Friday, January 30, 2015

Soup Friday: Spinach Soup

Since I first made this recipe in 2010, spinach soup has been a winter mainstay in my house.  It’s a Pioneer Woman recipe and you can find it here.

Spinach soup comes together easily and like so many recipes with just a few simple ingredients, the taste is amazing.  With just a touch of cayenne pepper, this soup is guaranteed to warm up your insides on a cold Winter day.  For my money, that’s a perfect remedy for the chill of the season.

Make some today.  You’ll be glad that you did!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Your Weekly Amaryllis: Week Four

 In the midst of this week’s snow and cold, the amaryllis is a lovely bright spot.

We had Monday off from school so teachers could finish grading midterm exams.   That day’s snow earned us another day off on Tuesday.  It was nice to be in the cozy warmth of home, cheering on the amaryllis.

Progress toward a bloom seems slow now, though the pace will pick up when the  stem shoots up.  A little bright cheer in the midst of this cold winter is most welcome.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Reflections on Motherhood

The backstory:
I’ve been thinking about motherhood of late.  What follows is the next a series of entries on that topic.  I caution that these opinions are mine alone and reflect my experience as a mother.  My goal isn’t to offend but is to share my point of view and lay down on (digital) paper some things about motherhood that I have come to believe.

Life for the Solitary Mama
At its heart, my reflections on the life of solitary moms are my recognition that being a parent on your own is a challenge of a whole different order, one only truly knowable to the mothers who experience it.  Even the most independently-minded woman will find that when she is a solitary mama, she needs help.  It may be something as simple as opening the door for her laden stroller.  But that’s really just a symbol of the difficulties a working solitary mom faces.  In every element of her world, a mom-on-her-own is aware of the many ways in which the day’s outcome falls solely and squarely on her shoulders.  

From morning until night, no part of  her day is immune from that underlying sense of responsibility for her child’s life.  It can be small matters of no serious consequence —— good golly, that is an inadequate breakfast I just fed my child.  It can be huge matters of great consequence —— how will I ensure that this child can read? can learn to love with abandon? can master long division? Here the list of anxieties is virtually endless and a mama on her own can be crushed under the burden of them.

Survival dictates that the solitary mom pack up her free-flowing anxieties for unboxing later.  Instead, each day she marches forward Getting Things Done.  Feed the child, feed the pets, get a shower, get to work, stock the fridge, make the supper, love and laugh with my child, find some joy to cling to, and then fall into bed for much-needed rest before it all starts again the next morning.  For the solitary mom, the demands of daily life can be a useful tonic, keeping the mind focused on the here and now.  

But even in the comfort of the here and now, the mama on her own realizes the huge ways that it all rests of her shoulders.  When you are the only parent present, the here and now is mighty demanding enough.  Uncertainty and the future are downright terrifying.  The common cold is unpleasant for all of us but for the solitary mom it’s a forced march.  There is no help on the horizon and she can’t falter.  A bigger health crisis could quite literally mean disaster.  So that fear must be shut away as much as possible.

Support from friends and family is the only way to make it through.  Even that support may be a double-edged sword, as it sometimes carries with it the reminder of what is absent in solitary mom’s world.   The only way forward is to share her joys with those who will listen and to hope others still  believe in the adage that it takes a village to raise a child.  Solitary mom knows she needs that village.  I wish that the village always understood the value solitary mom’s strength brings the community in return.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Snowy Day

Count me among those who woke up this morning mighty relieved to find that we weren’t buried under a mountain of snow.  As I lay in the quiet, I was immensely grateful to hear the quiet tick of my alarm clock, a sure sign that we still had electricity.  The pre-storm forecast and my experience with Hurricane Sandy had me prepared for the prospect of disaster.  And while so many others are mocking the National Weather Service and other forecasters who got this storm wrong, I’m just glad to be safe.  

