Welp, it’s February in Maryland. This has meant temperatures down to zero, windchills well below zero. Back-to-back ice storms, sloppy snow, and unrelentingly gray skies. Getting to the horse barn has been a dicey proposition in recent weeks, and days when I can air out the house have been few and far between. I love me some fresh air inside the house, but I do not love me those winter heating bills.
I’ve gone through the, “But there aren’t any bugs, Grace. You hate all the summer bugs, ‘member?” phase, and I’ve told myself, “The daffodils will soon be up!” though it looks to me like soon is, at best, weeks away. This time of year is just a dreary slog, much like the unrelenting heat and humidity of August can be dreary slog.
And yet, I am getting a lot of writing done. Snow days are the best thing for my productivity since the invention of the word processor. That weather-reprieve from having to go anywhere or do anything outside the house always echoes with my childhood glee at seeing heavy snowfalls. No school! Wheeee! Even if I spend the whole day chained to my writing oar, I’m happier for doing so with a sense of having cheated the to-do gods.
I also like watching the days slowly lengthen. I feed animals outside, every day, twice a day, so whether it’s dark at 5:30, 5:45, or 6 pm registers with me. I like seeing the bulbs start to push up through the snow. If those flowers can reach for the light, so can I. I like having my first cup of tea out on the porch on sunny mornings, even if I have to wear my puffer jacket AND my fleece vest. Sunshine is my friend these days, regardless of temperature.
I like how good a cup of hot tea feels when it’s cold outside. Whether I’m sitting down to write, coming in from outside, or settling in for an episode of Nicholas Le Floch, that steamy cup of tea is a real treat. In summer… not so much. I like that the heat is much quieter than the AC. I love my flannel sheets, and I adore paddling around the house in my Maggie Moo organic wool socks.
Listing these pleasures and treats makes the dreary weather more bearable, and inspires me to savor my current cuppa tea. What are you savoring about this time of year, or–because sometimes a slog is just slog–what are you looking forward to in the next month?
To one commenter, I will send a print copy of Love by the Letters, on sale Tuesday, AND a $50 Amazon gift card.
It is very mild and sunny here in the south of England.We have had this lovely weather for the past five days and it m akes us all feel more energized and perky.But it also makes me nervous because this time last year we had this fine weather for a while then it turned into a minus below and winds that howled and howled for weeks.The frost was deadly and killed off many garden plants that were coming back to life.We called the weather the Beast from the East.Spring was delayed by many weeks but when the summer came it was very hot and long.Extreme seasons that caught everyone out.A bit like life really !!’We can plan,we can expect some things to stay the same but nothing on this earth stands still.Who holds the winning card __we certainly don’t.
I saw an article about your heat wave, and I agree… unseasonably mild weather this time of year bothers me. The bugs and plants get confused, all the cold and flu germs get an extra shot of velocity (because we’re all out running around more in public places), and then the hammer drops. I will hope you don’t get a repeat of last year, because if it’s affecting your garden, it’s affecting the whole ecosystem.
Mmm. I actually enjoy getting to wear my cold weather clothes. But I love summer best! Endless sunshine and heat- yum!
I like my cozy cold weather clothes too, and like that when I am not wearing a bra (under my turtleneck,T-shirt,fleece vest, and puffer), it’s not obvious. In summer, I try not to overuse the AC (carbon footprint), but even running around in a sundress and sandals doesn’t do much to keep me comfortable when it’s 97 and humid.
March signals the beginning of Spring. Winter is almost over- there may be a snow storm but it melts quickly.
I appreciate the quiet & peaceful month of February. Winter weekends are spent at home reading or watching movies. Sweaters and vests keep me warm at work and wool socks keep my feet warm.
Like you, I look for the crocus, tulip and daffodil bulbs. Signs of Spring.
My daughter graduates in May & I am looking forward to celebrating her achievements.
Am looking forward to my coffee and corgis time on the back deck. It’s fun to see the 2 younger dogs play while Beanie & Rose sleep in the sun near me.
