Winter is the time when we get the least daylight. But at least we get some. In Scandinavia, some people have developed ‘reindeer vision’ to see in the dark, because at certain times, they get no daylight at all. These books to read on winter days, are ideal when it’s cold and rainy or snowy outside, and you need some good sofa or armchair books to while away the winter nights. Winter snow globes contain toxic (to pets and children) antifreeze. Bin responsibly, and don’t buy them.
The Nature of Winter is a beautiful book by Scottish nature writer Jim Crumley. Dark days of wild storms give way to the perfect glistening stillness of frost-encrusted lansdcapes. Experience the chaos and quiet solitude of nature’s rest period. He bears witness to the lives of remarkable animals such as golden eagles, red deer and even whales, as they battle intemperate weather and the turbulence of climate change. Rosemary Goring of Herald writes that ‘Crumley has earned himself the enviable position of our foremost nature commentator – a true winter’s tale’.
Spicy Winter Pear Smoothie (Planted & Picked)
The Met Office states that winter has two possible start dates: depending on meteorological or astronomical (the earth’s orbit direction that begins on the winter Solstice on 21 or 22 December). The fixed date is usually 1 December, with colder temperatures (the winter of 1963 remains the coldest on records since 1740 – literary buffs may remember this was the icy cold winter when American poet Sylvia Plath committed suicide in her London flat).
Years ago, people were counted in their years by how many winters there had been (so if you were 2, you would be ‘2 winters old’. Above the Arctic Circle, there is such a long winter that reindeer have developed adapted retina tissue so they can see in the dark.
Books for Winter Days
- Wintering is a beautifully written book that reviewer Elizabeth Gilbert writes is ‘every bit as beautiful and healing as the season itself’. Katherine recounts her own year-long journey through winter, sparked by a sudden illness in her family that plunged her into a time of uncertainty and seclusion. When life felt most frozen, she managed to find strength and inspiration from the wintering experiences of others, and the transformations that nature makes to survive. This beautiful memoir teaches us to draw from the healing powers of the natural world and to embrace the winters of our own lives.
- Wintering is the story of how Stephen Rutt and his partner moved to a house in Dumfries, and as they settled into their new home, thousands of pink-footed geese were arriving on Solway Firth from the Arctic Circle, to make it their winter home. And so begins this extraordinary odyssey. From his new home in the north to the further afield wide open spaces of the South, Stephen traces the lives and habits of five of the most common species of goose in the UK. With an expert eye and clear elegant prose, he paints perfect portraits of these large, startling and co-operative birds.
- Winter. It’s bleak. Frosty wind, earth as iron, water as stone. The shortest days, the longest nights. The trees are bare and shivering. The summer’s leaves? Gone. The world shrinks. The sap sinks. But winter makes things visible. Life matches up to the toughest of seasons. In this second novel, Ali casts a merry eye over a bleak post-truth era with a story rooted in history, memory & warmth. Its taproots deep in the evergreens: art, love, laughter. It’s the season that teaches us survival.
Which English Animals Hibernate?
There are only three mammals that hibernate in England: hedgehogs, dormice and bats. Be careful if you are knocking down old sheds etc, as climate change means often little hogs etc are still inside, click the links above for tips on how to help each species, and wait a good time after ‘official waking up’ before commencing work, to make all sleeping and birthed creatures have safely left to go off to their new spring lives.
Hibernation is not so much falling asleep, it’s about slowing the heart rate down to less than 10 beats per minute and slowing the breathing. Hibernating mammals have internal controls so they don’t get too cold, and the animal will wake up, if it does get freezing cold. Although we don’t hibernate, sometimes in winter it’s good to almost do so. Get a cup of hot tea, snuggle up in a blanket on the sofa, and watch vintage Columbo episodes!
Things to Do in Winter
- Roast a pan of winter vegetables (Full of Plants)
- Go for a nice winter’s walk. Read how to keep safe in snow & ice.
- See the post on where to find a sustainable winter coat.
- Sit by a real fire in a local pub and snuggle
- Read a nice book (by the fire, see below for suggestions)
- Enjoy a glass of mulled wine, or spiced cider
- Bake a homemade pie.
- Or make a fruit pie with vegan custard.
- Have a nice warm bath.
- Make a warming mug of hot chocolate
- Watch It’s a Wonderful Life
- Make homemade soup.
- Order a winter pudding, instead of a summer one!
Music Break: Night
Ludovico is the world’s most downloaded classical music artist. Classically trained in Milan, he is the grandson of a former President of Italy. Fortunately for us, he chose music over politics. His favourite artist? Eminem!