Icy fingers of chilled air caress the features of my face. Venturing through drifts of glistening mounds of snow, I spy animal tracks. One is of a coyote and the other a deer. The defined tracks wind and lead the way into the woods. I think of the deer and his/ her possible frantic getaway from the predator. An intense sadness sweeps through me, yet I remember that this harsh reality is nature and how it’s supposed to go. Suddenly I feel a prickly heat generating under all my layers, long johns,warm long sleeved shirt and sweatshirt with my Columbia winter coat encasing it all. The coat is unnecessary….and so I unzip, letting a rushing coolness sweep in. Ahhh a relief, a fresh feeling. The northern New Hampshire air feels exhilarating!
As I immerse my thoughts into the beauty of nature, my heart revisits gratefulness. Quite often I tend to practice this, remembering how it keeps me grounded. When troubled times trip upon me and my family, praying to God for strength and peace helps me. A simple uneventful walk in our woods clears my mind and brings me full circle back to being thankful for what is, instead of focusing solely on what could be or what isn’t.
As I tread upon the crunchy iced snow, my heart soars when I spy a curling gray plume of smoke rising steadily from our chimney. Within minutes I’ll burst through the cottage door, greeted by a warmth that penetrates the bones. Our black kitty will probably be nursing his old age by the fire, his sleek blackbody stretched around the hearth. My husband will be either feeding the raging stove or watching wildlife tv shows.
Now you know how I ground myself in the winter. What is your peaceful practice? Does it involve exercise or gratefulness? Id love to hear your thoughts.
Well it’s still winter here but with February winding down we are certainly edging closer to spring! As snow continues to blanket every inch and corner of the yard and slippery ice lines the driveway, it doesn’t leave many outside activities to do. There are outside sports such as walking, ( with careful watch of ice), snowshoeing and hiking. With that said, I must get snowshoeing!I have a pair in the garage but haven’t been at it this year or last.
Lately I’ve been listening to podcasts such as Suzy Orman, the Financial whiz, the Goop Podcast with Gwyneth Paltro, and a few Homesteading podcasts. Listen to Simple Farmhouse Life with Lisa Bass, Old Fashioned on a Purpose with Jill Winger and Live Simply with Kristin Marr. They all present handy and interesting podcasts about cooking, planning, being frugal, canning, etc. I’m not a homesteader but I do live in a country home in a rural region of northern New Hampshire. I try to be frugal, plan my meals and costs according to supermarket sales and buy local meat when I can.
It’s a good season to watch Netflix as well. Tom and I have watched the first three seasons of Outlander and the fourth season on a Netflix dvd ( sent in the mail). We also watched Yellowstone with Kevin Costner. This series reminds me of the 80’s classic Dallas, about a turbulent family who are ranchers who fight, cheat, brand and even kill their hired help. Even though it sounds rough, it’s an entertaining show. Your guy seeking tv adventure will enjoy it!
If you’re looking for sentimental and feel good programming, check out Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings. It’s a season of mini stories about life, love, marriage and forgiveness. The mini season Virgin River is really good too! It features a young nurse relocates from busy LA to a rural small town in Northern California. Alexandra Breckinridge is outstanding and you may recognize her from playing Sophie on This is Us.
Other Netflix shows to watch are:
Eat Pray Love
When Calls the Heart
Holiday in the Wild
An oldie but goodie chick flick, The Notebook
I hope it’s just over a month until our snow melts and I post pictures and thoughts about outside, gardening and of the backyard.
What are you watching while experiencing cabin fever?
As another year closes and I excitedly look forward to a new year, I think it’s imperative to briefly look back on where I’ve traveled ( spiritually not just physically). For in order to know where you are going, you must dwell and learn from the paths you’ve tread on . Don’t you think? This past year held fun new places we explored as well as a few surprises in the mix. I also grew more spiritually and my self esteem boosted as I maneuvered through the year. I invested in myself a little bit more and I think it shows.
In January Branden’s girlfriend Jojo came to visit and we all made our own pizza!
I learned that planting inside in dark New Hampshire isn’t a good idea starting in February! Bahaha!
In April Tom and I visited Las Vegas and stayed at Harrah’s a few nights. We explored the strip and rented a convertible to explore Hoover Dam. It was a magical trip for me and I appreciate that Tom humored me by going. It was my way of welcoming and celebrating my 50th birthday!
