We look forward to doing more on our little house this summer. Every year it becomes buttoned up more. This summer will be the fourth anniversary of our big move in, something I patiently waited for 22 years.
While browsing through last April’s posts, I stumbled upon this post I wrote. It’s about how New Englanders thrive in all the seasons and the extremes. It takes a strength and pereseverance to live here, to remain content while the harsh conditions can test your endurance. As winter shuts its door and welcoming spring gradually begins, I wish to share this once again.
When trees coming crashing down into yards, the landscape and sometimes the roads are affected. Monstrous branches with emerald green foliage plummet to the earth making us wonder how this tree lived for so long upright.Things come to a stand still as people wrap their brains around a sudden event. The chainsaws come out much to a working man’s satisfaction( for what man doesn’t love a good chainsaw cutting). My husband is one of those men with a lumberjack tendency.
With these unexpected falls, roads can be blocked and everyone just stops. Cars wait or turn around as road crews work their magic. Every now and then power lines whip down from the weight of bulky snow or from the piercing force of winds. A few summers ago our town had a road blocked and power out because of a tumbled tree. Our little hamlet came to a standstill for a few short hours.
Maple stood erect and towered towards the heavens with it’s sturdy branches intact. Until one day…a few years back a major appendage to this tree plummeted to the ground in a wind storm. For countless years this maple hovered over the yard, providing well needed shade and a sense of comfort to all. It witnessed many families come and go. We were just one of a few families who lived in the “cottage” at the Geneen Estate, appreciating that tree.
As Tom assessed the scope of the situation, I grabbed my camera and flashed photos. Most people overlook the significance of a downed tree or major limb. The towering tree still proudly stood but it was scarred. It would never be the same. But as we know, humans can also be hurt and changed but they amazingly adapt, staying strong. That maple still stands proudly lacing the property, providing shade for the new young family living there.
After a couple of hours of cutting and tedious piling up heavy branches, the yard was once again manicured, resembling a show piece. That’s what my caretaker husband prides himself on. That day as we trekked down the winding driveway, Tom and I had a new appreciation of all the towering trees, stretching our necks up to see the wondrous erect trunks and widespread branches. Their elegance framed the estate’s winding driveway, like standing soldiers guarding something precious.
Thank God for trees and the beauty, shade and oxygen that they gift us!
Ice blankets our driveway in gleaming sheets, making a trip to the mailbox a risky excursion. Icy crusted snow encompasses the perimeter of the house. Everywhere one looks a fierce whiteness blinds, yet the sky above is a robin egg blue. The air is crisp and cold, while inside the house, it’s warm and dry. It’s the winter season and we are in the midst of snow storms, icy roads in the early mornings and bright twinkling stars adorning the blackest night. This is all to be expected of this month in New Hampshire!
Usually in late February I fall in a cabin fever trance, longing for spring sun and blooming plants and blossoms. This year there’s a stark contrast in my attitude. I’m feeling great physically and healthy, with a sincere wish to skip the winter blues. After all, I choose to live here so why shouldn’t I make the best of it? Why not enjoy winter’s gifts, these little moments that some probably wish for.
Our family has much to look forward to this month, as we celebrate three family birthdays and a quiet Valentine’s Day. But also we live in such a beautiful place with white magic lying around. It’s fun to walk in it, to explore the frosty woods and look at animal tracks. You can hear winter birds cooing in the trees as well as a random owl hoot now and then.
There’s a time and season for everything and presently it’s time for snow, ice, chilly temperatures and red hot stoked stoves. It’s a perfect opportunity to move the body and snowshoe in the deep woods, to look for animal tracks and white owls, to hike on the snowy trails and truly appreciate the warmth of a raging fire afterwards. Even lugging armfuls of wood feels good as we walk the snowy path to the house.
As I close this post I wish to share Dylan’s first modeling job. I’m just kidding but that was what his wife Lexy joked about. This photo was taken a few years back while he attended a community college for Auto Technology. I randomly found it on a Facebook post a friend shared. At first I wasn’t sure where it was from but I figured it out. The college used it as a cover photo for their Facebook page. Tom and I, like most of you parents, are proud of his accomplishments and thank God for him! ( As well as our other son Branden).
