How Do You Winter?

Today it began snowing around 10:30AM and continued on and off.

And, it’s the time of year where it gets dark at 5:30. For a night owl like me, that makes the nights seem endless and the days fleeting – which is especially a consideration if I have things I want to do during the daylit hours.

Today, I had a pallet-load of plastic butcher block delivered from e.plastics (I am going to make the shop doors run in a floor-track made from polypropylene) and a visitor at the shop, so I ran around a bit like a grumpy badger preparing for winter. I have a pair of blades I’ve been working on, which are about ready to mount handles on, and I’ve finally gotten stuck into making the shed doors. I’d include some pictures except, today, I didn’t take any. Also, one pile of random plywood sticks looks pretty much like another, and I have 6 such piles in my hallway. My hope is, now that I have gotten started, the mechanics of “one step after another” will drag me forward. On December 1, the propane company is going to come and take away the tank at the school, and move it to the new building. After that, if I want anything done involving heat, it’s going to have to happen at the new building.

The early dark and the snow made me feel a lot colder than I am; when I got home I made an emergency warmer-upper:

  • 2 cups apple juice/cider
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 pinch cinammon
  • 2 shots Fireball cinammon whiskey (or Jack Daniels “Kentucky fire”)

Heat the cider with the cloves and cinammon until it’s warm and just starting to steam. Don’t boil it; that’ll ruin the cider. Add the fireball and take out the cloves (or drink around them)

What do you do to warm up a cool night?

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I feel like I want to say something about politics but all that comes out is enraged thrashing at my keyboard. The news is so depressing; at least half of my fellow Americans are revealed to be either stupid, hateful, or both. Collectively, we are screwing the pooch bigly on the coronavirus. Yet, the news is “Kanye West sheds bitter tears that he was only able to get his fans to waste 60,000 votes.” and Lindsey Graham makes a mockery of pretending to believe in anything.” I actually read a journalist dryly quoting some proud boy asswipe saying that they had a rope ready for any antifa who want to get violent with them. You don’t get to complain about someone threatening you when you just said you have a rope ready for them. Really, how stupid is everyone? I know, I know, at least 50%. I’m sick of trying to pretend that maybe it’s all a misunderstanding; I know it’s not. None of this stuff is funny in the slightest bit. There ought to be serious consequences for the sort of behavior we’re seeing, but there won’t be any of that, either. The retaliation we’ll be seeing is the mainstream democratic party knocking the crap out of their left wing because someone has to be blamed for the fact that Biden is about as exciting as a tall cool glass of Milk of Magnesia on a cool evening.


  1. aquietvoice says

    At the moment, I’m actually getting ready for summering. Trying to plan interstate travel, wondering if the whole state will catch fire again, that kind of thing. I think the fires will skip a year in terms of awfulness though… maybe.

    Summer cooling recipes are a little boring though. Prepping for cold weather? I have a broad range of teas, hot malts, hot chocolates, things to add into them, the lot. Prepping for hot weather? Put another bottle of water in the fridge and there’s nothing that can be better. :)

    It’s kind of parallel to winter vs summer clothing, really. Maybe?

    As for politics and whether any part of this is funny, I’m just spending some time thinking about how people adapt, about how comedy adapts. Some of it is actually pretty funny and not just a way to work through today’s list of stupid bullshit, for example:

  2. lochaber says

    I grew up in PA, and am now living in the SF Bay Area, CA.

    I miss having a real winter, but on the other hand, the summers here are pretty mild, which is a pretty decent tradeoff. No AC in my apartment, and I’m just now thinking of buying a fan for next summer…

    I broke my bike, so was walking to public transit when a coworker noticed and offered me a ride (we may have just started our “rainy season”? – it was barely a light drizzle most of the day, and had stopped when I left work), which I appreciated, but didn’t need. “Bay Area weather isn’t going to kill me”

    As to the other stuff, I feel like this has probably been beaten into the ground, but apparently there is no shortage of people who don’t get it: “This isn’t a difference in politics, it’s a difference in morality”, etc. Also, interesting that people consider lynching a valid self-defense tactic; silly me, I’ve been ignoring or walking away from people I found annoying but not endangering.

    I’m hoping AOC can continue to build a coalition in the House, and am saddened to hear she is considering quitting politics. I can’t at all blame her, but it will definitely be a loss to the country. She’s been pretty consistently awesome, and I really hope she stays with it and helps get others like her elected, and maybe leads an actual progressive bloc.

  3. Dunc says

    It’s nowhere near as cold here in Scotland, but sunset today is at 15:59 (sunrise was 07:56), and we’ve got a long way to go yet to midwinter… I find the endless darkness pretty tough going even in a normal year, so I have to admit I’m a bit worried about how well I’ll cope under pandemic conditions.

