A sunny Saturday in the low 60’s in New Hampshire is a warm invitation for a little car ride. I wore short sleeves for the first time in months and had my special sunglasses for the glare. Windows rolled down, my husband and I rode around and watched snow melting in culverts and he observed the back road conditions, as it’s his job.
We casually drove by Pearl Lake and glanced towards the water. A white Chevrolet was parked off to the right and a teenager was leaning out of the window looking through binoculars. It doesn’t matter what time of year, when you see a stopped car and binoculars you know there’s wildlife nearby. Locals as well as tourists excitedly dig for cameras and their binoculars for a chance to share in the amazing rare sight.
Two eagles were perched proudly out on the ice. Tom thinks there was a male or female, maybe setting up shop and nesting near the lake. There’s also the possibility that the larger one was a female and the smaller one her young. We are not sure how long eaglets stay with their mother so it’s just speculation.
Of course we weren’t prepared so we rushed home minutes away and hurriedly grabbed Tom’s binoculars and my iPad with its camera. When you leave a mesmerizing sight like that, there’s the great possibility that they’ll move on before you hurry back but we took the chance and hoped for the best.
Racing back to the serene and beautiful lake, we spotted the twosome still. Tom said that there was a fish or two on the ice and they were chipping away at it and devouring chunks of them. A little quaint ice fishing shanty stood nearby. We speculated that ice fishermen may have left them or had the eagles pried them out of the ice? We will never know but we do know for certain it was a special occasion and something you don’t see everyday!
After we gawked at the eagles for fifteen minutes, Tom and I decided to be on our way and let them be. If we happen to check the lake again, I’ll bring my Canon camera with a better zoom than my iPad. The pictures I took show the figures but not close up. I deeply apologize that I don’t have better ,sharper pictures to share with you so you’ll have to use your imagination to zoom in!
What a beautiful day it was, in our corner of the world. Little did we know what magnificent sight we would stumble upon. That’s how wonderful a country ride can be…little unexpected surprises can happen anytime and you just have to be aware and looking for them.
I believe courage lives within all of us but not everyone lives in it’s truth or knows how to tap into it. Maybe you practice everything with a breath of courage waving a flag, that dominates everything you do. Perhaps you’re the type of person who has it tucked away humbly and sometimes it surfaces with a powerful force. Its overflow may surprise the heck out of you and it changes you and your self image. Maybe you are tougher than you thought!
Sometimes I feel like the famous cowardly lion and others I surprise myself from my bravery battery. When I do act and live in courage, it’s from my faith in God. He helps me stand strong and take anything life throws at me. When I try to depend on merely myself, it doesn’t always work the way I would like.
when your primary decision is life changing and you must buckle down and change your life. You do this in silence and by yourself.
the woman who’s fighting cancer but she’s still going through life, giving to others, working, loving and still praying. While she battles illness, she does so with a smile.( Laura)
getting up and showing up and being there for others during trying times.
standing up for what you believe in even if it means losing friends or causing conflicts. Courage is doing what is right even if it feels like you’re losing control of your comfort, but you know you need to do it.
mending relationships with family, friends or coworkers and swallowing your pride and saying a heartfelt apology.
Courage lies within all of us…deep down in your gut or in that smile you forced yourself to make.
I pray that you discover bravery within you, when it’s needed. I was tested this week and unfortunately I wasn’t as brave as I could have been. The story is for another post but I’ll say it happened in the middle of the night and I thought someone stole my car, right out of my driveway. I’ll post that story soon.
All My Best,
If anything intimidates me in the kitchen, it’s pie baking. It all starts from mixing the dough perfectly to the rolling step and lastly fitting the crust over the pie. Because of these fears, most of the time I’ve stayed away from pies and baked cakes and cookies instead.
I remember that first pie I crafted. I was 24 and living in our apartment in a tight kitchen place but got this desire to bake an apple pie. I got the recipe from Theo, my mother in law and away I worked. Truthfully it came out magnificent for my first one and received compliments and an empty plate from Tom. The crust came out perfect the first time but it wouldn’t last.
Here is the apple pie recipe Theo shared with me. It makes a delicious pie, using honey!
1/3 cup honey
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon, I use 1 Tbsp cinnamon. It depends on your preference
2 Tbsp corn starch
6-8 medium cooking apples (7 1/2 cups)
1 beaten egg for brushing over crust
coarse sugar to sprinkle atop crust
Place aluminum foil or pie guard around crust for first 30 minutes and remove after that.
