poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘cold

in winters past

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Cold here. Last week we reached a low of -25 (degrees Centigrade). As I watched the weather statistics I saw that the record for coldest weather for the day had been in 1973. The date whisked me back to my first winter in university. I barely recall those days, but I do remember hurrying back and forth across campus from class to class and the brown scarf I knit that year to keep my face from freezing.
To remember other cold weather, I just look at the winter garland of children’s socks and mitts strung across our chimney.
The red socks and little blue mittens hanging there were knit by my grandmother almost sixty years ago. We would have worn them on many bitter days spent in the cold Alberta winter. I remember my Mom wrapping our heads with multiple wool scarves, held in place by safety pins (long before the days of fleece and high performance fibres).
The green glove on the line warps me forward in time to the 1980’s when my son was in elementary school and the three-fingered Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were all the rage. I knit three-fingered gloves for him for three winters, as fast as they were lost. The single green glove on the chimney line is the only one that has survived.

When the days and nights are cold, I still knit. Today, I knit socks to keep me warm both during the knitting and the wearing.
Cold weather? Bring it on! I have knitting needles and a skein of yarn!

Copyright 2015 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

January 12, 2015 at 7:25 am

strategies for the winter

with 11 comments

Although it is only late November, I find myself shuddering at the approach of winter.  Perhaps it is the arthritis in my bones.  Perhaps the need for a quilt as soon as the thermometer registers less than zero.  Perhaps the climbing out of bed while the sun is still asleep.


So, never daunted, I am making plans.  These are my strategies for coping with the coming winter:


1. hover over a cup of tea each morning – my current favorite is Scottish Breakfast, a gift from my niece.

'tea-berry tea'


2. read, read, read – I read so much I usually feel guilty … but not this winter – I am going to read as much as I can – my current favorites are Elly Griffiths, Ann Cleeves and Ann Granger, all mystery/crime novels from the UK.  Just to keep with the spirit of the season, I am also re-reading Edwin Way Teale’s Wandering Through Winter (1965), the Pulitzer-winning book describing his four month, 20,000 mile winter journey through the USA.


3. watch the birds – I am determined to see a Cardinal at our feeders but, really, anyone will do … Chickadee-dee-dee!

one of the usual visitors to our feeder ... the Black-capped Chickadee

one of the usual visitors to our feeder … the Black-capped Chickadee


4. bundle up really well and go for a walk each day – I have had my wool coat dry-cleaned and I have cleaned out an old leather suitcase to store our mittens and scarves in easy reach.




5. Make a couple of small quilts. Working at a quilt is one of the warmest activities I know.


6. Knit a few pairs of socks, another warm activity. I am a good knitter … I can knit anything. Once, the top to my strawberry cookie jar broke and I knit a new top for it!




7. Enjoy sitting in front of a fire. This includes my small electric fireplace, our big woodstove, and, outside, our stone fire pit.


Do you have any strategies for making winter the best season of the year?


Copyright  2014   Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

November 24, 2014 at 7:30 am

february chill

with 4 comments

memories of a walk on a cold night …




spaces in the dark


white on the pasture

interrupts the night

clings to cold twilight



beside me


a black horse

assembles from shadow

ponders the snow


your coat

folded around me


the horse lifts its head

knows where deer hesitate

where wings brush against barn boards

where I stand in the snow

and shiver


never so warm again


chill spaces around me


no feathers to fly





Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

February 10, 2014 at 1:25 pm

Posted in shelter

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a moment of beautiful – November leaves

with 8 comments

the space: the November sky

the beautiful: oak leaves, not yet fallen

The oak is one of the last trees to give up its leaves in autumn.

I love the look of oak leaves against the sky.  Individually, their deeply lobed pattern is striking.  As a group, the leaves make a kind of randomly tatted lace.

These leaves are a frail, ineffective barrier to rain and snow, but to me, they are a statement of defiance against the coming winter.





my palm

and its splayed fingers

against the glass

defy the cold

demand the secret word


the way the oaks construct

tattered shelters against

November chill, cling to

their leaves, whisper




Copyright  Jane Tims  2012

Written by jane tims

November 12, 2012 at 7:34 am

keeping warm

with 15 comments

After some variable weather over the last weeks, the cold has arrived.

The birds at the feeder are plumped and fluffy, and look twice their usual size.   The cat curls up a little more tightly than usual, puts her paws over her face, and finishes off with her tail coiled across the paws.

Inside we use our electric fireplace more often and cover up with some of the little lap quilts I’ve made.  But outside is a different matter and another strategy is required.

I’m determined to stay warm this year, so I make the following pledge:

🙂 I will wear mittens and a scarf … you would think I would be past the ‘scarves-and-mittens-are-not-cool’ stage.

🙂 I will have a warm drink before I leave the house … my new discovery is real ginger root chopped into fine pieces and steeped for tea.

🙂 I will take a chair seat from the house to warm the seat of the car … I used to make fun of my Mom for doing this.

🙂 I will warm up the car before I leave … this is in the face of my usual ‘no-idling’ policy.

And so I would like to know, on these cold days, how do you keep your niche warm????



stay warm


two mittened mourning doves

sit on the ledge in sun, exaggerate

their approach to keeping warm

fluff the pillows, bar the doors, make a nest by the fire

spaces between feathers fill with air and fibre, energy from

sunflower seeds, cracked corn and cider



©  Jane Tims  2012

Written by jane tims

January 16, 2012 at 9:34 am

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