It’s hard to tell because of the blowing and drifting, but it looks like we got just short of a foot of snow in my corner of New Jersey.  More snow is coming down as I write this post.  Later today, JT and I will go out and clear a path.  For now, we’re enjoying the blessings of a snow day morning.    The weather looks to be significantly colder in the week ahead, with lows in the single digits by the weekend, so this snow will stick around for a while.  

In the last few years, it’s been my experience that weather extremes are on the increase.  Those extremes are driven by global climate change.  Our 21st century sensibilities seem to have convinced us that we have can know everything.  Alas, we cannot, especially in a period where the earth is adjusting to some significant alternations in the global climate.  To snidely comment on the errors of weather forecasters while a significant portion of the nation cheerfully ignores the obvious signs of man-made climate change seems like a dangerous combination of ignorance and hubris.  How about we instead count our blessings, share gratitude that this snowstorm wasn’t as bad as it could have been, and contemplate how we can ease the burden of our human actions on the only planet we have? 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Winter Walk

I enjoyed the walks I took on the milder days during Winter Break and began the new year determined to make at least one weekly walk through town.   Even as the Polar Vortex blew in with much colder weather, I kept that promise.  Most of my walks have been in the cold of the early twilight when we get home from school and wrestling practice.  But even in the fading light, I enjoy a glimpse of my neighbor’s gardens.

We had overnight snow on Friday and after I cleaned up my sidewalk and driveway, I treated myself to a walk in the slushy snow.  There is something about familiar plants draped in a coat of white that is most lovely.

The town’s streets had been plowed and most of the sidewalks had been cleared.  We had about 5 inches of snow overnight and so there was plenty of beauty to be admired.  By the afternoon, temperatures were well-above freezing and plenty of melting was underway.  

I think the snow is so lovely because in the midst of Winter’s stark appearance the snow provides a contrast that is pretty to see.

We had more snow this morning and a huge blizzard of a storm is expected later this afternoon and into the overnight.  After the boy and I have attended to our snow removal duties, we’ll be planning a few more walks to admire Mother Nature’s work.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Midterm Exams

This past week, JT sat for his first set of high school midterm exams.  My school runs a special schedule for midterms and so he didn’t have regular classes and each day he instead reported to the Lower Gym, where an array of more than 300 desks were lined up for the test-takers.  

Last weekend, he pulled together a semester’s worth of notes and reviewed those ideas.  Midterms are worth 10% of a student’s final grade in the course and so they are important.  More important in my mind was allowing him to take command of the process and organize his preparation and studying.  Luckily, his work was broken up by wrestling practice and a rather important wrestling tournament.  These provided a much-needed break and a bit of release, both essential to staying on top of his schoolwork and managing his time.  He sought advice from me as he got prepared but mostly he studied on his own from study guides and flashcards that he and his friends made together.

In a way, with 10% of his grade on the line and in his first year of grades that “count” for eventual college applications, this was risky on my part.  But I am a parent who believes my job is raise a child who can be a happy, independent adult.  If he got to his exams and felt well-prepared, this past week will have served that purpose quite nicely.  If he didn’t feel prepared when it came time to figure math problems or write English essays, then he’ll also learn from that and come final exam season in June we’ll work out on a better plan.   Either way, I believe that this process will have given him important insight into himself.

In the meantime, he gets to this weekend with an empty homework agenda.  We have Monday off from school so that teachers can grade those exams and JT is excited about 3 days with nary a single obligation to schoolwork.   He’s a pile of Sports Illustrated magazines to read, two books at the ready, wrestling practice to attend and a well-earned sense of accomplishment.   That’s happy!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Soup Friday: Garlic Broth with Spinach and Tortellini

Garlic broth is a Moosewood Cookbook recipe that I have been making for years.  It’s easy to make and starts with vegetarian broth (homemade, boxed or in cubes….whatever I have on hand).  I bring 4 cups of that to a simmer and then add 6 cloves of minced garlic.  I let it simmer for 20 minutes and then use it as a foundation for whatever else I wish to make.  

