spring!

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Vernal Vigor
by Chung Dong-muk
When the mighty wave surges
Over the icy cold water
Spring will shake off winter
Like a farewell to an old flame
Like dazzling wildflowers
The mouth opens
To breathe in the warm southern winds
Summer, fall, and winter will return
But none of this before
Spring, bright with laughter, has bloomed.

****

And right on time, the snowdrops on Baldy Hill have arrived. :-) Happy spring!!

yarn along

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I am joining Ginny’s Yarn Along again this week, sharing what we’re making and reading.

It may still be winter, as evidenced by our garden still hiding beneath a glacier half a meter deep, but I have mentally at least made the shift to spring. Sure, I may be tucked in with a hot water bottle, but my mind drifts with imaginings of daffodils, fresh asparagus, and cotton. :-)

So with the shop winding down for the season, I am knitting for me for a change — a nice bright airy cheerful cowl using O-wool and a mohair/merino blend. It’s almost finished and I love how it’s turned out. :-) Also refreshing our bath with new organic cotton washcloths,,,,

On the reading side, I’ve been working through my stack of magazines this week, again seeking springtime inspiration — on the table, around the homestead, in my closet, for my work. I’m happy to report it’s working. And thankfully spring arrives in just 15 days. :-)

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pancake tuesday

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Around here, this Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the chatter is all about fasnachts, a rather bland fluffy doughnut that is served up slathered with turkey syrup (which contains no turkey, by the way). To be honest, even as a treat-starved child I never really found them exciting (shhh, don’t tell anyone).

Which is why I gladly embraced my English husband’s “Pancake Tuesday” tradition instead. He graciously agreed this morning to whip up a batch of pancakes, although admittedly his version is more crepey than traditional thick American flapjacks — still delicious, I hasten to say! His recipe is committed to memory but originally came from the brown cardboard-covered pocket notebook his mother gifted him when he left home for college. In it, she had jotted down instructions for making basic batter for Yorkshire pudding and favorites such as fish pie, as well as advice on cuts of meat and roasting root vegetables — a little treasure he’s carried with him for forty years.

At first, he was reluctant at my suggestion to add blueberries, bananas, and walnuts, along with the maple syrup, but in the end had to admit it was a winning combination and a sweet finish to our winter Carnival!

gratitude sunday

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gratitude — the state of being grateful : thankfulness

On this Gratitude Sunday, I am grateful for:

  • A bit of warmer weather and sunshine, which helped to reduce our snow piles by half; it’s still more than a foot deep though, but progress nonetheless!
  • An unexpected grace day on Friday, which allowed me to catch up on some tasks I’d been putting off
  • Each day we share with our animals, especially the older ones — our dogs turn 15 and 13 this year, and so their time with us seems all the more precious…especially this week when a close friend had to part with her own senior dog. We make sure to give them extra hugs and kisses, a massage to the oldest, a game of fetch with the younger
  • Some exciting news for James — he received a job offer this week! His first permanent work since he finally got his green card 20 months ago, and in a field that promises to challenge and excite him. We’re both thrilled :-)
  • Garden planning season is upon us! Seed sorting, ordering, researching occupy my spare hours, as we’re a little bit behind schedule — we need to start planting the early seeds next week
  • This winter may seem long and indeed is one of our snowiest, but it has also been one of the prettiest and peaceful here @ Baldy Hill

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  • This guy was still spotted at our bird feeders this week; I know he’ll be off on his way come spring, and we’ll surely miss him. But it was wonderful to spend the winter in his company
  • Spring IS coming — and we could hear it in the return of birdsong this week :-)
  • Watching Mittens, a neighbor’s barn cat that seems to have adopted our barn as her home this winter, enjoy a day-old blueberry scone that James had put out for the birds — one happy kitty
  • Being able to be there for my mother, when my parents received some difficult news (but they’ll be OK)
  • An important meeting at work that I was charged with leading went well and was very productive
  • Being reminded of Anais Nin’s oh-so-true quote, “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” Indeed.

eggplant parm

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In my continued pursuit to keep our bellies warm and happy for the remainder of this persistent winter, I pulled out one of my old favorites — eggplant parmigiana. And when I say old, the recipe I use is from this magazine, which was published twelve years ago (yikes!). This La Cucina Italiana’s version follows the standard (for example, here) with one exception — it includes hard-boiled egg slices between the layers of eggplant and mozzarella. This addition seemed strange to me at first, but now I would never make eggplant parm any other way. :-) Buon appetito!

gratitude sunday

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gratitude — the state of being grateful : thankfulness

On this Gratitude Sunday, I am grateful for:

  • Our kind neighbors, who are always quick to offer help. For rural people, it’s always comforting to know there are folks (reasonably) nearby to call on if needed
  • The organic strawberries I found at the supermarket that found their way into a crumble I made for James on Valentine’s Day
  • My husband’s foresight to chop extra wood before last Thursday’s snowstorm; we wound up with 18.5 inches — instead of the 6-12 forecast — of fresh snow. And then another 6 inches fell yesterday. On top of goodness knows how much was already on ground. So that extra wood has come in handy!
  • The ever-present eager eaters at our bird feeders, which are hung outside close to our kitchen windows; scores of birds dine there daily, much to our delight
  • Even after nineteen (!) snow days this winter, I am still amazed how gorgeous the countryside looks draped in the white stuff — James and I drove home from our errands yesterday morning in awe of its beauty
  • That despite the heavy snow and high winds and ice, we never lost our power for even a moment — many friends went without electricity for 4 or 5 days
  • Saturday morning breakfast at one of our favorite spots
  • Finished the work week caught up with my projects, which made it easier to relax into the extra-long weekend
  • Scheduling seed planting, which is a needed reminder that spring is really just around the corner
  • Like in only 34 days! :-)
  • Trading photos with my niece on Instagram; we don’t get to see each other as much as we’d like, so this is a great way for us to keep in touch
  • So much love in my life, this week of St. Valentine’s and all year long ♥