Tag Archives: life

Queen Anne’s Lace and Feral Apple Jelly

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I feel my best when I’m outside, among the trees, in a meadow, or beside a stream. Where I can see the sun shining, feel the wind blowing, and hear the birds singing.

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Add some wild edibles or medicinal plants to harvest and I’m in heaven.

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Yesterday we picked Queen Anne’s Lace, also known as wild carrot, latin name: Daucus carota.

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There was a wild apple tree along the edge of the field and we picked a few that were within our reach.

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I pulled out my grandfather’s Kabar and sliced one for us to eat right there beneath the tree. I can still see him doing this, removing the knife from his pocket whenever the need arose and peeling the blade out. Preparedness goes a long way in this life.

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Once home, we placed the flower heads out to let the critters wander away and then steeped the blossoms in boiled water.

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We chopped the little apples into chunks and placed them in water to boil.

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We combined the juice and the wild carrot tea, added some sugar and reluctantly, some pectin and our yield is 6 half pints of Queen Anne’s Lace and wild apple jelly.

And we’ll think of those fragrant apples warming in the sun and the field of seemingly endless white blossoms when we slather this jelly on toast or biscuits.

Get outside and find something wild.

 

 

 

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Strawberry Season

Strawberry season for us in New England is a few weeks away.

There really is something about sitting in a field full of strawberry plants, the sun shining down on your face, the birds singing and the smell of life in the air.

I’ve always loved quiet moments, those moments you smile to yourself because you just know they’re special. Like when the sun shines down at a certain angle and you swear you see angels coming down from heaven.

Or when you smell lilacs in the air or when you hear waves lapping on the shore, those simple pleasures in life that so many of us take for granted.

Do me a favor and go strawberry picking this year. Go when there’s not a lot of people, when your family will have a row to yourselves. Sit or squat down among the berries. Feel the warmth of the sun and listen to the birds up above, watch the wind blow the leaves all around and pick those bright red juicy strawberries.

Maybe try one of these recipes with your bounty:

Strawberry Skillet Cake

Strawberry Pie

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Strawberry Lemonade

French Strawberry Cake

Jodi xo

 

Days of May

May brings morning rain on rosa multiflora.

And morning light on made beds.

May brings awakening wild food.

And blooming forest floors.

The colorful copper birch leaves emerge.

Violets come into view.

May is when we gather the petals.

Simple syrup will sweeten drinks for weeks to come.

May brings soft breezes through open windows.

And May brings wishes.

Happy May!

 

Mother

We all have or have had one. The woman who gave birth to us and/or took care of us, whether we appreciate her or resent her, she helped us grow into the people we are today, good or bad.

I hope that you are in contact with your mother if you can be. I hope you have put aside squabbles and have forgiven her for what she should or shouldn’t have done according to your own standards.

Mothers don’t have all the answers, I know because I am one. I do the best I can do, as did my mother. Even at the age of 33, I still held onto resentment for my mother and then she suddenly died. I felt so much guilt about it. But that is life. We need someone to blame for our misgivings and mothers are perfect targets. I am okay with being that target for my own child. And I’m sure my mother was okay with it too.

When I was a kid, my mom was the best friend type of mom, but I didn’t want her to be my best friend. She wanted to be the cool mom, but I didn’t think she was cool.

Now, I want to call her and tell her about my day. I want to make her feel loved and happy and full of pride for what she accomplished in life. But I can’t. Because she’s gone.

If your mom is alive, call her. If your mom is down the road, go visit her.

Mother’s Day. It’s a good day to forgive.

 

 

 

Summer In Gilmanton

Bike tires on dirt roads

The wind whipping past my ears

Listening for frogs

Jumping in the babbling brooks along the way

To The Farm

Red Barn, yellow house

Tall grass in need of mowing

Steps made out of granite, framed by Brown-eyed Susans

Two old rocking chairs adorn the porch, strewn with fire wood and kindling

A black cast-iron wood-burning stove in the kitchen

Window above the sink

A view of the clothes line, yellowing pillow cases waving in the warm breeze

Floorboards creak, rugs heavy with dirt

Deserted rooms

Outside, crumbling rock walls section off meadows

Meadows dotted with tiny yellow and orange hawkweed flowers

Sheep to sheer and hay to haul

Wood to chop and birds to watch

This is summer in Gilmanton

September

There’s something special about September in New England.

