the "homework" that gets ignored all summer beckons. I too am politically active and have a lot of letter writing, organizational type things to work on. Like a lot of you have posted, the lists of projects, interests and passions far exceeds the limits of my time and abilities, that 20 month year sounds good to me! When ever I am to pooped to do anything but impersonate a slug, I curl up on the couch with my fat little dog trying not to share the blanket with me and read. I am pretty sure reading is the one activity that on an hour wise comparision probably out ranks gardening.

  • rosefolly
    10 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Pruning roses, fertilizing, spreading mulch, weeding -- we don't get a winter break here on the west coast. In fact I do more gardening work in the winter than I do in the hottest part of the summer.

    Rosefolly

  • koszta_kid
    10 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    This year doing lot of looking at designs of new flower beds. Mine are too crowded. Didn't read about how some plants was invasive. Need to be able to weed easy. And not have a jungle. Got some bird-house gourds Making some Christmas Gifts. And read about taking better pictures. Got Digital Photo Simplified. And look at catalogs for some longer blooming plants

  • Annie
    10 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I'm just taking a break from cleaning to read the newer posts on this topic. - interesting

    I have been dusting and bagging/boxing up the Fall Decorations, candles and etc. Cleaning, cleaning, cleaning!
    The dust that accumulates daily living on this old dusty country road is horrific! Gads! Vacuumed out all the cobwebs around the ceiling & doorways, and the spider webs too, now that their live cycles has ended. They did their job all summer catching flies and time to remove their webs. I rearranged the livingroom, moved the pole lamp and plants into an inner corner where it's warmer and made room for the Christmas tree in front of the windows. Put down the new area rug and cleaned out the AC vents that were clogged with dog hair and dust. (gads again). More dusting to do, but I made a big dent and it looks and smells so nice again. (yeah). I repotted two house plants, planting them together in one bigger pot and set the pot into a seagrass basket. Gave a few bigger plants some new compost in their pots. Much better.
    I got out the seasonal pillows for the sofa and loveseat and put out a fresh, new throw to wrap up in on extra chilly evenings. Removed all the fall filler from the Mirror wreath by the front door and vacuumed all the windows and drapes, then sprayed them with Febreeze. Ahhhh. nice and fresh. My nose is much happier. No more sneezing!.

    All is nearly ready to begin decorating for Scandinavian Christmas Holidays (Swedish) which begins early in the first week of December and lasts through January 13th.
    (a bit of the Christmas traditions from my other ancestral cultures are mixed into family traditions, as well, like French, Irish, Scottish, English, Portuguese, Spanish, Norwegian, German, &etc., with a dollop of my American Holiday festivities thrown in for good measure, of course!)
    It all adds to the Merriment!


    God Jul!
    ~Annie

  • Thyme2dig NH Zone 5
    10 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hey everyone! Sounds like everyone will be keeping nice and busy this winter. Sign me up for those 20-month years, although I don't want a longer winter...just add the extra months to spring and fall in their glory!

    Ginny, grow lights are the best! I started so many perennials from seed this past season and many of them even bloomed for me which was unexpected.

    I'll be doing a lot more with seeds this winter since I'm finally diving into a "real" vegetable garden. I've done vegetables in pots and window boxes, but I finally dug out some borders in the cottage area and am transitioning them to vegetables. I'm sure I'll have lots of questions for everyone as I get going.

    Annie, I have to comment on your thoughts about not destroying spider webs until their life-cycle is over. I don't mind spiders for the most part, and one year I had a beautiful web right at my kitchen window (inside). There was a nice little spider that called the web her home. I very much enjoyed chatting with her on a daily basis while I would be at the sink. At that time we had some friends move in with us as they were building a new house and she did not like spiders at all. She could not fathom why I would ever keep a spider alive inside the house. She already thinks I'm sligthly loco so this was just another thing to add to the list! Btw, that is a gorgeous photo.

