“Winter is a season of recovery and preparation-” Paul Theroux

It’s that time again! Wait… No one else is excited about winter? I know not everyone likes the cold and dreary days of winter, but I do. I can’t wait to take walks in the snow or see the frost forming on window panes like delicate lace. The snow often reveals things along my walks I might take for granted. Suddenly I can see that I’m not the only thing that walks along these paths. Snowy paw prints left behind are stark remnants of wildlife that normally stays just out of sight. Bundling up and walking through nature may not seem like everyone’s first choice, but I promise it’s worth it! The Library still has some state park passes available at the circulation desk and here’s a short list of state parks that are said to be “absolutely charming” in the wintertime. Do yourself a favor and take a camera! 

  • Cedar Bluff State Park: 32001 KS-147, Ellis, KS 67637
  • El Dorado State Park: 618 NE Bluestem Rd, El Dorado, KS 67042
  • Lake Scott State Park: 101 W Scott Lake Dr, Scott City, KS 67871
  • Kanopolis Lake State Park: 200 Horsethief Rd, Marquette, KS 67464

“To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake, it is necessary to stand out in the cold-” Aristotle

If you’ve read my other blogs you know I love gardening. While winter is usually the time you tuck your plants in for a long winter nap under a cozy bed of mulch, there are still things that can be done to pass the time and make the next planting season go smoothly. At the end of autumn, I like to inspect and repair/replace my tools. It’s also a good time for lawn mower maintenance and blade sharpening. Did you know you can extend the life of tools just by sharpening them? Just a quick pass with an angle grinder or a file can sharpen up axes, shovels and shears alike. 

Don’t know what to do with all those leaves? They make great mulch that’s easy to work into the soil next spring. Not only does mulch protect the plants you still have in the ground, it prevents new weeds from sprouting. If that doesn’t sound good, you can also cover your garden with thick opaque plastic. This is called solarization and is used to kill weeds and weed seeds and other pests in the garden over the long winter months. 

Planting! This part of Kansas rests in zone 6. November planting for zone 6 looks a lot like very early spring planting and includes bulby things and leafy greens. Think spring bulbs, lettuce and spinach. Keep in mind carrots can be left in the ground all winter and are supposed to get sweeter the longer they stay put.

  Winter is also the time to bring potted plants inside and prune fruit trees. If you’re like me, you like to keep fresh herbs around all year round. That means keeping them in pots and bringing them inside in the winter. Most herbs aren’t resistant to frost and cold so you’ll want to bring them inside before they get frost bitten. Make sure they’re clumped together near a bright window and if they start to turn a little crispy, place a humidity dish under them or put a humidifier in the room. They’re not exactly happy inside, but they just have to hang in there till next spring! Make sure you’re still paying attention to species specific pruning methods, but generally winter is a good time to prune fruit trees because they’ve gone dormant and are no longer putting energy into making flowers and fruit.

“The best way to cheer yourself up is to cheer someone else up”- Mark Twain

For some, Winter will never be that cheerful and it is a fairly well-known fact that exposure to sunlight and the outdoors contributes greatly toward stress relief and mood enhancement. These things seem less possible in the cold of winter and missing out on these activities can lead to seasonal blues. The Salina Public Library can help! Here are some general tips to help with the cold winter grumpies.

Get exercise! Join us here at the library for Yoga Moves and Chair Yoga. Give those stiff, cold muscles something to move about. You can even borrow our yoga mat from the Library of Things if you don’t have one of your own.

Borrow one of our light therapy lamps! You can also find them in the library of things by the circulation desk. They emit a light that mimics sunlight to help regulate circadian rhythm and help you wake up when the mornings are darker. 

Make some crafts to decorate your space! Sign up for the Adult Crafting With the Library or our Take and Make crafts and make something festive or useful to brighten up your home. Check out the Salina Public Library’s Calendar of Events for more information.

Join a book discussion! The Salina Public Library has a book discussion group for everyone. Visit our website to see the Book Discussions available or stop by the information desk here in the library to get registered. 

Settle in with a puzzle! Puzzles and hot chocolate anyone? Puzzles aren’t really my thing, but our puzzle exchange is very popular. Bring an old puzzle in and swap it for a new one! No checkout required just see one you like and give it a go.

Hopefully I gave you some good ideas on what to do this winter and if all else fails, snuggle in with a book here at the library. We’d love to see you! Happy reading and planting!