Am glad February is almost over…it’s almost time to ditch the shovels! Think Spring!
It’s it amazing what a difference three days makes in the feel of a month? January goes on forever, but February seems to skip right along. Of course, a holiday weekend helps, as does more sunshine.
I’m looking forward to having my annual doctor visit be over. Just hate it! I managed to ditch those ten Christmas goody pounds, but had hoped to lose ten more. I don’t think it’ll happen by next week. I’m also enjoying seeing the daylight increase by a little bit each day, and that first spring day when I can open up the windows makes me so happy.
I like opening up the house, and I’m not sure where that comes from. Maybe my mom? If it’s half-way mild for the season, I’ll shut off all the heat and open all the doors for a half hour or so. This is probably a known step on the road to eccentricity. Maybe the colder air has more oxygen in it, and it wakes up my brain?
This has been an unusual winter,even by Chicago standards:
*Colder than its been for 35 years–check
*Snow every few days (not a lot, but enough to be messy)–check
*A day in the 40s to regroup–check
*Cold (but not as cold as that couple of days of 20+ below zero)–check
*An Ice Storm to keep it interesting–check
I’ve been doing a lot of cooking and baking. The baking warms the kitchen and fills the house with yummy smells. The cooking also fills the house with good smells. When we have the odd 40 degree day, I make it a point to grocery shop for at least two weeks, with ingredients on the list for all sorts of quick breads and casseroles. I haven’t been cooking the way I usually do–light and lots of salads–but heartier things we usually have only once or twice a winter. My family likes the menus, especially when they come in from snow blowing, and there has been lots of coffee and tea consumed. I bought a second set of flannel sheets for every bed in the house–I LOVE those sheets, especially this year!
I do notice the later sunsets, as I look out the kitchen windows making dinner. Makes me hopeful this Winter-From-Hell will be over soon.
I have a weekly column to write for my professional society’s website and I find I write it earlier in the day than I have before. As the day goes on and gets darker, I don’t feel like writing in the evenings when that used to be my favorite time for my writing the column.
It has been a slog–a COLD slog–this winter and I can’t wait for the daffodils. Here in Chicago, that’s mid-March but this year, it could be later. Sigh.
We have the light version of that in Maryland. We either get rain or ice, enough to make driving unpleasant/dangerous. The paddock at the horse barn is either a sea of mud or a washboard of frozen mud. The horses hate it, I hate it, but they’d hate even more standing around inside all day.
I have been enjoying tea and books and the treadmill. This winter I have fought hibernation with gym time. I usually slow down quite a bit in the winter but feel much better this year for forcing myself to continue to move.
When I got my tread desk a few years ago, I would say mean things to it. I resented the need to move for no purpose other than moving, I didn’t have the energy, and blah, blah, blah…. But when we get this unrelenting, gray, icy, stinky weather… the idea that I can go in the living room and just toddle along for twenty minutes, IN MY JAMMIES, is a source of great relief.
Good on ya for slogging to the gym. Move or die seems to be the prevailing biological law.
I like to cook, but it’s never been a passion. I’m one of those people with a million recipes on my many Pinterest boards, yet have only tried a few dozen, at most. But lately, with the cold (then warm, then cold) weather here on Long Island, I’ve been making lots of roasted meats (turkey breast, beef or pork roasts, lemon chicken), soups, and I’m thinking this week a nice beef stew or pot roast. Lots of vegetables to go with it all. It’s just the perfect time of year for it, and it’s nice to have the oven on for a toasty, cozy kitchen. And while I look forward to firing up the barbeque on warm spring days, right now I’m just basking in the glow of my family’s smiles when they see the “feast” I’ve prepared (their word, not mine).
It really is hearty-meal weather, isn’t it? My mom used to make a scrumptious pot roast, and nothing–nothing in the whole wide world–was as delicious as those potatoes. Not a summer meal.