In May mom and I traveled to Fort Worth and Dallas, Texas to see my nephew Spencer graduate from TCU. It was a wonderful trip with family!
My dad gifted me a greenhouse in the spring and I was fortunate enough to use it the whole growing season.
My daughter in law Lexy and I attended a beautiful bridal shower for my niece.
In June I hosted my own birthday party. It was filled with friends, family, music and laughter.
My paternal cousins and I met one afternoon to eat yummy food and connect. We all looked at old photos of our dads and moms. It was lovely and I hope we do it every year!
Over the summer my handy husband Tom built a gorgeous deck off of our kitchen. It’s a magical place to be! I can’t wait for spring and nice weather to sit out there again!
My mother in law Theo came to stay over the summer. Despite a nasty fall and visit to the local emergency room, we made the best of it. My sister in law Bev stayed with us during this time. We had a lovely dinner with my nieces Michele and Sheryl and Sheryl’s new husband John. We all sat on the deck and magically a Pilated woodpecker flew in a nearby tree and blessed us.
2019, what a year it was! I started feeling better about myself and investing in my weight and health even more. I exercised five to six days a week, drank more water and ate healthy portions. I did experience a health scare for several months with bladder troubles. After an ultrasound, several pelvic exams and a cat- scan nothing showed anything abnormal despite the painful symptoms I was having. My urologist said it could be institial cysitis, a condition that certain foods irritate the bladder and cause pain and urgency. I have adjusted my diet a bit and started taking an antihistimine. It’s 100 percent better! Boy did I take my health for granted! Never again! This trial brought me closer to God and his peace. He carried me through and I am eternally grateful for that!
I wish you happy and peaceful moments in the new year! Cherish your family, friends and your good health.
the weather could be snowy and frigid yet the next day could be warm and mild
There’s a Northeaster forecasted when spring is supposed to have emerged ( this happened a few weeks ago)
People wave to you on the road if you know them or not
leaving food outdoors leads to wild visitors in the night
you are on a first name basis with the post master, the police chief
and the town clerk
Spring brings eager smiles, light hearts and open windows
Most days there is a hushed presence of nature
only to be interwoven
with soft twittering bird songs
and serene owl hoots
This is the country melody
that we all are mesmerized by
You know when you are in NH
When a tranquil peace hovers and rising mountains
Sugar maples, white birches and thick pines surround you
The busy world continues its crass noise
yet life here is slow and meaningful
country living with a stillness that
keeps one centered
If you haven’t visited New Hampshire in the northeast of the United States, you must deep in the summer or in the pleasant days of Autumn. It’s a chance to escape the rat race and explore the White Mountains and nature at its best!
If you live in the wintry Northeast of the United States, you know that many January activities involve the cold, snow or inside venues. I compiled a little to do list for you New Englanders to try this month. If you live elsewhere ask yourself if any of these ideas would work for you.
Go sledding with your family and friends! We have a long Tobaggon that I won at work many years ago. It can hold two or three bodies and goes like the wind!
Host a Saturday lunch for friends. I’m hosting my two friends Laurie and Michelle in a couple of weeks. Serve hot or cold sandwiches or homemade soup. Have tea, coffee or hot beverages available.
Organize desk drawers or cluttered countertops. It’s easier now while the weather is colder outside. Once spring comes, you’re going to want to be outside instead.
Organize your printed photographs or digital thumbprints. Label folders such as Christmas 2018 or Summer 2018.
Take an afternoon hike in the woods. Tom and I hiked about a mile to check on his game camera and feed the local deer. It was simply magical with snow falling while we were in the midst of the stand of trees. Animal tracks spiraled throughout the woods like a crazy maze.
Build a cozy fire in the stove or fireplace and cuddle up nearby. Watch a good movie, Mr. Church on Netflix. It’s a heartwarming story of a mother and daughter who have a cook who becomes part of the family. Read a good book! Right now I’m reading The Divide by Nicholas Evans about a family facing a tragic loss of their daughter and the search to find out what happened to her.
I hope you all enjoy the month of January and everything that comes with it!
It’s my autumn wish to completely express my adoration of my home state, New Hampshire. Being born within its boundaries and breathing it’s fresh country air 49 years entitles me to personal experience. It’s the many years of waking up to majestic mountains and living my life with a scenic background, enough that I should pinch myself that I’m this blessed!
