A February Snowstorm

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We’ve just weathered ( excuse the pun!) a snowstorm . It dumped a few inches shy of a  foot of new heavy snow. Looking outside my window all I see are mountains of white, pushed against our house in drifts. The road is encased with snowy forts up to four feet. The DOT  monstrous orange plows rumble back and forth, pushing snow up against the banks. Private snowplows rush by with the flashing lights on their roofs as the new promising day begins.

 

 

 

It started its magic about 11 am on Wednesday and continued with nature’s force until it petered out in the late evening. We were released early from school at noon, and even then teachers were already digging their cars out and roads were frosted with new snow. Most cars slowed down in slow motion, as snowflakes fell at a rapid rate.

 

I arrived home quietly and greeted my two lovable  lounging cats. As I lit my candles and ate a little lunch, our road became still. There wasn’t the  usual deluge of passing vehicles going somewhere. I suppose many people went straight home, as I did and nestled in it’s comfort.

 

Is it odd to say that’s one of my favorite elements of winter? The nesting inside…beside the blazing heat and crackle of the fire. Gazing at the constant glittery show of the snowfall, sometimes pelting against the windows. The feel of snugly lap blankets and fuzzy slippers. The good hot cup of tea or rich coffee in hand and an interesting book or my iPad to write.

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That night while I prepared for bed, snowplows hurried by and I hoped the drivers would be able to rest soon, including my husband. I went to bed and left the light on for him and in the midst of the night I heard the ruffle of blankets as he tiredly climbed in our cocoon. We both fell asleep and I didn’t even get to ask him about his snowy work filled day.

 

I woke up to more plow trucks racing by with weary drivers at the helm. The school bus barreled by and as I fixed my breakfast I thought that this is a way of life here. The outside world is piled up with snow and even so, life goes on as usual. I would dress and anticipate my school day, as I always do.

 

Yes, we have to endure snow boots, gloves and hats, snow tires, huge heating bills and sometimes inconveniences of messy roads. But through all this, I’ll take it and my husband will to. For we chose to live here, to dwell in the four seasons and reap in its rewards. Winter has its lovely elements, despite nasty flu floating around as well as cold temperatures and snow.

 

A winter blessing is the sparkling beauty of snowfall and it’s magical presence hung on branches. The cold air makes you feel alive ( I’ll take this over too much heat). Winter is the perfect time to rest, to renew from the passing year and prepare for the months ahead. It’s the only time you can snowshoe and stargaze at a perfect sky frosted with unbelievable stars. Tracks from our wild friends scatter throughout the yard like a busy maze, something we can’t see in other seasons.

 

 

So winter is in full force here, in New Hampshire. Our beef stew is ready in the crockpot along with a pan of freshly baked biscuits. The stove crackles and pops and the white wonderland outside is where I live, where I rest and mostly love my family.

 

I was born in New England like my mom and my dad and both sets of grandparents. I hope to die here. I’m proud to live here! Maybe I’m crazy!  Maybe it’s a stubborn trait, to defy the odds and stay. Or maybe I’m just at home, no matter which beautiful season it is! I’ll accept winter and the rest as snow falls outside and the stars twinkle their show.

 

Are you content where you live? Do you have snow or tropical weather?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

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My Journey of Patience

 

The caretakers ” cottage” where we raised our sons and called home.

 

If you didn’t already know…I waited 22 years to live in our renovated home. We already lived in a home just down the road nestled on a grand estate. A winding driveway led to a grand mansion, garages and sheds, an apple orchard, a Christmas tree field, a built-in pool, all surrounded by a serene stonewall. It was a magical place to raise our sons and we felt as comfortable as can be. But it wasn’t ours and sometimes the reality of that slapped us in the face.

 

 

Mrs. Geneen’s grand estate

As time ticked on, money and precious time were factors in a renovation standstill. The house stood lonely and cold and every time I passed it, I felt a break in my heart. Every now and then I would dream of what curtains I would have and where our furniture would go, just to keep the dream alive. Then it would fade away again, with unsettled future plans in limbo.

