Sunday, January 13, 2019

Waiting out the Cold Winter Months in Vermont

Library of Congress: Winter Afternoon in Vermont, 1940.


Early this morning it was 12 below zero outside.  During the months of January and February, in northern Vermont, it is bitterly cold.  The ice stays all season long, making it a danger to walk and drive on.  We have to be cautious on our outings.

 This is the time of year when I tend to stay inside. I rarely go out,  other than to church. But this Sunday morning, when I went outside to check the temperature, it was so bitterly cold, I felt numb and clumsy.   I thought I'd better stay near the hearth at home.

There are many in our area who still venture out.  They dress warmly and are used to this kind of weather. There are also tourists who delight in visiting for the skiing season.  But for me, perhaps since I am from Massachusetts, I find it difficult to function in this biting cold.  So I stay inside.

I used to think the bitter, winter - winds off the ocean of Massachusetts, of my childhood, were unbearable.  I remember them especially starting in November.  They were brutal.  But they did not last. Not all days were windy or dreadfully freezing.  When comparing those ocean winds with a common winter day in Vermont, I would say they are equal.  But Winter in Vermont lasts far longer! My endurance tends to waver.  I stay home a great deal.

Sometimes I like to think of this season as a storm, when we hide under a covering and patiently wait out the trouble.  I keep indoors, while the frozen season slowly passes along.  I bide my time.

I often think of the Pioneers and how they weathered many storms in winter.  Perhaps they read by the fire, did their mending, baked and cooked, and did projects which cannot be done during the busy summer months.  It must have been very quiet in those homes, which did not have radio, television, or computers.  When it was impossible to venture out, they had church time at home with their own family as the congregation.   I am sure they were always surprised and welcoming when a sudden guest appeared to visit them. 

I am grateful to have company on a regular basis. My grown children are not deterred by the cold season.  They go out, work, do errands, and visit me as normal.  I also love to see my grandchildren coming inside with their snowsuits, mittens, hats, and warm coats. They are rosy - cheeked and smiling!

Just a little while ago, I went out on the back grounds of our Estate to just walk.  I know fresh air, even cold air, is essential to good health.  I saw the beauty of sunlight as it touched the snowy ground.  The clear blue sky and the pretty trees are lovely in winter.  The walk was pleasant, even if it was only 7 degrees.  I soon was back inside and grateful for a cozy house, a warm fire, and the luxury of hot chocolate.

I rarely spend any money in winter.  The heating bills consume all we have.  This is a blessing because it makes me careful. It takes away a consumer mind-set.  I have to make-do, make-it-last, and do-without. This is a good discipline in frugality.

I will spend much of these winter hours waiting out the cold as I read piles of good books, do my housekeeping, and take care of my family.

The truth is, I love this time of year.  It is a quiet respite from the seasons.  It is a time to stop and rest and just enjoy being home. It is a good time to focus on prayer and to be grateful to the Lord for all things.


Blessings
Mrs. White

From the Archives -

I Want to Be - The Mother Who Isn't Busy.

What Many of Us Crave - An Ordinary Life at Home.

What Would Happen? - If I Visit You At the Dinner Hour.







Find Home-keeping Inspiration, in Mrs. White's book - For The Love of Christian Homemaking.  Paperback, 274 pages.










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16 comments:

Tammy said...

Lovely.
Here in SE GA, the weather is nuts. One day it's 43, the next 73.
We've hardly had any nights under freezing, and I don't think we've had a
day that was at all, so far. Of course, we've a month or two to go, so it could happen. By March, spring will be on the way. I can't wait.

Stay warm, Mrs. White, and enjoy this quiet season. :)

ANA CUNEO said...

