Wicked Winter…Or Winter Wonderland?

New England has been hit with one of the worst winters anyone can remember. Sure, we are used to snow and ice, but not THIS much at one time! We’ve been hit with five storms the last four weeks, with more to come. Schools have been closed, roads are challenging, and everyone’s getting tired of the cold (even though it is only January). How do you keep a sunny disposition when winter is being so wicked?

I was raised in Texas, in a city where it’s relatively warm most of the year, but have lived most of my adult life in Connecticut. “Cold” for my Southern family is often a temperature that, here, would be defined as short-sleeve wearin’ weather.  My relatives wonder how I have “survived” all these winters, especially this one. You know it’s cold when you open the refrigerator and think the air in it is warm! But, just as my family wonders how I manage, I marvel how residents in other parts of the country who deal with this kind of winter every year bear it. Truth is, it’s just a way of life here, as it is for residents in many states, and it’s amazing what you can get used to.

When the sun does decide to pop out a bit, nothing is prettier than the trees and bushes glistening in white. If the temperature is warm enough (and I use that term lightly), we can suit up and go play out in the snow. Never having seen snow as a child, I discovered I love to go sledding, even if the hill I go down is more of a “bump”. I once learned not to go down big hills, since there are no brakes.  After picking up momentum, I hit a rock which acted as a ramp and sent me airborne.  When I landed, I picked up warp speed,  going until I finally slowed down in the woods, landing face down in a heap of snow. Thankfully, only my ego was hurt. Now, I stick to smaller hills.

Watch those icicles form!  They are really pretty to look at.

The temperatures lately have been too cold to go outside and it’s dark and dreary. After a few days of school being called off, cabin fever sets in. Playdates have been cancelled, school events rescheduled, and my Sisterhood Chapter and I have not been able to get together.  One morning, my daughter begged to go out to breakfast, something our family never really does. When roads are bad and snow is piled high like a mountain, I do not go out unless I really need to. The plows hadn’t been by yet, and driving would be treacherous. When I told her no, she sulked and went back to her room. I decided to make a breakfast better than any diner, with homemade muffins, eggs, and sliced grapefruit. I set the table with linens, put music on, and lit candles. My daughter loved her surprise, and we lingered at that breakfast table for a long time, catching up on what was going on in her third grade life. The rest of the day at home was made a little brighter by our special morning.

I love being outdoors, especially in the garden. But, as any gardener knows, keeping up a yard can be alot of work. Winter here gives us a reprieve from weeding, and an excuse for me to indulge in one of my favorite hobbies, knitting. I’ve taught my daughter to knit, and it’s one of our favorite ways to spend an indoor day. While I’m resolving to slow down this year, I don’t want us becoming couch potatoes in front of the television, so we bake, play board games, play with dolls, and catch up with friends on the phone. We look at old picture albums, read books, and make use of the extra time we are given at home, knowing that our girl won’t be little forever. Once everyone is safe at home, being “snowed in” can actually be quite refreshing. Although, with the snow piled so high and heavy it is hard to imagine spring will ever be back!

With a hard winter, we do have extra worries, like getting stuck in the driveway, not being able to find the mailbox after it’s been knocked off the post by the town plow, or missing too many days of work. However, one life lesson I’ve learned is that you can’t let things you can’t control make you crazy, and weather is one thing that is out of our control. I don’t know who said it, but my favorite quote is, “Bloom where you are planted.” So, when asked how I survive, I shrug, choose to be happy, and let wicked winter weather become nothing more than an inconvenience.

This is the view from my front porch.  Yes, that is the Christmas tree, frozen to the deck.  Sigh…

  1. lindyk says:

    Loved the caption under the picture! Wonderful idea for a special breakfast..something your daughter will always remember. I lived in Florida for 40 yrs..and now live in Ohio..winters are hard to get use to..but spring and summers are amazing!

  2. bonnie ellis says:

    Nicole. I share your cabin fever. We live in Minnesota where the winter weather is often just like yours. We’ve had so much snow there isn’t any more place to put it and it is hard to see around corners. The bright side is fires in the fireplace, lots of time to quilt or do crafts ( I’m making home-made valentines this year). We are lucky to have lots of plants inside plus large windows. It’s a great time to sort photographs, draw and read through recipes.

    Love the idea of homemade Valentines!  Thanks for reading.


  3. Heather says:

    Ah yes, long winter days, – but they make spring just that much sweeter. I have always felt sad for those in the southern parts; they never get to experience the true changes of season. Blessings, and stay warm!

  4. Maureen says:

    This installment made me smile. I remember those nasty, never ending winters. Blessings on all the indoor activities. What quality time to share.

  5. Rosalie in NH says:

    Just back in from the enter-from-the-outside-only, snowed-in cellar. One more unpredictable consequence of this extra deep winter freeze is a frozen pipe. I am so fortunate to have caring and helpful family to unfreeze this potential disaster.
    I really do love winter, but this year is a test of how much winter can I love. It’s the very best time to see animal tracks in my yard. The river otters are bold enough to let me watch them at play. The grey squirrels have come very close to be fed (not out of hand, but close). When deer, foxes and coyotes cross through my yard in daylight, I can enjoy their presence and admire their grace. I don’t have to rake any more leaves for a while. Running the snowblower gives me a great sense of POWER!
    There! I feel better about this winter already. Thanks for brightening up this chilly winter day. Rosalie

    Rosalie, you go, farmgirl!  Hope your frozen pipe doesn’t create too much of a headache for you! 


