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Folklore: Did cold farmers 'hibernate' in winter?

MickyMan 04 Jan 09 - 07:15 PM
bobad 04 Jan 09 - 07:31 PM
katlaughing 04 Jan 09 - 07:32 PM
Charley Noble 04 Jan 09 - 08:36 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 04 Jan 09 - 08:56 PM
MickyMan 04 Jan 09 - 09:16 PM
Bob the Postman 04 Jan 09 - 09:24 PM
Melissa 04 Jan 09 - 09:25 PM
maeve 04 Jan 09 - 09:38 PM
bobad 04 Jan 09 - 09:41 PM
katlaughing 04 Jan 09 - 09:57 PM
open mike 05 Jan 09 - 12:10 AM
katlaughing 05 Jan 09 - 01:09 AM
Gervase 05 Jan 09 - 02:47 AM
GUEST,leeneia 05 Jan 09 - 10:52 AM
wysiwyg 05 Jan 09 - 12:28 PM
MickyMan 05 Jan 09 - 07:46 PM
M.Ted 06 Jan 09 - 10:12 AM
JohnB 06 Jan 09 - 10:40 AM
GUEST 20 Oct 09 - 12:55 PM
GUEST 20 Oct 09 - 12:56 PM
GUEST,mg 20 Oct 09 - 01:02 PM
GUEST 04 Jan 11 - 07:32 PM
GUEST 04 Jan 11 - 09:01 PM
ChanteyLass 04 Jan 11 - 09:14 PM
Gurney 05 Jan 11 - 02:03 AM
bassen 05 Jan 11 - 04:23 AM
GUEST,mg 05 Jan 11 - 04:06 PM
Les in Chorlton 06 Jan 11 - 06:48 AM
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Subject: Folklore: Did cold farmers 'hibernate' in winter?
From: MickyMan
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 07:15 PM

I was chatting with my brother in law yesterday and he said he was reading something about how farmers in cold climate zones actually "hibernated" in the winter. This was back in the days before central heating and electricity ... etc. He said that their bodily functions would slow down and they would sleep about twice as long as they would during other times of the year in order to conserve heat.
Is this stuff actually true? Perhaps I'm thinking too much about this because it's cold day here in New England. It sounds like it would be logical - but if it is then wouldn't there also be a profound difference between people from warm climates and people from the deep north (or south)?
Does anybody know of any actual data that supports this idea - or is this one of those old wives tale things that quickly die after scientists really look at the facts? Hey! ...who knows? Perhaps those guys from "Mythbusters" are on the site right now and we can clear this up in one little episode. Come on there "Canadian Catters", get out of bed and write something down. You've been asleep since November and it's time to contribute a little!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Did cold farmers 'hibernate' in winter?
From: bobad
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 07:31 PM

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Did cold farmers 'hibernate' in winter?
From: katlaughing
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 07:32 PM

Well, I know they did go to bed earlier because of the sun setting earlier, so there was no light except for oil and candles and they would have to preserve those, quite often. But, there were still animals to care for, food to produce, knitting/quiltmaking/whittling tools, etc. Maybe more sleep, but not actually "hibernate."**bg**


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Did cold farmers 'hibernate' in wint
From: Charley Noble
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 08:36 PM

MickyMan-

Inquiring minds would like to know!

I was born in Maine but my farming parents were from "away" and they didn't hibernate, at least they didn't hibernate for more than 10 hours. I'm not sure what the "real natives" did or do.

Where did you run across this interesting theory? Is there some research literature or folklore that would be relevant? Where are you resident?

Charley Noble, resident in Richmond, Maine with cooncat in lap


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Did cold farmers 'hibernate' in winter?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 08:56 PM

The temperature here in Alberta has been below zero F frequently the past two weeks.
I wish I could have been in hibernation. If anyone has instructions on human hibernation, please let me know.

I couldn't find any information at the Mayo Clinic website.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Did cold farmers 'hibernate' in winter?
From: MickyMan
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 09:16 PM

As I said, my brother in law was talking about it, and I can't seem to get it out of my brain. For the last week and a half I have been sleeping a lot more in this cold weather and I have a nice warm lit up house to wake up to. I'm from CT but my ancestors were French Canadians - and I can't help but think that there is something to all of this conjecture. I don't know where one would find info to substantiate or refute such theories, but I'm hoping that somebody on Mudcat has ideas about this.
   I know that people from different climates eat and drink different stuff because of burning calories and such. Wouldn't it be interesting if the stereotypes of the deep thinking Scandinavian (my wife)and the reticent New England Yankee(myself)were forged during all of those cold winters on the farm.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Did cold farmers 'hibernate' in winter?
From: Bob the Postman
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 09:24 PM