AMO EL INVIERNO ES MI ESTACION PREFERIDA SHARON, AUNQUE EN MI PAIS ARGENTINA, EN LA ZONA QUE YO VIVO, NO HACE DEMASIADO FRIO, NO CAE NIEVE COMO EN LAS PROVINCIAS DEL SUR, IGUALMENTE ME GUSTA ESA TEMPORADA, ESTAR CERCA DE LA SALAMANDRA, JUNTAR MADERA PARA CALENTARNOS ¿SABE LO QUE ES UNA SALAMANDRA? ES COMO UNA ESTUFA QUE ESTA HECHA DE HIERRO FUNDIDO Y SE ALIMENTA DE MADERA, AMO LA CALIDEZ DEL HOGAR, ME GUSTA TEJER, BORDAR Y COSER AL CALOR DEL FUEGO,O LEER LA BIBLIA EN FAMILIA. AHORA ESTAMOS EN VERANO, Y SI QUE HACE CALOR AQUI, HEMOS TENIDO BASTANTE LLUVIA Y ESO HACE EL CLIMA MUY HUMEDO, BUENO HIZO LO UNO Y LO OTRO, ASI QUE NO ESTA BIEN QUEJARCE. ME ENCANTA SU BLOG, ME SIENTO COMO QUE ME ESTUVIERA HABLANDOME, SOY MADRE DE 12 NIÑOS Y ABUELA DE 10 HERMOSOS NIETOS, HACE 40 AÑOS QUE ESTOY FELIZMENTE CASADA CON EL AMOR DE MI VIDA Y ASI ESTAREMOS HASTA QUE EL SEÑOR NOS LLAME. ESPERO QUE PUEDA PASAR POR MI BLOG, ESTA DIRIGIDO A LAS DAMAS CRISTIANAS, ES MUY NUEVO, ME FALTA PUBLICAR FOTOS Y OTROS COMENTARIOS, ESPERO QUE PASE Y LEA. BENDICIONES.

living from glory to glory said...

You paint a lovely cozy scene in my mind's eye. I always think that all the snow is delightful, but as you said the bitter cold is so tough to be out and about in. I am learning to stop and enjoy every season.
Thinking of you!
Hugs, Roxy

Billie Jo said...

I cannot love this post more.
Although I live in Pennsylvania where it is not quite as cold, I do stay indoors as much as possible in these cold winter months. I am very content to do our homeschooling, my housekeeping, and endless reading, as well as watch our favorite television shows here in the cozy warmth of our home. I so enjoy visiting with you here! Have a cozy evening.

Linda said...

Hello Mrs White, You painted such a lovely picture of your cozy home in Winter. I can't even imagine snow and ice for 2 months at a time..oh my. I live on the other side of the world in New Zealand and we've been having very hot weather here, but even on the coldest days of Winter it would rarely get below 35 degrees, in my area. Thank you for sharing your Winter days with us - keep warm and well. Blessings ~ Linda

Laura Jeanne said...

I enjoyed this post, and I agree with you that winter does have a charm of its own. Like you, I feel the cold terribly (we live in Ontario, in a very windy rural location, in a leaky old farm house), but even so I do find I enjoy winter more as I get older. I have learned to appreciate the ability to stay cozy inside while the wind wails outside, to partake of plenty of hot herbal tea, to read good books and spend my weekends tidying and organizing the house - which I don't do much in the summer as I spend all my free time then out in the garden. Summer is wonderful in its own way but I do like the quiet, peaceful feeling that winter brings. (Of course, my husband may feel differently, as he still has to get up early and drive into the city to work, no matter how terrible the weather is or how deep the snow.)

Laura Lane said...

As a girl who wishes and dreams of snow here in southern Missouri, I cannot imagine the months of cold and snow you get. I admire you for keeping busy and not fretting about being homebound.

Hugs,
Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage

Sharon O said...

