Doing My Chores

snowy cabinHere in the northern hemisphere, we’re preparing for winter. Yes, it’s only September and we still have weeks of splendid autumn to enjoy but we all know what’s coming after that. We see the inevitable signs.

The geese are flying south, the squirrels are gathering acorns, the cats are finding patches of sun to in which to park and nap.

We, the people, need to prepare, too; we can’t let winter catch us unawares. We’re putting the gardens to bed, doing outdoor chores, pulling out recipes for soups and slow-cooker meals.

Winter is the time for hunkering down, for working indoors, for getting in touch with the heart of the home again, for making our own warmth to sustain us.

Here, at out house in upstate New York, the warmth comes from the kitchen, the loom, the quilt frame.

I need to be ready. I’m lining up projects and feathering my nest. I’m doing the chores that will ensure a happy, productive winter.

I’ve spent a lot of time this past week assessing my readiness for candy season. As you may recall, I make and sell chocolates between October and May, so I have been gathering ingredients, deciding how much chocolate I need to buy, and finding the pans and bowls and spatulas I put away months ago. I finally located the candy thermometer and today will look for the candy boxes and labels I stored, to see if I need to order more.

I don’t particularly enjoy all this organizing and planning—I like making the candy! But I need to do these chores so I’m ready for the fun part.

I’ve also been making decisions about a weaving project. I don’t want to stop weaving but, right now, I don’t have the time or inclination to start anything challenging or fancy or artsy. I’ll leave that kind of weaving to my husband; I’m going to make some dishtowels. Some nice dishtowels, in a cotton and linen blend, off-white, with a red stripe down the sides, just like the vintage towels I love so much! Once I get the loom set up, I can weave a few inches whenever I please and watch the fabric grow like magic.

I don’t particularly enjoy all this measuring and planning—I like weaving! But I need to do these chores so I’m ready for the fun part.

My other preparation for winter involves quilting. I haven’t done any quilt-related work since I finished the 1812 quilt, and I miss it. Winter is the perfect time to do hand quilting because it means settling yourself beneath the quilt, while you stitch, warm in your cocoon.

As you know, I love college football and will watch any team play, any time. I want to get a quilt top basted and ready to quilt so I can work on it while I watch football. As it happens, I have quilt tops made by my grandmother’s aunt and by my husband’s grandmother, beautiful hand-pieced vintage tops, just waiting for me to finish them. I’ve picked one and will buy backing fabric this week.

I don’t particularly enjoy all this basting and planning—I like quilting! But I need to do these chores so I’m ready for the fun part.

The chores need to be done so, during winter, we can be secure and productive and content as the cold winds whip the snow into drifts around us.

How do you prepare for a comfy, cozy winter? Have you begun your chores?