I find winter (and most things) more enjoyable knowing they’re finite but will return. Today’s high is 4 degrees Fahrenheit (-15 Celsius) and we’re firmly in that part of winter where enjoying the frigid cold takes a bit of mental effort and extra appreciation for the frost creeping up the windows.
It helps a bit to think about the loveliest parts of spring and summer, like spending time outdoors–I love my indoor plants, but they are in the end stretch of winter right now, with north-facing windows, unexpected and inevitable drafts, and the long nights of the past few months catching up with them to the point that if they were characters in old British novels, a trip south would be recommended forthwith. The above photo is outdoor plants, mid-summer.
Outdoor (porch/balcony) square footage is actually larger than inside footage, even if you sometimes feel compelled to throw on pants before using it. After my first experience living in a home with a porch (landlord-advised access was by climbing out a window), I was sold on the whole elevated-outdoor-living-space thing. Definitely superior to a yard! Better people watching, more quasi-privacy without the whole anti-social “fence” thing, and fewer problems with deer and squirrels while gardening. Walking around cities, I love looking at how other people have used their porches and balconies and one of the things that puzzles me most is when people don’t appear to use them at all. Where do they grow food and flowers? Dry their clothes? Beat their rugs? Drink their morning coffee and afternoon tea and evening beer? Paint their toenails? Sand their cutting boards?
In this photo, you’ve got gratuitous knitting (i.e. I frogged/undid it later–I was knitting just for the relaxation of of the motion) on a rag rug found at a thrift store many years ago; I love its bright stripes and symmetry. The two teal pots were ends at Bachman’s, a couple bucks each. The stand on the left is a metal thing (for some reason in my head it’s part of a deep-fryer?) that came from the by-the-pound thrift store back in the 00s. It’s a casualty of the wrap-all-wire-in-fabric phase I went through between 2010 and 2013-ish (not that I wouldn’t again!), post to follow. The pot on that stand and the bottom right one are Ikea from around that same time period. The blue liquid is some sort of fertilizer from the thrift store. I would prefer the less Gatorade-colored options, but unfortunately it’s very difficult to source small quantities of bat guano within walking distance and sometimes you just go with what the thrift store gods provide and are thankful for it. (The white bag in the background is organic amended compost from the co-op, but that 50 pound thing is a [expletive] to carry home even with a cart (an old-lady cart–I am looking for a name that is just as recognizable but less gender/age specific) and not easy to use up entirely in one season.)
But here’s our reality for the next few days, and it’s beautiful in its own right. (And today’s high is now down to 2 degrees Fahrenheit or -17 Celsius.)