Peel and slice apples. Add sugar and honey and spices. Coat with corn starch. Mix all together and place in prepared pie crust. Preheat oven to 425 F. Bake for 15 minutes and then lower to 350 F. Continue baking 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown and apples are soft.
For years I’ve played the struggle game, mixing and measuring, holding my breath so it wouldn’t fall apart. No matter what I’ve tried it doesn’t come out right. Now 23 years have flown by and I think I got it right. I’m not stating it’s perfect but pretty darn good!
Back in November my mom shared a pie recipe that she had. I was skeptical…every time I’m optimistic about crafting the crust, it becomes a horror show! Yet, I managed to bake a nice pie…with the best pie crust I’ve ever made!
Here is the recipe and believe it or not, it has vinegar as an ingredient!
2 ½ cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. vinegar
½ cup ice water
¾ cup Crisco shortening
Mix flour together with salt and sugar. Add Crisco and work in dough, until crumbly. You can use a pastry blender or two knives. Add vinegar to ½ cup of ice water. Sprinkle a little at a time, moisten and gather dough together. Form two balls in bowl. Roll out on floured surface.
My next challenge is making the crust look halfway decent on the pie. The edges can be difficult but I’m going to practice and see how it goes. There are many decorative edges you can craft, from using a corkscrew, fork, pinching the crust and using the back of a spoon to make different designs.
Do you have trouble with your pie crust? Do you have any little pie crust secrets to share with me?
I’m a New Englander, born in New Hampshire and have lived here most of my life. Therefore winter is a way of life, a nice exhilarating change of season and beautiful in so many ways. While many residents complain about winter, I enjoy it and welcome it for these reasons :
Sparkling crystals of snow embellishing the ground
In the heart of a storm snow swirls and whipping wind blows drifts all over roads and driveways. As it accumulates I’m either at work or at home watching through my windows. The only time that I brave that kind of weather is when I have to work. But I know a man who is out in it constantly. He’s my husband and he’s the snowplow man.
My guy is one of thousands ( maybe more) of snowplow operators, who work tedious hours on end so you can travel safely on the road. As a matter of fact, last week we had two winter storms. One night he worked from 6:00 am to 4:00 am the next day with a couple of hours off in between, and another he plowed and sanded from 1:00 am until 7:00 am, after working all day. Yet ,he never complains but continues to serve his community with a profound love for the job.
Do you notice and acknowledge the hefty snowplows that push mounds of snow? All winter town and state plow operators lay down salt or sand, push endless amounts of snow and sometimes help people that are stuck off the roads or in snow banks. Their commitment to work is unreal. Here I am nestled in a warm house watching outside like a snow globe and they sit high up in a rattling loud truck for hours on end. Many times they work without sleep or hot food.
One of my favorite books is Kate Braestrup’s book, Beginner’s Grace. Kate is a Maine Fish and Game Chaplain who is called upon to pray for the deceased or for families of lost hikers and such. In her book she offers some great prayers and blessings for different occasions. One prayer she shares is to be said at the sound of a siren. God grant courage to those who suffer,
Strength and peace to those who help.
I always think of this prayer and adapt it when Tom and other snowplow operators are out in a storm.
God protect Tom and all snow removal operators
as they work steadily
Grant them courage and strength as they battle the snow
please help people slow down
On snowy, icy roads
for everyone’s safety.
The next time you are driving in a snowstorm, please slow down and be cognizant of plow trucks! They are trying to do their jobs and take care of the roads and any vehicle complications can be a danger to you and them. Like you, most snowplow operators have families waiting for them at home.
God Bless and stay safe in winter storms.
Happy first anniversary to me! One year ago I launched my little blog about country life in my corner of the world. Thank you to all of you for reading my posts, commenting and following me! By allowing emails or following me, you invest and believe in me and I don’t take that lightly. It means the world to me for your time and motivates me to write. I look forward to sharing more stories with you as I move forward and welcome ideas or follow- ups to older posts. 🎉🎉🎉🎉
I never liked leftovers as a child or young adult. My mindset was that tasting more than once couldn’t be topped. I always thought why would I want the same dish the next day? Things have changed now that I’m a middle aged adult. Tastes and preferences change and that’s good, so leftovers won’t end up in the trash.