The broth keeps in the fridge for several days .  When you are ready to eat it, warm it up and then get creative.  For mine, I added the hot broth to a bowl of fresh spinach leaves and cheese tortellini that I had cooked separately.   Warm, comforting, and delicious on a cold winter evening.

The broth is versatile and can be the foundation for other soups as well.  It can be mixed with a can of diced tomatoes, pasta, and cannellini beans.  I’ve made it with fresh spinach, tomatoes, and pasta.  I’ve also served it with carrots simmered in the broth with pasta and beans.  Basically, the broth is a base for many warm, winter soups.  Cook some up!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Your Weekly Amaryllis: Week Three

Week three of an amaryllis bulb is tricky, especially on a dark Winter morning.  Though a careful eye can see some progress, it’s rather minute in its effects and a bit of anxiety can set it.  Is there enough light in this window?  Is there enough warmth?  Have I watered the bulb enough?  Too much?

In that respect, week 3 of a flowering bulb is much like the approach to the mid-point of Winter.  I have to remind myself to stay the course for the promise of the blooms that lie ahead.  

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Reflections on Motherhood

The backstory:
I’ve been thinking about motherhood of late.  What follows is the second entry on that topic.  The first can be found here.  I caution that these opinions are mine alone and reflect my experience as a mother.  My goal isn’t to offend but is to share my point of view and lay down on (digital) paper some things about motherhood that I have come to believe.  

Public Motherhood 
In my world, a world primarily made up of privileged upper middle class families, there is no greater distinction in our families than the way that people treat single working mothers who are on their own, women I call solitary mothers.  In this landscape, mothers on their own became a kind of public property because of their relative rarity in the world of the upper middle class.  

Well-meaning people will comment on her status, whether kindly or not, in a way that suggests that mom-on-her-own is public property; that her life is fair game for the commentary of others.  The whereabouts of her former partner; her choice to be a one-parent household; her daily life as a mom-on-her-own; her dating status….all are subjects for discussion.  In my own life, I diffused these comments by being forthcoming.  That’s not a path every solitary mom can or wants to take.  Quite frankly, it’s not a choice she should have to make.  

Even the most innocuous or seemingly well-meaning aside can be uncomfortable when you feel the full responsibility for the young life in your care.  This is complicated when your status as mom-on-your own wasn’t the life plan you had in mind.  It’s not always easy to hold the pieces of your world together if your heart is hurting or you fear you’ve somehow let your beloved child down.  You are experiencing motherhood in a way that isn’t reflected in the rest of your world, from your own family experience to your friends and co-workers.  And now people, even well-meaning people, comment: Where is dad? Aren’t holidays on their own lonely?  Do you miss the help of someone else?

I have heard these comments and many more; solitary mamas reading here are nodding their heads because they have experienced the same.  When my middle schoolers are unkind to one another, I gently remind them that everyone has a hard journey and that we should hold our tongues unless our observations will help.   I wish I’d had the guts to repeat that to busy-bodies when someone else’s solitary mom status was the topic of unwanted discussion.  Women raising children on their own need our support and confidence, not our commentary.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Struggle in the Journey

I’ve been reading the works of Andrew Solomon lately and I followed up by listening to interviews with him on NPR as well as his TED talks.  I find his work thoughtful and his ideas are the sort that I keep coming back to because they are so useful in my work with children and their families.

I’ve a well-rehearsed talk that I have with a child most every week of the school year.  The talk can be neatly summarized: “Everyone has a hard journey.”  This is neither a mind-glowingly erudite command of human behavior nor something that no one else understands.  In fact, as soon as the idea comes up the children in my care nod knowingly because their life feels hard at times as well and to acknowledge the struggle is to at once make it easier to bear.  The trick of course, is to remind ourselves that everyone experiences struggle, even when we can’t see it.

