Despite the snow on the ground, spring is in the air. We’re entering the freeze-thaw cycle (also known as mud season) and our quarter-mile driveway is the worse for it, but all around us, things seem to be softening and readying for growth. We’re excited for spring, friends. This winter has offered much more moisture than last year’s punishing drought, and we’re looking forward to seeing how our fields regenerate once the snows have disappeared for good.
One of our favorite winter activities has been watching for wildlife across our land; the persistent snow has made tracks easy to see. We’ve spotted coyotes, foxes, rabbits, raccoons, ground squirrels and of course our nemesis, deer. We are trying hard to learn this land, to know what lives here now and what was here before us so we can figure out how to best live in harmony.
It’s not the most elegant arrangement, but it will work.
In preparation for spring’s arrival, we’ve started some cold-hardy crops indoors for later transplanting. Here you see kale, cabbage, pak choi, broccoli and a selection of perennial herbs. This would be much more ideal in a greenhouse, but at the moment we don’t have a greenhouse so we have to work with what we do have. Oh, and we also don’t have anywhere to plant these outside, so we should work on that, too. (Huge thanks to Jim for his generous donation of seed-starting equipment!)
In my bread baking classes I’ve long taught a standard herbed focaccia recipe, which is an easy beginner bread. Of late I’ve decided to experiment with a mashed potato focaccia, driven in no small part by the fact that I inadvertently froze dozens of pounds of winter storage potatoes in an outdoor shed and had to either process them or compost them. I’m really pleased with the mashed potato focaccia; it’s lighter and fluffier and makes fabulous sandwiches; I always slice and freeze this so we have bread at a moment’s notice. (If you want to give it a shot, the original recipe I worked from can be found here. As always, I made slight adjustments for 6,200 feet of elevation.)
Minimalism at work.
We’re itching to get outdoors but the weather is keeping us in, for the moment, so we’re still tackling house renovation projects. N is working on a simple, spare, built-in desk for his office; we definitely subscribe to Scandinavian design theory. This house is much larger than our old one, and we want it to feel clean and uncluttered.
Have you ever seen anything so beautiful in your entire life? Me neither.
Some of you may remember a little post I wrote about building bookshelves? Well, they’re still up. If you need me, I’ll be in the library staring at them with wonder.
Have a fantastic week!