  • girlgroupgirl
    10 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I tend to make "to do lists" (in my head, or on paper) of what needs to be done when. This summer I froze some tomatoes and also hot peppers for future canning, so I need to do that. I want to practice making better jellies.
    All the furniture in the entire house (small house, but still) needs to be recovered in a cohesive manner! Last year I did all the porch furniture, this year it's 4 sofas, and 6 chairs, and then matching throws for each of the items so I can just put the throw in the wash - it will make my summers easier!
    Need to plan out the garden better- beginning making a "steps to completing the backyard" for the winter and spring (I am hiring someone to do most of that, thank-goodness).
    Re-organizing the records and cleaning record shelves (and what falls behind them). This is no small task. Actually it is an incredibly huge task, but it must be done.
    Catch up on my reading.
    Watch some movies! I don't watch TV at all 8-9 months of te year.
    Write the course work for my job. I give garden lectures at various places around the city. Winter is the best time for me to write curriculum.
    It's also a super time for me to organize for my newest job as a radio DJ (well, it was an old job over 20 years ago but I'm back at it again!!). Will post that on conversations forum!

  • hosenemesis
    10 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    "I finally get my fingernails clean!" Heh heh heh.

  • tsugajunkie z5 SE WI ♱
    10 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I try not to think of what might be coming...

    {{gwi:5800}}

    ...and would rather think of what was...

    {{gwi:26529}}

    {{gwi:26528}}

    Although, I do enjoy ice fishing...

    ...and there was that Superbowl thing last year.



    tj

  • wren_garden
    10 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Honalee, I will be quilting, recovering the couch cushions with fabric I will piece in my own pattern and quilt. I worked for 8 years as a sewing pro for interior designers soft goods.Anything that is sewn for the home, including upholstery. So I get an idea in my head and go at it. I have material for 5 new knit tops for myself that have been here for 3 years. I have a hard time sewing for myself. There is always sewing for someone else or something else that fills the sewing time.I also will start a dbl bed size quilt for my great niece. She is 3 1/2. I will have it for her 5th birthday. So many ideas, so little time.
    It seems as if many gardeners sew, or knit, or bake, or are big readers or something active all the time.

  • koszta_kid
    10 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Making list of plants that needed divided. And given away. One lady said she wanted some.But Told me where to plant them at Her house. Jumped right on it. After doing work like tear off siding on house and painting. DH No inside home repairs.Have not quilted in long time. But got large hoop-can do it while watching foot ball. Sitting and watching all the birds at feeders. And pray not lot of snow. Just enough to cover grown. No 15 foot snow drifts.

  • jakkom
    10 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Like roseholly, we live in coastal Northern CA but I am one Sunset zone warmer, so only 5-7 frost days/yr. Snow is a once-every-ten-years occurrence that'll last maybe 15 min. on the ground and then disappear. But our cold, wet winters discourage a surprising number of plants, so every year I lose at least four to summer drought and that many or more to winter's wet chilly winds.

    This is our planting season, so I just made the first of a couple of trips to the nursery for a big purchase - I always use container plants. Still trying to create a successful pot planting for my front stairs; plants in the ground are much easier for me as I hate watering. Even in our six-month summer-long dry season I try not to water more than once every couple of weeks.

    I have some 'holes' in my garden beds to fill. Lots of weeding to do - the nasturtiums are already blooming, the pesky oxalis pes-caprae (aka Bermuda Buttercup) is starting to poke up, and my gravel paths look like seedling beds with all the weeds sprouting up!

    Every week I fill the 50-gallon compost bin for the garbage co. to pick up - they compost it and resell it (yes, profiting from both ends but better than having food waste go in the trash; instead greens, prunings, and food waste all get composted).

    Too early to prune my roses, they're still pumping out flowers. Moving a dozen or more plants around to get them better sited. Whacking back plants that get excited by the rain we've had so far (none in sight, unfortunately, in the next week or so) - passiflora, lantana, aptenia.

    Cleaning up the bushels of leaves dropped by a trash silver maple right in the middle of our backyard. They're terrible trees for Northern CA; it never gets cold enough to turn consistently pretty colors. But the leaves make pretty sounds when the wind goes through them in summertime, plus it would take 15 years to grow another large tree in its place, so we tolerate it.

    Because we can garden 365 days/yr, there is no rest time except in the height of summer, when we still have to water, prune, and weed. I often do have a few roses for the vase at Christmas time, but we CA gardeners work for them, LOL.

