Waking Up In Winter

So tomorrow we have a cold front moving in.   Here in Austin, we are just finishing with our real feel 100+ degree weather and most everyone is excited about the front.  Everyone will break out their flannels and jeans and boots, and I will be one of them.   The cold front will last 3 or 4 days before the temperature hikes back up to high 70’s/mid 80’s.  

We laugh about “sweater weather” here.   Our Arctic blast.  Most love the colder temps until they drop too far.  Too far for here is around 55 degrees.   After a few weeks of this, most seem to begin longing for the warmer days.  Many winters, we only get a handful of these colder temps.  It’s rare to have full on freezes and when it snows everyone loses their shit.   It’s exciting and frightening all at once.  Mind you, it rarely sticks and is usually only a few flakes mixed with rain and sleet.   But still, it is such a break in our common weather cycle that everyone decides they must shut down the city.  You East coasters must roll your eyes at us southerners.   By mid January, most here are ready for Spring.   

I have a confession to make.  I hate warm weather.   I cringe when I see even mid 70’s in the forecast.  I secretly pray every year that the 4 day cold front will miraculously turn into a full on blizzard.  I scout the internet for pictures like the one below and daydream about that being my space.   I long to sit at a coffee shop with a hot drink watching the cold through the window.   And there must be a fireplace somewhere in that scenario.  

Dark, cloudy, days make me happy — especially if it happens to be raining or snowing.   On a cloudy day there is beauty in the various colours and shapes of the clouds: white, light grey, dark grey, black. The clouds may be moving fast or slow, forever changing. There is a cool, refreshing breeze or a chilling bite in the air. And who doesn’t enjoy the beauty of falling snow or the fresh scent of the cool rain coming down. There is a sense of excitement when watching the weather forecast.  Something exciting is happening or about to happen.  Especially here in Central Texas.  Will an Arctic blast actually create a winter wonderland for us this year?   I have only seen it once in the 12 years I have lived here, and it only lasted a couple days.   Not long enough in my book!

Before anyone starts jumping to any conclusions, let me clarify. I am not sad or depressed in warm weather.  At least not excessively so.  I just withdraw more.   I am less excited about leaving the air conditioned space within my home, and I keep the window unit next to my bed at the lowest possible temperature.  Poor husband bravely freezes every night so I don’t overheat.  So am I weird? Possibly, but I don’t think so. 

Even though the numbers are low, I am not alone in liking grey skies, cold weather and thunderstorms.  Most people believe that seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is only triggered by winters or sunless, rainy days due to the lack of sunlight, but in some rare cases, people feel depressed on sunny days and cloudy, dull skies make them happy. The condition is known as reverse SAD.   About 10% of all SAD sufferers experience it in reverse.   I think I have a mild case to be honest.  

For me, when the cold temperatures hit I actually start feeling more alive.   My brain seems to wake up and ideas begin to flow again.  New York University’s professor Adam Alter said, “Sunshine dulls the mind to risk and thoughtfulness.” A research study conducted by social psychologists in Australia concluded that good weather could hinder our cognitive functions.  On cold cloudy days, our minds are less distracted and drawn inward to think more deeply, hence increasing our focus on the task at hand or the idea in our head. 

Spiritually I grow the most in the winter season.  My husband, who is the opposite of me in all this I will add, just spent some time in Aspen with some good friends.  One of them explained how she NEEDS the harsh winter weather to grow spiritually.   It isn’t a choice for her.  I completely understand, hence my fantasies of living in Sweden, bundled up by the fire.  I honestly pray that one year I will get to live out a winter season in a part of the world that actually has winter.  There is always the possibility of me hating it once I am in the thick of it.   But something inside me doesn’t believe that.   This is probably the number one reason why my husband isn’t likely to agree to it,  I imagine he is afraid I will never want to leave.  

My season is coming, tomorrow will be just a tease but I will take it.  My brain is stretching awake and my soul is opening up to all the possibilities of growth.  Will I get my blizzard this year?   I suppose anything is possible.  What season wakes you up to all your potential?   

Baby It’s Cold Out There!

 Current temp on front porch at 10:45 am with a windchill at about 8 degrees.

I know there are many in the North and East who are socked in with snow and crazy freezing temps, but here in Austin we are not used to it getting below the occasional 28 degrees in the Winter.  Last night was an exception however!  We got down to about 16 with the windchill at -5 degrees here at the lake.  We definitely had to batten down the hatches.  The animals hunkered down out of the wind, we boxed in the chickens by putting a tarp on the exposed side of the coop and putting up a large piece of plywood against the door to keep the wind out.  They also get a light in there all day and night while this cold spell lasts.  Propane guys are coming out today as well just to be safe.  I covered every vulnerable plant with triple sheets and blankets, but am afraid some of my potted plants couldn’t weather the cold even under the porch and 3 blankets.  I brought in the ones looking worse for wear and am just crossing my fingers they will snap back.  It isn’t looking good.  The citrus trees had so much mulch and I covered them with every heavy sheet and blanket I could spare, they looked alright this morning.  we’ll see if they make it through though, I’m crossing my fingers as there isn’t much more I can do for them.  I even added Christmas lights to the most vulnerable one. 