  6. Jerri says:

    The photos are lovely and anything nature inspired helps me with cabin fever.

    Thank you, and thanks for reading! 


  7. Laurie says:

    Ahhh…I too can relate, Nicole! I live just across the sound from you on Long Island. It seems like everytime we turn around there is more….snow! It is absolutely beautiful to look at, yet not so beautiful to shovel as we know all too well.
    I agree with your sentiment…Bloom where you are planted. As the snow is falling our family enjoys watching the gorgeous red cardinals at the feeders right outside the winter. Here in the NorthEast, we may have to "deal" with winters wrath, but we also get to enjoy all of its splendours!

    That’s the spirit!  I haven’t seen any cardinals lately, but I did see a beautiful, large red-headed woodpecker today. 


  8. Rho says:

    This is a great reminder to enjoy the "extra" time we are given and spend it making special memories with our famiies.
    I love the idea of a special breakfast to get the day started on a positive note!
    Beautiful pictures too!

  9. Sarah says:

    Bloom where you are planted is biblical. I don’t know the chapter and verse, but it’s in reference to the Israelites thriving when they are in exile. Just so you know. 🙂

    Thank you, I didn’t know that.  Would love the chapter and verse if anyone knows it.


  10. Jeannie says:

    While we have winter in Colorado, eastern Slopes are usually pretty mild. I don’t envy you all the snow and cold, but your attitude is wonderful. Enjoy your little girl, they grow up so fast.

  11. Susan says:

    I enjoyed your "Wicked Winter" blog. I LOVE the snow. I’m born and raised in New England (RI) and think this is one the best winters we’ve had since I was a child. It was always like this then….snow on the ground all winter long and up to your thighs. If you live here, you need to learn to enjoy ALL of the seasons. That’s what New England is all about! I don’t think anyone enjoys driving in it; it is dangerous; however, we live here and we can’t change it. Too bad it can’t snow just on the weekends! It is beautiful, though, isn’t it? Where is the Sisterhood Chapter? Is there one in RI?

     Susan, my Sisterhood Chapter meets here in Connecticut, but you can search for one near you here: http://maryjanesfarm.org/Chapters/Search.asp


  12. Brenda says:

    Sounds like you have been keeping busy. Winter is beautiful the first couple of weeks then it is get it over with. But everything has it’s own time and spring will be here. Don’t forget to make some snow cream for the children what ever the age we (I) love as much as my kids and grandchildren. So enjoy the winter wonder land today, I’m sure in a few days being stuck in it will become the Wicked Winter of 2011!


  13. Rose says:

    Great column, Nicole. I loved the idea of a fancy breakfast with candles! Stay warm!

  14. Carmen says:

    I’m in central Minnesota and this winter has been one of the worst, mostly because of the cold. I can’t even get myself to shovel anymore (thanks son-in-law and neighbors). The worse is my cat, at least 3 times a day he has me open the door to see if he can go out (fenced yard). I had to put down his sister a few days ago and he keeps looking for her. (I thought she had something similar to alzheimer’s, turned out cats do get it. She purred until the last second. I’ll always miss her but I’m not sad. Horrible was seeing such an independant kitty deteriorate.)

    Carmen, so sorry to hear about your little kitty.  Stay warm.


  15. Sue Taylor says:

    Hi Nicole, being your close neighbor over here in Brookfield,
    I hear ya! I LOVE snow, being born and raised in Ca.I didn’t see much growing up. But this is crazy!
    I keep busy organizing everything in my house, like a little squirrel rearranging the nuts over and over.
    So, I’m really looking forward to our meeting. When is it going to be, again? Take care and be safe! Sue

    Hi, Sue!  Hopefully we will be able to have a Sisterhood chapter meeting very soon!  I’m so looking forward to meeting you!


  16. Aloka says:

    Coming from India living with snow was a big adjustment for my husband and me. But after the ‘newness’of icing on the landscape wears off- I repeat to myself ‘If Winter is here,Spring is right around the corner’ like a mantra several times during the day, make pots of soups with a touch of Indian spices, and crochet scarves for people who have to go out and work.

    Sounds like you have the right attitude, Aloka!  Spring is going to be extra-sweet this year, for sure!


  17. Keleen says:

    Nicole, I think the Bible verses Sarah had reference to for "Bloom where you are planted" are Jeremiah 29:1-14, where Jeremiah tells the exiles to build houses, raise families, and be good citizens where they are living, even though it’s not their homeland. Possibly the same idea could be found in I Corinthians 7:17–"Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him…" Also, Esther definitely bloomed where she was planted. Thanks to Sarah for pointing this out!

  18. Debbie says:

    Winter Wonderland definitely! I’m right there with ya Nicole. We are south of Boston and still have over a foot of snow on the ground! I have to say though, it’s beautiful! I’ve spent my fair share of time in front of the stove too and just being close together inside is worth being a little cold!
    Thanks for the winter lift!
    Your New England sister in Plymouth,MA.
    Beach Blessings,

  19. Brigitte Farmgirl with a heart says:

    Many would think I’m crazy…but being keep at home for a few days under a lot of snow…seems to me like Heaven! Each November I make sure that we all have what it takes if winter decided to be bad…So, being with my love dones…surrounded by snow…Hey…That’s me! Love to read you…Brigitte

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