Many years ago Autumn stole my heart with its vibrant gold and red elegance.
Sunday afternoon Tom and I cruised the infamous Kangamangus Highway with twists and turns through the White Mountain forest. As we began our journey we were fortunate enough to trail a parade of Corvettes. Even though the day was raw and chilly in the 40’s with a whipping wind, the pleasant sun brought some heat to our enclosed car.
If you ever have the opportunity to visit our stunning state, make sure to wander up north and take a ride on the highway. Every few miles are lookouts, picnic areas, hikes and some campgrounds to vacation in a rustic scene.
Here we stopped to stretch our legs and absorb the glory of Autumn. The C.L. Graham Wangan Grounds lookout is in Lincoln. I’ve never seen as many cars and tourists crowding the area, but even so we found our tiny space to enjoy.
If scenic mountains could be royalty their elegance would sparkle within the court. Their colorful leaves resemble precious jewels, even as the glow wanes. The monumental scenery takes people’s breath away as they absorb it’s unbelievable majesty.
I’m thankful for the quality time Tom and I spent on the road. We followed the Kangamangus for a few hours towards Conway, NH. Then we stopped at a rest area bordering a brook and ate packed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.To wrap up the day, we cruised home slowly with no expectations. We had heard foliage was at a peak a week ago but even so, the colors popped here and there. It’s these Autumn days that fill my bucket overflowing!
Mysterious footprints mazed around the sandy beach,
each treading a unique and personal story.
Sea gulls dotted the landscape, some squawking with a deep seated
desire for fish.
Others repeatedly circled beach sun bathers,
searching and snoopin’ for snacks,
any that would curb their cravings.
Perhaps they would stumble upon kernels of popcorn from a plastic snack bag or a
snippet of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich from a busy little
As the sun stood high in the sky and
afternoon prepared it’s reign,
the resting couple from higher elevations of NH
dug their toes in the smooth warm sand.
The male peered in his trusty binocs
at the wide world of sea before him
and skimmed a hunter’s magazine.
The lady breathed the salty air and listened to the waves
soothing her mind.
She read a book quietly
until a nosy and mischievious sea gull
sprung to action!
Sassy Sam snuck
between the metal chairs in a covert operation,
while other sea gull mates stood by to inspect
With a snap of his beak, he pulled a chip bag
from the beach bag!
The lounging lady followed him
and hung out until he was done browsing
in the sack.
Minutes after Sassy Sam’s persistence shined,
as he tugged with full force on the lady’s towel.
Never underestimate the strength of a hungry
A few weekends ago Tom and I ventured down the route 93 into Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It was a Friday late afternoon and cars were hustling everywhere, possibly from commutes from work or other vacationers seeking peace on weeks end. Once we pass the majestic metal bridge into Kittery, Maine, we’re home free. It’s about a half hour on a good day and maybe 40 minutes other days up route 1 into York and then Ogunquit, Maine.
We ate delicious seafood meals and stayed in a little quaint motel called Towne Lyne Motel. There we were fortunate enough to have a private cozy porch off our room, where we watched the river and had little Dixie cups of berry wine.
It was heaven exploring the infamous Marginal Way, starting at the Perkins Cove. We parked there and followed the trail above the craggy cliffs and watched breaking waves crashing against the rocks with a vigor that’s unmatched. While walking I greeted most walkers and even talked with a few including a nice couple from Chicago. We reveled in unison of the majestic beauty there and soaked in the sunny day with all our might.
It was a glorious and relaxing weekend away for us! If you haven’t visited Ogunquit, Maine, check it out! There are quaint antique and unique shops, great restaurants and many accomodations for your needs.
It was a beautiful April day in Homosassa, Florida. The wind whipped more than usual, while the sun shined as it only can there. At the Homosassa Riverside Resort, on the Homosassa River, there’s a dock and a few boats alongside it. Imagine a pelican flying by and a heron hunting on the edge of the dock. Silent and still, it intently gazed at the water for its next meal.
