“Earning Your Keep”

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.

https://heartandsoul974.wordpress.com/2018/04/14/earning-your-keep/https://heartandsoul974.wordpress.com/2018/04/14/earning-your-keep/

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It’s February…

Our driveway
Looking out my back kitchen window at a dwindling fire stash under cover.

It’s February in New Hampshire

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.

Our son Dylan in a community college picture on their website.

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.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

Sunday Savory Crepes with Strawberry Sauce

My first strawberry sauce
I love golden brown crepes

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)

2 eggs

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!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

A Winter Walk

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.

A turkey crossing the snowy road.

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?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💜

The Divide, my Latest Read

I just finished this book written by Nicholas Evans, the author of The Horse Whisperer. It’s story is of a broken family, one that went through several changes including a failing marriage and daughter’s rebellious activities. I love the fact that Evans profiled the characters expertly, drawing me in and forcing me to invest in them. My favorite characters are Abby and the father, Benjamin.

I picked this up at a book sale a few years ago and stashed it on my book shelf until about a month ago. Sometimes I do this, put the book away and forget to read it. It was worth finding and filled many quiet winter moments and snow days for me.

Snowed In

The view outside my living room window

Snowed in…

a chance to hunker down in the folds

of a plush blanket

With a soft and slow breath

All is still

but the gentle cascading of snow

and the occasional rugged snowplow

clattering down the road

spraying clouds of

fluffy puffs

Snowed in…

a morning of blinding

and pearly flurries

There’s no place this soul

would rather be…

than in this country cottage

in the midst of bleached white.

That snow day morning I had done a few household chores but took the time to snuggle in and read. I was reading The Divide  by Nicolas Evans.  

I just finished the book yesterday morning on yet another snow day. It’s worth looking for at a used book store or library. Evans paints a complete picture of all the characters, capturing the readers interest and most importantly forces you to invest emotionally in the characters.


Tom came home from plowing around 9, with a tired hungry look. I cooked him a couple of eggs and made peanut butter toast. Then we planned on watching a movie as the snow continued to fall. This is winter life in New Hampshire, with cold temperatures and the fluffy stuff dominating.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

A January To Do List

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.

Credits to Janet Lee Logan & Princess Sassy Pants & Co. Thank 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!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️