Winter pastimes

Of the indoor kind. After an extraordinarily slow start to winter, including a disappointingly dull, muddy December landscape, we got a generous serving of snow that has managed to stay. Temperatures have dipped up and down, snow levels have fluctuated, but it’s firmly winter. It’s reassuring, as this is how it’s ‘supposed to be’ here at this time of year. Early on we fit in sledding and we always get out snowshoeing, but there is a lot more indoor time in the depths of January, there just is.

Toffee is partial to board games and the like:

Cat watching bumpershot

As long as she doesn’t have to over extend herself.


Caramel finds adventure everywhere:



Both cats just enjoy hanging out:


Drawing and colouring have always been big at our house, but the trend in cool colouring books has been picked up in a big way by our local bookshop and we’ve been happy to test out some of their new finds.


Sometimes just doing nothing works.


Reggie loves taking the lead on that one, especially after having a big walk through the woods.

og and cagt cuddling

Sometimes we like to look outside just to remind ourselves why huddling inside can be so nice.



December kind of snuck up on me


Actually, I don’t know that’s actually true. I’ve been aware of December’s approach all through this fall, and yet somehow, here it is. And I have a feeling that I’ll shortly be saying ‘and there it goes!’ My hiatus from the blog seems to have dovetailed almost completely with the breaks taken by many of my closest blogging friends, which seems like more than just a cosmic coincidence.

I think life just feels over-full for so many people, and certainly the world has been full of distractions, many of them serious and hard to ignore. A life well lived, in my book, is one that balances being aware of the wider world/your community and contributing in some way, with taking care of your own little world, including health, wellbeing, family/friends, and creativity.  A life well lived includes, in some way, the ability to tune out everything else and just focus on what you’re doing, even for brief moments. It’s a balance that I constantly struggle with.

The past few months have been very heavily focused on my immediate family, and it’s been a funny season in which I’ve had more available time than at any point in the last three years (our youngest went back to public school in September, and is doing really well), and yet that time has been in demand in new ways. I’ve been trying to do more volunteering in my community, I’ve tried to carve out some time for personal interests that have taken a back seat for too long, and as a family we’ve been focused on helping our older boy get ready for college next year. Those are just the headlines, too. If December snuck up on me, you can imagine how it feels to have my oldest child suddenly on the brink of leaving home and going out into the world!

In a world that continues to spin way too quickly, the charms of choosing to exist more slowly at least in certain parts of our lives continues to exert an attraction. Which means that Wuppenif still has a place for me, even if it continues to change. A new reader has asked me if she can use my photo of an old school bell that I’ve shared here before on her family’s Christmas card this year, and I happily agreed. I love that others are also trying to ‘keep it old school’ in some small way, every day.

If anyone out there would like to share their tricks for slowing the pace or at least pretending to, I’d love to hear them.

Old school bell
Our old school bell is positioned just outside our back door. We use it to call family members up from the valley, where most of our land sits. It’s one of the nicest features of our home.


Boy throwing snowball at snowy overhang

One well-aimed snowball, that’s all it took. I still can’t believe I captured the shot! When I went outside yesterday afternoon, I noticed how close the snowy carapace on our woodshed was to meeting the ground.

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The Ironheart in winter

It’s only taken us four winters, but we finally figured out how best to place our furniture in relation to our Ironheart woodstove.

Sofas placed around Ironheat woodstove

Early on in the season we had a fundamental rethink about our main living space, which is one large room with a kitchen at one end and a living area at the other with the Ironheart in the middle. When we moved in, we almost unthinkingly placed our dining table in the centre of the room and next to the Ironheart. It made practical sense, given that meals are served from that end of the room, but somehow it never felt right. It really didn’t make the most of Ironheart and opportunities for enjoying its warmth and the glow from the firebox.

Suddenly, this winter, we realized that the dining table really belonged over by the large windows at the far end of the room and our sofas felt most at home right in front of the Ironheart. Now, we have a room that just makes sense for us, with our dining table still near the warmth of the Ironheart, but able to give us views to the outdoors and abundant daylight, and our sofas ideally positioned to maximize exposure to the Ironheart. It’s where we read, chat, play games, think about work or even get a little work done, snack or enjoy a casual meal, hang out with our furry friends (Petkid’s readers will know that we now have two kittens as well as Reggie the labrador retriever), and just generally live. It has made the Ironheart even more central to how we live, and that’s made this winter that much better.

You can read more about how we decided to physically position our Ironheart in our ICF bungalow in this previous post.