    Also, typical winter weather here often means that concepts like “sunrise” and “sunset” are entirely theoretical, as we often don’t see the sun for days or even weeks on end – the sky just goes from pitch black to dark grey and back again.

    Maybe I should set up my continuous softbox over my desk…

  4. Reginald Selkirk says

    Snow here. The big fluffy flakes that say, “There might be a lake upwind.” I expect it to be gone by tomorrow.

  5. says

    Also, typical winter weather here often means that concepts like “sunrise” and “sunset” are entirely theoretical, as we often don’t see the sun for days or even weeks on end – the sky just goes from pitch black to dark grey and back again.

    Have you ever considered taking up sword-polishing as a hobby or vocation? You could have someone shackle you to a bench and give you water and cabbage and you could wile away the hours of darkness muttering to yourself in broken little curses with just the song of the blade on wet stone to accompany you…

    Seriously, what you posted just helped me understand the origin of a certain form of Scots-goth.

  6. says

    I like the ghost possession video. I’m pretty sure it’s just about right.

    This would be a bad time for a giant asteroid to hit the planet because there’d be people worshiping it and yelling “THANK YOU!” and it would be very confusing.

  7. sonofrojblake says

    I mentioned to my wife the other night a moment that changed my life. I was in a mountainside restaurant in Les Arcs, France. I’d locked my board up outside and gone in. I’m a “get on the ski lifts first” kind of person, so I was ready for a break by about ten, so the place was pretty much empty. I went up to the chap behind the bar, and as I had done hundreds of times before, said “Un chocolat chaud, s’il vous plait.” And he said something nobody had ever said before, which was “Avec rhum?”. I was thrown for a moment. “Pardonne?”. “Avec rhum?”, he said again, in the tone of someone asking whether I wanted it served in a cup or something equally bloody obvious – “I said, do you want rum in it like any civilised person would, you dopey English?”. I said “Oui, bien sur” or similar, and he got the bottle out, dispensed a shot, put it in the drink and served up. I paid, sipped it, and looked at him like he’d just explained the secret of life to me. He smiled conspiratorially and nodded. I’ve never drunk hot chocolate without rum since.

    Until recently I usually used powdered hot chocolate, which is just sugar, cocoa powder and occasionally some other flavouring like vanilla (I designed a bit of the plant that Cadbury’s made their hot chocolate on). Just this past weekend I tried putting a litre of milk, 300ml of double cream, 100g of milk chocolate and 200g of plain chocolate in a slow cooker for three hours, and I’m not going back and you can’t make me. I still put rum in it.

  8. says

    Badly. I winter badly.

    We have a very warm fall so far. I have harvested over 2 kg of figs from my greenhouses. But it is cold enough for me to not be able to do anything in the garden. And the absence of daylight is getting to me.

  9. DrVanNostrand says


    You’re the worst. I grew up in WI and lived in CA for 10 years, and I literally want to murder everyone that says “I miss seasons”.

  10. dangerousbeans says

    I like to add some star anise, ginger, and/or black pepper. Basically go nuts on the spice draw.
    And leave out the booze.

    Although calling our 5-10c low weather ‘winter’ seems like an exaggeration. it’s more just the dark season

  11. lochaber says

    I most certainly don’t miss seasons, I just miss a real winter. I certainly don’t want a WI summer…
    A few weeks ago, when I went in to work I saw a couple patches of frost on the ground, and it made me ridiculously happy, I think it’s been a good 10-12 years since I’ve last saw frost.

    I had once hoped to move further northward, but I’m a far better employee than applicant, and combined with my current rent-controlled apartment, I literally cannot afford to move. I also like the diversity and general political climate here, and that I can exist without an automobile – that’s not possible in too many places in the U.S. Too bad, I rather miss layered clothing, and the way that first breath of cold air shocked your lungs stepping outside in the morning…

  12. Jazzlet says

    When you say ‘cider’ do you mean non-alcholic, but fresh apple juice? I’m never entirely sure what Americaans mean when they use the word cider, in the UK it is always alcoholic.

    For warming drinks it rather depends whether I want a thick drink, in which case hot chocolate made with milk and grated choclate, it is quick if you buy it ready grated from someone like Hotel Chocolate. If I want a thin drink then probably ginger ‘tea’, grated ginger with spices and sugar to taste simmered in water, the longer you simmer the stronger the flavour, it’s worth making a big batch it reheats well. You can make a mild version with chopped ginger, but I’m not sure why you would bother

  13. grahamjones says

    Scotand, Sunrise:08:21, Sunset:15:47 here, and the wind’s 40mph gusting 60. I think I must be north of Dunc, and I’m certainly less bothered by winter. One thing I like doing in the dark is playing frisbee with neighbours. LEDs are wonderful things. Way too windy tonight of course, I want heavy-duty a light-up kite. Which I believe I can make…

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