  • luckygal
    10 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Honalee - l'm looking forward to seeing your 'forest'. I've thought about making those tomato cage trees for years but so far haven't as I always use the ones I find at yard sales to prop up perennials. Thanks for the smartjane link which I've bookmarked and will look at later. I'm not sure what normal is but it sounds a bit boring so let's avoid it! LOL

    I actually love winter - the snow is beautiful and there's a respite from gardening. Occasionally I make "a snow angel!"

    I love decorating inside my house even more than I like decorating my garden and from March to September my house gets little decorating attention. In fact this year I had spring decor on my mantle until fall! The last few months I've been more serious about editing my house so have given away lots of decor accessories and things I no longer need or want. I have 45 years of accumulated "stuff" so there is lots to go thru and many decisions to make. It's an ongoing project but hope to finish by spring.

    With Christmas coming I've been shopping for gifts and need to wrap and send them, cleaning my house more thoroughly, and will be doing Christmas decorating starting today. It's taken me the last few days to pack away all the fall decor. Other than that I occasionally volunteer, read, 'play' online, talk on the phone and email, occasionally lunch with friends, attend a few social functions, only watch TV a little as there is not much that interests me on the hundred+ channels I get, and shovel snow and haul wood. I've been shoveling the few inches of snow we've gotten onto my perennials which takes more effort but I want them to survive the colder temps to come as I didn't winterize anything this fall. I heat my house mostly with a wood stove so that takes a bit of work. I do have a good and seldom used gas furnace but prefer wood heat. Oh, of course I cook and make almost all meals from scratch which takes time. Occasionally I do crafts, knit, and crochet altho haven't done much recently - have one knitting project on the go and hope to get it finished soon as it's boring me and I want to start something more interesting. I have 4 indoor pets who require care and attention which takes a bit of time.

    After Christmas things will slow down and I'll spend time planning, and re-planning, my garden. Plan will then go in the trash and the garden will continue to evolve as usual! LOL It's a lot of fun to plan tho and occasionally I discover something I want to implement. There are a few new craft projects I want to start but won't until the new year.

    I occasionally travel and have a short trip coming up soon so have to prepare for that.

    I always make to-do lists which helps me finish projects as I love crossing things off the lists! I love days like today when there's nothing scheduled and I can do only what I want. I will start Christmas decorating but will do it at my own pace so I enjoy it. Plan to finish by the weekend.

    I think most gardeners are probably creative people who do other creative things when they are not gardening.

  • lavendrfem
    10 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I so enjoyed this post! (wow, California picks up compost items? how cool is that).

    I'm usually so glad I get a break from mowing the lawn. I quilt and bead in winter until after the holidays...then I start planning next season's garden. So this winter I'm working on a bedspread that I started last winter. ha!~

    So far winter in northeast has been pretty mild except for that one 9inch October snow storm that left 800,000 people out of power. (thousands were still left out of power two weeks later).

  • jakkom
    10 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I keep meaning to take photos of my garden, but Xmas prep and social activities are taking up our time...and now I've been called for jury duty in two weeks, right before Xmas! Sheesh....

    Anyway, still have roses, still need more rain, but the weak winter sun is ripening up our Meyer lemons really fast.

    Not only are the nasturtiums starting to bloom, my reblooming heirloom bearded iris are popping out again. Here's a pix for you lucky gardeners who get to curl up to a warm fire and check out the mail order catalogs!
    {{gwi:631406}}

  • natalie4b
    10 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago


    Contemplating next season garden - that's how I spend my winter days.

  • koszta_kid
    10 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    One thing going through closets and cup-boards. Doing lot of pitching. Small house. Take even more things to Goodwill. But they know when to send seed and flower catalogs. And getting cook-books out and bake. Tonight getting things ready if lights go out. Might get freezing rain. Thank God have Generator. Look for my yak-traks.

  • mary_lu_gw
    10 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    No generator here, so hoping the freezing rain misses us. But we are under a freezing rain advisory so will have to wait and see. I still have to spread the leaves in the garden room around the roses. Currently they are residing in a large pile covered by a tarp. Up until the past week our weather had been too warm to put them around the roses. Then I was sick this weekend, so it will have to wait until next weekend.

    As I am still working full time and it is almost dark by the time I get home, very little is done outside in the evenings. (Except snow shoveling and snow blowing) I tend to get very lazy during the winter months, spend my evenings reading, watching TV or on the computer. Looking forward to retirement and the time to do more productive things during the daylight!

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