Heart of Winter


SONY DSC Earlier in the month we had a wild stormy day that caused a big ruckus along the coast. Probably a mix of high tide and winds or something. Anyway my daughter had taken the coast road to Portsmouth from her house and had seen amazing things along the way involving high waves and sea water making its way onto the road. She was eager to show me what she saw so when she got home we drove out toward the beach near her house and I was able to take this shot. I could not have dreamed up the surfer walking along inside my shot. Priceless.

I’m spending a lot of time in my room up on the 3rd floor staying warm and keeping busy with computer projects. I’ve vowed to expand my both my web presence and my social media connections this winter and with the help of my webmaster sister and her husband (Active Canvas) things are moving along in a forward direction.


The highlight of my room is the east facing skylight. From my lofty height I see seagulls flying at eye level and the sun and the moon doing what they do. Sometime the glass becomes covered in snow and I lose my view and my free light.

The bird in the photo is a tree ornament handmade by a friend of mine in Ketchum, ID. It’s a magpie, native to both Ketchum and Taos, NM, places where the elevation is high, the mountains tall and the native sage sees little moisture. I occasionally see a few Ravens looking out my skylight but there are no magpies here on the coast, not that I’ve seen.


My #2 window faces north, looking toward the downtown of Portsmouth about 4 blocks away. Plenty of trees in this view much to my delight. The autumn leaves were awe inspiring, as you can imagine. I’ve always been a tree lover so the patterns of these branches are as special to me as a fine painting. There’s something very satisfying about the bare branches of trees in winter, their strong but flexible form, the way they reach up and outward like inviting hands.


Speaking of windows, I pass this one several times a day on the stairs and when it’s frosty like this I pause to admire the patterns. It could be the improvements made in window technology these past decades but it seems to have become rare to see frost like this on a window. It seems something we must all intuitively remember having seen in a long past era. It feels elemental and old fashioned, a fairy tale? or something so magical and beautiful it could only be produced by nature.


And now we come to our beating “heart of winter” found inside the carriage house, a smaller attachment to the total house at 411 Middle. It’s large living room has a gas stove that mimics the look of an actual fireplace. Since this is the main source of winter heat for the three floors of the carriage house it is almost always on. It’s very attracting and comforting. Besides that the room has a high ceiling and two walls of almost all windows with views out to the back garden. On a winter morning, that also happens to be sunny, the combination of sunlight and fireplace is like a magnet for the Soul.


The contrast in this photo of my granddaughter, Charlotte, visiting the carriage house living room illustrates the intensity of the light coming in the room. She has absconded with Bob’s blue exercise ball which he keeps in his office down the hall.


I recall I mentioned I would talk about my switch to a raw/vegan diet when I moved into the house last May. I’d been exposed to the diet in Ketchum through Ananda’s popular juice bar but had never really pictured myself adopting it. But seemingly out of nowhere I had this opportunity and I embraced it. It seems one of the barriers to the diet is the trouble and expense of amassing the equipment that breaks down raw food so that it can be utilized better by the body in the forms of juice, smoothies, sauces and crackers. In this case all the equipment was there. I just needed to familiarize myself to it and learn as much as I could as fast as I could to get on with eating in a new way.

My first teachers were Bob, the resident owner, and Ken, a fellow house-mate who loved the raw diet and was available and willing to share what he knew. I started out with smoothies and salads. I missed my old fruit and granola breakfast so eventually came up with a recipe to make my own version of raw granola.


This didn’t happen right away but when it did it was a game changer for me. I had been sprouting buckwheat to use as a substitute for the rice and quinoa that I’d been eating before and that was working. I stumbled upon a recipe that used the sprouted buckwheat as a substitute for the oats. The rest of the nuts and seeds and such were pretty standard. I used the dehydrator to make it all hang together and be crispy.

Around this time I discovered I could make cashew milk very easily in the VitaMix with just cashews and water (more or less). This became my “milk.” I had been making almond milk before this but got discouraged because it’s so time and labor intensive (at least the way I was doing it).


So more on this topic at another time and one more kitchen photo, the sunny corner with the much used sink.


About Kate

A newcomer to New England I am blogging about it from that perspective. My plan is to look around for places, events and people that resonate with my values and interests around community and respect for the health of the planet as well as its people. I am a painter, collage artist, photographer, astrologer and gardener. I'm in my 70s but not retired. I admit I get tired if I try to do too much, but then I rest and become re-invigorated. I am never bored.
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