This is the busy season for our three-and-a-half-pound Yorkie. Yorkshire Terriers were originally bred to hunt and kill rats in the coal mines in Yorkshire, England and those hunting instincts are buried deep in her DNA. We have four columnar oak trees loaded with acorns in our back yard and the squirrels are constantly making mad dashes between the trees and along the top of the fence line at the back of our property hoarding food for the upcoming winter. Needless to say, excessive squirrel activity has ignited excessive Yorkie barking activity, which I’m sure thrills our neighbours. She can be asleep in her tiny bed at the front of the house, sense a visitor in the oak trees out back, snap awake in a nanosecond, and fly to the back door to terrorize the poor little creatures. While the squirrels are storing their nuts, our dog is driving us nuts.
There are philosophical observations to be made and lessons to be learned in the midst of all this drama. It’s the time of year when we’re all preparing for winter. The days are getting shorter, the sunlight grows weaker every day and its warmth diminishes. We changed the floral wreath on our front door for one of autumn leaves. Potted mums have replaced pansies in our porch planters. I no longer spend entire afternoons reading a book in the shade of the gazebo in our back yard. It’s getting a bit too cool.
It’s also the time of year when we go through our closets, pushing the bright colours of summer to the back or perhaps into the spare bedroom closet, and retrieving the blacks, greys, and somber colours of winter to the front of the line. Most of us already have too many pairs of black pants and numerous black sweaters and tees, so it’s a rather depressing prospect to haul out all those dark colours already. Therefore, I went online and ordered a pair of pants in a black and cream pattern to break the monotony. I acknowledge it’s hardly a radical departure but at least I’ll have something different to wear with all those black tops.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I need a winter parka this year but instead of safe old black or grey, I have my heart set on red, but they’re not that easy to find in the length and style I prefer. I want to be sure snow plows and buses can spot me from three blocks away and won’t mow me down. My visit to the mall didn’t produce what I was looking for so I ordered one online and we’ll see whether we like it or not when it arrives. Something to look forward to. If I don’t like it, I’m going for broke—a red Canada Goose® parka to protect my nuts. It’s minor compensation for not being able to head south this year and being born in a country with such nasty winters.
Shop early or all the good nuts will be gone
At this time of year, we’re all busy doing an inventory of our closet before the cold weather hits. Once we make a list of what we need, it’s time to make a pile for the charity bin or perhaps do a clothing swap with girlfriends. It’s a good idea to shop early while sizes and choices are still available in the stores, and before things get picked over. I remember back in my working days, I would often take a vacation day in the middle of the week and hit Toronto’s Bloor Street for a day of shopping to get my business wardrobe ready for fall and winter.
There’s a definite lack of variety in the stores this year as retailers are probably still figuring out what to do with all that spring and summer inventory they couldn’t move. I didn’t see anything resembling a blast of colour. No red, sunflower yellow, or jewel tones to accent our black and grey basics which makes it challenging to amp up any hope of avoiding winter blahs. But, like those squirrels, we’re preparing and getting ready for the inevitable.
Bears hibernate in the winter. To do this, they need to eat vast amounts of fattening food to bulk up and sustain their weight until spring. It seems my own body is now in early hibernation mode. Just like the bears, I’m putting on weight and already I’m sleeping far more than normal as part of my training for winter. By November, I should be sleeping about twenty hours a day, getting up just long enough to feed myself more carbs and read a few pages of the latest best-seller. It’s funny how nature steps in to get us ready for the long winter. If I can up my sleep hours to fulltime, then maybe I can forego that red winter parka and those new pants altogether as I’ll never leave the house.
Autumn in Canada is absolutely a wonderful time of year. It’s not too cold and not too warm. The colours of the trees are spectacular and warrant a drive in the country to take in the splendour. The smell of autumn leaves as we go for an afternoon walk evokes warm memories and makes us feel like nesting. Our cooking and menu plans also change. Instead of cold plates, potato salad and entire meals created with greens, we’re baking cookies, making stews in the crockpot and mashing potatoes to go with the roast chicken and gravy. It’s all part of how nature ensures we fatten up for the long hibernation.
The new fall television shows will be launching soon so we can PVR or stream all kinds of excellent programming to help us pass the time until the days start to get longer and spring once again arrives. It’s that fragile thought of the inevitable arrival of spring and summer that helps us get through nasty Canadian winters. Hopefully, we’ll also have a COVID vaccine soon and can start returning to normal living. We have something to look forward to. Are you storing your nuts? Are they covered in dark chocolate like mine? Baking banana bread? What other plans and changes are you making to accommodate a very strange isolating winter this year?