I've often heard children say, "There's nothing to do today". I beg to differ. I'd like to inspire you to do something. Anything. Read. Bake. Hike. Fish. Plant. Sail. Climb. Play. Reach. Move. Laugh. Dream; and take time to sit with me on The Old Granite Step.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Birds in the Blizzard

Yesterday's blizzard proved a challenge for everyone, including our feathered friends.  We went outside periodically to wipe the snow from the feeders and replace the water in the bowl.  The birds were here all throughout the storm but you'll notice the light changes according to how the snow was coming down at the time.  The cold wind is evident in some photos where feathers are askew. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

View from the Kitchen Window 1/24

The snowfall is peaceful....yet the quietness is disturbed by the hungry turkeys!

"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."
Albert Einstein

Thursday, January 22, 2015

View from the Kitchen Window 1/22

 "I like that time is marked with each sunrise 
and sunset whether or not you actually see it."
Catherine Opie

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Robust Pumpkin Soup Recipe for a Cold January Day

It never made it above freezing yesterday but despite the frigid temperature my husband decided to clean the chimney.  We use a wood stove almost every day during the winter and like to be diligent about keeping the pipes clean.  When I watched him climb the ladder from the upstairs window, he was looking rather chilly.  I felt I owed him a nice hot lunch!  I had made this recipe years ago and thought it would be perfect to warm up with on this cold January day.
Start with two medium potatoes peeled and cut up into small pieces.  You'll also need one can of pumpkin puree, a half teaspoon of minced onion, a half teaspoon of sea salt, quarter teaspoon of ground pepper, a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon, one teaspoon of nutmeg, four and three quarters cups of organic chicken broth, a cup and a half of heavy whipping cream and a loaf of fresh bread; your choice.
Melt two tablespoons of  butter on medium heat and add the minced onion.
Once the butter is melted, add the potatoes and cook for about five minutes.
Add the chicken broth.  Cover the mixture and boil until the potatoes are tender.
Stir in the pumpkin.  At this point you'll need to puree the entire mixture either using a food processor or an immersion blender.
Now it's time to add the spices.  Reduce the heat, cover the mixture and cook for an additional thirty minutes, stirring occasionally.  The mixture smells wonderful at this point!
Add the heavy cream.
Blend the mixture and simmer for an additional ten minutes.
Slice into a nice fresh loaf of bread.
Ladle into a bowl.....
.....and sprinkle with some shredded Swiss cheese.
Perfect for lunch or dinner.  Delicious!  You'll want two bowls.

Friday, January 16, 2015

View from the Kitchen Window 1/16

The city is caught in the grip of ice-
Trees, walls, snow, are as under glass.
Over crystals, I and the patterned sleighs 
Go our separate, unsteady ways.

Anna Akhmatova        

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Brisk Day in Stockbridge, Massachusetts

Not far from the New York border sits the wonderfully eclectic town of Stockbridge, Massachusetts.  A great place for a walk, Stockbridge offers something for everyone.  Quintessential New England abounds here and it made for a terrific outing on a cold but sunny winter day.
The branches of the tree sans leaves makes a beautiful frame for the stone church tower.
This stone wall rambles on and on and on.....
A lovely leaded window flanks the door that neither opens nor shuts.
Set back from the center of town, the garage has perhaps seen busier days.
A colorful and inviting entrance.
This fabulous home is for sale!  Intrigued?  You can find the listing here.
Christmas is only a memory for this old window.
Is it the carefully carved trim or the sleepy color we're drawn to on this quaint little barn?
Tom Sawyer would not have enjoyed whitewashing this fence!  Mark Twain's home was a short distance away in Hartford, Connecticut.
Rumor has it that Tories lived here; at least that's what the black paint on the white chimney is thought to mean.  
Seems quite cozy.
I absolutely love these birch "candles" of sort!  The glass balls are situated on top of birch logs which have been decorated with greens.  We can only imagine how pretty they are at night when the light shines on them.

There are gorgeous windows like this all over town.  Although a bit neglected, this one seems to beckon us to the attic of the graceful old home.
The Stockbridge Library is currently undergoing major renovations.  I wonder how this exquisite trim will be affected; if at all.
A small stained glass window with a big heart.
Stunning against the blue sky.
The charming shops invite us in to browse.
Be sure to look down every alley.  Shops and restaurants are tucked into every nook and cranny.
The Red Lion Inn has stood like a sentinel in town for more than two hundred years. 
A little snow doesn't bother the lion at all.
We chose to have lunch here.  A fire greeted us in the parlor as we entered and we hated to leave.  Our meal was delicious!
A bit chilly for the rockers this time of year.  We'll need to make another trip during warmer weather.

The icicles foretell the temperature.
The homes here are full of charm.
Tucked away behind the sidewalk is this cute cottage.
Coffee is absolutely necessary on a day like this!  The mercury never rose above eighteen degrees.
Another glorious window.
Does this whimsical canine greet us or bid us adieu?  Perhaps both.

Stockbridge is home to the Norman Rockwell Museum.  It's not a museum to be rushed through so we chose to visit another day.  Tanglewood, in nearby Lenox, is the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.