Sunday, October 24, 2010

Winter Preparations and a large helping of friends

Scooting on here quickly this morning as I feel I am abusing the time Mr Beehive has given me. It's 8am and I'm still in bed, drinking a coffee (bless him) and it's so warm under my lovely down quilt and new blanket that I can't bring myself to get up.

We've got friends here this weekend which is so lovely. We are so far north from the majority of our pals that we may as well be living back in the US for the amount of people that can visit for a weekend. It tends to be a seven hour drive for most of them!

However, it's half term in England this week, so we've got a full house for the next couple of weeks - just how I like it. Lots of noise, cooking, laughter.

Yesterday we decided to take them to Dynamic Earth. I love this place! We have an annual pass and each time we go, I still get more out of it. It's really hands on for the children too, so they always have a blast.

We also got some time to hoop together and Little Miss Beehive taught their daughter to move her hips and keep her hoop going. It was amazing how quickly she picked it up!

It's been really bitterly cold in the last few days. I'm getting our medicine cabinet together for another long cold and dark winter here. Poor Master Beehive the elder has been suffering a bit with his asthma this week, he's been using his inhaler more than he normally does. However, using the alternative medicines alongside his steriod has meant that this year so far, the potential terrible cold that usually renders him very poorly and occasionally has put him in hospital in the past, this time has only left him with a croaky voice and the need to use the inhaler. It would appear that daily prevention when he is healthy is improving his overall health.

This is our little collection of winter vitamins and preventions that we use daily and hopefully stave off much of the winter's malice:
Echinacea and elderflower for the first signs of a cold;

Sage and garlic for the first signs of phlegm and catarrah.

On a daily basis; multi vits for the kids, floradix for me, omegas for the kids and me and I take vitaming D as well due to the serious lack of light in the winter here and my hatred of the long, dark days (my mood is so seriously altered by lack of a blue sky and some sun), then we also have malt extract that I give the children daily from now until around March. This is something my mother religiously gave us through the winters when I was a child and I have to say, I think it really helped build our immune systems - or at least give them a helping hand through the winter.

Oh and lastly (blushes) the milkthistle is for the over indulgence at Christmas and with our stream of guests for the next few weeks. Lots of water and some milk thistle will help!

Although I don't actually enjoy the dark in Edinburgh, I do love the preparations for winter which probably spill over from our time living in New England through the snows. Is the shovel ready, do we have grit to get the cars out? Time to change our duvet to the thicker tog, are the sleds accessible (this is an important one in Edinburgh!!), where are the winter clothes and what state are boots in this year. Gathering and harvesting the last of the summer harvest and pickling and preserving to ensure we aren't wasting surplus and have gifts for friends. Starting preparations for Christmas puddings which I'll begine in the next couple of weeks and getting the house decorated with pumpkins and gourds for the autumn.

An older picture of pumpkins in Vermont (2006)
Living in a modern house I really miss the opportunity to stack firewood in preparation for a few months of warm fires and the smell of woodsmoke, but, this time next year we'll be in our farmhouse and finally be adding that chore to our winter preparations.

Finally, Mr Beehive has been working like a beaver this week. He offered to smoke garlic and make jars for a fundraiser for a colleague's wife. A couple of birthdays ago I bought him a smoking course which got him totally hooked. We now own a fantastic smoker/barbecue that he uses on a very regular basis and smokes all kinds of things from cheese and nuts to meats, both hot and cold.
This was a very kind thing for him to offer to do, but I don't think he fully understood the preparation involved in the early stages. Three days later and shrivelled to a prune as cold water soaking aids the removal of the skin, he had dutifully skinned and separated around 50 bulbs of garlic, all of which are now marinating around 30 jars of oil. That'll keep the colds away if nothing else does!!!

What does your winter preparation involve?

The moon rising over Arthur's Seat.

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