The last few months my husband and I are finding a new life, an empty nest with both our sons out of the house ( except for vacation breaks and summers). It’s been a challenge to try to cut down from cooking for four to two people. I tried it for a few weeks and didn’t seem to make enough for us. So since I have cooking for four embedded in my brain I’ve used it to my advantage! The leftovers serves as the meal next day. Either I take them to school for my lunch or we have them for dinner the next night.
Who hasn’t taken a leftover meal and changed it or made it better by adding ingredients? The key to optimal flavor and variety is doctoring it up! Here are some suggestions that I’ve tried:
Take macaroni and cheese and add hamburger, diced fresh basil and garlic or add chopped up bacon instead
Crockpot chicken can have new life with a teriyaki sauce and served with a stirfry
Leftover beef can be enhanced with mushrooms and gravy and serve over egg noodles
Lasagna or spaghetti can be doctored up by adding more sauce ( so it’s not dry) and another layer of cheese
Leftover fish or shrimp could go in a fish stew ( I’ve never made that)
Crockpot tenderloin pork can be pulled apart for barbecue sandwiches or bulkies. Just add barbecue sauce
Leftover hamburger can be used for Shepherd’s pie, Sloppy Joe’s, taco
Whatever is leftover, look at your refrigerator for ideas. Maybe fresh broccoli or carrots could be added. Any kind of cheese from extra sharp cheddar and Parmesan can spruce a meal up. You could add sliced peppers, onions, mushrooms and garlic. Use leftovers for a rice meal, just cook fresh rice pilaf and add vegetables. Leftover mashed and roasted potatoes can be paired with chicken, beef or pork and complete a meal with fresh veggies.
There are endless possibilities if you tap into your creative side. After all, a cook takes simple ingredients and magically transform them into an appetizing dish! We are enjoying our second day meal and it’s easy to do!
As we near the end of the first week of 2017, we all embark upon uncharted waters. A new year is a mystery with many expectations and uncertainties. If you have a vacation get-away or surgery planned, then you may expect fun times or tiring healing. We can plan, expect and foresee what the new year will hold. But do we really know what will happen? What we can surely count on are the consistent ups and downs of life. It’s like a dangerous and exhilarating roller coaster ride, that takes your breath away. Every year that we encounter will be filled with happy moments, trials and tribulations and everything in between.
Last year I started on my blogging adventure and had great results. My mini goal was to write at least twice or three times a week and I think with a few exceptions I’ve done that. I’ve always written but never took it seriously or took a step further until last January. I feel it’s a huge personal accomplishment.
Another mini goal was to attend a paint n’ sip. If you are unfamiliar with that, it’s simply an art class focusing on painting a chosen theme and everyone has wine or cocktails. I’ve always wanted to go to one but haven’t had the chance. This year a class was being held in my old hometown and my sister and I planned to go. I bought my ticket and waited anxiously for weeks. Unfortunately my sister couldn’t attend at the last minute and I was stuck with a ticket and untamed desire to go. I actually went to the class ALONE! As I walked in all I could see was groups of chatty, happy women and a kind instructor in the front of the room. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done but I did it! I walked in and started talking to a few ladies and actually met two nice ladies from Vermont, who asked me to sit with them. I’m so proud that I swallowed my pride and embarrassment and went, for I would’ve missed out on a fantastic opportunity and my first painting wasn’t that bad either.
You probably have already read a few magazine or news articles based on fresh ideas and setting goals for the new year. Every January we are bombarded with unique ideas and self help guidance, as some people set resolutions and some don’t even bother. I haven’t made a resolution in a few years, for the first week I always break it and thoughts of the goal fades away as February rolls around. It’s not that I can’t commit because I have kept many commitments in my life, but it’s just I don’t have the motivation to keep my goal. Losing weight happens easier if you don’t really think about it but change your lifestyle, so that resolution has never worked for me. Many of my resolutions haven’t worked because I just didn’t want them bad enough.
Have you made a new year resolution? Maybe you made a firm goal, to quit smoking or lose weight. If you are similar to me and don’t take on some unsurmountable resolutions, why not switch it up? For a change I set mini goals or bucket list items ( I know many people are sick of hearing of “bucket lists”, but I love them because they entice you to do it now or you may never do it). I believe setting mini goals is less pressure and more fun so they must be light hearted, fun or something you really want to try or learn.
