Simple Ways to Celebrate the Winter Solstice

It’s here! Today marks the first official day of winter in the northern hemisphere. Knowing as the longest night of the year, the Winter Solstice marks the return of the light. Slowly the days will grow longer and the night shorter.

How to Celebrate the Winter Solstice

People around the globe celebrate the Winter Solstice in many ways. If you are looking for simple ways to celebrate the start of the winter season with your family, consider the following ideas.

Go for a Nature Walk

Even if the sun is starting to set, go outdoors. Tonight, after sunset, look just above the horizon to view Jupiter and Saturn’s rare alignment. The lining up of the two planets will create a rare appearance of light, also known as the Christmas star. Here are a few tips for your nature walk after dark. 

  • Dress appropriately. Remember to wear layers to keep warm.
  • Carry your cell phone, but put the device on vibrate.
  • Use a flashlight if needed.
  • Remember to walk in a known location for safety. Walking on a familiar path is essential if the sun is setting.

Go to the Library

On your walk or car ride, go to your local library to check out books about the Winter Solstice. Some quick title suggestion includes:

Your local library, online shopping center, or bookstore has numerous books related to the Winter Solstice.

Eat 

Combine your Winter Solstice celebration with your dinner. Host a special family night meal.

  • A hearty Winter Solstice Soup to help you stay warm.
  • Swedish Saffron Buns or create bread in the shape of the sun to welcome back the light-filled days.
  • Mulled Wine, Hot Tea, or Eggnog
  • Winter Salad
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Butternut Squash
  • Bake a cake in the shape of a Yule Log
  • Use nature and winter-themed items to decorate a cake.

Feed the Birds 

Long winter nights mean less available food for birds. Add extra seeds to your bird feeder. Or decorate a tree with edible food for the birds to enjoy.

Make Nature Crafts

Use items from your nature walk for crafting. Pine cones, small twigs, or acorns are perfect materials for wreaths and other nature-inspired crafts.

The Winter Solstice is a once a year event. Even if you just decide to curl up under a comforter with a good book, take a moment out of your busy work, school, or holiday schedule to celebrate the longest night.

 

Feeding Chickens in the Winter Months

Winter months mean shorter days and darker, colder nights. Keeping your chickens healthy requires extra attention. Like most farm animals, chickens need extra food in the winter months. Remember to store food properly to avoid excessive moisture, not to mention rats and mice in your feed bags. Preventing mold and other bacteria is critical for the health of your chickens.

Tips for Feeding Chickens in the Winter

Healthy chickens need to stay warm and fed to be healthy in the winter months. Winterizing your coop is essential. Continue to check for any cracks or holes that may develop due to snow, ice, or wind damage. Along with adequate bedding, chickens require extra nutrients to combat the cold weather.

Give Extra Food

When feeding your chickens, provide extra food. Due to the lack of bugs, grass, and other natural nutrients, chickens need a little extra in the winter months.

Provide Treats

Chickens love treats. Adding a bit extra to their daily feeding will help keep them healthy and fit.

  • Warm Oatmeal: Fix oatmeal for your chickens.  The warm snack is perfect for a long winter day.
  • Vegetables: Leafy greens or other vegetables are a perfect treat.
  • Hang Cabbage or Lettuce: Simply run a piece of twine through a head of cabbage or lettuce and hang inside the coop. The chickens will peck at the hanging vegetables.
  • Store-Bought Blocks: Numerous feed stores stock special blocks of chicken treats. The blocks contain a variety of seeds and other nutrients just for chickens.
Chickens love vegetables.

Water

Just as important as feed, water must be readily available for your chickens. Check the water containers often. Due to the colder temperatures, ice forms quickly.

Keeping your chickens healthy and happy in the winter requires a few extra steps to your daily routine.

 

 

Please note: “As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.”

Ways to Celebrate Winter Solstice

The Winter Solstice officially occurs on December 21, 2019, at 11:19 pm EST. In the Northern Hemisphere, the astronomical event marks the first day of winter. Knowing as the longest night of the year, the day marks the return of the light. Slowly the days will grow longer and the night shorter.

How to Celebrate the Winter Solstice

People around the globe celebrate the Winter Solstice in many ways. If you are looking for simple ways to celebrate the start of the winter season, consider the following:

Go for a Nature Walk

Even if the sun is starting to set, go outdoors.

  • Dress appropriately. Remember to wear layers to keep warm.
  • Carry your cell phone, but put the device on vibrate.
  • Use a flashlight if needed.
  • Remember to walk in a known location for safety. Walking on a familiar path is essential if the sun is setting.

Go to the Library

On your walk or car ride, go to your local library to check out books about the Winter Solstice. Some quick title suggestion includes:

Your local library, online shopping center, or bookstore has numerous books related to the Winter Solstice.

Eat 

Combine your Winter Solstice celebration with your dinner. Host a special family night, or invite friends over to join you. Some basic ideas include:

  • A hearty Winter Solstice Soup to help you stay warm.
  • Swedish Saffron Buns or create bread in the shape of the sun to welcome back the light-filled days.
  • Mulled Wine, Hot Tea, or Egg Nog
  • Winter Salad
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Butternut Squash
  • Bake a cake in the shape of a Yule Log
  • Use nature and winter-themed items to decorate a cake.