Fifty yards away sits a diminutive island dressed up with a lighthouse and tree house structure built up high from the water. This just isn’t any island, for five spider monkeys inhabit it. Sassy, Ebony, Emily, Eve and Ralph entertain visitors, the show monkeys can only give. These primates swing and climb and bask in the sun. Sometimes they will approach the edge of water but don’t proceed because they don’t like water. Supposedly they scare any approaching alligators by throwing rocks in the water and seek the higher ground, the house. ( credit to abcactionews.com from Tampa Bay)
The Resort’s owners are the monkey’s caretakers, who feed them and take care of them. When hurricanes approach they keep a close eye on the monkeys and have an evacuation plan if needed. ( credit to abcactionews.com) I had to mention this because this worrying thought came to my mind and it immediately made me feel better that they were monitored and protected.
Tom’s mom, his sister Pam and husband Jim,his other sister Mary and her husband Joe, and Tom and I ate a nice lunch together at the Resort’s restaurant. Many of us enjoyed the fried Grouper fish sandwich while watching the monkey theatrics across the way. Good company and food brought us together, something we all don’t do often. The only sibling missing was Tom’s sister Bev and her husband Chris.
The monkeys were amusing as I watched closely. One laid out in the sun, stretched long while another sat up in the house. Two hung out together and it looked like one was being a mother hen and was picking off something off the other. I’ve read somewhere before that they have a tendency to groom each other, so that was interesting to watch.
We were planning on going on a boat ride but the captain called in sick. We went to plan B and enjoyed our lunch and it all was wonderful. Sometimes things don’t go as planned and in that case, I use my co- worker Laura’s thinking, plan B. If the first plan doesn’t work out, then no big deal, switch to an alternative option and if that doesn’t work, there’s plan C. Life has disappointments all the time and it’s up to us cope with it and make special moments anyway. ❤
Then it was time for goodbyes and hugs to Mary and Joe. It was the second leg of our journey…over to Central Florida in Lake Wales. Jim drove us all back to the house, about a two hour ride. Along the journey we were still amazed to see palm trees and orange groves. What we didn’t find were mountains like in New Hampshire. It was refreshing to spy different scenery!
Upon arriving, we toured Pam, Jim and Theo’s house. It’s tucked in a community called Tower Lakes with homes weaved around the park. The park has a few ponds, a community pool and hot tub, and walking road and bridge. Theo told us that an alligator was in the pond but when he gets big, they will get someone to take him out. Yikes!
Their home is lovely decorated and with a Florida and seaside theme. It was homey and comfortable and so nice to see it after a few years.We slept in their guest room, opening from the living room through French doors. They have a futon serving as a sofa and a guest bed.
The next morning after Tom shot pool with Jim and his friends, we visited Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland, in Polk County. This is a free state park open to the public. Paths lead by the lake, tropical forests and by swampy areas. Words are hard to do this place true justice, but I’ll try to describe it the best that I can. Tom’s wonderful photos may paint an accurate picture and can hopefully bring you right there and share our beautiful experience.
Once we got down the trail a bit it all started happening! Everywhere we looked, there were alligators and many times they were a few feet from the trail, lying on the bank. Hundreds were in the lake that day, heads out of the water swimming slowly. It definitely was the most alligators that Tom and I’ve seen and the rest of the crew too probably. We went on April 25th close to alligator mating season and that may be why we saw many of them!
Tropical birds were everywhere, as well as blue herons hunting their prey in the swampy water. A flock of pure white birds were spotted in the distance with a pink flamingo in the mix. An osprey busily dove into the lake for a catch and we spotted a few huge osprey nests on the trail.
What amazed us all was how mesmerized Tom was. Jim was very kind to lend Tom his digital camera with a zoom and let him try it out for the day. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen my husband that infatuated and inspired. As he walked, he slowed and snapped photos with a burning passion, probably the same deep feeling that I have when I write.
We were all happy for such a special walk ( one that was almost three miles) and the natural wonders that we were treated to, but especially for Tom’s amazement and wonder. At times I didn’t talk but walked and gazed at the Florida wildlife and soaked in my husband’s happiness like a sponge. When your spouse has these moments, you feel good about it and ultimately happy for him. I enjoyed it as well for the reserve had more birds, gators and turtles than I’d ever seen. I have to admit that I ran and jumped when I felt threatened by the gators. There’s nothing holding them back from crossing the trail so I felt excited but a little scared too.
