January 2016

Another year over, a new one just begun.  A fresh start, a new beginning.  For whatever reason, we all like newness and a chance to begin again.  It gives us a sense of relief and comfort to put the old behind us and resolve to do better this time.  The quiet and calm that accompany January are conducive to this as well, a time for reflection.  I always like the quiet of January, the holidays are over, the decorations are carefully put away, waiting to be unwrapped once again in another magical season.  The quiet falling snow beckons us to retreat indoors and be cozy, perhaps after a day enjoying winter sports. Resolve to make this your month to do something for yourself, whatever that may be which gives you fulfillment or purpose, or just clears your mind.  Strap on some snowshoes and take a stroll through a wintry landscape.  De-clutter a closet or read that book you’ve been putting off.  Now enter peaceful January.

December

Our Christmas Tree - typically between 14 - 17' tall. 

Our Christmas Tree – typically between 14 – 17′ tall. 

Can anything set the “mood” quite like music?  When we hear those first few Christmas carols it can instantly make us feel ready for the season.  Somehow this year, all the holidays seem to be coming quicker than usual and now here we are into December, ready to celebrate all of our respective holidays and begin to reflect on the end of another year.  Time is fleeting and making the most of every moment feels even more important at this time of year, the season of family traditions and lifetime memory-making.  One of our traditions is to cut a Christmas tree on our property.  We cut it on Thanksgiving morning, bring it up to the house and set it up the day after Thanksgiving.  That weekend is devoted entirely to decorating the house and instantly we are into the Christmas season!  This month I will try to inspire you with decorating and entertaining ideas and ways to organize yourself so that the typical holiday pressures are lessened.  Whatever your traditions, may you enjoy the closeness of family and  enjoy the beauty of the season.  My wishes for a glorious holiday season to all.  Peace.

November

Today I watched a beautiful early sunset.  The air was still as the sun quietly slipped behind the horizon leaving a wake of glorious colored clouds before the evening swallowed them up.  Aaah yes, November has silently entered as the “quiet before the storm”, in so many ways – weather and the onset of the holiday crunch.  The clocks have been turned back and the trees and bushes are barren.  Time to put away the last of the lawn furniture, fill the wood bin and prepare for the cozy days ahead.  Unfortunately with our fast-paced lifestyles, I sometimes feel as though we are so bombarded by the pressure to prepare for the holidays we lose track of really enjoying the moments along the way.  Try to take some time to yourself.  With advance planning and some easy organizing the holidays don’t have to be so crazy.  I love that as a nation, we all celebrate Thanksgiving – which happens to be my favorite holiday.  A day set aside for being thankful for all that we have surrounded by friends and family.  A day with little decorating or gifting pressure.  Just cooking and celebration.  Enter into the beauty of the season……

October 2015

Autumn has arrived and with it all the spendor of the changing naturescape around us.  Most everyone can agree, Autumn is the most glorious time of year and for many it is their favorite season.  Bittersweet in so many ways, the end of summer, the beginning of the school year, the beautiful cooler weather, the colorful leaves, pumpkins, apples, all coming together at once in what also seems like the shortest season.  Time to get out the sweaters and take long walks.  Visit a pumpkin patch and on those rainy days, bake up something special for those hungry customers coming off the bus in the afternoon.  Cook up a batch of applesauce, light some candles and savor your October.

September

A year ago, I entered my first ever blog post.  As the leaves gradually hint of their grand show to come, once again, so many changes in life as well.  This year many of my friends are seeing children off to college for the first time.  In light of that, I am re-posting my first ever entry.  To all my friends and parents everywhere…….

Well it only seems fitting that I have launched my blog/website in September, this month that truly heralds the start of so many beginnings.  If you are a parent you are used to September being full of new beginnings, new firsts.  The bittersweet heartache of watching your children step onto a school bus for the first time, or the last, moving off to college or asking for the keys as they slip behind the wheel to drive themselves to school.  Another school year, another fresh start, a clean slate.

There is a certain stillness in the mornings too that gently heralds the change to come.  It is as though nature has taken a collective breath holding onto the last of summers’ sweetness only to finally exhale into autumn.

Roadside stands are brimming with produce, tomatoes, squash of every kind and…..the true symbol of early fall….pumpkins.

In this month I will try to inspire you with fall decor, bringing some of the last of that ‘outdoorness’ inside.  Look for recipes for the last of the summer bounty and some ideas of what to do on those less than perfect days – organizing, cleaning out a closet, maybe a project to tackle.