The idea was driven home to me some years ago when B, a popular, athletic, good-looking student needed my help on an essay he intended to submit with a college application.  School was sometimes hard for B and while his outward appearance would suggest that he had not a care in the world, he was anxious and struggling.  In our discussion about his essay he blurted out, “This would be so much easier if I were like H.”

As it turned out, I was also in the business that year of helping H, whose life  contained its own struggles.  H was whip smart; school came easy to him and he knew it.  But his group of friends was smaller and he wasn’t athletic; he didn’t feel particularly good-looking.  In some of our far-ranging talks about life he had allowed that life would be better if he were just like B.

The fact that these two were actually struggling within sight of one another was, of course, lost to them.  Our world sometimes has that sort of tunnel vision.  I provided reassurance to both young men and without revealing their identity to one another assured them that we all struggle; that no one’s journey is as simple and easy as it might seem to an outside observer.

In my own life, I’ve come to believe that it’s the struggles that reveal who we are and what we can be.  I’m aware that some of us can’t overcome our struggles and that seems like the greatest of tragedies.  I believe that it is in the act of overcoming that we find the measure not just of who we are but also who we can be.  

Monday, January 19, 2015

In Continued Pursuit of the Dream

This past year has brought much-needed public attention to the ways in which our society remains enormously unequal.  It’s not as if this was my first realization of the ways in which our nation is stratified by race.  I grew up in California, raised by parents who were comfortable with diversity.  They were the kind of people who encouraged hard conversations about inequality.  I’ve long been aware of the privileges accorded to me because of my skin color.  One of the reasons I came to New Jersey thirteen years ago was so that JT would grow up in a world that was as diverse as my own childhood had been.   I wanted him to look around at the faces in his life that were slightly different from his own and know in his heart that we are all made of the same humanity.  

In that respect, JT’s world is a successful example of the ways in which diversity enriches our lives.  His educational environment ensures his confidence in the equality at the heart of our superficial differences.  To me, this is a reminder of the way in which history and time has its own way of re-shaping our nation’s perceptions.  It’s a rich irony in this world that a child named after a founding father has a default image of the president as Barack Obama.

I don’t wish to be overly-optimistic about our nation’s further ability to manage its racial divides, but my son and the children with whom I work every day ensure that Reverend King’s dream is as alive as ever.  This generation has a very different set of expectations.  The racism and ignorance of their elders is not just rejected; it isn’t tolerated.  That reality gives my dreams of the future a powerful sense of hope. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Soup Friday: Chicken Noodle Soup

 My in-house picky eater is not a huge fan of soup, which he has long-considered a food group that he doesn’t eat.  As in....some people do not enjoy tomatoes or onions, but JT does not eat soup.  In the past few years, he’s been more willing to experiment with food in general and soup has been on the table, as it were.  The soup that got him over the hurdle was pre-packaged noodle soup.  It wasn’t exactly gourmet, but it served its purpose.  Even better, he had a look at my homemade chicken noodle soup and allowed that he might enjoy a bowl of that.  It was a chicken soup miracle!

My recipe is simple but not written down.  That way, I can adjust amounts for the number of people who need to be fed.  Whenever possible, I boil the chicken in broth first and refrigerate it over night (I use boneless chicken breasts because I prefer white meat).  Cooking it a day in advance makes the chicken more tender and easier to shred.  The next day, I make a mirepoix of carrots, onions, celery, and garlic and sauté it in a bit of olive oil.  Then I add salt, pepper, and parsley (dried or fresh…..whatever I have on hand); the shredded chicken; and broth.  I bring it to a boil and let it simmer for 20-30 minutes.  Then I bring it to a second boil and add the noodles, cooking them in the soup broth according to the package directions.

