“No winter lasts forever; no spring skips it’s turn.”- Hal Borland
Winter is on the minds of almost every East Coaster. We have been dumped on, frozen, thawed and dumped on again. Record amounts of snow has fallen (90+ cms) and many people are still struggling to dig out their homes and get back to their day-to-day lives. See terrifying pics of how much snow that actually is here.
Spring is a short month away but with no end in sight, people are dreaming of southern vacations, spring time weather and even the giant mud puddles associated with a big thaw.
Unfortunately for many of us, winter in it’s harshest, most unforgiving glory is just a part of our lives on the East coast. We get warm summers, surrounded by the ocean and we enjoy fresh locally harvested, fished and farmed foods year round. We have some of the most beautiful summer scenery but we also get winter and winter isn’t so bad. Sure, our backs hurt from shovelling, our cars are white with salt and we have each broken at least two shovels this year, alone. Our wool socks are becoming worn and the warm soups and hearty stews are wearing thin.
With hard winters, our sense of community grows, our good deeds and helpful demeanour’s are showcased and we band together to survive till spring. Our netflix accounts are well loved and board games are taken off shelves and dusted off. Snow shoes and skis come out of hibernation and all of our beautiful summer scenery is delightfully enhanced by a clean coat of white snow. It’s not so bad, and in a few short months we will be hearing all about how it is “too hot out”.
Anton Chekhov once said “People don’t notice if it is winter or summer when they are happy.”. I don’t disagree entirely but below are tips to beating those winter blues that have been slowly creeping in as the windchill continues to decrease. Happy winter adventuring all!
Tips to avoid the winter beat down…
Embrace the season– take up skiing, snow-shoeing or go sledding (seriously, when did you last go sledding?). Go skating, play pond hockey or go for a drive to see what your favourite beaches and haunts look like this time of year. Often beaches provide lovely, frozen winter walks. Have a bonfire in the back yard with hot chocolate (and Irish cream..).
Master a new skill- Maybe you always wanted to make a pie crust from scratch or maybe you want to take up yoga. Well then do it! What time is better than than in the dead of winter?
Clean house and finish projects- No one likes to organize crawl spaces and paint when it is 30 degrees out- take advantage of the weather and all of the time you are spending indoors.
Plan a trip- Maybe you can’t afford it now but that doesn’t mean your can’t day dream about it!
Cook fresh foods and try to exercise- Prevent the stir-crazies, get moving and experiment in the kitchen with fresh ingredients. Farm markets are still teeming with fresh produce and nothing beats crisp greens when you have been eating soup and stew for months.
Adventure in your city- Just because there is four inches of ice and snow covering the sidewalks doesn’t mean everything is frozen. Art galleries and museums are constantly changing their exhibits, the live music scene is very much alive and well in the middle of a flash freeze and many restaurants offer winter dine experiences, that feature their menus at discounted prices. If you live in Halifax, burger week will quickly be upon us!
To kick-start your surviving winter, here is a little recipe for fresh spring rolls that I mastered during the high of winter! I was shocked at how easy and fun they were to make, I always had assumed they would be a challenge! New skill mastered? Check.
Easy, fresh and delicious Spring Rolls
You will need:
- A bunch of bean sprouts
- Some julienned carrots
- Green onions sliced in long, thin slices
- Lettuce of your choice
- Cucumber sliced into thin, slices
- A bunch of fresh basil (or mint or cilantro whatever your jam is)
- Rice papers (found in the international isle, I used the small-medium ones)
Prepare all veggies, and thinly slice them into pieces about two inches long. Get a warm bowl of water and spread a clean tea-towel onto your work space (this will make it easier to roll!). Pile your veggies in a place that is easy to reach and place one rice paper into the water (ignore the directions on the package, this is far easier!). Let it sit for about thirty seconds or until it has softened into a flimsy, pliable sheet. Remove from water and spread onto tea towel- it will be circular. Take some of each of your veggies and place them in a neat pile on the top third of the paper. Fold the top over the veggies and roll tightly until half of the rice paper is rolled (the paper is fairly stretchy, you won’t rip it if you pull a little tight!). Fold the left and right sides in onto the veggies and then roll the rest of the bottom half over your veggies. It will look like a little burrito. Each roll will get easier and tighter, and after five you will be a true master! If these directions are not helpful at all, you-tube it (that is how I learned!). Dip in a sauce of your choice! I mixed a little peanut butter, a little soy, a little hot sauce and some rice vinegar to make a tasty peanut sauce! Enjoy!