Time to get out the sweaters and embrace the season.  Welcome to Home.

August

A sure sign that August has arrived?…. The brimming road-side vegetable stands!  The bounty is here, tomatoes of every kind, sweet corn, squash, peppers, etc.  Time to really savor the true flavors of summer.  Is anything quite as rewarding as cooking with produce from your own garden?  My tomato plants started out a bit shaky with all the rain we had in June here in the northeast.  However, by mid-July they were really starting to thrive.  My kitchen potager isn’t very large but just being able to go out and snip some fresh herbs and collect a few fresh vegetables is hugely rewarding! Ah August, it can either be the ‘beginning of the end’, or the most rewarding month of the summer.  Time for state fairs and getting in the last of those weekend getaways.  Get a good book and out on that hammock, summer is in full swing and the best is here to enjoy.

July

America, the Beautiful...................

America, the Beautiful……………….

July is here.  The summer solstice has come, school is out and officially summer is well underway.  Picnics are to be had, parties of every sort, weddings, celebrations and of course, the all American favorite – the cookout!  Long days, gatherings at the fire-pit, swimming, lazy afternoons on the hammock, summer at the cape, a good summer read.  How do you spend your summer days?  The possibilities are endless.  Because the days are long, we tend to pack in as much as possible, live life to the fullest, take in every moment.  Life is fast and full and wonderful.  I’m reminded of a song I love by Michael Franks, “Dragonfly Summer”, the words so soothing and complete, painting a picture of the beauty of summer.  This month I will try to keep up with all my favorite summer recipes.  Some fun stories and tips here and there.  After all, I’m hoping we are all outside and not spending too much time at the computer or ipad – unless it’s on an Adirondack chair at the end of a long dock.

My daughter Grace at Mt. Hood, Oregon. She unfortunately is not with us on the 4th, but she celebrates in her own way...ski training on a glacier (this is where she is the happiest, perfecting her sport).

My daughter Grace at Mt. Hood, Oregon. She unfortunately is not with us on the 4th, but she celebrates in her own way…ski training on a glacier (this is where she is the happiest, perfecting her sport).

June

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
Henry James

This little surprise ended up on the edge of my driveway a few years ago.  Instinctively he crouched low to the ground, waiting for me to pass so that he could meet up with his very anxious mother on the other side of the drive.  It took all of my will-power to not get out and pick this little fellow up and keep him forever!  But….of course, I knew better, and slowly drove away with a very large smile on my face.  A gift?  Yes, for certain.  Witnessing first hand the beauty of this season, re-birth, growth, the ebb and tide of the seasons.  June comes in full-throttle.  The light and airy new greens of May give way to the lush growth of everything in June.  All of nature is taking care of their new generations.  We all start to feel the excitement of summer upon us.  Children are getting eager to end the school year, already making their plans and wishes.  The grill is up and running, allowing for so many easy fresh meals.  The vegetable garden is in with the hopes for a fabulous harvest.  Yes, June is here and we couldn’t be more ready.  Welcome to your summer……………..

May

It is usually said that “April showers bring May flowers”. I don’t know how true that is in every area, but one thing that is certain is that May flowers are a welcome sight!  Those of us winter weary are glad to see an abundance of color once again.  The greenhouses and nurseries are brimming with colorful blooms, hanging baskets, bedding and vegetable plants.  I know it makes me excited to get planting even though I know it can be risky here in the northeast.  Even with the longer and warmer days, there is always the chance of a frost and the general rule is to not plant until after Memorial Day.  But, I can’t resist and plant anyway.  Look for updates on my little brood of hens, some great warm weather recipes and other spring ideas.  Enjoy this last of the spring months as we are gently escorted into summer!

April

Out on my walk this morning, I couldn’t help but notice the noisy clamor of the starlings.  They’re back and for me that is one of the true signs of the change of seasons.  They gather in large droves in the trees and happily whistle and chirp into a deafening crescendo then suddenly take off in a large black mass of fluttering wings for another location and start all over again. The spring ritual, finding a mate and settling down to raise a family, repeated in nature over and over again, as old as time itself!  Fresh starts and new beginnings.  April, the word alone feels sunny, and brings with it the promise of warmer weather and bulbs poking through the still moist, cool earth.  This is the month to prepare.  Prepare for the warm days ahead.  Time to pull out the to-do list, tackle the winter repairs and plan the spring projects.  Throw open the windows and let the spring air in, April is here.

ps – The story of my baby bunnies will be in the ‘garden’ section.