Saturday, January 30

You have no idea what 6" of snow means to me....

...unless you live in the South, too. If you are accustomed to winter and snow going hand-in-hand, you'll just have to pardon me while I go on and on about what is pretty much a phenomenon here in MiddleTennessee.

This is primo sledding snow...deep with a nice, icy crust. That's Toucie and I above. Beleive it or not, a couple of times we made it all the way to the fence you see way down where the treeline begins. We were saying things like 'rad' and 'awesome' all morning long. 

And wait till you see my hot snow gear:

Yeah, baby! (Don't say it...I, we are not related.) 

At least my rad and awesome hubby will still hang with me, despite my stylish get-up.

Big breakfast, then hit the slopes....

I don't know if this looks as delicious to you as it does to me.....


That's my breakfast up there. 
Toasted corn tortilla on the bottom.
Scrambled egg omelet on top of that.
Big handful of grated raw cheddar on that.
Toasted corn tortilla on that.
Big scoop of salsa on top of that.
Half an avocado sliced onto that.

My kingdom for a dollop of sour cream.

Friday, January 29

Cold and wintry outside - warm and spicy inside

What to do when the chill of January gets to be too much? Get in the kitchen and get baking! For Toucie, cold weather is Gingerbread weather.

We love the recipe in Diana Carey and Judy Large's Festivals, Family, and Food. It's the lemon and orange zest, I think, that makes the gingerbread extra awesome. Oh, and the cardamom...mmmmm.

Molasses is a key ingredient in gingerbread and it can be overpowering. I sometimes substitute sorghum, but I'd love to find a milder tasting molasses....anybody have a recommendation?

This is the fun part.

This is the hard part. 

This is what happens next.

Then, finally....that's what we were going for...


Some of that rare and elusive white stuff started falling late last night and hasn't stopped all day.

As soon as there was 1/2 an inch on the ground, they hit the slopes.

 The biggest tucking up the, love, love.

Great snow for sledding, but it makes a pretty puny snowman. Emphasis on the pretty, though.

     Stirring up some "snowcream"....mmmmmmm!

We make our snowcream by stirring together 1/2 and 1/2, vanilla, and cane sugar in a little jug, then drizzling it over a bowlful of clean snow. Stir just a bit and eat. Then smile.

Thursday, January 28

Wednesday, January 27

Bird love....

Bird-watching is one of the highlights of our cold season. We look for them wherever we go and we live in a great place to see many different kinds. Tbird is a nickname for my youngest daughter whose actual name includes the name of a bird that is common and well-loved here. (We call her Toucie, too)

In the woods along the river, she and I saw an owl in broad daylight this week as well as a Great Blue Heron....certainly exciting when the action at the backyard feeders is slow. And it is kind of slow this year, I'm noticing, so Toucie and I have set out to tempt the birds in.  I like to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count (Feb. 12-15 this year) and I want to lay out a fine spread for my peeps.

Every New Year's Day we take our live Christmas tree out to our deck along with any other greenery with which we have decked the halls. We arrange all the evergreens where we can see them from our kitchen windows and festoon them with edible treats for the birds. This year we have pinecone birdfeeders (made by spreading peanut butter on pinecones then rolling them in birdseed), garlands of raisins and cranberries strung on string, sprays of millet (from the pet store, for parakeets),  suet, and bird cookies. "What's a bird cookie?" you say? Well, wonder no more! I'll show you what our cookie-laden tree looks like tomorrow...until then, here is the recipe:

Birdseed Cookies (from our local Waldorf School cookbook)
2c whole wheat flour
1 1/2c quick cooking oats
1tsp baking soda
1c frozen juice concentrate (apple or pineapple)
1/2c nuts, chopped
1c dried fruit, chopped
3T oil
3 egg whites

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Stir together flour, oats, and soda in a bowl. Set aside.
In another bowl, whip oil and egg whites until foamy.
Blend  juice into egg mixture.
Blend egg/juice mixture into flour mixture.
Add nuts and fruit and blend well.
Place tablespoonfulls of dough on cookie sheet.
Gently flatten them into a disc shape, then create a hole in the center (like a doughnut or a wreath).
Bake for about ten minutes at 350.
Once cool, hang them on branches with ribbon, raffia, or string.
(The hole in the center makes it easy to hang them up, but you could make other shapes and poke a smaller hole in them before baking. We make the hole in ours big enough to slip right on to the tips of the fussing with string!)

Tuesday, January 26

Celebrating "Sprinter"

At this time of year we feel a bit in limbo...the spirit of winter is dwindling here in our corner of the world, yet spring has not begun to show itself. We need a bridging season to celebrate. So, at our house, we made one up children jokingly call it Sprinter. And Sprinter is a season for celebrating, indeed. With the holidays behind us, we can focus more on what we see on the land. There is a lot to delight in during these cold months.

Very occasionally, we will have snow, but it is not something we can count on. When it happens, we feel like we've won the the lottery and we relish every minute of it!

It doesn't take much snow to get us excited.

When we are not distracted by our precious flurries, we seek out the magic of ice.

Frozen ponds


and those wonderful places where water seeps out of the rockfaces and freezes into sparkling waterfalls.

And if there is no ice, we turn our attention to the beauty of the woods in winter. The skeletal silhouettes of the trees are something to behold. The increased view through the trees into the depths of the woods is a secret thrill of mine. Vistas that are shrouded in green during most of the year are exposed. Voyeurs like me love these glimpses into the mysteries of our everyday surroundings.

And then there are the birds! Tomorrow I will dedicate a post to our fine feathered friends and how we celebrate them in the grand season of "Sprinter"!

Monday, January 25

A fresh beginning....

It is my 41st birthday and my first project in this new year of life is launching a blog!
I don't even know what it will be about...we'll just have to see how it evolves. But since my birthday is at the fore of my mind right now, I thought I would post a special list of indulgent goals for my 42nd year. (Yes, totally inspired by Kyrie) :

1. Start a blog
2. Knit a garment (never got this off the ground)
3. Sew clothing for myself
4. Read 60 novels
5. Hike to a waterfall 
6. Eat more vegetables
7. Finish my flannel quilt
8. Grow a garden with enough to preserve (didn't even get the ground tilled this year!)
9. Make a pumpkin patch
10. Go camping (not once...unbelievable)
11. Find a flattering “uniform” (and purge the ugly stuff)
12. Hoop/Bellydance/do yoga/move!
13. Talk to my brother more
14. Make a steampunk costume (still working on this)
15. Brush up my French
16. Knit for charity (on the contrary...we accepted charity knit hats for Toucie!)
17. Cook over an open fire
18. Dye some yarn
19. Learn to make saurkraut
20. Learn to bake sourdough bread
21. Send a letter every month
22. Go fishing with Toucie
23. Laugh more
24. Find the perfect apron
25. Redo the bathroom with fresh colors (got the paint but didn't get it on the wall)
26. Learn how to make crackers
27. Brew beer all on my own
28. Pick strawberries and peaches
29. Make a rug
30. Do more French and Tunisian cooking
31. Sew with Mado
32. Cook with Naya and Sodie
33. Start beekeeping with my mom (come on , Mom!)
34. Knit a blanket (sigh...)
35. Experiment with the Etsy shop (double sigh)
36. Organize and use my photos
37. Be present
38. Create warmth in our home
39. Build an outdoor oven (too big of a project for me to handle this year)
40. Learn to play the tin whistle (got the whistle! still need the knowledge!)
41. Join the fiber guild (still really want to do this)
42. Make a new list for next year 