 

 

Finally we decided to finish the house and make the big move. Our employer and friend, Mrs. Geneen had passed away a few years before and we were eventually paying rent to stay. It was the perfect time to let go, to walk away and start a new life in our home! Now, three years later, we occupy our dream home and it’s a blessing and a relief. Sometimes I pinch myself while walking through the rooms. It doesn’t seem possible that we are finally here in our own home! The wait has gifted me patience that maybe I didn’t possess before, a strength that flows in my blood now.

 

 

If you can learn anything from my circumstance it is this…sometimes all that you desire or think you need isn’t meant to happen right away. For the journey you travel while you wait makes up who you are and why would you pass up something so teaching and beautiful? If you’re being tested and have to wait, remember my story and keep marching on. Stay strong and hopeful during your journey. Eventually events happen as you wish, but not on your timeline but God’s. Trust it…for such beauty lies in the wait!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

A Diner in the Eighties

 

 

A smokescreen curled round a red neon sign,

clouding my vision as a shrill whistle hovered

in the air-conditioned room.

A patchwork of various people chitter chattered

amongst themselves,

with a whinny shrieked laugh in the background.

Some fussy youngsters sat with grandma,

as she attempted to quiet their cackles.

The blazing sun beat on the windows,

melding with the intense cooking of the kitchen.

The sweat and frenzy of the summer day

wore on people’s faces like masks.

Mens’ shirts were unbuttoned with being free

and women wore short snappy sundresses and

tank tops.

A pungent smell of fried foods hung thick

in the air as exhausted waitresses flung their orders

at the stout short order cook.

A strong essence of vanilla

and a rich burst of coffee brewing enticed me,

convincing me to order a piece of

homemade pie.

A diner of the eighties…can you picture it?

I started writing this piece in 1992 and here I am finishing and polishing it 25 years later! 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💕

Thanks to My Husband, the Snow Plow Driver

Thank you to this hard-working man,

my husband who works multiple jobs

snowplowing, shoveling, sanding, chopping up ice

 and clearing walkways for people

so they can live comfortably.

He sure is a blessing and I’m truly thankful for his hard work! 

Dear God, please give him a day off, without snowfall 

or rain.

He needs his rest so he can be his best! 

 

Please thank your local snowplow operator and town worker today

for he works so very hard for you! 

Church Bells 🔔

 

My mom’s hometown church, Union Village Vermont.

 

As a young child I remember hearing the church bells ringing as entering church. It was peaceful and magnificent, something that evoked sentimental feelings within me. Back then I knew that it was a signal for worshippers that church was about to commence and that it was a bold celebration of God.

 

 

 

Do you know the history of church bell chimes and what the ringing meant?  Upon reading Eric Sloane’s American Yesterday, I learned that long ago church bells communicated community events such as births and deaths. Every time a male died the bells chimed three times three and for women, three times two. Shortly after moments of silence the bells would ring the number of years the person lived. I wish I lived back then to witness this…a true ceremony and tribute that would send goosebumps up my spine.

 

This church holds much of my family history. My mom grew up in this town and married both my father and stepfather at this church. My maternal great grandparents and grandparents are buried here as well as my Great Uncle Connie.

 

 

 

All church bells were rung three times a day, in the morning, at noon and at 9 o’ clock for a curfew. In later times the bells were ringing every hour and that tradition continues today.

 

 

When I took my boys to a local Congregational church in a nearby town, I learned that the bell ringing was the children’s responsibility. Besides being that, it was a special treat for them to take turns pulling on the thick hemp rope up and down. Each child had to pull with all his might and sometimes a younger one would need an adult’s strength to help. It would pull their little bodies up towards the low ceiling, like an exciting carnival ride, as they chimed the ringer after church services. My boys did it a few times, and as they performed the special Sunday ritual, their faces lit up with a joy that I wish I could’ve bottled up. The beautiful jingle filled the church yard with heavenly music, bringing a thrill to many who heard it.

 

 

 

 

 

This is my former neighbor, Esther Heath and her son Doug. She used to bake pies for the local firemen’s auction and it would be raffled off for as much as $ 1,000!

 

 

 

I’ve had a special experience with church bells during a neighbor’s funeral. This woman, Esther Heath, was very involved in the town and played the organ at the local Methodist church at one time. She was a farmer’s wife who raised two children and stayed active in our small town. I remember a few of our visits when she would crack a funny joke and we both would laugh uncontrollably. She had quite a sense of humor.

