Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Embracing Winter On The MountainTop

All over blogland and on Instagram I'm seeing lovely photos of spring flowers and posts about spring dreams. 

Up here on the Mountain Top, I know we've got a good two months or more left of winter, so there's really no point in getting too excited about spring just yet!

The best thing to do is to settle in and embrace what's left of winter. 

I mean, really - what else can you do?

 

On a side note....many of you who follow me on Instagram may have already seen some of these photos. If you don't follow me, why don't you pop over and do so now? Click for a link to my Instagram account. 

Now, back to embracing winter.....

I'm fortunate to live in a beautiful area, with mountain views all around. But there are pros and cons to all locations, don't you think? 

Living on a mountain top means that our temps are typically colder than in the valley, and our growing season is shorter. We can't plant anything in the ground until Memorial Day Weekend, at the end of May. I usually 'cheat' and plant some early pots of pansies and other frost tolerant flowers in April, but the primary garden season is from the end of May until the beginning of October. That's it. It's a short season, but it's mighty!


I'm also fortunate in that I have a warm, cozy home that I love to bits. I have a huge field stone fireplace with a beautiful Jotul wood burning insert that keeps my house as toasty as can be through the long winter.  Yes, that means I have to carry in firewood (up a flight of stairs!) on a regular basis. But hey, it's a workout, right? I also have to clean out the wood stove weekly and dump the ashes. No problem, I take care of that on the same morning that I plan to vacuum and do the floors so I can also vacuum around the hearth. 


We also get snow frequently up here. It's snowing right now, as a matter of fact, and has been for the past three days, off and on. We're due for a big snowstorm tomorrow, up to 9 inches expected up here. That means bundling up and heading out to shovel before and after work, yes indeed. But again, it's good exercise for sure, who needs the gym? It sure is lovely to look out at a snowy landscape and frosty mountain peaks, after all it IS winter!   

Driving in the snow isn't always fun, but I'm lucky that I live close to where I work so my commute is an easy one. In addition, I drive a Subaru which has all wheel drive....plus I have studded snow tires. Even with all that, I'm a cautious driver. And when I have a really bad drive home, once I get there safe and sound I can enjoy a lovely cocktail by the fire, often using the infusions I created in the summer months with produce straight from our garden! The cucumber tequila was a big hit this winter, and makes the absolute most delicious cucumber margaritas!

(Note to self....buy more tequila...and plant more cucumbers this year!)


The nights are long and cold, but that just means catching up on some of the many, many books I have loaded in my Kindle. It also means enjoying some of my favorite shows with my daughter....Grace & Frankie, The Crown, Alaska The Last Frontier, This Is Us....just to name a few.  On that note.....JACK!!!!!!!!!!!  Nuf said. I just can't.


Winter also takes its toll on my skin. Let's face it, I'm not getting any younger (wahhh!) This winter my skin is definitely feeling the effects of the bitterly cold weather. It's much dryer in winter than it is in the warmer months, so I have to change up my skincare routine. I've found some products that I love that really and truly help me get through these winter months without looking like a prune!   

Belif Moisturizing Bomb on Amazon

One of my go-to products is this Belif Moisturizing Bomb. I seriously can't imagine going through the winter without it! I got a sample last year that I tried one night and could NOT believe the difference in my skin when I woke in the morning! I've been using it ever since, and I am seriously hooked. The price is right, the product is amazing, and it even smells nice - a light, lemony scent! Both of my daughters are hooked on it as well, and I bought it for my Mom at Christmas also! Love, love, LOVE this moisturizer!

Clarins Santal Oil at Amazon

Another product I can't do without in winter is Clarins Santal Oil. Just a drop at night right after my toner, massaged into my face, and my skin is incredibly happy - it absolutely glows. I let it soak in for a few minutes while I finish up the night-time chores, and then finish up with my Belif moisturizer and some eye cream. Amazing product, I can't imagine how I'd get through the harsh winter without this combo! In summer I switch over to their Lotus Oil, but for winter it's got to be the Santal.

Anyway, this isn't really a post about my skincare routines, if you want to know more about what I use on my over 40....(almost 50, eek!)....face you can read that post here. 

Yes, indeed....the winters are long up here. By April I don't want to see another snowflake. But let's face it, it's only early February. The groundhog says we are having another 6 weeks of winter? Duh, I could have told HIM that!! 


