No doubt about it, winter is having its way with us here in New England. I miss the pleasures of the backyard garden, time at the beach with family and those bike rides into town on errands. I’ve been using the indoor focus to hunker down in my small studio and make the holiday cards and tree ornaments I always do in the pre-holiday period. Upstairs at my computer I’m putting in more time expanding my website and online social networking (check my site for changes?).
It was a bit of a shock to see this sight a week ago when the big snow storm that had been making its way across the country got to our neck of the woods. That’s my Honda Element where you see the slice of orange color. The snow plow got as far as possible up the driveway to clear a path for us to move our cars onto the street, thus making room for another pass to clean up the other side. I did my part. It took two athletic sessions with a small plastic snow shovel to get enough snow off my car to safely drive it out. The beauty of the snow and the day’s call to action made for an invigorating energy that seemed to affect everyone at the house (411 Middle St. Portsmouth NH) in a positive way.
Here’s a photo of the same snow the next morning but in the backyard of the house. The thoughtful landscape architecture of the backyard shows off well in contrast to the white snow. Like icing on a cake.
Here’s another backyard attraction of the season, the many rose hips that follow the blossoming roses of summer. These are fairly large so add color to the backyard’s winter palate. I first noticed rose hips in the natural environment when I moved to Mendocino County in California back in the early 70s. Each winter I would go out on walks and pick as many as I had the patience for and bring them home to string for Christmas tree decorations. Some years later I probably got interested in their nutritional value (vitamin C especially) and picked and saved the hips for winter tea as well.
Last month I fell in love with this tree down the street and took a photo for my blog that showed off its colorful oak leaves. A couple of weeks ago I noticed it again with a dusting of snow on its branches. Didn’t have my camera then but a couple of days ago took this shot. A mighty tree like this brings up the sense that older trees have an important and positive energetic place in the settings they influence. I am still feeling somewhat at odds with the urban environment that I now inhabit. But this tree, less than a block away, has become an anchor, a reminder that somehow the cars and the cell phones and the rush of modern life connect to the same air and water and nurturing soil vital to the oak tree. The word “guardian” comes to mind.
Between the oak tree and the busy street is the brick sidewalk. This photo shows Middle Street looking south. Our house is on the left but far down and hidden by trees. I suspect if you look for a chimney structure sticking up in that zone it’s a marker flag for our house. Anyone can see that when these houses were built and lived in by single families they were symbols of wealth and architectural beauty. Now this street is part of a highway that runs parallel to the coast and can take you to up to Maine or down to Massachusetts. But even more relevant, it’s a main thoroughfare for local traffic moving north to south.
Here’s a close up of the brick sidewalk. Our house is located in the so-called historic district of Portsmouth. I’m not sure that explains the brick sidewalk but I’d presume that there is a relationship. I’ll just guess that some distance from this district the city must stop this charming pattern? There is a lot of foot traffic on this sidewalk as many people living, like we do, in apartments inside these large houses, don’t have cars. They are able to walk to work at jobs in Portsmouth. I am friends with one young woman living in the house who has never owned a car. She’s lived in New York City and other urban places where having a car is not essential and feels very comfortable with that style of life. In any case, this is one of the many positive and practical facets of living at 411 Middle.
I’ve been pretty quiet about my raw/vegan diet here. There are two kitchens in the house, one is for normal/mainstream cooking and the other is limited to the raw/vegan approach. At the time I moved in there was a small room available in the part of the house that includes the raw kitchen–the Carriage House. Also I was told there wasn’t room for more people to use the other kitchen. I took the room and the kitchen and the diet that came with it. As you can see in this photo the stove is a storage area for a juicer. There are two juicers actually, each represents a different technology for juicing The bowl with the paper towel holds some grain that is sprouting. I believe it is wild rice. We do a lot of sprouting. Not only does soaking grains make them softer and thus easier to eat, but it initiates the sprouting process, one that increases the nutritional value of the food. Once you can see signs of a sprout you eliminate the water and let it sit in the bowl until its achieved the stage you’re looking for.
More about my relationship with the new diet in another post. Have safe and happy holidays this coming week. Thanks for continuing to encourage me to post this New England blog. Your feedback is welcome.