Leftovers can be stored in the fridge; the noodles will absorb the broth.  When we want to eat the leftovers, I add a cup or two of fresh broth and serve it up.  Easy and delicious!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Your Weekly Amaryllis: Week Two

No sooner had I rambled on about the mildness of our current Winter than the Polar Vortex blew in and froze us all into chunks of ice wondering around buried under coats, hats, scarves, and mittens.  Last week, temps were below freezing all day and some nights were in the low single digits.  Things are warmer this week, though still hovering just below freezing.  I don’t suppose that this was actually due to me and my big mouth, but it clearly didn’t help.  Steadfast as ever, the amaryllis sat in its sunny window and ignored the cold.  It’s at work to bloom and provide cheer for our Winter days.

That’s happy! 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Reflections on Motherhood

The backstory:
I’ve been thinking about motherhood of late.  What follows is the first of a few entries on that topic.  I caution that these opinions are mine alone and reflect my experience as a mother.  My goal isn’t to offend but is to share my point of view and lay down on (digital) paper some things about motherhood that I have come to believe.  

Solitary Motherhood
In my life and work, I know a number of what society calls single moms, women who are unmarried and raising children.  They aren’t all single, per se, so that designation feels inexact to me.  The phrase single mother isn’t really the whole of what I mean, because motherhood of this variety isn’t just about not being  partnered with the the father (or other parent) of your child.  The women I am talking about are involved in raising a child (or children) primarily on their own while also working outside the home.  To me they are therefore a category on their own.  I call them solitary moms.  

I’m not a father, so I don’t know for a fact that what I’m about to write about solitary motherhood isn’t true for solitary fatherhood, but all that I know about our social and cultural world tells me that there is a huge difference in how society treats mothers and fathers, especially those who are on their own.  Over the years, these distinctions have frustrated me because I think that society often makes life for solitary moms more difficult than it needs to be.  More on that in my next post on motherhood.

Monday, January 12, 2015


This may surprise many of you because I am rather the talkative sort in person, but I enjoy quiet.  As I grow older, I realize more and more how much I need quiet time to renew myself.  

The flurry of postings early this month are a result of the time I had to re-charge over the holidays, a welcome period of quiet in my busy life.  The time found me thinking of the ways I need to incorporate mindful quiet into my regular life, a challenge even more acute since I took up a job with a 12-month schedule and no longer have the summers off.   Last summer, I found some of the quiet I need by sitting on the porch with my coffee and a book before I went to work each day.  It’s a little cold for that plan to work now so I’m thinking of ways to find the same peaceful sense during the school year.  The stillness of the morning, a quiet walk in the chilly twilight, and regular workouts help to make this happen.  I am pledged to find more time for quiet in my daily life.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Saturday Night in Grown Up Land

The Saturday before we returned to classes, I made myself an adult beverage and set down to work on creating lessons for the 7th grade.  Moving to the Middle School meant teaching History to much younger students and both last year and this year it’s also entailed the creation of new lessons.  This year, in my second year in the Middle School, is easier in the sense that I know where the kids are developmentally and intellectually (the students are the same group I taught last year).  In addition, 7th grade History at our school is the first half of American history, something I know like the back of my hand.  This year it’s been much easier for me to take the topics and develop creative lessons for my classes.

Even so, for the second year in a row I’m in the business of developing all new lessons.  I like to be prepared in advance but sometimes advance is just a few weeks.  The unit for the next six weeks features the Constitution and a detour into Civics, two topics that are mighty familiar to me.  I want the students to fall in love with these ideas just as I did when I was their age and so I am working carefully to make that happen.

Which explains a Saturday night spent in the creation of lessons.  It doesn't explain why I find it so pleasing to prepare class on a Saturday night.  I guess I am a grown up.

Friday, January 09, 2015

Soup Friday: Cream of Carrot Soup

The recipe for this soup is from my friend M, a terrific cook.  When I asked for it she shrugged and said that it changes every time.  I hassled her anyway and got the recipe:

- 1 bag of carrots, peeled (I think she means a 1 lb bag.....that's what I use)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 ribs chopped celery
- 1 potato, peeled and chopped
- 4 cups veggie broth

- olive oil
- salt
- pepper
- nutmeg
- ½ cup half & half

Boil the carrots, onion, and celery in chicken or veg. broth. Add squash or a large potato or sweet potato. Peel carrots before cooking them so they are not bitter.  Add a bit of salt, pepper, nutmeg and, a tablespoon of olive oil  Once everything is cooked (very mushy) you have to liquify it in the blender until it becomes puree.  Keep adding broth to make sure that it is not too solid. Once you put it back in the pan you will need to add half of cup of light cream or half and half. 

