Here in Western New York, the long winter started early – snow hit during the first week of December and kept its grip right through Christmas.
Interesting to note that means three full weeks of snow before the “official” start of winter.
It’s easy to feel down as the doldrums set it – short days, limited sun, nowhere to garden outdoors.
You can do a few things to pass some time – alphabetize your seeds. Clean out your outdoor garden shed. Browse seed catalogs. Experiment with growing some herbs in that south-facing window.
You know what?
If you are physically able, don’t let someone telling you “it’s too cold” or offering other myriad excuses keep you from the outdoors.
There is no more glorious time to take a walk than on a crisp winter night.
You won’t need a flashlight once your eyes adjust. If walking on a road, wear reflective clothing and carry a flashlight.
Walk along a bike path with a friend. Appreciate the subtleties of the winter flora – the reds of the arrow wood, the buds that will be next year’s leaves, weeping willow branches turning bright yellow.
Don’t just take one walk, either. Turn off the TV. Get off the couch. Plan to walk every Tuesday night for two hours or so.
You’ll discover quickly if you dress in layers, avoid cotton clothes and wear a hat that no matter what the temperature, you won’t be cold. You also will enjoy yourself.
If you have hiking poles, use them. “Yak Trax” cost about $20, fit to the bottom of your boots and will keep you from slipping.
Bring water and a light snack or perhaps a thermos of hot chocolate.
In our region, trails are walkable more often than not and only have enough snow for snowmobiles a few weeks every year. That means you have them to yourself.
If you need someone to walk with, contact your local independent outdoor store, especially if it caters to kayakers.
The boat-borne go stir crazy and often meet weekly for organized hikes.
Spring will be here before you know it, but enjoy January and February while they’re here.
About the Author
Joe Genco is a contributing writer to Mike the Gardener Enterprises, LLC, home of the Seeds of the Month Club, and a registered representative with New England Financial. You can e-mail him at email@example.com