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The days are cooler but the sun still brings warmth.

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Flowers still bloom.

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Wishes can still be made.

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There’s a golden hue to the sun filtering in through the windows and splashing across the hardwood.

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It’s still warm enough for strawberries.

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But cool enough for fires in the stove.

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There’s abundance in September.

Here, in the form of apple cake.

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And center stage in September are the leaves turning from green to yellow and red.

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Get outside and enjoy these last few days of September.

These days that bring crisp air, bright sunshine, crinkling leaves underfoot, the smell of pumpkin spice, the taste of apples and the sound of acorns falling to the ground.

Change, the only constant

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Heart-shaped, fluffy white clouds in the blue sky.

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Purple and pink sky in the morning. A sure sign of an oncoming storm.

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Snow can change the landscape dramatically.

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And it sure is fun to play in. Peaking through the hemlock boughs as Ethan prepares to sled down the big hill.

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Have you ever browned butter? If not, you should. Swap out one stick of softened butter with one stick of browned butter and your chocolate chip cookie recipe will be forever changed.

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Do you see what Regan sees?

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Afternoon sun shines on cattails in the frozen ground. My shadow on the bridge.

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Daffodils are emerging from the leaf litter. Change is upon us.

 

New Year

Each year goes by faster than the one before.  Just like everyone else, I’m finding my way.

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We celebrated my birthday a few weeks ago. I’ve been on this planet for thirty-five years.

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We finally had some snow. I spy Ethan. Do you?

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This is our bedroom window on a cold winter’s morning.

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I’m in awe of the beauty of this planet. And I’m always looking up.

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It’s nearly February and the geese are still beating their wings and honking.

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I’m rewarded with color.

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And beauty.

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And squirrel tracks.

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Each year we reflect. I love what I see.

 

Christmas Eve

It’s Christmas Eve. I’m five years old. I’m lying in bed watching the light stream through the vinyl blinds. It’s nighttime but the moon is bright and it’s being reflected off the snow that is blanketing the ground. I’m supposed to be sleeping. I can hear music coming from the other room.

I lift the covers off of me and swing my legs out of bed. I place my feet on the carpet and walk through the dimly lit kitchen and into the living room where I see my mother sitting in the middle of the couch on the very edge of the cushions. On the coffee table in front of her are the two slender red candles we put out weeks before when we were decorating the apartment for Christmas. Tonight, they are lit and I can tell they have been burning for some time because they are half the size they were and there’s wax all over the silver candle holders. It seems like she is waiting for someone. I think it must be Santa.

She tells me to go back to sleep. Santa won’t come if I’m awake. I run back to my room and call for her to tuck me back in but she’s already making her way back to me. She wraps me in blankets and says goodnight.

I toss and turn for what seems like an eternity. I wonder if he will skip my house because I’m still awake. I finally start to doze but then I hear footsteps. I’m lying on my side, my face towards the wall. I hear my door creak open, I see light shine in from the kitchen, I see the shadow of Santa. He tiptoes into my room and as I hold my breath, he places my stocking at the foot of my bed. I want to turn around to see this mysterious person but I know I can’t. I concede to simply watch the shadow on the wall. He retreats.

I gently nudge the stocking with my toes. I hear wrapping paper crinkle inside. I feel as if I just might burst with excitement. I can’t wait to see if he received my letter and brought me the very toys I asked for. I close my eyes and smile. It’s almost Christmas and I almost saw Santa.

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December

Each one of these December mornings I am gently reminded just how many days are left until Christmas.

Today? 4 days!

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Inside, our balsam fir tree is trimmed.

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Outside, it feels more like October.

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There’s time for walks…

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There’s time for practice…

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And there’s always time fore baking…

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These unseasonably clear skies offer us more time outside to enjoy the splendor of December.

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Merry Christmas!

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