Finding beauty in January

It’s easy to feel a little low energy on these gray January days despite the increasing 1-2 minutes of light each day.  I needed to bring in a little positive vibe and motivation so I took my camera around the property on a little discovery tour. January can be beautiful too.

I started in the garden. Kale trees in the rear. Chard debating whether to start growing again. Red cabbage planted out in July,  I’m hoping it will overwinter and grow cabbages in spring.

I’m hoping the broccoli, also planted in July, will put off early spring shoots.

This little broccoli head stopped growing a couple months ago but is still strong and green. Any chance it would still form a head? (Not a rhetorical question!)

Overall view of muddy, wet garden just for winter reference.

Moving to the pasture…Irene is tired of the mud I’m sure.

Else loves pumpkins and doesn’t appear to even notice the mud.

Sometimes they share…sort of.

On to the barn…This barn we are loving was built by Drew Reed on Orcas. It’s high and dry. One day I’ll post the project in full. We started in a very wet March 2017 and finished Sept 17.. tbc

down below the barn the goats eating leftover veggie bits from Star Route Kitchen.

On up and around to the backside of the property to the pond.

The pond overflows this time of the year…

And creates these beautiful forces of water.

I met with friends this week and took away ideas, support, motivation and some good laughs. One thing in particular we talked about, around planning, was scheduling in time to just think and daydream- like Socrates and the Greek philosophers did. They weren’t just sitting around doing nothing. They were only creating the basics of our modern philosophy. I know I need this time as well and it’s hard to prioritize it because you aren’t “doing” –  you’re not even meditating. I think it’s something missing for many, as even the short free moments, in the elevator, filling up the gas tank, or waiting in lines, we are plugged in. I’m going to sit and stare out the window- at least a few times a week and channel some greek philosophers.

Any suggestions or thoughts on how you like to daydream? And keep it nice!

Want to hear a fantastic podcast?  Tom Hanks on Beautiful Writer’s Mind.

Winter! Do your work- for the money and the soul (maybe you’re fortunate enough that it’s the same thing), your tasks, your yoga, your meditation, your care giving, your workouts… and remember to make time to just daydream. You’ll like it:)

 

Lighter shades of gray for just a little longer  each day now.  Weather Underground

  • SUNRISE: 7:50 AM    SUNSET: 4:59 PM
  • Length of Visible Light: 10 h 17 m
  • Length of Day: 9 h 08 m
  • Tomorrow will be 2 minutes 42 seconds longer

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chocolate mousse to ring in the new year

Here’s a little sweet treat you can make ahead for New Year’s Eve

Chocolate Mousse* in all it’s divinity

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It’s really a simple feat that can be done in less than an hour. Continue reading

Spaghetti squash and sausage

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I’m rounding up January with one more healthy dish. I won’t even pretend to disguise the fact that I’ve been nibbling at the chocolate with virtual abandon but will also report, I’m starting my fourth week of regular exercise. Despite the scale’s refusal to acquiesce in a manner I’d prefer, there is just less meat to grab in the middle, if you know what I mean. I can work with that. Unfortunately, being on my own right now there is nobody to test my theory… but I’ll keep you posted 🙂

We’ve had a good couple weeks, striking through many items on our list(s) and feeling like we are moving forward in life. O, still in Germany, is back in the room where he grew up till he finishes the semester and homeland security gives us a green light. We are counting down the days till we can enjoy life as a non-commuter family, at least till October.

I also finally set up the Lowell Ego light I received as a Christmas gift from my mother. Thanks mom! Don’t take this the wrong way, but I was amazed at how such a flimsy, plastic, kind of crap light is so entirely perfect. Granted, I’ve nothing to compare it to, but so far it has proven far better than photos with overhead room lights. Leary about its quality after reading many reviews, I was prepared for the worst. It is a wee bit scary to put together. Simple, but you feel like you are going to break it before you even flip the switch. I did only buy one to try out and I’m not sure if I would buy a second. So here’s my first ever set of photos taken after dark. I’ll keep practicing.

On to some chow…I’ve got a simple dish here that will please your palette and your waistline. It is combined inspiration from  Karen @ Backroad Journal’s spaghetti squash and Karista @ Karista’s kitchen’s meatballs. It is the lazy version.

spaghetti squash and meatballs

The spaghetti squash is split in half and seeds are scooped out. I drizzle a little olive oil, salt and pepper and some herb- tonight it was thyme. Often it’s fresh rosemary. I love how these guys are starting to break a sweat under the light!

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The squash was baked with a little water at the bottom of the pan (glass dish is fine) at 400°F for 45 minutes. You know it’s done when easily punctured with a knife. The inside is scraped up with a fork into strands… hence the name spaghetti squash.

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Again, being the lazy road here, I used one 16oz package of Isernio’s breakfast chicken sausage.

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All I added was a little fennel seed, oregano, thyme and sage and 1/2 cup of diced apples. We are still working off a few of our apples in cold storage from December.

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And 1/3 cup diced onions…

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The meatballs were a little sticky and rough around the edges because I skipped on the egg and breadcrumbs. I could lie and say it was to keep it GF. It was just due to the lazy part and frankly, being completely caught up with my new light. Honestly, there’s no need for the accurate measurements, it was just easier for photos!

spaghetti squash and meatballs-5I heated up a little olive oil and butter and plopped sticky balls in the pan to brown them. I finished them off in the oven at 400°F for about 10 minutes.

spaghetti squash and meatballs-8I steamed a little kale in the frying pan juices and had a little fun plating it up. I drizzled a tad more olive oil on the squash. Chloe was impressed with the presentation but not mad on the squash. I had to pull out these sweet Pillivuyt plates because our everyday dishes are fiestaware and I wanted a white plate. But I’ll say, it was a little more fun to eat like this.

spaghetti squash and meatballs-9I’m so looking forward to baking again.

Tschüß xo

And a little hello from Otis.. the days of rinsing him off in the sink with the sprayer are numbered…

One Year Ago: Espresso Cupcakes
Espresso Cupcakes

Plate to Page 2012 Somerset

Plate to Page Writing and Photograpy Workshop

Meare Court Farm, Somerset UK

 Three days in Somerset with the Plate to Page team and participants, left me brimming with renewed inspiration, knowledge, resources and friendships. The workshop, run by Meeta, Ilva, Jamie & Jeanne provided a wealth of information. To learn from women,who not only continually strive to master their crafts, but have also chosen to teach, share and mentor, was a gift… not to mention a lot of fun!

An idyllic setting, located just outside of Taunton in Somerset, provided an inspiring undertone for writing and photography.  A large stone house accommodated fourteen lovely women and one brave man! Sharing rooms and bathrooms evoked an immediate feeling of community. After one first quiet meal, the ice broke and friendships quickly ensued.

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