Embracing the Cold

In Canada we talk a lot about weather. It is one of the first things I check on my smart phone when I wake up in the morning, my grandmother always asks about it when I call her and it takes up a good chunk of the nightly newscast. We also love to love to complain about the weather. Weather is a national pastime.

I like to be in the weather. Spring to me is synonymous with rubber boots, during the summer I try to soak in all the heat I can, fall is just an ideal time to be outside and during winter I try to embrace the cold.

When I moved to Montreal from Nova Scotia I was scared of winter. In my luggage was this huge, down-filled coat and I was planning on wrapping myself in it when winter came. It made me look like a sack and was an off-white color that basically looked like dirt, but I did not care. Winter in the Maritimes can be hard, temperatures fluctuate and there is a lot of snow, rain, slush, snow, rain (often in the same hour), but they are not as long and cold as the winters in Montreal. In Montreal most of January is minus 30 degrees celsius and February is no exception. It is cold and dry. Pipes freeze, cars don’t start and my skin starts to crack.

When I was home in the Nova Scotia over the holidays I went for a real glorious hike across the dykes in Wolfville. The weather was brilliant. And by brilliant I mean a mixture of really sunny, cloudy and windy: typical Maritime weather. I could have walked across the dykes until my body gave way to exhaustion. The wide open space, the sunshine and the wind. I love wind, I love it against my face, I love when it pushes me around and I especially love it when it is mixed with sea air. My body knows Maritime weather so well. It is in my bones and in my soul. It makes me feel strong and it makes me feel alive.

Living in Montreal has taught me how to live in winter. There are a few common-sense rules: get a good coat, wear layers and invest in a good moisturizer. But living well in winter is more than that. It is about knowing how to let the length of it energize you instead of exhaust you.

I have come to really love winter. I love the darkness in December as the solstice approaches. It draws me inwards and gives me a chance to reflect. And I love January. It is cold, but there is an explosion of light that happens. Each morning my kitchen has been illuminate by the most fantastic sun. And between those really cold days are these lovely, bright and cheerful days were the landscape comes alive and you get out and explore.




Like many people I drink a lot warm things in the winter. Hot chocolate, early grey and chai tea, hot toddy’s and of course tisane. Tisane is a french word that implies a beverage made from an infusion of herbs and spices. Nettle has long been a favorite herb of mine. It soothes me in many ways. If you have not tried nettles, and have a taste for herbs and such, I highly recommend them. Nettles are enjoyed throughout the world in a variety of different ways and have long been valued as food and medicine. In the recipe below I mix them with peppermint, a combination that I love.



Here is to embracing the cold! xoxo Rosemary

Nettle and Peppermint Tisane
Serves: 4 generous cups
I encourage you to play around with ratios in this recipe. I usually do a 1 ½ parts loose leaf dried nettle leaves and 1 part part dried peppermint. You can also use fresh herbs for this tisane, but take caution of any of the stinging hairs on the nettles and make sure to fully emerge them in the boiling water.
  • 1½ tablespoon dried nettle leaves
  • 1 tablespoon dried peppermint leaves
  • 4 cups boiling water
  1. Add the dried nettles, peppermint and water into a teapot and allow to steep for 4-5 minutes.
  2. Pour into a teacup or mug using a fine mesh strainer to catch any of the leaves.


Categories: Tea and Thought