Surviving a normally harsh winter in Northwest Pennsylvania (we reside just 30 miles south of Lake Erie), is usually quite a challenge, even for the very young. However, this particular year has seen more of a roller coaster as far as our weather is concerned. With ice and tons of snow for a few days, then rain and melting for a few more, and back to ice and snow, it has been a somewhat refreshing change from the normal “snowed in” from late November through March. With all my daffodils and crocuses popping up, I think “Punxatawney Phil” may have gotten it right this year, and an early spring is on the horizon. I wish the same for you, dear Grace.
When I was growing up in State College, we’d see the Erie weather reports, which were usually in terms of FEET of snow. I did wonder how you muddle on through that much winter. Takes a certain toughness of mind, or really good snow tires.
Cold, snowy days (when we have them in the DMV!) are the perfect excuse for curling up with books and tea/coffee and just spending the day reading. As it gets warmer, I get energized and then start my spring cleaning. A couple hours of organizing and cleaning and then back to the books. I’m looking forward to the longer days of sun so I can spend more time outdoors, gardening and reading on the front porch.
I love to start my day with a cuppa tea on the front porch, which faces east. The sun comes up late because I live just west of a mountain, which means I have time to do chores, feed beasts, and brew a cup before catching my rays.
When I can’t do that (which is often lately), my whole circadian rhythm and mood both seem to suffer.
I was in Maryland this weekend for my niece’s baby shower – she’s expecting a girl (yeah! – fun to buy the pretty things). Extra special that her brothers came for the weekend too. One from Raleigh with his girlfriend and the other from Virginia with wife & three little boys. All the boys went to the Baltimore Aquarium for a ‘boys day’ while we did the shower. Then we enjoyed the evening with just the family. So I’m looking forward to meeting my great-niece in April! We headed home today to beat the snow – hope for no more after this week!
That Aquarium is something else. I’ve only been a few times, but it’s become one of the “must do” attractions for out of towners who visit. Glad you all had fun, because I guarantee you, the weather on either side of that gathering was NOT fun.
I like February because it holds so much promise for spring and a renewal of life. The harbinger of Spring in the South is the appearance of crocuses, daffodils and a few flowering bushes.People are seen outside trimming tree branches and clearing out the clutter of winter.
Where I live, the bulbs vary from year to year, but you know spring is coming when the farmers clean out the loafing sheds. They need time this for when the ground is still frozen (can’t have the tractors getting stuck in spring mud, can we?), but soon to thaw. The scent is distinctive, but I have positive associations with it. Another sign, not quite as early, are the peepers (tree frogs) singing as darkness falls. Some years we get late snows, but that doesn’t seem to bother them. I love those little guys. They are everything wonderful about my rural PA upbringing.
I am savoring the last few weeks of actual time before the government enforced time change. It was very hard on me when I was young up thru when I was starting work in the morning. Now that I am a useless almost dead slug, it doesn’t bother me much at all. But I have my principles. 🙂
What kind of tea is your favorite?
February is not my favorite and it seems the cold and snow are not coming to an end. But March signals Spring here in the MidWest and the beautiful birds will return and my tulips all will bloom
Hapoy Sunday! It has been a winter filled with lots of storms both physical and emotional. I have been encouraged by my books and also little snacks of chocolate. Every member of my family has had a cold or stomach problem once or twice. We also had an unexpected loss of an extended family member. We are looking forward to celebrating my mother’s 88th birthday in a couple of weeks. She had open heart surgery 2 years ago so we are thankful that she is doing well. I have been reading and rereading My One and Only Duke and am looking forward to Duncan’s story. Thank you for your great books! Have a blessed day!
Weather is just not what you expect anymore. We’ve had way below zero days but also 60 degree weather and it can change 20 or 30 degrees in a day. I’ve had one scary night driving on icy roads but there’s not been much snow. In fact, we’re getting lots of rain as we are right now. Pittsburgh never does get a lot of sun so when it does, it’s glorious and so appreciated.