Towards the end of our adventure, we all decided that we would stop and rest on benches by the water. No sooner had we sat down then we spotted a big alligator in the water a few feet away! At first I wasn’t worried but suddenly the big guy slithered out onto the grassy bank next to another bench. Tom wanted to get a good picture and boy, did he! He, Jim, and his mom hung out just a few feet away with a group of spectators, while Pam and I hit the high road! I’m not embarrassed to inform you that fear made me run, I love my limbs and didn’t feel like giving any up that day! It all ended okay after a few minutes of worry and excitement. After turning down our trail a bit and shocking everyone, this monster sized gator decided to retire in the water across the way and then the show was over.
That was the closest we’ve ever been to these amazing creatures and that’s enough for me! I’ll enjoy the pictures and remember my racing heart and cries for Tom as part of my vacation memories! Ha! We all enjoyed a lovely seafood dinner at The Port after we went to Circle B. Thank you, Theo for treating us to that!
If you happen to be in the Lakeland area, look up the Circle B Bar Reserve, it’s an outstanding natural habitat of wildlife to see and snap photos of!
The very next day it was already time to bid our goodbyes with hugs and a few choked up tears. Airports are really sad for me for some reason. Jim took this photo of Tom, Pam, Theo and I just before we checked in at Orlando International Airport. It was a great couple of days and we want to thank all three for making us feel welcome and for such a nice visit!
When my husband and I go for country rides on back roads, I always notice the lone trees. Usually the tree stands erect at the top of a hill, like a honorable man who has achieved so much and conquered his mountain of challenges. It’s perfectly tall and stretches its crooked branches like old wrinkly fingers, embracing the world.
There’s something majestic and spiritual about a lone tree.I feel quiet and humbled upon its sight and I always long to hike up to it to take in all it’s wonder. It’s beauty touches my heart and I feel a spiritual connection. Whenever I see an extraordinary lone tree, an emblem or picture, I wonder why it touches me so.It’s majesty is unexplainable! All I know is that I feel connected to it, it’s splendor and roots that dig deep in the ground.
The lone tree looks stately and pristine, resembling a proud grandfather overlooking his family from a distance. It proudly stands for strength and resilience…that tree, in its solitary state, has grown upward and out. Even though it’s all alone without a stand to thrive in with, it flourishes on its own accord. What a beauty it is!
Will you look at your neighborhood tree the same again? Do you notice the alone trees that you encounter?
My husband and I were on a carefree Saturday afternoon drive on local back roads, looking for the perfect photo opportunity. Recently I’ve penned a post about trees, all alone in their environment and what they remind me of and how striking they are to me. ( to be posted soon) For a few days now I have been on a mini quest for promising photographs of these trees, with no avail. Although our search was a dead end, we were in a peaceful and quiet daze.
On a back road in a nearby quaint village , Tom spied a snowy laced road that’s not maintained in the winter. His recollection was that he had hiked up there years ago and that an older woman lived up there in the summer months.
It was a cloudy yet mild day, the kind of day that beckons you to enjoy nature’s offering. We decided that a simple walk was what we truly needed. It would be a chance to stretch and breathe in silence and nature. We slogged in a scattered trail of footprints in the snow and proceeded to climb the slope. The spindly branches framed the road as the snow tread ground resembled a glittery web of white. Tom discovered deer tracks cast in the white powder and we followed their trail with our observant eyes. Dog tracks appeared as well, an indication that neighbors walked their furry friends a time or two.
This is the road adjoining the slope that’s not maintained. Such beauty and I’m so grateful to live nearby!
There’s something humbling about a simple dirt road. It’s a subtle symphony of natural peace, where you can explore by foot or wheels. The road paves the way for personal thoughts of a tranquil nature. Solutions can be born here and problems fade away to dust. An anxious heartbeat slows to comfort as this world is calming and medicinal.
Upon walking back down the hill, an older man appeared. For a minute I wondered if it was his property or if he would ask us to leave. Coming closer to him, an immediate kindness alleviated my fears. He asked us if we had walked to the cabin. “ No, We just went halfway up, but maybe we can check it out when spring arrives,” I responded. ( It was a little slippery and I didn’t want to fall and make my back worse.)
The man told us that he lived just a bit down the road and liked to hike up there. He had a recent foot injury, so we told him to be careful. Walking away, he favored that foot but was going to make the best of it. We wished him well and I thought how fortunate that God had placed him in our path that day!