11 October 2007

Top 10 Ways to Get Through Winter

I am inspired by some of the comments from my last post to post a partial list for you on things I find key to making a long, cold, dark winter a success. If you live in a place that experiences winter, what's on your list?

The Disreputable Dog sleeping after a hard ski in 2003

1. Get outside when the sun's up. It's in the middle of the day? Take a long lunch break. All that office work will still be there when it sinks but if you wait until the work is done the sun won't be.

2. Be active outdoors. That lunch break? Go skiing, walk to the post office, ice skate. Moving in what daylight there is can make a world of difference to your psyche.

3. On a nice day take a minute for the sunrise. Go find a window. Watch it. Breathe it.

4. Light your house well. When you wake up turn on all the lights it will help you wake up. Use light to help you keep your circadian rhythms from wandering too much as in my star light on a timer. A good reading lamp is also very essential.

5. A good potluck recipe! Potlucks are huge in Alaska, particularly in the winter. Winter is the time for socializing, for cookie exchanges, craft nights, movie nights, sauna nights, etc.

Myself, a friend, and the Disreputable Dog in Fairbanks around noon 2 winters ago
(That's ice fog you see there - lovely stuff)

6. If you have an outhouse use blue house styrofoam for a seat...it's insulated and thus doesn't get cold (but store your toilet paper indoors so it doesn't collect ice crystals).

7. Layers! It's always cold outside, it's always too hot inside. Be prepared to layer up and layer down and make sure that you don't forget any key body parts.

8. For the love of digits...buy yourself a WARM pair of boots and a good pair of gloves and don't leave your ears uncovered unless you want frostbite.

9. Go camping! Yes, believe it or not, there is nothing more wonderful then snuggling deep into your sleeping bag with the northern lights playing above your head. You don't have to worry about bears - they're all asleep. And you can pack things like ice cream and not worry about them melting!

10. Hot drinks, plenty of firewood, checking your fuel tank & not letting it get too low, covering your window with plastic....and remember not to leave liquids in your car including, but not limited to, laundry detergent....yes, if it is cold enough, it will freeze. Realize that things such as plastics will be more fragile then usual so be careful. Keep a spare key handy!

11. Bright colors! They keep things cheerful and they make you more visible to traffic. Beautiful bold colors, fun socks and scarves, fun stripey long underwear...ever notice how much winter gear is black???? Why?


  1. i live in CA, so i can't effectively comment on this but i LOVE #5, and i am going to "get through" winter by going to Mexico anyways.

    i used to live in the snowy mountains...we'd get through winter then with a lot of shoveling and hot cocoa, but then again i was a little kid so that's all i had to work with.

  2. Those are all great ideas, my favorite is #9...deep sleeping bag, snow, northern lights, that sounds amazing! and with icing on the cake, wow... The only thing I could add for making the winter is building a commitment to a nice long book, the kind you don't have patience or time for in the summer.

  3. I was reading your points and I suddenly thought, #1! Get outside while the sun's still up. What am I doing inside when the sun is still shining? So I went out and heaped up compost around my potato plants. It has rained today, a scarily infrequent event around here lately, so I thought I should do some gardening while things are damp.

    By the way, does the Disreputable dog ever wear boots, or are dogs' feet okay in the cold?

  4. Very handy tips if I'm ever lucky enough to take a trip to your area. Agree with the wearing of bright colours in winter, and love the idea of camping under the Northern lights, with a bucket of ice-cream. Does Disreputable dog not feel the cold? Bruuuu

  5. What great ideas. New Mexico is generally mild but at 6,600ft in high high desert we get snow. Last year I was snowed in for 11days. It was sunny and lovely--but I did a lot of reading, knitting, crafting and blogging.What an experience. That was unusual. Normally it snows and melts when the sun hits it.Bake Brownies! Good Luck with the camera.

  6. I usually have to travel in order to experience winter. During those odd fifteen days the temperature drops below forty, I leave out a blanket for the cats to sleep on and cook warm comfort food like chili. I also dust the cobwebs off my winter coat.

  7. jen ~ yay for winter trips to warm places (I'm doing one of those SOON).

    matte ~ ahh! Did Froghair tell you about my NEW reading lamp I purchased for the winter that she helped me put together? But I have to admit...I'd get a little bored by just one book!

    parlance ~ when we lived in Fairbanks the Direputable Dog would where fleece booties when it was -30F or below. But he has sled dog paws so he's fairly well covered. Other dogs that get snow balls inbetween their paws need booties at warmer temps.

    hannah ~ well, you'll have to come visit :) And the only time I've ever seen the Disreputable Dog cold was when we had the foolish idea of camping in our truck north of the arctic circle in February and it was -50F. We were all cold. We would have been better off getting off our lazy tushes and digging a snow pit - but we had been hunting all day and were too tired. The Dog has a wonderful husky coat and is far more likely to be too hot then too cold in any temp. His favorite ambient temp is about -20F I think.

    Doris Rose ~ I love being snowed in. It's fantastic. Good for homey activities.

    ms chica ~ I hope that winter coat isn't down! 'Cause it really doesn't sound like you need it. :)

  8. Its all about the light for me. But somehow I wonder if your experience because it is so much closer to nature might be different from my city experience.

    city winter sucks.

    good suggestions though.....

  9. love this. would love to see the northern lights in Alaska! Saw them once from Michigan... and that was pretty amazing!

  10. I found this post absolutely fascinating - it is so far removed from any Winter that I have experienced. I called the whole family to look at that photo. Thanks for sharing!

  11. LLL!, i'll ask about it, next chance. Agree completely, every book at the top of my heap has 4 or 5 suitors waiting for the right moment to make a case, and i can be swayed...

    I'd also agree with crazymumma in that the city tends to lure you inside during the winter rather than nudge you outdoors right when you need to be out there the most, grabbing whatever real light is to be had. Here in Washington State, you just have to prepare against the rain and you can sometimes have the trails and bike paths to yourself. Even the in-city walk around the lake that everybody does on the weekend can be nicely solitary when its cold and wet.

  12. crazymumma ~ it is entirely possible that our experience differs because of where I live. But every place has it's offerings and one can always get out of the city whereas sometimes it's harder to get out of the remoter towns here to a place with more cultural attractions including such things as movie theatres and more then one resteraunt to eat at. As for the light I know toughened fishermen who swear by 15 minutes a week at the tanning saloon in the winter to help chase those blues away.

    maypole ~ You should definately try and come the northern lights - Fairbanks is one of the best locales to see them.

    gill ~ no problem! thanks for reading!

    matte ~ the problem seems to be that people wait for "good" weather to get out and in some places you could be waiting forever for that to happen. It is my theory that the weather always looks worse when you are looking out at it then it ever really is when you are in it. And lunch breaks are a perfect excuse to get out at peak light time no matter the weather!

  13. I have good collection of winter wears which I bought from Gap store through couponalbum.com...


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