First I wish to go to Mount Washington via the Cog Railroad, a historic train that chugs up the high elevation. It’s an experience that I haven’t had and would love to see the view from up there. My husband thinks that his family went when he was really little but he doesn’t remember it. Secondly I long to learn knit. My interest in knitting goes back to memories of my Nan Gould knitting me mittens every year. She always asked me what color I wanted and made me a fresh pair every fall. It meant a lot to me that she handmade me these and poured so much love into each stitch.My grandpa used to roll up the yarn for her and I remember it well and thinking how kind and loving he was for doing that. Lastly I want to try a new food, sushi! I have never wanted to try it until now and expect that I may dislike it, but do I really know?
Whatever your plan or goals are for the year, I wish you to live and thrive in peace and happiness. I wish you new experiences and places to explore. I pray that you and your family will be healthy this year and handle any health scare with strength and resolve. Lastly I hope that you make lasting and fun memories that will stay in your heart for years to come!
It was 1984 and I was 15 years old. I remember the PBS station was holding their annual fundraising campaign and the nightly feature was their gold star breadwinner, It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s a show that opens up purses and hearts. I watched the famous movie for the first time, half expecting to not finish it. In the late hours of that cold December night, I got sucked in, despite my dislike of old black and white movies.
This 1945 classic appealed to me…maybe it was Jimmy Stewart’s character and amazing acting and the drizzly snow scenes set in a small town that impressed me. This beloved story of a family man down and out and a goofy angel coming to his rescue all were staunch reasons why I kept watching. All these elements added up to a once in a lifetime movie, a show stopper that has stood the test of time.
I’ve watched it every year since and sometimes twice at Christmas with that eager fluttering in my heart. I still hold my breath during the bridge scene. George prays for his life back and it’s answered, for snow starts to fall and his lip is bleeding once again. He runs home to find the bank examiners at his house, and I still get choked up when all the people he’s crossed paths with and positively affected in his life show up and help. He made a staunch difference in their lives and never realized that until that moment. He had so many friends that he was a rich man indeed, not with monetary value but with love from family and friends with goodness and loyalty.
George Bailey’s famous plight continues to inspire me today, a reminder that wrapped up presents and piles of material goods just don’t measure up to the connection of family members, their love and legacy and their undying loyalty. Being together, laughing, spending time together means much more to me than what you can buy at a department store. Love, goodness and friendship can’t be bought but shared, valued and treasured. These are the precious gifts of life to be cherished everyday and at Christmas too.
If you’ve never watched this classic, It’s a Wonderful Life, you must treat yourself and watch! If you’ve seen it before, as you watch this year, notice the scenes that mean something to you. Let those moments remind you of what is important at Christmas and most importantly, share that love with others and show them how much they mean to you. Here’s your chance….to act and live as George Bailey did.
The minute Thanksgiving passes, I get out my Christmas movie collection to watch. These movies are special and can be seen again and again and we don’t get bored with them. My husband’s favorite movies are action and adventure and he sports a small sigh when we start. I think he wants me to be happy so he tolerates it for the month of December, but ends up laughing and enjoying our marathon. We don’t have the Hallmark channel but if you do, check out the family oriented movies. Also ABC Family channel has 25 days of Christmas programming.
Here is a list of good Christmas flicks:
Home Alone and Home Alone two
Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation
Christmas With the Kranks
The Family Stone
The Family Man
Fred Claus, funny
A Christmas Story, a classic with a funny pink bunny suit, ” you’ll shoot your eye out, kid.”
The Spirit of Christmas ( Netflix)
It’s a Wonderful Life, my favorite
I’ll Be Home For Christmas
Trapped in Paradise with Nicholas Cage
Miracle on 34th Street
Love Actually, Netflix
I’m trying to slow down and take care of myself. I’ve been nursing a lower back injury for close to two months. Finally I went to the doctors and without an x- ray she’s pretty positive that it’s a herniated disc or deteriorated disc problem. This time of year is hard to slow down with everything that moms do but I must attempt to. I’m on Naproxen for two weeks to shrink the swelling and no lifting over five pounds. Physical therapy starts in January. I can’t help think that it’s another test of strength…of course I WILL pass! In the meantime I plan to go to work for four days but take it easy as best as I can. Christmas will come and with help, I’ll make our dinner.
Because of taking it easy, I watched a wacky movie on a Netflix disc, Mixed Nuts. The title is fitting for it’s about a counseling center around the holidays. Anything that could happen does, it has the romance, accidental murder, crazy happenings that are quite comical. Steve Martin, Madeline Kahn and Rita Wilson star, to name a few. Check it out!