Feed the Birds 

Long winter nights mean less available food for birds. Add extra seeds to your bird feeder. Or decorate a tree with edible food for the birds to enjoy.

Make Nature Crafts

Use items from your nature walk for crafting. Pine cones, small twigs, or acorns are perfect materials for wreaths and other nature-inspired crafts.

The Winter Solstice is a once a year event. Even if you just decide to curl up under a comforter with a good book, take a moment out of your busy work, school, or holiday schedule to celebrate the longest night.

 

 

 

Please note: “As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.”

Hiking in Winter With Your Dog

Do you usually hike with your favorite four-legged companion? Has the winter weather made you leave your best hiking partner at home? Changing weather does not mean your dog has to stay home from your next hike. With a little planning, your dog can hit the open trails with you.

Tips for Hiking With Your Dog in the Winter

As a responsible dog owner, you are fully aware of your pet’s hiking limits. Hiking in the snow and cold requires additional care for your dog’s safety. Consider the following tips to help your dog stay healthy and happy during winter hikes.

  • Be Warm: Some dog breeds love the snow. Others may need some extra protective gear to help maintain warmth and protect against hypothermia. Dog coats, booties, and paw protectors may be part of your dog’s new hiking routine. Coats help your dog stay warm and dry. Booties or paw protectors are essential to protect your dog’s paws from the elements. If your dog does not wear paw protectors, consider using a paw protection wax. The wax is easy to apply and helps keep your dog’s paws safe from the natural elements.
  • Know Your Trail: Winter can add other hazardous conditions to hiking. Sticking to familiar trails can keep you and your dog safe.
  • Dog Permitted Trails: Remember to only hike trails that allow dogs. Rules and guidelines may change in winter months. Checking ahead is essential.
  • Keep Your Dog Close: Dogs love to run and explore. During the winter months, your dog may wander off too far. Lakes, streams, and rivers may not be fully frozen. Your dog slipping through the ice can be highly dangerous and sometimes deadly. Keeping your dog close is critical. The chances of hypothermia and other injuries could happen quickly.
  • Food and Water: Like you, your dog will need proper hydration and nourishment during the hike. Snowy covered trails mean extra work for your dog. If your dog starts to slow down or stops, he may need a food and water break. Dehydration, hypothermia, and exhaustion are highly dangerous for your pet. Learn to read your pet’s signs to know when to take a trail break.
  • Emergency Kit: Pack a first aid kit for your dog. Keep extra blankets in your vehicle in case of an emergency. The blankets can help keep your pet warm and dry.
  • Mobile Device: Always carry a cell phone with you for emergencies.  Use your phone to check on the weather. A forecast can change quickly, wintry weather can be dangerous for you and your dog. When hiking away from home, program local numbers for pet emergencies.

Winter does not automatically require you and your dog to stay indoors. With a little pre-planning, you and your faithful hiking companion will be out on the trails in no time.

 

Please note: “As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.”

Preparing Your Chicken Coop for Winter

The winter season is just around the corner. Preparing your coop for the winter months is essential for the well-being of your chickens. A poorly maintained coop causes health issues for your chickens.  Consider the following tips to keep your chickens safe, happy, and healthy.

Tips for Winterizing Your Chicken Coop

During the winter months, keeping your chicken coop dry should be your primary focus. A wet, poorly maintained coop may lead to health issues or death of your chickens.

A Fresh Coop

Before the colder weather starts, clean your entire chicken coop. A thorough cleaning shows any potential problem areas inside the coop. After the cleaning, analyze your coop’s current condition.

Fix Any Potential Problem Areas

When inspecting your chicken coop, did you notice any holes or other issues? Fix holes immediately. Immediately caulk and seal any areas creating drafts. Patch all holes to prevent unwanted predators from entering your chicken coop. Even the smallest hole can create numerous problems for your chickens.

Sunlight

Install windows in your chicken coop. The windows allow the sun to shine into your coop. The added warmth from the sun helps keep the interior of the coop comfortable for your chickens.

Provide Sufficient Bedding/Nesting Material

During the winter months, add extra bedding and nesting materials to keep your chickens warm. Chickens will huddle together for heat.

Try other methods to insulate the interior of your chicken coop.

  • Add extra layers of straw on the floor help insulate the interior of your chicken coop.
  • Add 6 inches of litter to the coop’s floor for added warmth.
  • Stack strawbales around the coop for added protection.

Make Plans for Food and Water

When temperatures drop, water freezes quickly. Food has the potential to draw unwanted moisture creating ice build-up. Without sufficient water or food, your chickens will not survive the winter. Heated watering containers and extra feeding times are a necessity.

Increase Check Times

Check on your chickens more often in the winter. Going out to the coop a couple extra times a day ensures your chickens are well. Collect eggs immediately to prevent freezing. By increasing check times, the chances for problems decrease.

Chickens and other fowl are a fun addition to farm life. Preparing your coop for the winter helps decrease the possibility of any problems. Plan ahead to help get your chickens through the cold months.