hey there mr. porcupine

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Every now and then there is a perfect snowy day. One in which there are very few tears by the three-est among us. One where a silent babe is content for the entirety of our walk, snug on my back. One in which we make some seriously fun discoveries.  Where our voices can be heard echoing off these hills in chorus singing, “The ants go marching” and my personal favorite, “99 bottles of beer on the wall”.  The chanting helps us keep going when the going gets tough.

Yesterday while we were clearing out bird boxes in anticipation for flocks jouneying north and leaving out bread wreathes for those who stayed, we caught sight of the good old porcupine who is munching away happily on a hemlock in our back yard.  He is a big one too, and as cute as he is amazing.  Did you know they have 30,000 quills????

How bout that for some thursday trivia.

the bad george washington

A few portraits of ol’ father son to stomp out february good and proper.  And a lot of cardboard box driving, and just as much clay men making.   I heard these words out of my boys mouth yesterday:

Miles- The battle starts in 60 85 minutes!!!

Rowan- Oh no the BAD George Washington is at our window!

Miles- took his head off ate him up, spit him out, put his head back on.

Rowan- yeah!  Cuz it was actually the GOOD george washington!!!!

Miles- YEAHHH

Now thats humor.

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Do you paint with your children?  I mean really paint with them.  Sitting down with a perfectly trimmed piece of water color paper and the warmth of inspiration at your window is one of the good parts of life.  Just to move my arm and swirl some color around.  No expectations.  Try it!

a hankering for lentils

We woke Sunday morning with that familiar feeling in our limbs that today would be the day.  After our bellies were full of warm creamy oats, Miles and I strapped on our snow shoes and headed out into the chalk drawing scene in our back yard.  The powdery snow filled our cuffs as we tumbled down the hill towards the frozen stream. Crossing was treacherous, one wrong step and a small body could sink up to their neck.  Alls well that ends well and we stood in the still air of the pasture.  Tracks from a bounding deer, no less than eight feet apart had us rolling as we envisioned Finn McCool paying us a visit.  The sun felt warm.  15 isn’t so bad when a ray of light sticks to your chin.  It is especially acceptable when you have knowledge of a 37 degree day in your future.  Yes, It was the fall down on your knees, eyes brimmed with tears, thankful-so thankful for the turning of the earth, day.

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The temperatures have dropped back down, deep down.  -24 upon rising this morning.  This time though the indoors are a bit more welcomed as we know their days are numbered.  Soon we will be spending every waking moment under the blue sky soaking up all that mud and thick wet air.  We are keeping busy with woodworking projects, and pouring over seed catalogs.  We are baking and stirring thick hearty soups.  One in particular that was more remarkable than any other this season.  This was because it was a first meal.  Our nearly seven month old Jasper has scoffed at all things solid until this one was served up.  Much to our surprise our boy had a hankering for some lentils.  I thought it was appropriate to share.

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Rosemary Red Soup

(Ever so slightly adapted from) Feeding the whole family

3 carrots chopped

1 beet chopped

1 onion diced

1 clove garlic

1 tsp rosemary (dried or fresh)

1 cup red lentils

2 bay leaves

5 cups of chicken stock

2 tablespoons light miso

Saute the carrots, beets, garlic, and onions in olive oil for about five minutes.  Add the rosemary and lentils until the smell creeps into your nose and they are good and toasty.  Add the stock and bay leaves and a touch of salt and pepper.  Not too much though, the miso is salty too.  After about 30 minutes, when the veggies are good and soft puree in the blender in small batches removing the bay leaves first.  Add the miso, stirred in a touch of water to dilute.  Serve with a crusty loaf to deserving (babies) folks.

this moment

{this moment}

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{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual inspired by soulemama.com. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

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amateurs

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Our wood pile, though thoroughly buried is surely dwindling.  We will be spending the weekend slicing and sawing, that is for sure.  But, in the meantime the boys and I have been a baking.  It has been a long time since I shared a bread recipe.  I recently committed to a 30 day venture of NOT eating grains or processed sugar, and while it healed a weary tummy, my soul has been starving!  The last few days I introduced the glorious foodstuffs back and the results have been phenomenal!  My heart feels like its been placed back into my chest.

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Chunked up apple cinnamon bread

(adapted from Sarabeths bakery cookbook)

2 tablespoons yeast

3 tablespoons sugar

3/4 cup of whole milk

2/3 cup of water

1 egg

splash of vanilla

4 cups of flour

pinch of sea salt

4 tablespoons melted butter

2 large apples (something firm that will hold up baking I used empire)

1 egg yolk

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

 

whisk yeast, sugar, water, and milk together. proof a couple minutes until it looks nice and creamy.  add vanilla, egg and butter.  one cup at a time mix in flour.  Knead for about five minutes until smooth and soft and elastic.  let rise in a toasty location (next to the wood stove!) until doubled.  This  took about an hour for me.  Put little hands to work peeling apples.  Slice and core them.  chunk into 1/2 inch cubes.  A three year old can certainly do this job.  And a five year old will excel at it!  So let your little ones do the work while you join the rising dough and warm up your tootsies.  Mix, the cinnamon, sugar, yolk and apples together.  When the dough rises flatten it out into a thick rectangle and mash in the apple mix.  Fold it all up into a messy, very messy mash.  Chunk it up with your knife and place into two well buttered, and floured bread pan with the bottoms lined with parchment.  Let rise again for about an hour.  Cook at 350 for about an hour until its just about 210 degrees F.  Cover the top with a piece of foil if it starts to burn.  

 

Slice and serve with lots of room temperature butter.  Great as french toast.  Trust me.