Speaking as a Canadian, I believe it was from CBC Radio that I learned of the theory that we humans evolved the ability to get depressed because back in the good old cave-dwelling days, losing your appetite, hunkering down, and sleeping nearly all day long for months on end was an effective way of getting through the winter. Russians, Scandinavians, Scots, and yes, even we Canadians, are all reputed dour and gloomy in our own characteristic national ways, whereas tropical peoples are stereotypically cheerful. An interesting counter-example is the case of the Inuit, the most polar yet most cheerful of peoples. No sense in them hunkering down and conserving food stored from the harvest--they have to hunt seals when they can, no matter how cold and dark it gets.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Did cold farmers 'hibernate' in winter?
From: Melissa
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 09:25 PM

I had some winters with no heat..and I tried to hibernate.
I did sleep a lot of extra hours and was perfectly comfortable lying awake in my own little warm spot when I wasn't asleep, but it wasn't true hibernation.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Did cold farmers 'hibernate' in wint
From: maeve
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 09:38 PM

We ARE farmers in cold Maine. Not only do we not hybernate, we sleep less in winter. See, you have to keep the woodstove going. That means up early and to bed late enough to be sure the fire will carry through until way before dawn when you have to start it all again. When it's bitter cold, there are nighttime trips to the stove to stoke the fire.

Those who cook with woodfires have to get up early enough to start the fire for warmth and get breakfast cooked and on the table.

maeve


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Did cold farmers 'hibernate' in winter?
From: bobad
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 09:41 PM

From Wikipedia

"Circadian rhythms are endogenously generated, and can be entrained by external cues, called Zeitgebers. The primary one is daylight. These rhythms allow organisms to anticipate and prepare for precise and regular environmental changes."


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Did cold farmers 'hibernate' in winter?
From: katlaughing
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 09:57 PM

maeve, again, I say, you are amazing and I really admire what you and DH are doing!

I do remember a linguistic study which said people in warmer climes are more expressive, expansive with their language and speaking whereas northern climes tend to have folks who speak more quickly and tersely and that all had to do with weather.

MickeyMan, my Rog is a Yankee of French Canadians, too. I think he's been influenced by some time in Venezuela and such, though, as he's not as taciturn as he used to be.:-) And, get his family together and hang onto your hat because they ALL have something to say!:-)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Did cold farmers 'hibernate' in winter?
From: open mike
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 12:10 AM

i am in my r.v. in the country and the propane has run out..
so i intend to crawl under the covers to preserve the heat.

seems a natural reaction to cold weather.

i think that there is a term...estivate....that is half-way
hibernation...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estivation

it seems as if this definition describes it as a summer time rest
but i thought that was what bears did...sort of a light sleep hibernation where the critters wake occasionally.

the ad below offers insulated overalls...do they make jammies
with feet in them for adults? that would be great right now...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Did cold farmers 'hibernate' in winter?
From: katlaughing
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 01:09 AM

open mike, They DO!!:-)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Did cold farmers 'hibernate' in wint
From: Gervase
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 02:47 AM

Like maeve, my workload is heaview in winter. Water butts and drinkers have to be topped up by lugging bowsers and containers up the fields because everything's frozen, silage has to be provided because the grass isn't growing and animals tend to eat more in cold weather (particularly the sheep, because they're pregnant). Much of the work is slower because you're thickly dressed against the cold and moving around in darkness for much of the time. I wish could hibernate, but the stock wouldn't thank me for it.
In hilly areas it was common to have separate holdings for winter and summer - in Wales Hafod and Hendre - and stock would be moved downwards for the winter to be nearer the main homestead. That's still the case in alpine areas, where cattle and sheep are drafted down to winter pastures before the first serious snows. For the farmers, though, life goes on. And these days the long dark evenings provide plenty of opportunity to catch up on the inevitable paperwork!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Did cold farmers 'hibernate' in winter?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 10:52 AM

'Russians, Scandinavians, Scots, and yes, even we Canadians, are all reputed dour and gloomy in our own characteristic national ways'

All these groups have fine music for singing and dancing, so I think this reputation is pretty silly.

Even Canadians. For example, there's a video out of 'Welcome to Orillia.' (If that's how you spell Orillia.)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Did cold farmers 'hibernate' in winter?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 12:28 PM

A, yes people slow down in winter, but since
B, all farming operations are harder to do against deep snow and thus eat up more energy, and therefore
C, people focus on a blend of in-cabin annual catchup chores, in-barn annual catchup chores, outdoor exhausting work, and sleeping.

Just watering the stock alone can take a whole, back-breaking, calorie-burning day.