Today is a good day for soup, baking and just hunkering down with a movie and a cup of tea with my girl.  FarmGirl was irritated with the amount of layers I had her put on for the short trek to the bus stop this morning, it’s literally across our little street.  But as soon as we walked outside she was grateful for it all! 

Yes baby it’s cold out there!  Hope everyone is staying warm and all those in the blizzard zones are safe and sound!  Peace my friends! 

Oh The Cold

Need batteries for the camera so no pics today but will have some up later after picking up supplies.  With that said, it’s been cold here!  Now I know you all who live in the North are probably laughing at us Southern weaklings down here..hehe, but Austin is not used to these temperatures.  Last night it was in the teens and when I looked at the thermometer this morning it was still only 18 degrees at about 9AM.  CCCoolldd!  Plants have suffered, but I did get a good, thick (6-7″) mulching down the week before this cold front moved in, so I’m hanging on to hope that the roots of most of my garden survived and will spring forth in, well Spring.  I dared to dig down into the mulch in one spot of the garden to see what it looked like and there was green, thank the gods!  So I’ll keep crossing my fingers.

I happen to love the cold myself.  I love bundling up in sweaters, sipping hot coffee in the middle of the day and seeing the ice on the birdbath, animal troughs, etc..  I don’t know how well I’d fare up where there is real cold, but this is a good Winter here and I’m embracing every chilly aspect of it.  I feel like I was really prepared this year in the garden, so that makes it more bearable I think.

My Larkspur sprouts are all doing well, as are the poppies and ranunculus.  I layered leaves on all of them and they are now popping up through those, so I think they will survive.  The animals have all been given extra hay and we buttoned down the coop (which is just hardware cloth on 2 sides normally), so the goats and chickens are all snuggly and warm.  The cats can’t bare to go out, but since we don’t do cat boxes, they are forced out in the morning to do their business and quickly run back to the front door, crying loudly to let us know they need back in..haha!  The ferrets are cocooning in their cave made of an old bath mat and towels…they are toasty indeed.

Yesterday, my dear friend Jeanne and I processed about 30+ pounds of deer sausage, thanks to the hunting capabilities of our sweethearts.  We had so much fun, even though it was a ton of work.   But when we looked at all that we accomplished and the good food we have to feed our family throughout the year, it makes it all that much more worth it.  On top of the sausage we have roasts, steaks and tender loin.  Thankfully my girls love fresh venison, so none of it goes to waste around here.  J will be making jerky this afternoon and cold smoking the links before freezing them.  We made Breakfast sausage, Mild Italian, Hot and Spicey and a Cajun sausage.  Yum!  Throw in a couple glasses of red wine and we had a party yesterday with all our work.  Fun!

Last week was not only my darling J’s birthday, happy birthday love, but also our 10th wedding anniversary.  10 years!  Holy moly!  It’s been quite the ride and I am really looking forward to many more years.  We are a lucky couple to have found each other and to have found true happiness with each other, even on the days I want to wring his neck I just love that man!

Hope everyone is hunkered down, keeping warm and enjoying their New Year.  Don’t forget to check out One Small Change over at Hip Mama Mountain.  There are now over 200 participants from all over the world signed up.  Suzy’s local paper wrote an article, their radio station has it up on their website and Mothering Magazine is promoting it.  Yay!  So far the girls and I have bagged up 2 large bags of toys and clothes to be donated and still have a couple closets to go this month.  It feels good to lighten the load and know that it’s going to bring smiles to faces somewhere else.  Farmgirl told me that she has had fun with some of the stuff for a long time and now she was ready to let some other children know the fun of her things..haha.  That right there is a small change that I hope will ripple out….thank you girls, for your generosity…and thank you all who have found Suzy’s movement through AmLo Farms.  It really doesn’t take much to make a difference, and you all are a part of that difference with each small step we all take!

XOXO.  Peace!


So far we’ve had 8 inches since Thursday. My towering Esperanza’s are drooping from the weight of the water, I go out and shake them off every so often so they won’t break. The rain has perked up plants that seemed to be on their way out and is feeding the dry earth and hopefully doing some good for the Lake. I know we need alot more, and it seems we’ll get that at least with today. It feels so good to open the windows up and hear the rain falling, and have the temperatures back down to a tolerable level. I hate to jinx it and say Fall is coming, but a girl can hope can’t she?

We were going to get the Fall veggies going today, but with all the rain it might have to wait until tomorrow. We need some more compost and topsoil from Natural Gardener, then a planting I will go!

Hope you are enjoying your weekend! Peace!