Archive for December, 2010

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winter has arrived

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Helllllo! I can barely think straight because the wind is whipping so fiercely outside from the remnants of the blizzard over the past day and a half… it sounds like a freight train is running through our house.

No joke. It is seriously windy out there. Not pleasant to be outside at all! Gusts up to 50 mph!

But we made it through the first major storm of the winter season here in New Hampshire. And while it was predicted that we would get up to two feet of snow, Craig argues that it was more like 8–10″. Thought it is hard to really measure because the wind has created crazy snow drifts and snow is swirling about flying everywhere.

It all started Sunday night around 5 p.m.
december snow

And as quickly as it started, the snow came down fast and furious.
december snow

december snow

Then the wind picked up, and the snow kept coming down all night. I was in a semi-panic because I have to work this week, and I was really nervous about this morning’s commute.

Thankfully when I woke up today, the bulk of the snow was passing, leaving behind tons of fluffy white stuff everywhere. Cleaning off the car was tough because the wind kept blowing waves of snow right into my face. I was drenched within minutes.
december snow

The wind had blown snow right on into our screened-in porch! Inches inside. Still haven’t cleaned it up…
snow on the porch

I got out of the driveway okay, and made it into work without incident. And Craig, ever the amazing wonderfulness that he is, did all the shoveling. Granted he had the day off, but still… nice to come home to a shoveled driveway and walkway.

Ain’t no doubt about it, winter is heeeeeeerrrrrrreeeee!

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Posted in The Daily Balance | 6 Comments »

snow and solstice

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Wow. In the space of 24 hours, we got our first snow of the season here in southern New Hampshire, there was a total lunar eclipse, and winter solstice happened.
snow sky
Early evening snow sky!
first snow
Mother Nature is kicking some serious you-know-what with that trifecta, and she means business.

And I love it. Cause, well, it has to be said… Happy Winter! Are you thrilled? Sad? Indifferent? I am welcoming the hibernation season this year. Yeah, that’s right. I am reclaiming my utter disgust for winter. Early. Now. I will not fight winter this year.

Instead, I will use winter as a time to retreat a bit and refocus my energy to slow things down. My current pace is not sustainable. I need to reprioritize a bunch of things in my life.

Is this vacation talking you ask? Absolutely. Give me just a few days of not focusing 1000% of my energy on work, and suddenly I am like a brand new human waking out of a long dream.

I am not knocking work. I will not. Work is work, as I have said before. It is reality. And it invigorates my mind. But my inability to let work go as-of-late is not a healthy thing. This week on holiday feels like such a wonderful gift, and I want to learn from it.

I like slowing things down. I like tackling my to-do list. I like making time to finally get my holiday cards finished.
holiday cards

I like hanging out and being silly. I like lounging on the floor with my 5-year old nephew “imaginating” that we are at the North Pole. We spent the afternoon together on Monday and had a blast. I have zero toys at my house, but we improvised our North Pole with holiday decorations plus odds and ends. It didn’t matter because we thoroughly entertained each other. Does it get any better than honest-to-goodness PLAYING? Sheesh, I really like 5-year-olds.
imaginating at the north pole
(Please observe that the rubber lizard in the foreground is wearing a scarf. Of course he is. It’s THE NORTH POLE. That’s how it’s done!)

I also like pausing to notice just how dirty the kitchen floor is. I like seeing the sun set at just 4:00 in the afternoon. I like going for a long, slow run. I like trying to do yoga and feeling slightly ridiculous because my body just doesn’t bend like that. I like slow-cooked hearty dinners. I like hearing all about Craig’s day. I like staying up waaaaay late to try to take in the darkest night in several hundred years… oh, you know…
lunar eclipse snow sky

And there is no reason why I shouldn’t be able to balance all of the wonder with work. Everyone does it to the best of his/her ability. I am no different. So I think the key is setting more healthy boundaries. Keeping myself in check. Practicing mindfulness not as a chore, but as a welcome relief. Not getting swept away in one extreme or another, but finding that gray-area-middle-ground that inspires quiet joy and delight. Internal peace.

I am going to have to come back and reread this post almost daily as the coming weeks engulf me. It won’t be easy, but I am looking toward making new tracks in 2011 and I am ready.

Hello Winter (darkness), my old friend.

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have yourself a holistic holiday

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Happy Tuesday! My friend Lindsey invited me contribute to her amazing blog Lost & Fawned to post my top-ten gifts to give or get this holiday season. Here’s a link to my guest post: holistic holiday gifts!

Enjoy… and be sure to check out Lindsey’s Etsy shops, too!

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december thankful

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

I am so very thankful. I am on holiday until after Christmas! There. I said it. Out loud.

I am going to do my very darndest to REALLY be on vacation. I need a work break. We all do from time to time. It is healthy to detach from the ever-present work. No guilt. No worry. Taking a break is good for the mind, body, and spirit.

And I am so ready to focus on being present for the holidays. With my house still relatively clean, now I will spend some time doing a little maintenance and organizing… and RELAXING.

I will listen to holiday tunes while I bake biscotti in the kitchen. I will get those holiday cards out before the holidays have passed! I will watch the cardinals outside my living room window. I will take care of the slowly rotting pumpkins still on my front stoop (oops). I will hang out with my nieces and nephews. I will sit in absolute quiet in my living room and maybe, just maybe, read a little from my giant stack of books piling up.

I will smile and laugh and kiss Craig under the mistletoe.

I will start thinking ahead to 2011. I will breathe slowly and deeply.

I will answer to ME.

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harvesting garden carrots

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

We have been harvesting our organic carrots that we grew from seed in our garden all-fall-long this year. Carrots take a realllllllly long time to grow. Here’s how our carrots looked back in May.

We planted them from seed starting in early April from an organic seed packet we also used in 2009. We chose a variety called Scarlet Nantes. We grew carrots last year and learned a lot about the ups and downs of growing carrots from seed in a raised garden bed.

This year we got pretty savvy. We planted using the rest of the seed packet, but this time we let our carrots sit and mature throughout the entire growing season. And it worked. Our harvest has been wonderful. In a year when not everything went swimmingly in our garden, our carrots have proven to be real winners.

Here’s one of our carrot rows.
carrot bed in the garden

We had a tremendous lack of rainfall this summer, and the carrot greens wilted and looked like they’d been chewed off by buggy pests. But the greens rebounded, so I decided to let the whole bed go. No plucking or de-crowding.

I finally started pulling carrots when the real-deal frost set in. Pulling the carrot beds up has been lots of fun.
pulling carrots

Our carrots are all clumped together, and tugging at them to get them up is such a release. Totally rewarding. Some are long, some are short, some are stubby, and some sprouted, ahem, male carrot parts.
garden carrots

garden carrots

Once the carrots are pulled, I set about chopping off the greens to compost, along with the squiggly roots and carrot tops.
chopping carrots

We’ve harvested several pounds of organic carrots at this point. And they have this crisp, fresh, gingery taste that is second to none. Their color is a bright, fiery orange. Organic garden carrots are simply amazing! I want more and more!
carrot harvest

We eat them raw, of course. I have also used them in Sunday soups and stews like yellow split pea soup and turkey lentil stew.

But my very favorite way to enjoy carrots from the garden is roasted. Chop up your carrots into manageable pieces, generously drizzle with organic olive oil, sprinkle with dill, and roast in a 425°F oven for about 40 minutes.
roasted carrots

The smells and tastes of roasted organic carrots from the garden are just about pure perfection.

Did you grow carrots this year? How do you like to cook them?

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Posted in The Growing Season | 5 Comments »

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