hemlock tea

It has been much warmer.  Much, much warmer.  But before these days of 20-30 degree weather graciously came around we had yet another cold spell.  Last week, a “warmer” day, I looked up the weather and surprisingly found myself rejoicing the number 12.  So, with such news, we packed a jar of hot water for mama, and a thermos filled with hot cocoa for the little boys, donned our four shades of blue jackets and headed to the woods to see what we could see.

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Aside from us, the woods seemed barren at first.  We were disappointed, but surprisingly quiet on our search for life.  Bundled until the point of teetering, even my Rowan kept up the pace in the icy air.  Eventually we paused for the tap-tapping of one of the few species of woodpecker to make itself a permanent resident in the northern states, The hairy woodpecker.  We spotted many tracks we couldn’t identify; Maybe rabbits or squirrels?  We couldn’t be sure.  We kept on trekking searching for our past summer destination of a tiny brook, in which we spent hours tossing pebbles in to or wading in the cool running water.  But it seemed impossible that we once participated in such activity in the same location, for  when we turned the last corner and felt the solid ice beneath our feet, not even the sound of rushing water could be heard below.  Completely solid and asleep.  Regardless, our cushioned snow pants made fine seats in sunny spot where we revealed the days reward; The main event.

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Steaming cups of hot cocoa stirred with Eastern Hemlock branches.  A bit of refreshing mint for a winter foragers soul.  I filled my cup with hot water and sprinkled in the needles, letting the refreshing steam steep my frigid cheeks.

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The walk back to the car was long for the smallest set of legs.  But, we kept with him, encouraging him to stay strong.  My weary back knows her limits these days and I will baby it a bit longer before I hoist anybody up for a ride.  An ample dose of Vitamin C from the needles, and a proper dose of Vitamin D from our old friend Mr. Sun, and we were ready to head home.  Four (six if you count Cloud the dog) eyelids grew heavy on our quick drive home and once safely in our snowy drive, I too joined in on a nice winters nap.

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