This week my students are exploring the world of forest animals and we are discussing what animals do to get ready for winter. I suppose it seems odd to discuss “winter” already when we have barely seen the mercury drop below 70 degrees. Our winter doesn’t often begin in earnest until January. In years past I have been able to mow the lawn during Christmas break! However, winter is a matter of mindset for me, and I must begin early in order to survive.
We talked in class about animals that store food for winter and that certainly includes me! I bought cookies and cocoa this week. Next week there will be an extra bag of chocolates on the list. And two or three flavors of hot tea. And bread mixes for my bread machine. And cans of hearty soups. (Yes, the treadmill is up and running…not that I am.)
Animals make their dens all cozy for hibernation. And while we don’t have the luxury of sleeping through winter, I certainly plan to sleep more, and to do it comfortably tucked under flannel sheets and an electric blanket. Also put out the heavy afghan that my grandmother made for me- nice for snuggling on the couch.
I pick a windy day and check the house for drafts. Always some of those in an old house, and it has been about thirty years since I’ve lived in anything but an “old house”. Amazing what a difference a little weatherizing can make! Have you ever checked your electrical outlets for drafts? I had no idea how much cold air could drift in through such a tiny hole.
Animals grow extra fur for winter. While I can’t do that, I CAN buy a heavy coat and I find that each year I learn more about keeping my old body warm. Layering with a sweater and a coat seems to work best for me. And I discovered last year that if I don’t need dexterity, mittens are far warmer than gloves. So I wear mittens when I’m doing morning car duty, and when I’m supervising recess.
My biggest concern during winter is safety. I try to drive more carefully and stay alert to the weather and road conditions. Right now I’m very aware that the deer in our area are moving and could be on the road at any time. I’ve hit two in years past and have been blessed to survive both accidents with only car damages.
Ice is more prevalent than snow in our area. Some years we have had ice for Thanksgiving and other years we have been covered with it in April. There isn’t much preparation for it except to stock up on “snow melt” products and hope for the best. I also have a cane and walking stick handy. This year I plan to buy some boots with heavy tread. The very thought of falling again terrifies me. If we have icy days I will be the first teacher to stay home! Just not worth the risks. And our hill is very difficult to navigate on ice because of the slope.
So, my thoughts today are of winter and this weekend I will make some final preparations. How about you?