Updated: Jan 20
Happy winter, everyone! It’s really nice to have snow again on the winter solstice and maybe we’ll still have some for Christmas on Saturday. As New Hampshire warms (faster than most states), this may not always be the case, so let’s enjoy it while we have it! Now, for a few eco-tips about winter:
Still Shopping? Head over to your local downtown and buy a gift certificate to an eco-friendly restaurant (good for you, good for the economy, good for the Earth). Or grab a New Hampshire State Parks Pass to motivate your family to see the state this year. You can also check out Rachel’s or my Holiday Gift Guide.
My husband’s birthday is right before Christmas. This year, I gave hime a NH State Parks Season Pass for the family. Hoping to check out all our beautiful state has to offer this year. Last year, I gave him a steel razor, which is still a favorite.
Stay Warm the Old Fashioned Way Enjoy cozy sweaters, socks, and cups of warm tea or coffee instead of turning your heat up to 80 degrees. I make an argument for keeping your thermostat near 63 degrees in this post last year and give lots of ideas to get cozy in the winter without turning up the heat here.
Cozy up with a good book. The Art of Frugal Hedonism is a personal favorite.
Buy/Donate Used Sleds, Skis, and Skates If you have some winter gear you don’t use anymore sitting in your storage, set them free so others can use them (Goodwill, Facebook MarketPlace, Freecycle, Craigslist). And, if you’re in the market for a new pair of skis, skates, or other winter gear, try to find them used first. Not only are they less expensive, but buying used is much lighter on the Earth. If you can’t find used, buy quality so your gear will last a long time and you can pass it on afterward.
Buy Quality Winter Clothes Winter gear is one of those categories where you just need to buy the best. Choose a really good pair of boots, jacket, hat, and mittens and then wear them season after season (good companies will replace or repair their items, giving them an even longer wear life). There are thousands of warm and fashionable products available at ThredUp, WornWear, and other used clothing sites, not to mention your favorite thrift store or you can buy something new, just make sure you wear it for a long time and donate when you’re done.
Don’t Let me Catch you Idling! Modern engines don’t need to idle to “warm up”, so may I suggest an extra layer of clothing for those early mornings? You can warm up by scraping off the car instead of letting the fossil fuels do the work for you. Added bonus: toned arms! And, so we’re clear, you never need to “keep the car running” while you pop into a store. The car isn’t going to cool down that much while you go inside and, as aforementioned, idling is not necessary for the car’s sake.
Watching the birds is almost as fun as watching the chickens.
Give Nature a Gift this Winter Spend some time creating a habitat for nature this Winter in your own backyard. My next read, generously gifted to me by a good friend, is Doug Tallamy’s book Nature’s Best Hope, which advocates turning useless lawns into habitat. Last year I spent a lot of effort working on my own yard, including this mini bird habitat.
We like the watch the sun rise at Dimond Hill Farm in Hopkinton.
Say “Welcome Back” to the Sun Tomorrow Our family has a tradition of welcoming back the sun this time of year. Solstice is a time of celebration in many world religions because the shortest day of the year can only be followed by a longer day and longer days eventually mean new life in Spring. If you’re dreaming of Spring already, you can check out this post about planning for your vegetable garden.
A big batch of Scottish Stew (aka Scotch Broth). I like to store cubes of soup in the freezer for later.
A Recipe for Hearty Scottish Stew, a traditional New Year’s Soup I found (and modified) this recipe in The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau and have made Scotch Stew each year since.
3/4 cup rice or barley
3/4 cup red lentils
2 yellow onions, roughly chopped
3 yellow potatoes, diced
3 big carrots, sliced or diced
8 cups vegetable stock (use homemade or Better than Bouillon and water, not cartons or cans)
3/4 cup frozen peas
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
2 tablespoons parsley (if you have a live plant)
Soak barley/rice and lentils for one hour in a bowl of water. Drain, rinse, and add to a large soup pot.
Add onions, potatoes, carrots, stock, salt, and pepper to the pot.
Bring to a boil, then simmer until everything is tender.
Add frozen peas for the last 5 minutes.
Garnish with parsley
Happy Winter, New Hampshire! Get out and enjoy it!
Our living Christmas tree, all decked out in Nature’s best decoration.