With winter beginning to settle in, are you ready for whatever the weather deals us this year? Are you one of those who like to trundle down to Florida or points southwest? Or will you do your best to enjoy our winter weather here in northeast Ohio?
Several members of my family have already gone to Florida to escape the cold and snow of our area. Some go to Lake Placid in central Florida, Winter Haven or Trenton, where there is less congestion than along the coastal areas that are very popular.
So far, Betty and I have decided to stay here and find ways to enjoy the winter. We have a number of things to keep us busy and don't have to go out if the weather is bitter cold or there is six inches of snow and more coming down.
Since we don't golf or go fishing, we are not sure what we would do to stay busy in Florida. Some folks, like my brother, do volunteer work such as helping in the local hospital or at a nearby church camp. Others enjoy playing cards, pitching horseshoes, golfing or taking long walks.
Yes, one can find things to do down there and that is true wherever one lives. Many opportunities are available to do volunteer work. People need to select those things they like and are able to do and get involved.
Planning things to do right around home also offers many opportunities. We enjoy looking out our living room windows and watching the many birds that frequent our two feeders or take bites out of the suet we provide. Studying the birds and trying to decide the various kinds that enjoy our feed is an interesting pasttime.
As the seasons change, so do some of the birds that visit our feeders. In the spring and summer we have two pairs of rose-breasted grosbeaks that have been coming back year after year. Usually they appear in early May and are active at the feeders until September. Then they just disappear without saying goodbye. They are pretty birds and we enjoy them. Some expense is involved in feeding the birds, but we think it is worthwhile.
Betty enjoys her scrambled word puzzles, and sometimes she will tackle a 500- or 700-piece puzzle. I spend considerable time researching and writing agricultural articles. A couple of groups that I am involved with and enjoy their breakfast meetings also occupy some time.
Church activities provide many opportunities. Again one can choose those of interest or that you are able to do. Woodworking used to be one of my favorite activities, but I have gotten away from it, mostly because of health reasons. With some nice tools sitting unused, there are times when I would like to pick them up again.
In many ways, we are fortunate. We hire the snow plowed out of our driveway. The man we hired automatically comes if we have four inches or more and does a good job of clearing the driveway and also shoveling our short walk.
We have a gas-fired fireplace in one corner of the living room that we enjoy using when it is snowing and blowing outside. It is an efficient fireplace with a double flue and burns outside air that comes in one of the flues. Exhaust gases go out the other one making it about 87 percent efficient, according to the manufacturer.
Wood trim around the fireplace is some old walnut that my dad saved. We had just enough to do the trim we wanted, and we do enjoy the personal touch it gives to the fireplace.
We listen to the weatherman. If he says we will have a lot of snow, we make sure we have plenty of milk and other food in the house. Then we don't have to go out if it is snowing and drifting outside.
Sure, there are times when it would be nice not to worry about wearing boots, heavy coats and hats. As winter goes along, it is important to stay busy, be active and get plenty of exercise to stay upbeat.
Parker is an independent writer for the Tribune.