That's ok....I'll nestle in, put on a little Chet Baker on Pandora, make a big pot of soup....maybe a pot roast or a sausage and bean stew....or even a lasagna. I have a winter squash that needs to be used, I'm thinking of a repeat on that absolutely amazing Pumpkin Lasagna I made a while back. Gosh, that was seriously incredible!


I guess while I'm at it, I'll do some baking. You can't have a lovely soup without some sort of bread on the side, can you? Ok well maybe you can....but I can't!  I am a serious fan of this Irish bread - I usually make it for St Patrick's Day but hey, it can come out to play at other times of the year as well!


When I'm not snuggling into my cozy house getting hygge with it, sometimes we're lucky enough to escape for a weekend or two to our favorite resort, on the incredibly beautiful Lake George in the Adirondack Mountains. Sweetie whisked me away for not one but TWO weekends this winter to this stunning resort. 


As much as I adore our Mountain Top, sometimes it's just nice to escape to the lake for a change of scenery - or, as Sweetie says, to 'get out of dodge.' 

I'm not sure what that means but that's ok, it makes him smile to say it...and I sure do love to see him smile!


But now, we're back to reality, home to embrace the rest of winter on the Mountain Top. 

That's not to say I won't be thinking of spring....I have to take inventory of what seeds we have left for this year's veggie garden and get my seed order in. In March I'll be starting our seeds in my utility room, like I do every year. I always look forward to that! And I just got a big seed catalogue in the mail yesterday with a huge 50% off sale going on, so no doubt there will be an order placed there. 

But other than that, I'll be enjoying these long winter nights, toasting my tootsies by a warm fire, snuggled up with a pup or two, reading or catching up with The Big Three. 

What's your favorite way to embrace winter?

43 comments:

  1. Ok! You had me at the Margarita! I love margaritas made with "Silver" Tequila. Its a white tequila with less calories. and YES Cucumber! But I also ad some lime, a little sugar, jalapeno, and cilantro!
    Lisa

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    1. Hey, I'm going to have to look for that tequila, Lisa - thanks for the tip! I have been using Sauza Tequila Silver for my infusions - I'm not sure if that's the same? Anyway it's amazing, a great price and takes the infusions really, really well!

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  2. Winter posts make me very happy now as this season and autumn are my favorites. I'll enjoy spring when it arrives but right now I'm loving houseplants and reading and loving on my dachshunds and loving up my house and baking and soup making.

    And also wearing sweaters! I love cozy sweater and coat weather. And warm throws on all the chairs. And going to bed early with a good book. And hot cocoa.

    Can you tell I love winter?

    Send some of that snow to Nashville, please!

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    1. I love your enthusiasm for winter and all things cozy, Dewena!! We are kindred spirits, no doubt!

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  3. We've had two big snows this year, and one dusting one, still it has been pretty cold. I love it though, each season in its time. We won't see spring until late April, so the groundhog's prediction wan't a surprise! Stay warm. And, oh I know, Jaaaaaccckkkk!!!!

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    1. Oh, JACCKKKKKKKKK!!! I know, I seriously just can't stand it....sigh.
      Yes, like you I love every season in its time - no sense trying to rush spring, it will get her when it gets here and not a second sooner!

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  4. Debbie, I like the view in the first picture. I am not a fan of cold and snow....so we get more than enough for me. I carry in wood and clean out the fireplace too. One thing about having to do stairs...your butt will never get sagging. LOL. Oh I am going to read those skin care posts. I have been so dry and itchy this winter. I hate that Jack was killed off...dang. I could almost use one of those cocktails today....I shoveled the snow from the front drive and walkways. You have seen it in my posts. My arms are sore already. LOL. Blessings to you honey, take care ,stay warm. xoxo, Susie

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    1. I sure hope you are right about that sagging butt, Susie!! Hey that's a lot of shoveling you did! We are in the midst of a blizzard right now so that's what is in my future this evening as well!

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  5. Beautiful post, Debbie! I love seeing your cozy home and good foods...we have a long time left of winter here in Minnesota, too.

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    1. May as well settle in and enjoy it, right, Linda?

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  6. You're right! Our posts today are pretty different. I can't stand to put any cream on my face. I don't like to travel. And I'm tired of winter!
    Brenda

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    1. So I guess you didn't enjoy my post, ha ha!! Hey that's ok, we all march to the beat of our own drum!

