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Archive for the ‘Signs of the Season’ Category

It’s here!  I am honored to be a contributor again to this beautiful publication.

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My piece is entitled, “The Sign of the Robin.”  I’m also part of the give-away being hosted to celebrate the launch of the spring edition here.  Thank you to all of you who come and visit me here as your presence encouraged me to write for ROTH.  And to those of you who are visiting for the first time as a result of ROTH, I’m so glad to have you here.  Welcome!

Now–go check out all the amazing projects and articles in the Spring Edition!

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First Plantings 2011My yearly February ritual of planting the tiny little black seeds that will become aromatic additions to our meals in the form of onions.

How many of you find the smell of wet soil uplifting? I do, at least in February when the soil is generally under snow which may or may not be white and the sky is generally some shade of gray. I drop into the rhythm of garden beginnings with glee: pour the soil, add the water, mix it around almost kneading it like bread dough, fill the cells, drop the seeds, cover, begin again. This happened a little over a week ago… And now?

Onion Seedlings 2011

Oh yes, the time has begun.  My onion seeds have sprouted along with some seeds I started for a friend’s garden.  I’m still waiting on the reticent celery seedlings to make an appearance. Despite the rain washing over our snowy world today with nary a sunbeam in sight there are these slim bright green stems that can not help but brighten the room (that and their grow lights). Tomorrow I’ll be sharing more about the rhythm of spring in our family, so stay tuned!

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Most winter mornings are gray, without much color where I live, especially in February.  Sunshine and blue skies are a gift and make even the bitter cold seem warm.  On this gray morning I sat eating a bowl of steel cut oats across from L4, looking out the window into the backyard.  What was different today wasn’t the color or the snow, we’ve been seeing that for months now (and I don’t mind, really!).  It was that our seed starting bench was sitting there, Loki perched upon it studying the squirrels and birds in the yard.

Anticipation

As I watched him watch the outdoors I also looked at that blank white surface.  It’s much like an artist’s canvas because it holds the potential of the beauty and bounty to come in the growing seasons of this year.  Sipping tea, munching the oats with my girl, I felt anticipation welling up inside of me.  Soon our seeds will arrive in the mail (maybe today?) and we will begin planting and tending.  The seed stalking will begin, as I wrote about last year.  As soon as those thoughts came I realized that this anticipation is part of my winter ritual.  Oh how I hope the mail carrier brings me a package from Fedco today!

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Winter Riding

It’s January and my bike is sitting on the trainer in the living room, bike shoes at the ready. I will ride through out the winter without knowing how “far” I go, but I will still get sweaty and breath more heavily and it will feel good. This is part of my winter rhythm.

My winter rhythm also includes more time for my Etsy shop and creating in general as my teaching load always seems to be less in the spring. For instance, that skirt I designed back in November? It will be IS for sale in my shop starting this week. I’ll also be working on a winter version of this dress:

Boatneck Swing Dress

And maybe, just maybe I’ll finally get my web page made and “live.”

This is my winter: contemplate, create, plan for the growing seasons ahead, nourish the bodies and souls of my family and myself through warm comfort food.  I love living in a place with four distinct seasons.

How about you–what does your winter rhythm look like?

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After our celebrations with our family we headed to NH to visit with our other “family.” This trip we didn’t “take to the woods” for a walk as we usually do, but walked about their town and even stepped into Maine!  The kids had fun having a foot in each state:

Straddling Two States

The walk about town revealed many vintage shops like this one:

Vintage Swoonslightly blurred because I was feeling silly stopping to take the picture

There were so many things that I wanted to stop and photograph, but I felt like I was slowing our walk too much. Here are a few of the sights I did capture:

Fence SceneRandom little plot along side the road, complete with New England stone wall

Granite BenchIt is the Granite State, after all.

Painted Brick Love

I couldn’t stop staring at that red building. I don’t know if it was the color in stark contrast to the winter landscape or the lines against the sky, or something else entirely, but it captured my attention.

One of the best things about that walk? It was sunny enough for sunglasses and warm enough that L4 could tromp through the snow at the end of the walk like this:

Snow and Sun

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As part of our fourth holiday celebration we went ice skating! It was the first time ever for myself and the kids. Rollerblading in my early 20s paid off because I didn’t fall once, and actually enjoyed it. I won’t be doing any fancy maneuvers any time soon, but it was good.

Ice Skating 2

The kids loved it, and have asked us to find ice skating opportunities near our own home.

Ice Skating 4

L4 was especially enamored.  Falling did not deter her, she would just get right back up and keep going. Truly, she was a good role model for me in that way.

L1 and I spent most of our time going along slowly, encouraging and helping the kids. But we did get a few circuits around the ring together, and they were sweet, like the days we used to rollerblade the side streets of our college town. Sometimes those moments together feel stolen, because they are so rare and apart from our daily lives.

Ice Skating 8

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Another Beautiful Meal

We had FIVE holiday celebrations. They were all just right, but left us quite drained as we returned home after being away. In all of the celebrating I’ve barely had time to consider what my word for 2011 will be. While I let those thoughts percolate, I thought I’d share some glimpses into our holiday adventures.

After our solstice celebration we had our traditional Christmas breakfast with my parents and my grandfather came, too. And we forgot our camera! But it was a morning full of good food, company, and smiles.

Our third holiday celebration was with L1’s father and his wife. As usual it was a relaxed, fun affair by firelight and candlelight and full of good eating.

Crushing Daddy & Brother

L3’s violin made the journey with us so he could keep up his practicing. He was able to play for his grandparents and they tried it out, too. Lots of fun to see grown-ups trying to hold a half-size violin and then to play it, too!

Grandpa Plays L3's Violin

I’ll be back tomorrow to share our adventures on ice skates as part of holiday celebration #4!

We are Blessed

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