 

 

 

After the little funeral ceremony, all the people who paid their respects, either walked up the country road or drove to the nearby church. As we talked quietly, the air felt still. I solemnly  started pondering over my life and how precious time is . While I thought of how blessed I am, the church bells called to the whole town. Amazing! I choked back tears as I walked and listened to the chimes, one after another. I didn’t count how many times it wailed and it didn’t matter to me, just that it rang in honor of this woman. I’ll never forget it or probably experience that again.

 

A photo of our small town hall and the church on the right. Photo from UnionLeader.com

 

 

Long ago church bells jangled for fire warnings and if war had begun. It was a widespread communicator, tolling to spread the town message. Today the bells still toll in celebration of marriages and in honor of the deceased. They announce a church service in honor of God. Church bells, in all their long history, represent community, God and bring people together in ceremony. Thank goodness for them and all that they represent!

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

 

 

First Snow Sparkle ❄️

 

This is a view of our woods bordering our backyard.

 

 

The first significant snow

of the season pounced on us

Saturday night!

Sunday morning and afternoon the fresh fallen snow glistened

on bushes and trees

as the sun pelted its presence

upon us.

Frosted trees sparkled

with glistening milky snow.

The wind softly caressed the branches

while wisps of sparkling snow sprayed in clouds

and fell to the ground.

The air smelled clean and anew,

a sure sign of new fallen snow.

As I trudged up the dirt road behind our house,

the suns rays shined upon the road

with an angelic like aura.

I’m grateful for coming winter and the beauty

all around.

Welcome new snow!

It will be a white Christmas!

 

 

Our front yard
Beautiful apple trees in our neighbor’s yard.
Along the dirt road I spy our garage

Look at the beauty around me!

Do you have snow where you are?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💕

 

Succulent Squash

The other day I searched high and low for decorative gourds to adorn my Thanksgiving table. The supermarket must have had a rush for them because there wasn’t any left. Walking around the corner where they should have been, suddenly I discovered some unique squashes that could stand in for the gourds and serve my purpose.

 

 

Aren’t they beautiful in colors and shape?

 

 

I chose a golden acorn, an orange squash I’ve never seen before, a bright yellow acorn, and a slender squash and that resembled a gourd. With a little research I discovered that the slender tan squash is called a  Delicata squash. The multi colored acorn shaped squash is a Carnival squash. The orange round one resembles a pumpkin and is called a Golden Acorn. I threw in my home-grown Buttercup squash from our garden to add a little dark color and complete my display.

 

We had eleven diners so we had two long tables. On each table I scattered the colorful squashes amid my pilgrim people and turkey leaf display. My one regret is that I didn’t have time to snap a photo because I was deep into a cooking mode but they did look beautiful! Interspersed with the plates were my niece’s lovely thankful turkeys and artwork.

 

 

Now I have all these squashes and it’s fun to search for different uses. I plan to make all of them within the next couple weeks. In years past I’ve baked squash wedges with a little brown sugar and butter or boiled it. Winter squash is tasty either way and a healthy side dish to any meal! Tonight I baked the golden squash with butter and salt and pepper. It was yummy and accompanied my spiral pasta with local sausage. ( See my side note)

 

A Little Side Note:

Recently my husband and I started buying meat from a local farm in our town. I saw the post on our town blog  from a local farm. They are selling a holiday package of a variety of meats all from their farm and processed in a FDA facility. We were excited to invest locally with GMO free and grass-fed meat and will continue buying from this farm. It feels good to abandon grocery shopping for meat that has traveled many miles from who knows where. Not knowing where your food comes from is pretty scary…especially in this day and age of additives and the Genetically Modified Organisms nightmare.

 

I hope you all enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday and spent it with people you love! I did…it was a special day of feasting, love and family.

Here is a photo of the dinner crew after eating and indulging in these desserts, pumpkin pie, apple pie, apple crisp, Reese’s peanut butter pie, cherry pie and  chocolate cream pie. Wow, there were lots of desserts and leftovers!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