We have been having some similar weather in the Chicago area. More snow today. It has been a rough few weeks with the polar vortex, ice storms and snow. The only good thing is that many of the bugs, including stink bugs are gone for this coming summer.
Hot tea is one of my favorite things about winter! Snuggling in for a good read (hint, hint) with a soft blanket and a cuppa’ is my idea of heaven.
February is still (almost) light at 6 p.m. February is a little snow melt on the driveway even when it is 15 degrees. February is yelling “enough snow already” at the weatherman but still checking the all-time snow records daily. February is a fried clam dinner because Winnie’s has reopened for the season. February is Snow Buntings in flight. February is wishing you had planted more spruce trees when the west wind blows. February is well-thumbed garden catalogs.
Grace, I love your style, read all your books and reread many two, three, and more times. Please keep them coming,
I’ll keep rereading your books.
Unlike most people, this is my very favorite time of year! I love winter, especially January and February. (I don’t like it where I currently live, though, where it just rains and is chilly and damp most of the time.) I need some snow to feel complete, and I love a gray, snow-filled sky.
In this weather, I love a hot cup of tea, a cup of coffee, or some hot chocolate. That, and something good to read while my kitties are nearby, is my definition of the perfect winter day.
I love dry winter days (and cool fall & spring ones too) because I can wear my boots and cooler day clothing. Since I live in Central Texas on the edge of the Hill Country, it may get really cold but doesn’t stay that way for long. I am looking forward to a long weekend trip my husband and I are taking. Just as much I am looking foward to the start of spring – I love seeing the wildflowers pop up.
I left off the obvious, that I am looking forward to finding Love by the Letters on my reader Wednesday morning!
The only way I deal with February in Maryland is driving to Siesta Key, Florida. I will return at the end of the month in the hopes that the groundhog was telling the truth this year!
Having a lemonade or mango juice makes me think of summer and warm days. I might have a hot cocoa afterwards, but those sunny drinks keep me going though the slog of theses days.
In SE TN, your winter blahs in Maryland are the beginning of monsoon season her. It rains, sometimes for several days. Rivers and lakes flood and everything is mud. I typically stay indoors with coffee and a good book (yours, naturally). Honestly, now is also the time of year that I start dreaming of moving. Anywhere in the world. And then I spend time researching those places. Climate, culture, people; everything about my new home. I’m never actually going, but I learn something and it takes my mind off of the deluge.
We have a little less snow than Maryland, so spotting the daffodils on our daily walks with the dog is a little bit of joy, even in the bitter rain. And we had thundersnow today. That was a little different, too!. A good day to stay in and read.
Here in northeast Alabama, the land of four seasons in one week, the confused daffodils are springing up and blooming. The seasons are unreliable here, with Halloween sometimes being warm enough for short sleeves and April occasionally bringing snow. Spring, when it comes, lasts about two weeks before the sweltering, humid days of summer attack the area. This week, February is predicted to convey cool temps and frequent, substantial rain showers. I have nothing against February as the days continue to lengthen and I can hang onto my cozy turtlenecks a bit longer.
Strangely enough I’m enjoying our yo-yo weather to some extent. I’m in a position where I can stay home if I want rather than getting out in nasty weather. As an example, Tuesday’s expexyed high is just 54º and there’s an 80% chance of rain so I’ll be staying inside by my heater and cuddling with my cats.
I’m looking forward to warmer weather until it gets miserably hot and humid. I’ve noticed the older I get the less I’m able to tolerate temperature extremes.
I’m a whining winter person (pity my poor hubby) so I have to look hard to find a plus. 😉 I do love that a lot of our snow has been light and fluffy so it looks prettier. I live in West Michigan, in a rural community, so it stays pretty and white longer than in the city. I like how a hard frost sparkles on the trees like diamonds. I am liking that we have more daylight each day and that Spring is on it’s way!
I love taking deep breaths of the crisp cool air in the winter. It just seems more pure & clean than in the summer months. I’m in Pennsylvania, with similar winters to yours. Fortunately, the arctic blasts & ice storms don’t last very long – one day it’s 5°, the next it’s 45°!
