Posts tagged: winter

The first glimmers of Spring

By , January 20, 2013

The Christmas decorations have been slowly disappearing back into their boxes, and the birdsong around our place sounds distinctly spring-like. The near-60° weather lures us outside while the sun keeps us warm as we play Scrabble on the porch in shorts, t-shirts, and bare feet. While there’s undoubtedly plenty of cold still ahead, there are certainly whiffs of spring.

On a sunny afternoon just the other day, I clipped some aspen branches for the table and made a few wreaths from virginia creeper vine.

My favorite home decor is that which is taken straight from nature. Simple and classy.

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Are you feeling spring getting nearer?

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Philosophy Friday: Bare feet on the earth

By , January 18, 2013

For many thousands and thousands of years, human beings had contact with the earth for the better part of each day. Walking barefoot or with shoes made from natural plant or animal materials; sleeping on the earth; touching plants, animals, trees, lakes, soil, oceans.

Wild animals have this connection, still.

I’ve noticed that children try to hang on to this connection as long as possible — preferring bare feet above shoes, and a trickling stream to splash in above even the most enticing indoor activity.

It tickled me to see children in New Zealand walking to school barefooted.

I’ve watched children throwing tantrums and have noticed that they will often throw themselves onto the ground during the tantrum. It does feel better to lie on the earth when you are hurting. I remember times of deep grief soon after losing my soul sister Sonja, where the only place I wanted to be was flat on my stomach on the grass in the back yard — and so there I stayed until the earth had absorbed all my tears.

Once, I was nearly hit by a car while crossing a busy intersection on foot; it was as if I had been invisible and the car simply didn’t even see me.  The close call really spooked me. Once I was safely across the street I was so shaken that the only thing I could do was make a primal beeline for the nearest tree and lean my whole body against its trunk. It wasn’t something my conscious mind even thought about — I had never actually hugged a tree before. I couldn’t believe how good it felt.

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If your winter weather allows you to be outside barefooted on the grass or the dirt or the beach (or barefoot in the snow as I remember doing as a kid!), then take advantage.

Put yourself directly onto the earth.

If it’s too cold for bare feet, or too snowy to sit on the grass…have you tried hugging a tree? Wrapping your arms around it and pressing your cheek against its bark? Mmmmmm.

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After some serious single-digit cold weather, we’re having a string of 50°+ days. So my cat and I go outside, each of us barefooted, to connect ourselves to the earth. And one of us particularly enjoys rolling in dirt.

Collecting celery seed yesterday afternoon

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Surprise Snowfall

By , December 11, 2012

I love surprises!

Last night I kept looking out at the streetlight, expecting to see snow falling. We weren’t forecast to get any (that I knew of), but the color of the light and clouds were what I always associate with snow. But I didn’t really think twice because it’s been such a stingy year for precipitation and the weather forecast was nothing but little sunshine icons. And so once again, life is at its best when you have zero expectations!

I woke up this morning and I gasped with a big smile as I saw what had fallen overnight! They were snow clouds!!

The sun in shining though, so it won’t last long.

But there’s nothing like snow and cold to remind you what season it is, and I’m thinking it might be time to get a tree pretty soon…

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Stewed Figs

By , December 7, 2012

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If you find yourself with some fresh figs on hand, try stewing them. They’re a nice little treat.

Cut them into pieces, and cook in a saucepan with a bit of water. Add a good squeeze of fresh orange juice if you like, and maybe a quick dash of salt.

Simmer, covered, until the figs are tender and the water is nearly gone — about 15-20 minutes.

I tossed a sprig of fresh rosemary into this batch. It added a nice flavor but don't use too much or let it cook for too long or it will impart a bitterness.

Serve plain… or topped with pepitas… alongside yogurt… or on a salad.

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Sand + Jar = Candle holder

By , December 6, 2012

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The other day I found my baptism candle in some old stuff.

I tossed it in the trash — no need to keep that.

But then the next day I had a cool idea for a candle holder, so I poured some sand into a jar and fished my candle back out of the garbage.

I’ve never liked tapers because they’re so tippy and drippy, but this holder is the solution! The sand keeps them stable no matter how thin or wide they are, and it catches all the wax drippings.

Now I’m sure this idea has been thought up before by someone, somewhere — but I’ve never seen it done.

And so now that I’ve found a good way to hold tapers, I’m going to use them a lot more because they seem to give off more light than pillars or tea lights — maybe because there’s less wax in the way.

And I do like the simple aesthetic of the sand and the jar and the warm glow of a candle…

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Gratitude Sunday * March 4, 2012

By , March 4, 2012

~ I’m once again joining Taryn over at Wooly Moss Roots in her Gratitude Sunday tradition. ~

Gratitude Sunday is a time to slow down and remember those thankful moments that graced our week. One reason I love keeping a daily gratitude journal is because it helps keep things in perspective for me. Each Sunday, I open my journal and share some of those moments with you here. If you’d like to join in, just leave a comment!

Gratitude is powerful energy. I love hearing others’ gratitudes!

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– Finishing my mittens! That felt great. Doesn’t it feel great to accomplish stuff that’s been lingering around?

– Gettin’ stuff DONE this week! But man, the week went fast…

– My Honey, F, and how much he makes me laugh!