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  7. Honestly, I'm not a fan of winter at all. December & Jan. weren't too bad here, but Feb. has come in with a bang. We're experiencing some frigid temps now and too much snow. We just got about 8" the past couple of days and more coming tomorrow through the weekend. I guess the only thing I like doing in winter is making pots of homemade soups and roasts. Believe it or not, my skin isn't dry in the winter and I'm 55! My skin tends to be more on the oily side. I use a wonderful, light moisturizer made by Nourish Organics.

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    1. My skin was never dry when I was younger but I think between being out in the frigid temps way more often than I should and then coming in to the heat of the wood stove it just sucks the moisture right out!!

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  8. Your post is a good reminder to embrace the comforts of winter, Debbie. The snow is falling as I write this and I am ready for spring, but there is an undeniable peace at this time of year. I am looking forward to enjoying a few more weekends in the Adirondacks too and your pictures of the beautiful Sagamore helped with that too. Stay warm!!

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    1. We do love the Sagamore, Courtney - it's gorgeous at all times of the year! Completely different vibe in January than in July, though!!

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  9. Oh, you are so right about embracing these winter days - as you said - we've still got at least six weeks of it ahead, might as well find ways to enjoy it.

    Today I'm going to make the sausage/bean/greens soup in one of your links... yum! I'll make it my Le Creuset (sp?) instead of the crock pot though - thanks for sharing!

    I'm still coveting your leather chairs from Ethan Allen - might splurge in the coming year on a pair.

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    1. I hope you love that sausage soup, Karen Ann - I made it again recently (isn't it funny that I have to look up my own recipes on my own blog, ha ha!!) anyway I have a few servings in the freezer now, which is nice. I threw a little pasta in there at the end this time, it was a nice addition!

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  10. This post has encouraged to hang in there until Spring arrives! You enjoy what you have and look for the bright side in each situation. We don't have quite the winter you do but I am already looking forward to warmer temps. xoxo

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    1. It's not that we don't look forward to spring, Donna, don't get me wrong - especially when I'm out there shoveling or trying to scrape ice off the deck. It's just that I know it's still a long way off, so I may as well just settle in for the long haul! I will certainly enjoy to no end the odd spring-like day we are treated to, and when spring finally comes oh boy isn't it glorious!!!!!!!!!!

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  11. We like to "get out of Dodge" once in a while ourselves. We get so bogged down with this building-a-house-thing that we just need a breather once in a while. That sunset picture is gorgeous, as well as the pictures of snow. Your Mountain Top is beautiful in all four seasons! Have a great day :)

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    1. I am sure you get quite overwhelmed at times with all you have to do, Vickie - that's quite the project you have taken on, my friend! Hope all is coming along smoothly at this point - you have certainly had your fair share of struggles!

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  12. You truly are living in the present, embracing your surroundings and all that it offers (and throws). Our winter is more timed with the calendar of seasons, so Jan-Feb are our worst months; however, we do not get the continuous snows, but rather rain and flurries that lead to frequent black ice commutes. We're retired so don't have to be concerned with getting out, but as a mom, I always fret for my adult daughters who have to adult each day and drive to work. Having good gear and autos is the best way to embrace the elements, and we're fortunate that way too.

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    1. Black ice is terrifying no matter what kind of car you drive, Rita - and yes, I worry more for my daughters than myself. My older daughter is in Rhode Island - they don't get as much snow as us, but she does have all wheel drive, thankfully. My younger daughter lives with me and also drives a Subaru - the best mountain car ever!!

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  13. I embrace winter by taking it one day, or snowstorm at a time! I love to look out at my garden covered in snow. It is actually ugly when the snow melts or turns brown. I'd much rather have a fresh blanket of white every day....like you said, it is still winter and will be for a little while longer. Having a sweet home and surroundings like you do sure does help get through the end of winter. I also start buying shoes and clothes for Spring, and I start using my self tanner to take away the stark white skin tone! Happy winter!

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    1. Good plan, AnnMarie!! Yes, my garden looks much better under snow as well, especially since I didn't cut anything back in the fall so the birdies could have the seeds and cover. When we get into March and start getting the odd nice day I'll get started on that - it's always a TON of work to do in the spring, but so rewarding as well, don't you think? In the fall I've just had enough and I'm tired and ready to move indoors for the season!!