I am here in Phoenix enjoying the fact that I can wear a sweater … a very rare occurance. I have been longing to move back east but may be trapped by my dogs who are way too “busy” to tolerate apartment or condo living.
My coping time is summer, where I have lost all patience with the heat. I wear as little as possible (which means I can’t step out of the house at my age) and carry a spray bottle of water so I can be my own evaporative cooler as needed.
My favorite part of February (after Valentine’s Day) is when the azaleas bloom outside my window, which is happening right now! It means warmer weather is coming to stay! Having said that, I live in central Florida and it’s been in the low 80s this week and will continue next week. That’s my kind of weather! I hate cold temperatures and really suffered in January (I know it wasn’t much compared to the Northeast and Midwest but I was miserable). When February starts to wind down, then I know warmth is coming and not just teasing us. And I drink hot coffee and tea even when it’s 90 degrees outside so I don’t need winter to enjoy those treats.
This is the time of year when I put together my figure skating students’ competition programs for the season. It means listening to (and editing) lots of music, “jamming” on the ice with them and making sure the elements meet the requirements. We have a lot of fun – best time of the year! Sometimes, it’s warmer inside the rink than out but the programs are used through the end of the year!
I have plenty to do indoors and since I am retired I do not have to go to work outside the home. I am getting tired of the gray days. We only had one beautiful snow fall. The other times the wind would pick up and blow the snow into drifts – usually right in front of my garage doors. When it is cold, blustery snow fall staying indoors is preferable.
March is when we hear the first signs of spring – the sandhill crane flocks flying high overhead and we can hear their beautiful calls well before we see them. Then to eagerly go out to see what is coming up in the garden, to spot the first flowers, see the first spring birds back and to enjoy the warmer, longer days. Spring is the best.
I’m looking forward to spring, but we won’t see it until May! Here in Wyoming, we get most of our snow in March and April, with frequent Mother’s Day snowstorms. So I am stocking up on fuzzy blankets from winter clearance sales and reading a lot of happy stories.
South Louisiana had a very Soring like day today. Trees are leafing out and Japanese magnolias are in full bloom. Of course that alternates with rainy cold days as well with our weather in winter. So today I aired the house with open windows, read a bit and traced a new hand stitching project while watching old movies. House cleaning tomorrow to celebrate Presidents Day.
My family & I have recently moved to the Denver area from the Houston area. Just over a month ago. I’d literally never before shoveled a driveway before movng here & I’ve already had to do it 4 times. And will need to do it again tomorrow, thanks to the dusting we’re currently getting. And I have to say . . . My girls & I LOVE it! When we realized it was snowing this evening, we all bundled up to go see. Our dog, also a native Houstonian, has taken to the snow like she was born to it. She absolutely REVELS in it! The only one not loving the snow is my husband. He grew up in Illinois & thinks winter is the worst thing EVER. Except that snow is even more evil. And yet, we wouldn’t be hereif it weren’t for him.
I live about a half dozen states north of you. Other than the heating bills.. there isn’t much I don’t love about winter. Many of the same things you mentioned but also winter food. Winter food here is stuff that takes forever to cook in order to try to heat up the kitchen. So roasted beef and turkeys, baked beans, gooey casseroles, breads, cakes and pies. In the summer the kitchen is too hot to cook. So it’s grilled everything.
I love a wild snowstorm. It’s a reason to not leave the house and just curl up with a good book and a cup of tea.
I’m in Florida, but I miss Michigan every day. Once I retired from teaching in Detroit with a thirty mile drive the last eleven years, I got back my love of snow. I grew up in Niagara Falls and we stayed outside playing,building snow forts,and throwing snowballs. It was a wonderful place to grow up. We stayed out for hours wearing woolen leggings and coats. We were tough and everybody did the same. No coddling. I was the fifth out of six kids and parents just didn’t worry about us when we were playing in the snow – not mine or the other kids’ parents.
