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 ❤️

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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 💜

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 ❤️

May Days

 

The sun’s powerful rays

warm and heal

our corner of the world!

Returned birds soar

amid clear blue skies.

 

 

 

A gaggle of geese gingerly trek

across a nearby clearing.

Dancing deer cross roads and flick

their whitetails for all to see.

 

 

A flock of eager turkeys

squawk and invade the yard

as the Tom struts with confidence

unmatched,

showing off for

gathering hens.

 

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Our pond beautifully springs to

life once again, sprouting

tranquil yellow

flowers.

The pond plunges into the brook,

swirling and bubbling,

emitting sounds of peace.

 

 

Welcome

mud caked driveways

and open windows

with an

an inhale of  fresh air!

 

It’s finally spring in

this neck of woods!

I’m happy that I can start walking again and being outside more

that spring is here.

I feel like I’ve been cooped up for too long

and it’s time for a release in nature and a dose of the earth.

I hope this post finds you all thriving and loving every moment of May! 

All my Best,

Heart and Soul

 

The Serenade of Peepers

 

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It’s that time of year again, when the silent moments are magically transformed into  a pleasant melody from nature. My husband and I have listened to the serenade of the cheery peepers while lying in bed in the dark of the night and the early hours of dawn. I find it amusing that some people download these soothing sounds just to relax and we just need to go to bed or stroll outside for the same experience.

 

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It’s something that I look forward to every year, a beautiful and enchanting sign of spring. It usually commences in mid or late April and lasts through May, so short lived. Our bedroom faces a little pond, about one hundred and fifty feet away from the house and far enough to be on the opposite side of the property, yet it seems so much closer! It is a loud and joyous tune, an orchestra of little male frogs calling for their mates from the forest and the pond’s edges.

 

 

Do you hear the peepers where you live? What other peaceful songs from nature do you relish to hear?

Happy Spring from my corner of the world!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💗

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Few Days Away

 

 

 

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EEK! Facebook, email, messaging! Recently I needed a tech break, just a couple of days to let it go. Sometimes in our lives we experience overload from too much information, especially with technology in this age. The reason why I chose to unplug from my iPad was that the minute I got up in the morning to the time I go to sleep, it was an important player in my day and this scares the heck out of me!

 

 

While I was away I watched a mother deer slowly lead her young twins across our road, all the while I held my breath hoping a car wouldn’t race towards them. The mother moved confidently and with a proud stature, while her babies swayed to and fro with new naive life. The fawns’ spotted coats stood out in the morning sun and their little white tails flickered behind them as they dutifully followed mom. I could smell fresh morning air and feel a refreshing coolness tingle my skin. All this was a blessing.

 

 

 

 

I worked and walked in my garden, watching a pair of goldfinches twittering in a nearby bush. Chirping birds of all sorts were my morning song. This is peace, I thought. Forget email and messages and the drama of Facebook. Forget bills and worries, I thought.

 

 

 

The next afternoon ( still under a tech break), I spotted something long and chestnut brown beyond our pond. It moved slowly with slick movements. It paused behind lush vegetation, with a rustle of branches. Suddenly a stunning deer showed itself and looked at me. This creature had a long smooth body and a twitchy whitetail with an endearing head with bright thoughtful eyes. She gawked at me, as if I didn’t belong here. At this moment we shared space, air and the yard’s tranquility. We both were  meant to be here, together, staring at each other in vast silence.It felt like hours of gazing but it was just a minute or two, just enough to feel it’s peace and beauty. Then it was over, as sudden as her magical appearance. I held my breath as she gracefully glided across the road and followed the game trail into the thick woods.

 

 

All these moments remind me of why I took the break. I needed to reconnect with the simplicity of nature and to soak in all of its peacefulness. There’s a profound need to heal my wounds from the past year, to mend things and recharge for fall. Some people take long summer vacations and do this. We don’t…we never have gone on vacation for more than a couple of days, since my husband has so much work this time of year. A part of me mourns this and secretly wishes there could be a get- away for us. Years ago it was his care taking job in the way and now it’s all his summer landscaping jobs. Don’t misunderstand me, I know those jobs pay the bills! Yet, I worry that Tom doesn’t truly get a break and we don’t get to relax like we should. Even though I’m depressed about this, I look forward to a few day trips and a few weekends away in the fall, when it’s quieter and he’s able to do it.

 

 

 

If there comes a time when you need peace and quiet in your corner of the world, unplug. Forget the cell phone, iPad and email messages. Take a walk in nature. Get out and watch wildlife, birds, deer, and whatever is in your backyard. Breathe deeply and take a moment for peace. I did and I feel great and may just do this again on the weekend.

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On an Old Dirt Road

 

 

 

 

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Our house parked on the mouth of a winding dirt road

 

 

 

The reason I chose this photograph was the dirt road, the epitome of small towns. If winding and wild roads of gravel could speak, what stories they would tell! Possibly it would  mention the story of the older couple out for a pleasure ride and the magnificent joy of spotting bears cross the road in the thick of the woods. The story of the partying teenagers exploring the mystery of night on a dark dirt road or the tale of a busy town road worker barreling noisily up and down the simple road with a dump truck. ( my husband was this worker!)

 

 

 

 

A leisure walk on a sunny morning reveals a brilliant glow casting sunlight on a dirt road. The crisp air feels rejuvenating as you trek along the windy trail. Rocks of all sizes appeal to you, you may even pick one up and feel it’s smooth or rough texture, like my boys always did like clockwork. Sometimes they would chuck them into the nearby woods. Scampering and skittering chipmunks dart across the road, a few feet away. Slow cars rumble  up and down this road, sending clouds of spewing dirt. The faster the speed, the bigger the cloud.

 

 

 

 

 

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Taken from Pinterest.com

 

 

 

 

 

When I think of dirt roads Sunday driving comes to mind. This is driving without a purpose, at a good leisurely snail pace so the passengers can notice that partridge by the roadside or the owl sitting on the branch.There’s nowhere to go, just a destination of riding. Cruising without a care in the world, to absorb the country life and to breathe peace. For that is what a dirt road is…it encompasses the peace of the country. It’s the slow going living amongst the little and big wild creatures.With windows rolled down all the way, a peaceful breeze whips in and makes you feel grateful for the country. Without inhibitions I feel the wind force against my fingers as my thick hair flaps in the breeze. Usually I would fix my hair desperately but instead I enjoy the moment and let my hair wildly fly, as it wishes.

 

There’s also the destination dirt road, where villagers live nestled in the woods and that trusty road that leads to home. Busy people ride up and down ( I know this , as our livingroom window overlooks the end of the road and we can hear the cars passing by) to work and such.  A valuable asset to country living…a dirt road winding in the woods which leads home.

 

 

 

 

If you live in rural country, take a walk or ride while soaking in the quiet peace. Watch the animals skitter to and fro, gawk at the little cottages lining the way or gaze at farms and their landscapes. Once in awhile you may see a black barrier blocking the way and upon a closer look, it appears to be a bear. Often during dawn or dusk hours deer will nervously cross the road. Sometimes they leap in front of your car so you have to pay attention. It’s a gift, given on a lonely dirt road.

 

 

 

 

Perhaps you reside in a towering , busy city without dirt roads. Take a vacation in  the country and ride or walk on a dirt road. It’s amazing what you will see, hear, and smell in the thick of a small town. Breathe the fresh air and take in the country sights. I feel you will have no regrets and peace in your soul from the quiet!

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️