– Meeting him for lunch one day this week — that was so nice and we both loved it! And, it’s often really hard for me to find something to eat at a restaurant that my stomach will tolerate, and a lot of times it’s more torture than fun to be at a restaurant when I want all that stuff but can’t eat it… but this time there was something just right on the menu — a very small cup of delicious beans n’ rice. Yum!

– The comfort of piping hot tea with milk.

– The wonderful little woodcarving set my dad gave me today!! He didn’t know it, but I’ve really been wanting wood carving tools for at least a year now. I would keep thinking “Yeah, I’ll have to manifest that” which is my way of saying “I’d like to do that but don’t wanna devote the time/energy/money/whatever to pursuing it right now”  — and look what shows up in my life! To boot, it’s an extra special set because it’s one that his parents bought for him many, many years ago and he only used once or twice. I’m so excited!! And just the other day, I sawed up our Christmas tree on the kitchen floor (why, doesn’t everyone?), stripped the bark, and saved a couple sections of the main trunk for “making something.” And voila, along come the tools to help me with that… love it!

Sawin' up the Christmas tree

– Living close to my mom and dad so that I can easily spend time with them. I am so, so grateful for this.

– An impromptu walk and visit with my mom one afternoon this week. Sweet.

– All the many, many, MANY things I want to do/figure out/learn about — and gaining more and more energy to actually do them!

– Starting and finishing The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball this week. I loved it. And I loved reading a book not to gain knowledge, but simply for enjoyment and entertainment.

– Braised leeks, my new obsession.

Gazpacho with avocado pieces instead of olive oil… my continuing obsession!

– A pay check through the mail… yes those are so nice!

– Beautiful weather today and garden work begun.

– Gardening by moonlight tonight.

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What gratitudes have graced your week?

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Rooftop Wildlife

By , March 1, 2012

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On This February Day…

By , February 23, 2012

This (snowy) morning...

It was a true February day today — gray and humid and chilly and snowy. But it was a spring snow — drippy and slushy! Over the weekend it just began feeling more like spring here. The quality and angle of the sunlight, the buds on the trees, the tulips pushing through the ground, and definitely the particular birdsongs that we’re hearing outside our window of late.

I was up and at the kitchen table by the window fairly early this morning with a steaming mug of tea, watching the snowflakes falling gently. I’ve rediscovered a CD I have called The Tranquil Harp by Paul Baker. It was perfect for this peaceful, snowy morning.

The streets were still warm from yesterday’s balmy temperatures, and so this afternoon most of the snow was gone from them, making my quick trip to the health food store a much easier proposition. Much as I love the snow, clear streets really are very nice.

Okay, so remember how yesterday I told you all about my great restraint in not buying more varieties of tomato seed? Well to demonstrate that iron will, I suppose I should show you what I bought today:

🙂

So anyway, I thought I’d also show you a great seed catalog I picked up yesterday for Southern Exposure. I’ve never ordered from them but I like their philosophy: “Our mission is to ensure that people retain control of their food supply, that genetic resources are conserved and that gardeners have the option of saving their own seed.”

Looks like they sell almost all heirloom or open-pollinated stuff (I really like that), and have some pretty interesting offerings. Their catalog also gives detailed growing info for each type of vegetable. It looks like a company worth ordering from.

Well it’s dusk now, and time for some tea I think.

It’s been a good day. Hope it was for you, too…

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In Garden Mode!

By , February 22, 2012

Man, these past few days have flown! I’ve been in almost an altered state, with a one-track mind focused solely on this year’s vegetable garden. There are big bags of dirt in our kitchen, and open seed catalogs have littered the living room floor like banana peels waiting to snag unsuspecting passerby (sorry honey!).

There’s been much reading, researching, figuring, dreaming, decision making, studying of past garden notes, and starting of seeds. The energy, enthusiasm, and time that seemed absent last year are all right here in front of me to be feasted upon — and I am feasting.

Yesterday I bought seeds for a couple fun last-minute additions to the garden plan — leeks and romanesco cauliflower — and today my mom & I got seeds for a few more things that’ll be new to the garden this year too — tarragon, bok choy, and onion seed (I’ve always grown my storage onions from sets in the past).

I also counted up that I have 37 different varieties of tomato seed. Lest you think that’s excessive, let me tell you that it takes great and continuous restraint to not buy more! But it’s already hard enough choosing only 16 varieties for the garden…

Yesterday I started all my wall-o-water tomatoes as well as my cabbage, romanesco cauliflower, regular cauliflower, yellow bell peppers, and leeks in their seed tray over a heat mat. That was a good accomplishment.

And today, even though my main spring planting time is still a few weeks away, I planted some radishes in the wall-o-water I had set up a couple weeks ago, along with some arugula in the open space next to that. I’ve found that walls-o-water are a great way to sneak in an early crop of radishes, which are in and out before it’s time to put the tomatoes in.

It felt great to get my hands into that cold, fragrant Earth.

They’re calling for snow tomorrow, and I think it’ll be a good day to get the broad beans started, and then come back down to earth a bit by going over my moneymaking work and preparing for a Friday meeting.

I hope you’re all having a nice week. And tell me — what’s currently going on in your own garden??

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