Been there (on a small scale),

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Did cold farmers 'hibernate' in winter?
From: MickyMan
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 07:46 PM

I don't know. None of this sounds like hibernation to me. I suppose it's comforting to know that somebody up there made it a real pain in the ass to be a cold weather farmer in order to maintain similarities within the species. Here I was thinking that my ancesters were getting a little chance to catch up on some well deserved sleep. Aren't there any advantages to living in a cold climate?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Did cold farmers 'hibernate' in wint
From: M.Ted
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 10:12 AM

My brother-in-law once claimed that woodpeckers only eat when they are upside down.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Did cold farmers 'hibernate' in winter?
From: JohnB
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 10:40 AM

They didn't hibernate, they strapped bells to their legs and went out Morris Dancing to supplement their income.
They then went down to the Vilage pub and spent the money they had made dancing. This ensured a vibrant economy and a good crop next summer, also a hang over the next morning after drinking and singing all night and going to bed at three in the morning.
What a way to spend winter.
JohnB miserably in Ontario.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Did cold farmers 'hibernate' in winter?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Oct 09 - 12:55 PM

French people in the countryside hibernated, right into the 19th century. It was not true hibernation, in that their body temperature does not fall, but they slept for most of the time, only waking up once or twice to eat a biscuit.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Did cold farmers 'hibernate' in winter?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Oct 09 - 12:56 PM

ref: QI - english quiz show hosted by comedian stephen fry


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Did cold farmers 'hibernate' in winter?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 20 Oct 09 - 01:02 PM

I think this might be related to metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance and all sorts of things...I know I have what seems to be a hibernation response if I eat too many carbs..which is almost any whatsoever..I just get so I can't stay awake at all...now they insulin is givento us to store fat for the winter..I think it is all connected somehow and I am up to 12 hours a night now and wonder what it will be like in the dead of winter..oh well, I only h ave one job now...mg


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Did cold farmers 'hibernate' in winter?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Jan 11 - 07:32 PM

I have read that in France, for example, the peasants, in order to get through winter with little food, would all stay in bed together all day and move as little as possible.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Did cold farmers 'hibernate' in wint
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Jan 11 - 09:01 PM

That is an opening in book and film for "Charlie and Chocolate Factory." There is NO DOUBT .... Mr. Dahl was referring to great Britan when that scene was composed.

Sincerely,
GUEST #2

The 35,000 projected to perish this winter in England might concur.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Did cold farmers 'hibernate' in winter?
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 04 Jan 11 - 09:14 PM

The hibernation idea sounds to me like SAD, seasonal affective disorder.

Part of my heritage is French-Canadian, too. Some French-Canadians would come down to New England after their harvest to work in the textile and other mills, then return home to farm during the spring. I imagine these were families who did not raise livestock or they had relatives who stayed behind to care for the animals.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Did cold farmers 'hibernate' in winter?
From: Gurney
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 02:03 AM

I'd guess it depended on the type of farming. People with livestock HAVE to tend them, but on a farm that is all crops the story may have been different. Empty fields need little attention.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Did cold farmers 'hibernate' in winter?
From: bassen
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 04:23 AM

Farmers in preindustrial Norway slept ,if anything, less in winter. Hay and other forage (leaves, moss, bark) from the outfields could only be driven home after the snow had come as horsedrawn sledges were the only means of transporting large quantitites of forage. Most farmers on the west and north coast fished in the spawning cod fisheries in Møre and Lofoten - that takes place from January to April. (open boats with only oars and sails until around 1900!). Winter was also the season for working in the forest, be it felling trees, producing charcoal and/or tar, etc. When threshing was done by hand with flails, the work would last far into the winter. Winter was also the period when women had enough time to do spinning, weaving, etc. And finally, many of the largest markets took place in the weeks before or after Christmas. The outdoor market at Røros (one of the coldest places in Norway) has for over 150 years taken place the second or third week of February, it's still going strong rørosmartnan


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Did cold farmers 'hibernate' in winter?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 04:06 PM

I read that in the potato famine in Ireland one of the problems is that people were not used to working in winter, but sat inside their big fireplaces to keep warm..when the famine and work relief (?) came, they had no clothes really for winter, and would have pawned them anyway, and they had no experience I guess of working in the winter..this is what the article said and I think it was a history by a relief person at the time...plus there were awful snows etc. that were not usual...plus of course they were starving..so that contributed to the death and misery of the place. Not hibernation per se but perhaps a way of getting through the winter. mg


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Did cold farmers 'hibernate' in winter?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 06:48 AM

The human brain uses a significant amount of energy which the rest of the body gets from food. In cold places a large proportion of the energy gained is used to keep the body at 37C - claerly a struggle when the air is well below 0C.

Under extreme circumstances the amount of energy to the brain is reduced. This reduces the efficiency of the brain. Could this and the currnt climate in the north of the planet explain why people are inclined to put forward ideas which are clearly daft?

Best wishes

L smart *rse in C#


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