I so enjoy reading your posts! They often serve as a reminder for me to take a step back, slow down and enjoy being a housewife. We had a big snowstorm here in St. Louis over the weekend with 10 inches dumped at our house. We don’t normally get this much snow.. maybe 2-3 inches several times a season. I’ve taken 2 walks in the snow, baked a few loaves of bread and puttered around the house finishing little projects. Last night I dug out my sewing machine because my neighbor had gifted me a couple bags of fabric when I helped her clean her sewing room on Saturday. Today, I changed the linens on the bed, washed the linens and a load of our clothes, then sat down to sew. I had saved some of my old bath towels that were starting to get holes. Those I cut into 10” squares, serged the raw edges and they have now taken the place of paper towels in the kitchen. Then I made 2 sets of 4 napkins. One set has farm animals with borders of green and old fashioned looking tole paintings in every other square. The second set is more holiday looking with pink poinsettias, burgundy cabbage roses with bits of green leaves and a spattering of holly... not really Christmas-y, but still winter looking. I watched a couple of YouTube videos and learned an easy way to mitre the corners. They turned out beautiful. I can’t wait to use them! The whole time I was sewing them, I kept thinking, “Mrs. White always has such beautiful napkins with her tea.” It was a nice reminder that every day can be made special with just the smallest touches of elegance,

Marilyn @ MountainTopSpice said...

Goodness, that Vermont winter sounds quite miserable! We haven't hit 0 degrees yet here, it has only gotten down to 11 so far, although it is possible we will hit 0. We don't have any wind here either... the wind is truly a miserable part of winter. I feel for you in that dreadful cold! But winter truly is a time of rest and quiet, and for that reason alone I do love winter, it gives me a chance to catch up on projects that I wasn't able to get to over the busy summer months. Thank you again for the beautiful handsewn napkins, they are just so very precious to me! You have such lovely handiwork! May the Lord bless your dear heart and keep you warm and cozy until the winter days have passed!

Christine said...


This post is all about being content.

"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength."
Philippians 4:12-13

Mother of 3 said...

Living in New England I tend to stay indoors so much more in winter too. This year, while cold, has yet to dump any snow or ice on us (yet!) and so we've been able to venture out just a bit more. I am getting better about remembering layers, hats, and mittens so we can even get out for a walk most days but it's hard to get up the motivation to leave this nice warm house. Thanks so much for sharing with us at Encouraging Hearts and Home. Hope you stay nice and toasty this winter! Pinned.

Karen Del Tatto said...

I loved this post!! It drew me in like a lovely book.

My husband and I love Vermont. As soon as we cross over the border, I instantly feel a calm come over me. Our favorite area is Woodstock.

I appreciated so much your insight about winter. I tend to grumble and complain because I like it warmer and to be outside, but your thoughts about winter season made me reflect and think of it as another wonderful season that the Lord has blessed me with to be quiet before Him.

Thanks for sharing.

Mary Hazard said...

I too am a Vermonter and have a hard time getting through winter. Thank you for reminding us it's a time for rest and indoor activities such as crafting and baking. Soon we will be enjoying the green landscape, bird songs and gardening again!

sharon said...

Mrs. White, I so enjoyed reading your blog post today. Winters here in N. Michigan can be brutal as well; now we are in negative wind-chills for the rest of this week. But I must say, I do enjoy all four seasons equally, as each has their own to give. It is a humble feeling to have wood split and stacked by the rows to keep our house warm. I enjoy the darkness of this time of year and often read by dim light accompanied by candles (with my trusty magnifying glass in hand:) and as the days get longer, and the sun shines more, the spring flowers are all the more beautiful and well worth waiting for!

Front Porch Grace said...

Your Vermont winter sounds lovely to me, but certainly, you must be careful to stay safe and warm. Like you, I see winter as a respite from the hustle and bustle of all the other seasons. Thank you for this post. It warms my heart to know that there are other Christian homemakers who enjoy their calling and take it both seriously and joyfully. Karen Andreola had linked to your blog on frugal homemaking and I am so thankful I followed it. I have a blogger account, but neglect blogging.

Blessings to you and yours. Stay warm, my sister in Christ.

Michelle

Traditional Simplicity said...

Hi, I am praying you all are well and warm. May God bless you and may all your needs be met. Your lovely writing is such an inspiration.
~Dee

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