I hope the start of your week is wonderful and if it’s not, breathe. This too shall pass and better days are ahead. Believe me.
This Sunday morning I woke to yet more snow on the ground and chilly temperatures. After loading up the stove with trusty hard wood, I ventured to my kitchen to create a warm wholesome breakfast! My husband was out snow plowing while I happily cooked. One of his favorite breakfast foods is crepes, a thin pancake made with flour, salt, milk, an egg, and oil. ( I use coconut oil and added a few tablespoons of Oat flour to the white.)
I try to use up what I have in the fridge and freezer and since I had a few frozen whole strawberries, I tried my hand at making strawberry sauce. My first time, other than making blueberry sauce! I put the strawberries in a small pot, added honey, cinnamon and water. It took a few minutes to boil and then I turned down the heat to a low simmer. It smelled like homemade jam and tasted so delicious with a bit of New Hampshire maple syrup and crepes!
Below is the Crepe Recipe I took from my aged Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.
1 cup flour ( I added 3 Tbls. Oat flour for a healthy nutty taste)
1 1/2 cup milk ( I used Lactose free Milk)
1 Tbls. Oil ( I used Coconut oil melted)
1/4 tsp. Salt
Combine dry ingredients. Add milk, eggs and oil. Beat until blended. Heat a skillet or electric skillet. I brush it with butter. Spoon about 2- 3 Tbls. batter for crepe. Cook 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Serve with blueberry or strawberry sauce and top with maple syrup.
I hope you enjoy your Sunday morning breakfast and savor every delicious bite!
Amid mounds of glistening snow and icy sheets that glaze driveways and roads, I choose to walk. I’m sure heat worshippers think I’m crazy! It’s that I simply enjoy the crisp cold air, inhaling the freshness. This energizes me and reminds me that I’m alive! Everything is clearer and crisp. Distant white capped mountains stretch in the distance as the dazzling trees are dressed in bridal whites. Fiery sunsets paint the sky with rich peaches and promising pinks, an amazing accompaniment to this white world surrounding me.
While walking in winter, I spy animal tracks winding in yards and spiraling into the mysterious woods. Curiously I attempt to break the code and discover which animal had tread there. Deer? A fox? Possibly it’s a little white ermine such as the one that’s living in our yard and sometimes in the attic.
Cars race by, slipping in the snow. Even bulky trucks barrel on this quiet country road, as fuel deliveries are being made to stoke people’s furnaces.
I slip on a pair of mittens and comfy hat. Then pull on fuzzy socks and laced up boots. A parka is zipped up. Sometimes a woolen scarf wraps me in like a present. My house key lay buried in my pocket. I’m on my way…walking down the hill towards the bustling town and then up another winding slope to my road. Months ago this walk exhausted me. It left me gasping for air and I had to intermittently stop to regain my raspy breath. Since I’ve exercised mostly every day and mastered this walk, I no longer stop. My strides are longer, more fluid and my breathing healthy and not rushed.
I do not walk during snow storms per my husbands sage advice. Plow trucks take much of the road. Cars slip and slide, sending slush and snow at any passer by. Ice patches are hidden by white cover, easy slipping conditions.
I don’t really think during these treks. Instead I notice my surroundings, the houses, the cars and the animals tracks. I breathe deeply. I exhale warm puffs. As I approach my little house, the grayish column of smoke twists up from the chimney. I can already feel the houses warmth. As soon as I jingle the key in the lock and thrust open the barrier, a sultry heat wallops my face. Instant comfort. Our black cat, Smokey, saunters to the entry and greets me with his mewing and rub up against my frigid legs.
I hear the stove crackle as I tear off my wintry layers. This completes the winter walk experience and I sigh with a happiness, a general contentment that I live in New England and actually thrive because of it. I was born of strong stock, of Vermont families that have lived and loved the winter. So I continue the tradition and always wish to do so.
Have you walked in a winter landscape lately? Do you have a habit of walking and noticing every little detail of your surroundings?