The Day After the Blizzard

After dropping Max off at work today, I took the long way home.  I love going out and about after a good snow storm, because our little corner of the world is so beautiful when blanketed in snow!  So, come along, and I'll show you the sights!

A Cozy, Snowy Day

The BIG STORM came and has pretty much departed, and we spent the day cozy and snug at home.  Technohubby and Colette are down with colds, so it was up to Max and I to do the snow blowing and shoveling.  The wind was quite blustery, and it kept the snow swirling about so that it was difficult to know exactly how much snow fell, but our best guess is 18 inches!

The snow piled up against the sliding glass door...higher and higher all day long.

By the end of the day, our rock wall was almost completely lost under a blanket of snow.

In between bouts of snow shoveling, I made our once-a-year treat of cinnamon rolls.

By nightfall, the porch lights had developed cones of snow and icicles.

The cozy favorite time of day!

Max and I finished another round of blowing and shoveling.  Here he is falling backwards into the soft, super-powdery snow.  Whoosh!

Insider tip: a soak in a very hot tub and a dose of Advil after snow shoveling takes all the aches and pains away and will leave you fit as a fiddle and ready for more come morning!  Works every time!

Preparing Comforts

As I type this, the snow is softly falling outside.  But it's really expected to intensify overnight and I'm looking forward to awakening to a world transformed in the morning! 

Today, however, was spent in preparing comforts.  Time to take stock and make sure everything we needed was ready.  Out here in the country, we frequently lose power, and a storm like this could mean several days running on generator power.  It could mean downed trees and power lines.  It could just be a lot of snow.  Any way, it was time to prepare for every family comfort possible.  

The essentials are on hand: gas for the generator, candles, batteries, lamp oil, ice melt.

And then there is the pantry:  oatmeal, M&M's (for some reason, my family considers this is absolutely essential for a big storm), hot cocoa fixings, ingredients for cinnamon rolls, soup, and more.

And just for good measure, I baked a dozen blueberry muffins today.

There.  Everything is in order.  Let the storm come!

Sabbath Rest

Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord,
who walks in His ways!
You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;
you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.

Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
around your table.
Behold, thus shall the man be blessed
who fears the Lord.

The Lord bless you from Zion!
May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life!
May you see your children's children!
Peace be upon Israel!

-Psalm 128

Winter Sunsets

All sunsets are beautiful, but there's something about the sunsets of winter.  So dramatic, yet restrained.  Ever-changing with each passing minute.  Quick, grab the camera!  If you're not quick enough, it's gone.  And some days, it's photo must be taken a dozen different times...each one more beautiful than just seconds before.

Tonight's beauty.

Fabrics, Ribbons, and a New Year

And with the dawn of the New Year comes the ever-dreaded task of doing inventory for my Etsy shops.  But like most tasks, it is not without its bright side!  I got to feel all the wonderful fabrics, stack them neatly, sort out and categorize them more efficiently, and dream up new projects!

Linens in small quantities were taken off the shelf and removed to the upstairs "scrap" box.

I love this stack of velvets, velveteen, and velvet-like upholstery fabrics.

My passion for velvet reaches its zenith with velvet ribbons!  My box quite overflows!

At long last, everything was measured and began taking their accustomed, or new, places on the shelves.

A clean sewing table is a welcome sight, and makes me feel a tad bit triumphant and ready to start the New Year!

First projects on the task list are colonial boys' costumes!  Lord willing, there will be a couple in the shop by the end of the week.

Sabbath Rest

    Pearls to church today.

"Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior,
through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority,
before all time and now and forever.  Amen."
- Jude vv. 24-25

Beauty, the Beast

She's a beauty!  But, oh my, does this dog have a lot of fur.  Fur, fur, and more fur.  Her fur has fur.  All my wool coats and dark socks wear her fur.  

But sweep and vacuum and lint roll I will, because who can resist that face?!?!?

