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.

Me time..

Although you may be chief of operations in the home, and working outside of it as well, it is imperative to carve out ‘me-time’ in every day. Impossible you say – not so. If you’re like me you tend to put everything ahead of your own needs, yes I am guilty of this. But I don’t need a lot of time to myself to regain my peace. In the summer, I love to wander my gardens, glass of wine in hand at the end of the day, just before dinner. It only takes about 15 minutes, but it gives me such peace. Calming, centering. In the winter it can be a cup of tea and leafing through a favorite magazine, again not a huge chunk of time, after all there is a load of laundry to be folded. But just enough to exit mentally from the tasks at hand and be thankful. Whatever it is that helps you to take a breath for a moment, savor the calm, take your ‘ohm’ moment. Gratitude for yourself, your family, your home.

March

In like a lion or lamb?  No argument there, for most of the US, it most assuredly has come in like a lion….roaring! By now many of us are counting down to what is sure to come.  The days are getting noticeably longer and those huge icecicles are beginning to drip.  The sun starts feeling warmer and each day brings us closer to April.  Maybe those huge piles of snow will start to shrink…a little. Either way, spring is on it’s way.  The beginning of the end.  How welcome it will be this year especially.  Even though many are still buried in a blanket of snow, this is a great time of year to start thinking of the garden. Starting seeds indoors can be especially rewarding. A little lift for those weary of the blank landscape outdoors.  Winter will come to an end for certain, and the snow will go away refreshing the aquifers and the land.  So for now, dream, plan, think ahead to greener days and for now enjoy the still coziness of March.  Brew a cup of tea, wrap up in a warm blanket and flip through the garden catalogs and remember that whether March goes out like a lamb or lion the end result will be the same, it will be over.

“Hope springs eternal..”

By now you’ve probably figured that we are a skiing family.  We are in deep, all my kids ski competitively and as crazy as weekends can be getting from this mountain to that, it’s safe to say that we all really enjoy the ski life.  For us, winter is as fast as summer and here in the northeast that can be relatively quick.  That being said, every now and then I like to slip away from the crowds and go snowshoeing.  I can’t say enough about this ‘sport’ (not sure it is one), but the benefits are multi-fold, exercise for the body and centering for the soul, plus a healthy dose of fresh air.  When I snowshoe alone, the sound of the crunch of the cleats on the snow keeps me company.  A rhythmic timing to my steady climb up the mountain.  The tranquil scenery and the quiet give me time to enjoy the peacefulness of the winter and get a little lost in my thoughts.  Winter truly is the only season where you can go outside and there is absolutely no yard work to be done – revel in that!  The days can be long and cold for sure, but take that time to be grateful for the slower pace, each day brings us one closer to spring.  It has never been known not to come.

February

I woke up this Monday morning to an extremely blustery winterscape,……and school closings. Seems fitting enough  – February.  While many of us are starting to grow weary of winter, try to remind yourself of how much fun it was back in December!  Sorry, I know, winter can be long here in the northeast, but somehow when February comes along it seems as though we are that much closer to the end.  It’s a good time to pull out the flower catalogues and dream of gardening plans, and projects.  Nonetheless, dreaming aside, the reality is that we are still here in February.  This month I will show you some projects for bringing a little brightness into your home, some more great cold weather recipes, and naturally some charming Valentines tabletop inspirations.  Now I’ve got to get to the kitchen and whip up some fudgy brownies and cocoa for the kids who will inevitably wear out the hinges on the garage door with the constant in and out to enjoy the snow………..maybe I should introduce them to the shovel…….

January 2015

The busy hub of the holidays is over. Bittersweet. As much as we all love the anticipation of the holidays, they can be truly exhausting. Enter the quiet of wintry January.  Here in the northeast, we settle into a much more subdued pace, covered in a soft blanket of white, while nature around us sleeps. Some of us head outside for so many various winter sports and activities, and there really isn’t anything that quite rivals wrapping your hands around that much deserved cup of hot chocolate! The month for review, in our homes and our lives. Look for organizing and de-cluttering tips as well as recipes and ideas that are perfect for this time of the year. The time to reflect and nurture your need for comfort and warmth.  Cozy up with a cup of tea and enter January.