Happy Valentines Day Everybody
These days I wake at 5:30. I stretch in front of the heater as my coffee brews. My morning mocha is a diabetic friendly one. Coffee, lots of 1/2&1/2, a drizzle of agave, and cocoa. With my limbs and back loosened up I sit down with my warm cup and its smoky cocoa, and I take a moment to myself.
Moments like this are precious to the moms of toddlers. All day their activity and excitement surrounds us, as do their needs. The quiet moments are when we recenter. They are sanity makers.
Sometimes I light a candle in the pre-dawn darkness. I appreciate the quiet, cuddle with the animals, and rejoice as the sun’s light moves over my window and into my kitchen. Winter’s darkness can truly make us appreciate light.
If I am lucky I will get to write a letter or read a chapter of my book in my morning solitude. This meditative time alone usually lasts about half an hour after which I begin my duties as a homemaker, which include making coffee, breakfast and lunch to go for my hardworking husband. A great peace has been created between us ever since I took on regularly preparing these meals for him. He can then wake and have his moment alone rather than rushing around getting ready.
Enjoy your time alone mamas and papas. Take a deep breath and prepare to meet your day.
Winter gardening is hard on my pride. The garden largely looks empty, and the plants grow slowly. But grow they do, and upon closer inspection, there is a lot going on in the garden this time of year.
If anything can swell the pride of a winter gardener it is mustard. These plants can survive hard weather and neglect. Thank you mustard. I must eat more of you.
Here is a row of mustard greens I planted this summer. Behind them is our gnome. My intention was to allow these to quickly go to seed, then harvest the seed to use in pickled veggies. But as I just stated,
mustard greens stand up well to neglect, and they are thriving despite the minimal care they have received.
It looks so pretty! If only it had reemay…
Arugula! Another good plant for boosting the confidence of a winter gardener.
I have moved many of my potted herbs into the greenhouse in hopes of keeping off the worst of the chill and giving them a head start toward an early sprout time. Each winter they die back, and each spring they regrow. My hopes seem well founded as both the mint and the chives are already sending up new growth.
On the coldest nights I have been heating a brick up in the oven and then placing it on the ground in the greenhouse. It is the same technique as placing a hot water bottle under your blankets at the foot of your bed. It warms up the space just a bit. Enough, I hope, to keep the plants from freezing.
Now is the mellow time of year when a gardener can choose when she does her tasks. If a project waits a week, it is probably fine. It is a non stressful period. We can relax. The excitement (and continuous devotion) lies ahead. Soon I will start seeds in trays. Soon I will plant peas. For now I will blog and read my book.
This year I did the 12 days of christmas for my stepdaughter. This is something that I have been contemplating doing for years. It was wonderful. It stretches out the fun and excitement of christmas, prevents christmas burn out, and is economical.
On christmas day we opened stockings, exchanged gifts, and ate a delicious meal together as a family. The gift that I had under the tree for my stepdaughter was a small photo album, to be filled with the beautiful nature photos that she takes. This matched up well with the gifts that her father gave her, which were photo paper and two tripods for her camera. He got our whole family a printer that can print photos since we never seem to print any at the store.
On the following days, my stepdaughter received small gifts, each wrapped and with a small card stating the date to be opened, and sometimes a little something about the intention behind the gift. On the day after christmas, we were packing to go take a trip to visit family. I hand delivered her second day of christmas gift, which was a toiletries bag. It was perfect timing, as she was just trying to figure out what to store all of her toiletries in. The next day she got a book written from a dog’s perspective to read while we traveled. The next day a chocolate bar. The next day a homemade coupon stating that she and I would go see an awesome nature movie soon on the giant screen at our local science museum. She got a pencil case for school, a hand painted doggie tree ornament, an coupon for dinner with me at a fancy Italian restaurant, and so on.
I really like this way of doing christmas. No more big bang holidays that feel over within hours. Each gift can be fully appreciated because it comes on it’s own day. And christmas day does not feel empty either. Family and friends also give gifts, so it in no way felt lacking. Next year I will do this for both of our girls. We also hope to start making holidays more about the experience that about the stuff. Next year for either thanksgiving or christmas or both, I am strongly going to advocate for spending christmas money on a cabin in the woods rather than gifts. A few gifts for the kids and a few for the folks and one from my husband to me and one from me to him. And there, we’re done.
ps another great aspect about doing the 12 days of christmas is that folks who were up to it could shop the post christmas sales and save quite a bit of money.