Ice Skating Dreams

Recently, to celebrate my birthday, I wanted to fulfill two skating outdoors and ice skating in a skirt!  My sentimental heart so yearns to return to the days when women skated in woolens and velvet, fur-trimmed coats, cozy muffs, and pretty hats, and the gentlemen all wore suits.  And while I wasn't exactly dressed like that, I'm happy to report that it's quite easy to ice skate in a skirt!  And despite the 20 degree temperatures that day, I was quite toasty warm!

We skated at the new, outdoor rink called Puddle Dock Pond at Strawbery Banke in Portsmouth, NH.  Strawbery Banke is a living history museum, and its collection of period homes and the distant church steeple made such a lovely backdrop to the new rink.

We invited some of Colette's friends to come along, and we all had a delightful time!  I really do think that those who don't enjoy winter in New England need to find an outdoor hobby, because a day of exercise in the chilly air is completely rejuvenating to body and soul.

"Winter...a lingering season,
is a time to gather golden moments,
embark on a sentimental journey,
and enjoy every idle hour."

-John Boswell

We packed a basket of mugs and thermoses full of Colette's decadent hot cocoa.  Mmm...just the thing we needed to warm us up!

Four Season View

Driving homeward, I often find myself on a dirt road with a really pretty view.  No matter the season, the view is always gorgeous.  Last year, I photographed (roughly) the same view in each season to share with you.  Enjoy the view!

- Winter -

- Spring -

- Summer -

- Autumn -

Recommended Winter Cookbooks

At the start of each season, I search through my cookbook collection and pull out seasonally appropriate ones to set on the kitchen counter and to cook from for the next few months.

This year, I've added these two new ones.  They are full of warm and cozy recipes, and I can't wait to try some out!  "Long Nights and Log Fires" is particularly tempting!

And these tried and true ones were already in my collection.  Every recipe I've tried from "The Ski House Cookbook" has been a hit with the family!  The chocolate chip bar cookie recipe is particularly tasty, and I like to have a freshly baked pan of them just out of the oven when my kids come back from a long day on the slopes.

Soup Season

The New Year has begun, and as is typical of January in New England, it is wicked cold!  Brrrr...wind howling about the eaves, snow flurries, the sun never creeping too high from the horizon. Bundle up when you go out, and sit by the fire when you stay in.

And I'm down with a head cold.  Not incapacitating, but tiring.  Yesterday, with a snow squall moving through, and while I still had some energy, I set about in the morning to make soups.  Soup day at our house!

First, it was to take the chicken carcass from Sunday's roast chicken dinner and turn it into nourishing broth.  So simple, and makes the house smell so comforting!  When finished, it was divided up into 2 cup portions and frozen for soups for weeks to come.

I'm the only one in our household who likes butternut squash soup.  Fine with me!  I made a whole crockpot full of it all for myself, and froze it in cup size portions.  My favorite lunch last winter was: a cup of butternut squash soup, a hunk of Vermont sharp cheddar, and a salad of field greens.  Yum!  But how can one not like this soup?  The ingredients are so elegant!

Even the scraps in the sink are beautiful!

And then it was on to French onion soup for that evening's dinner.  Such humble ingredients, but so tasty!

The onions are just starting to caramelize.

A full morning's work provided a freezer full of goodness and dinner already made.  Win, win!

Peaceful Order

Photo taken at Old Sturbridge Village.
Well.  Our lives have been simply filled to the brim with festivities...two parties, Christmas, and one birthday celebration in the span of eleven days.  Today was the day to step back, take a deep breath, and put everything in order.  

- All the furniture was finally returned to place after the Gatsby party.
- The Christmas tree was de-decorated and pitched outdoors.
- Pine needles were swept and vacuumed.
- The Christmas wreath on the front door was replaced with the winter wreath.
- The last of the party horns and unopened champagne bottles were stored.
- The present wrapping station was disassembled.
- Every last sprig of holly, pine boughs, and dying paperwhites were done away with.
- Important dates were transferred to the 2015 calendar.
- Homeschooling lesson plans were done for the month.

The house is clean and tidy.  It's amazing how putting everything in order can bring such peace to one's mind and spirit.

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