One of the most exciting moments in the transition from winter into spring is the return of sunlight after 6pm. This year, Daylight Savings time lands on March 9th. We wanted to share some ideas and activities to help you all acclimate to the process of regaining your bearings.
When you wake up Sunday morning, you’ve already lost an hour. Considering the fact that the sun will be going down much later than it has been for the winter time, you won’t feel completely robbed of time. But that doesn’t mean it’s time to party. Losing an hour gives you less time to check off your to-do list, and if you’re spending your day rushing around to make up for “lost” time (honestly, where does it really even go?), then you aren’t giving your body the rest it needs.
If there’s one thing we’re big proponents of, it’s relaxing and having a beautiful space in which to do it. So how can you make the most of lost time? It sounds like a paradox, but there are ways to work within its framework. Here are some of ours:
Go to bed an hour early on March 8th. We know, we know; this doesn’t sound thrilling. But just because society increasingly treats sleep like a luxury does not mean that it is. Sleep debt can never be repaid (those college all-nighters have pretty much filed for bankruptcy by now, and they’re not even sorry). Your livelihood and the collective livelihood of your family, community, city and country depend on everyone being well rested. The benefits of sleep are priceless (and sometimes invisible).
Spend some extra time outside before hitting the hay. Take advantage of the extra daylight and spend it outside burning off some of that pent-up energy so you can rest well and ease into the time deficit. Work in the garden, spend time getting your pool ready for warm weather, or play some outdoor games with the family. Wearing yourself out will make getting to sleep earlier immensely easier, and when you wake up rested you’ll be glad you did.
Spending time enjoying your outdoor living space is immensely more satisfying in the daylight. Now that your circadian rhythms are considerably less ruffled than they would have been with an hour less of well-deserved rest, you can face the week ahead and enjoy relaxing outside after work in the sun!
It may be bitter cold across most of the country, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get excited for spring and summer now. These cold winter months do have an advantage: they give you ample time to plan your outdoor living space, so you can revel and relax in it when summer arrives. Here are some pros of planning ahead:
Let’s say you want a new paver for your backyard patio and pool. If you wait until summer to start thinking about it, you’ll have missed an entire season of enjoying your new outdoor space with your family and friends. Use the seasons to guide you. Determine what you want during winter, complete it in the spring, and then inaugurate your space in the summer! We’ll work with you to create a timetable that suits your needs.
Thinking about what you want ahead of time during the colder months will also help you consider what you’ll want year-round.
Questions like “will I be able to use this when it’s chilly?” and “how will this color of paver look in the winter?” as well as “what kind of maintenance will be required in the colder months?” can be best answered when you’re in the thick of it. This way, you won’t just be thinking ahead for summer; you’ll be thinking ahead for the upcoming winters to come.
For those who love the great outdoors, winter can be a major bummer. But giving yourself something to look forward to in the next season can make you feel just as productive as you are during spring, summer and fall. And, you might just come to enjoy these months of nature’s chilly curfew.
There’s an old adage that reminds us that though we can’t control the winds, we can adjust the sails. Nature has this made abundantly clear for many this year. We may not be able to control the symptoms of winter, but we certainly can find ways to look forward to the future. After looking back at how productive your winter was and seeing the fruits of your labor pay off in the summer, you just might embark on another fantastic project the next time winter comes calling.
If you’ve ever celebrated the holidays with someone of English ancestry, you may have had the pleasure of sharing a pot of delicious wassail. Wassail was originally considered a symbol of greeting and celebration. Drinking was often accompanied by caroling and general merriment, which makes it perfect for the winter season. Wassail, which means “be you healthy” or “be whole,” is a hot mulled cider traditionally enjoyed with others as an ancient southern English ritual intending to ensure a good cider apple harvest the next year.
So how exactly does one go about concocting this drink from olden days? It may have a rich history, but it’s very easy to whip up. You only need six ingredients, none of which require traveling back in time to the English courts:
- 2 quarts of apple cider
- 2 quarts of pineapple juice
- 2 cups of orange juice
- Juice of 1 fresh lemon
- 1 teaspoon of whole cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
Start by combining the apple cider, pineapple, orange and lemon juices in a large pot over low heat. Add the cloves and cinnamon sticks, bring to a boil and then simmer for an hour. Remove the cinnamon sticks and cloves and serve.
You can serve wassail hot or cold, though it is traditionally served hot. If you’d like it to be less tart, you can quarter the lemon juice or add more cider. Feel free to modify the recipe to suit your palette. (Ghosts from King Arthur’s Court are not going to come haunt you for breaking tradition.)
And voila! Fresh, homemade wassail. Enjoy!
If you’re seeking a hardscape that speaks to your inner naturalist without making you sacrifice style, look no further! This week we’re putting our beautiful Arbel under the spotlight. Take a look at what this paver can do for you.
Part of the Natural Collection, Arbel is ideal for anybody wanting to shy away from the more geometric patterns and opt for something that looks natural and professional. It comes in six earthy shades that are perfectly suited for a driveway, walkway or pool area.
With just enough grooves and ridges on the stone to retain harmony with the natural world, yet pleasant to walk on with your bare feet, the Arbel surface is the perfect stone for anyone who’s itching to feel at home in the great outdoors.
The natural, rustic shape of this stone combines the best of both worlds: the unassuming ambience of the outdoors and the refined attitude of modern design. Who says you can’t be functional, elegant, and feel in touch with nature all at the same time?
The weather outside may be frightfully cold for many of you, but what about a delightfully bold, crackling fire outside? It’s a terrible thing to feel like you can’t enjoy the outdoors without worrying about frostbite. That’s why we’re spotlighting our fireplaces and fire pits along with ideas for entertaining outside! Don’t let the weather keep you cooped up with cabin fever. Here are some tips:
Plan something that coincides with the hottest part of the day. Depending on where you live, that still might be pretty cold! But there’s no rule that says it’s only appropriate to use a fire pit at night to roast s’mores and tell spooky stories. Fireplaces are for light and heat!
Invite some friends, neighbors or family members over for a mini-camping experience. Everyone brings a blanket and curls up in a chair around the fire to play a game. There are plenty of games you can play without sacrificing the comfort of heat. Try charades, or the endlessly amusing “who am I?” game. If you’ve never played it before, it’s easy and always a scream. Pick a famous person (alive or dead, real or fictitious) and write their name on a post-it, then stick it onto the forehead of the person to your left. Now guess, one question at a time, moving clockwise, who you are!
Have hot drinks and snacks ready, and don’t forget to remind everyone to bundle up. Check out our mulled wine recipe or whip up some hot apple cider. Or, if you happen to be an always-on-the-go type, let people pick their own drinks from a single-serve coffee/tea/cocoa maker. You could even set out pre-stuck marshmallow roasting sticks, warmly welcoming everyone the moment they set foot into your backyard.
Now let the quality time and fun begin!
Retaining walls are critical in helping to avoid sinkholes, flooding and erosion in your yard, but they can also be beautiful additions that make your outdoor living space feel like a luxury getaway. Belgard Weston Stone walls are a terrific option for both functionality and aesthetics.
The flexibility of Weston Stone is unmatched. Its natural stone appearance allows for a wide range of applications and design options, with increased installation efficiency and easy customization. This double-sided wall boasts a cleaner, more sculpted look and is the ideal choice for garden walls, pillars, outdoor kitchens and planters.
Take a look at how Belgard West Stone can transform your outdoor space: