Some people don’t like winter. But I find it cozy and invigorating! It’s one of my favorite times of the year. And I live in a place that gets tons of snow (yes, we get snow in Arizona. Flagstaff is 7,000 feet in elevation in the San Francisco Peaks.) There’s nothing more beautiful than snow-covered pines glistening in the early morning sun after a big snow. The mountains peaks are white and all the world look and feels fresh and new.
Winter in Aspen Falls
Although spring has finally begun in Aspen Falls when Blogging is Murder opens, Jade and her fellow Wyomingites have just come out of a long, cold, snowy winter, as it almost always is with winters in Wyoming. Here are a few cool things about winter in Wyoming and how I’ve integrated them into the first book in the series.
- Like in Flagstaff, cold fronts and snow storms can brew up quickly and without warning, so Wyomingites are always prepared. Jade keeps her 4 year old Subaru Outback fully loaded at all times with emergency food, water, sleeping bag, flash lights, extra batteries, flare gun and flares and tire chains.
- The coldest month in WY is typically January at an average of 10 degrees.
- It’s not uncommon to get snow starting in September and ending in April. In the beginning of the book, Jade is concerned because her spring flowers have already started poking up their heads. The first thing she does upon waking is to check to see if it’s snowed and how her blooms are fairing.
- The wind blows pretty much all the time and it can be downright blustery. That’s one reason Jade grabs her heavy coat whenever she goes outside, even though spring has sprung.
- Many people keep horses so they can get around in the winter. It’s not unusual to see people riding their horses into town for supplies when no vehicles can make it through the snow.
- Ice fishing is a real sport in WY. It’s one of the ways people feed their families in the winter. I haven’t found a way to work this in yet, but I can’t wait to do so.
- The other way people feed their families in the winter is hunting–bison, elk, deer and even moose. Jade is the queen of venison crock pot meals.
Winter at My House
One reason I love all the snow is that it gives me a chance to stay in by the fire reading a cozy mystery without feeling guilty.
I didn’t think it got any better than wiling away a cold winter’s day reading a good mystery…until I started writing them. Now I curl up with my laptop and spend hours tapping away. As I write this post, Jade is just getting her feet wet as a sleuth, interviewing possible suspects and trying to keep her frustration at Liz’s situation in check.
When I think of the holidays, I mostly think of winter break. Spending years in academia like I did, winter break was greatly looked forward to. I got to celebrate the holiday with family and friends, but also had some time off to relax and catch my breath after a long semester.
Since our extended families are in the Midwest, most holidays are spent together, just the three of us–my husband, daughter and I. When our daughter was little, we did the big Christmas thing with the tree and the gifts and the decorations, but now that she’s grown, we enjoy a more simplified holiday season. We do a few gifts, but we forgo the other holiday splendor. We figure we have Mother Nature’s magnificence all around, and it’s perfect the way it is.
One way we celebrate the season is by making tasty garlands for our wildlife friends. We started the tradition of stringing popcorn and cranberries to hang on our pine trees when our daughter was in preschool, and it stuck. We also cut bread into cookie cutter shapes, cover them in peanut butter and sprinkle them with bird seed. When finished, we hang those up like Christmas ornaments on the trees outside around our house. They don’t last long, and it feels great to give gifts to our critter friends. Mother Nature gives us so many gifts throughout the year that we feel it’s only right to offer up tokens of our gratitude during the time of gifts and giving.
Speaking of gifts, you will not be surprised to learn that in our family, books are a favorite gift. We each have a favorite genre and we love to spend winter evenings in front of the fire just reading together. And of course, there is a fresh pot of tea made at all times.
A Cozy Giveaway