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  14. I love this post. :) I would also love to have some of your snow right now. ;) My favorite way to spend the winter is having a fire in the pellet stove, a cozy throw over me while I'm in my recliner and at least one cat curled up in my lap. I binge watch Escape to the Country and House Hunters and even throw in reading a book or two. Meals tend to be hearty ones of homemade soups, breads, and anything really that is "stick to the ribs". There is nothing prettier than a bright snowy winter day with the sun reflecting off the sparkling snow.

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    1. I'm not familiar with that show Escape to the Country, Debbie, but I am a FREAK about House Hunters, always have been!! I binge watched a few last night....right before a few Grace & Frankie episodes! Sweetie is sick so not coming over for dinner....and I'm fighting this darned cold again also so a night in front of the TV was called for!

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    2. I am sorry your Sweetie is sick and that you are fighting a cold. You can find episodes of Escape to the County on YouTube. It is the UK version of house hunters but they are looking at places in Scotland, Ireland, and the UK. Some of the places are older cottages, converted barns, and home with thatch roofs. I think you would love it!

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    3. Oooh that sounds like something I would love, Debbie - thanks for the tip!!

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  15. Sounds like you have everything under control in winter! I think I received that same catalog with 50 percent off. Thinking about adding a patio blueberry plant to my patio. May have to give up something else to plant it. Hard decision! We are in for another snowstorm and it snowed today. Nancy

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    1. I have a blueberry bush in my veggie garden, Nancy, that started off in a pot in my rental house - so far the birds have gotten more berries than me, let's hope this is MY year! I think I have to net it, which I hate to do. Same with my strawberries, raspberries and black and red currants. Sigh I guess I have no choice! We had a snowstorm yesterday that turned to rain at the end and then froze solid - there's a thick sheet of ice everywhere now, it's awful!

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  16. I am so done with the ice and snow, but it's clearly not done with us, so I am trying to embrace it as well. The Sagamore is beautiful no matter the season. Lucky girl!

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    1. I am a lucky girl, Kim, no doubt about it!! We adore the Sagamore, it's such a treat - you feel as if you are a million miles from home yet it's a simple 2 hour drive door to door - the perfect escape!

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  17. What a varied and informative post! I hardly know where to begin with my response. First of all, like you, I love my home, love having a wood-burning fireplace, and light a fire every morning when I get up. Sometimes I keep it going all day long, mostly it goes from morning until early afternoon. There’s nothing like having that 1st cup of coffee in front of a fire. Your soup and muffins look absolutely fantastic here, and I’m thinking that I need to put that on my agenda for tomorrow or the next day. I could really go for a bowl of soup and tasty muffin. I don’t really mind winter, but then we get very little snow here, it just gets really cold. But, I have to admit, that I am looking at seed catalogs and planning my mini container garden that’s going to go out on the deck.

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    1. This is your first year doing the container garden right, Pattie? I think I remember you saying that after your deck was re-done. Are you going to plant some veggies out there also? I used to do a lot of veggies in pots in previous homes - now most of the veggies are in the garden but I have berries in pots and herbs in giant planters on the deck. I love my herb gardens!!! They are right outside my kitchen door and I can pop out and snip fresh herbs when I'm cooking, I do miss that in winter! I admit I still snip the frozen herbs to throw into stock - they still give off great flavor even though they are dead/frozen!

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    2. No, I’ve been container gardening for years. Even when we lived on an acre of ground, and I had separate vegetable and herb gardens, I always had pots on the patio full of vegetables. I don’t have as much room where I am now, so I have to be a bit more choosy. It’s really hard to decide what I want to grow! I like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, herbs, jalapeños, tomatillos, but I can’t grow them all.

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  18. I remind myself about how much I bitch when we get a lot of rain and I have to cut the grass every few days :)

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    1. Which is worse, Deb - cutting grass or shoveling snow????????? Hmmmmm that's a tough one. At least with the grass it's warm outside...sometimes TOO warm!

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  19. Thank you so much Debbie and happy valentines back to you!its been a sad sad 14 days here and im trying to get back into "normal" whatever that is-- lol

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    1. Sometimes we have to live with a new normal...

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  20. Debbie, This is such a great post! We had a Jotul woodturner in our previous house. On a really cold night, two of our sons and dog would curl up in front of it to keep warm. It kept our entire first floor toasty. Your mountain seasons sounds just like it is where we live in Michigan. Most of the time we wait until Memorial Day before we start to plant flowers. I'm going to have to check out your special lotions because I'm drying up like an old prune!

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    1. I love my Jotul insert, it was a great investment, Carol!!

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