I think I spend most of February waiting for Spring to arrive. I’m not a Winter person at all. I need lots of bright light and warmth to function normally. Thank God for all my books during the cold and frigid months. Just the thought of flowers popping up and bird song keeps me happy.
The thing I look forward to in the next month is going to Florida for the first week of March. Just thinking about the warmth keeps me from the winter blahs. I try not to think too hard about all the sorting, selling, giving, throwing out starting after this one week reprieve, as we divest ourselves of 40 years of “stuff” and sell our home here in wintery Massachusetts. Add to that we have two senior dogs, one of which has lung cancer, and we watch carefully to decide on when he suffers enough to say goodbye. He’s an eleven year old Great Pyr who is our gentle giant. Life moves forward, for good and for sad. Loving your books, which allows for escapism. Going to bring your newest to FL with me. Blessings!
Isn’t Maggie Moo an ice cream shop? At least down here in the south.
I’m savouring the long cozy evenings in this winter season to catch up on my reading. My favourite historical romances of course. I love your books and always look forward to the next. Thank you for sharing your wonderful stories Grace. You can’t know how they gotten me through some of the most painful and difficult times. The characters in your stories kept me sane. Thank you from a very dedicated fan.
I am not a fan of winter. The clammy cold makes me feel uncomfortable all day long. I also work from home, but I like getting out to go to yoga or the grocery store without worrying my eyeballs will freeze, a hot topic of discussion during the polar vortex. I don’t like having to worry if I will make it to my destination without having an accident. My cousin in southwestern Ontario sent me a message over the weekend saying he had driven through three ice storms, he is a delivery driver, he has to be out in all kinds of weather. He is done with this weather. I am done with it, too. My church women’s group has a bus trip scheduled for the day a next storm with snow and ice is coming through. My husband and I drove double the usual time home from our son’s symphony band concert on Sunday. We even witnessed a minivan stalling out trying to go up a hill that wasn’t very large or steep. We didn’t dare use the freeway.
It’s been really cold here in Saskatchewan. -30 to -50 for the last 3 weeks. I am definitely looking forward to warmer weather, that’s for sure!
First you are able, if you can afford it, come to Florida. Central FL to have temp up to 86F predicted for Saturday. Yes, it seems crazy temp, but that’s FL. And its supposed to be February!
It has been unseasonably warm this year. I’m in central Florida too and I can’t believe I’m running the AC … in February! It’s just wrong.
I am ready for warm air so we can open the windows and get lots of fresh air and get rid of all these viruses!
I usually reserve the late winter for sorting through clothes and shoes to donate to out Church’s clothing Depot!
I usually go through books if I have additional time!
So hard to complain about the weather in Northern California, but we have had more of a ‘winter’ than usual this year with lots of rain, hail, snow on the peaks and colder than usual temps.
Still, it’s really not terrible and, personally, I LOVE this time of year!
I’m more of a fall, winter, spring type of person and probably live in the wrong part of the world for a real ‘autumn’, but I do love the SF Bay Area.
Grace, I love the books that you have written (all of them, really,) that take place in Maryland and Montana. Hoping for more of those with insights to a different “world” in terms of weather, etc.
So I guess I should stop whining about the “chance of snow” that has permeated our weather reports lately, hmm? I am amazed by all of you who don’t have sun most of the year because I definitely am more productive when the day is bright and cheerful as opposed to dark and rainy (which just makes me want to curl up under the covers with a good book). I love watching the bulbs and other plants send out new growth in the spring (my favorite time of year) and am spending my time lately moving the new strawberry plants under cover so it won’t rain on them, lol. Be careful on those treks outside on the slippery surfaces!
I agree that February is a terrible slog. But I do love winter’s comfort foods and spending time reading.
I was looking forward to Love by the Letters but have now read your sweet story, A is for Amorous. and am once again looking forward to your next offering.
I just finished tracing my ancestry on my father’s side and lo and behold many of them came from Lanarkshire, Scotland! I knew there was a reason I love all things Scottish. LOL