I love the way that this the recipe comes together easily and keeps well in the fridge, making it perfect to make on a weekend and have on hand for a quick re-heated week night supper.  It's tasty well beyond the simplicity of it's ingredients.  I served it with homemade garlic-cheddar biscuits.  

That’s delicious!

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Your Weekly Amaryllis: Week One

Last year’s amaryllis was such an enjoyable part of my winter that this year T got me another for Christmas.  I planted it on New Year’s Day and set it in a sunny spot with the poinsettia and ivy plant nearby to provide encouragement.

Each Thursday, I’ll post a new picture of the amaryllis.  By the time it blooms in February, the sunset will be after 5 pm and twilight will last until nearly 6 pm.  The temperatures will likely be warmer, a cheering thought this morning as I woke up to a windy 7 degree morning.  This week, the bulb is still a work in progress.

In the meantime, winter will be made brighter by the promise of a flower in the light of the window and a bloom will soon appear.  That’s a happy thought to contemplate.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015


I was back at work Monday for meetings and the like.  Yesterday the students returned.  We all needed the break and the two weeks away found me refreshed and ready for the challenges that lie ahead.  I know that things will shortly grow hectic again and when that happens I’m determined to pause for renewal. I’ve placed a picture on the desktop of my computer to help remind me to take a deep breath.

This is my backyard and the birdhouse that T helped me hang last year.  It’s restful and hopeful to me, two things that always make life brighter.

Here we go 2015! 

Monday, January 05, 2015

On Light

 As I grow older (and the grey hairs on my head and lines around my smile certainly confirm that fact), I’ve become more aware of how the natural world affects my mood and disposition.  I’ve come to realize that time outside, especially time spent in the sunlight, always makes even the bleakest of my days better.  I’ve learned to pay attention to the ways in which natural light and darkness set the tone for the light and dark of my emotions and the state of my mental landscape.

This realization brought me a greater awareness of the ways I should manage the winter season.  As I realized the importance of sunlight in my life, I looked up the sunrise and sunset times in my corner of New Jersey.  I used this website to get the information.  Sometimes I’d print the calendar of the month’s sunrise and sunset; other times I’d simply record them on my daily calendar.  Then I could check in and receive reassurance that the days were getting longer and that difficult as things sometimes were, there was sunlight in my future. 

It was both a metaphorical and a real reassurance.  These days, knowing the timing of sunrise, sunset, and the moon calendar is a vital part of how I see my world.  Sometimes I even plan my day in order to step outside to see the sunrise or sunset or take advantage of a clear evening to admire the moon.  Each week in January we add just a bit more light to our days.  By the end of the month, the sun will set after 5 pm and twilight will extend after that.  I will welcome the light when it arrives.  Until then, I can look at my sunrise and sunset chart for the reassurance that there is a sure promise of light.

Sunday, January 04, 2015


My parents were here for the holidays and in contrast to last year’s post-Christmas cold snap, the weather was pleasantly mild.  We even enjoyed a few of the clear, sunny days that make winter lovely.  Though I had hoped to deliver a big snowstorm for my mom,  she got just one day with very light snowflakes.

As I straightened up the house after their visit, I realized that I’m rather crossing my fingers for more of this mild weather.  Once Christmas has passed, my interest in snow seems to wane.  I thumb through my garden catalogs and start daydreaming of warmer days.  Usually these garden fantasies hold off until late-January but the garden daydream season seems to have arrived sooner than usual for me this winter.  I find myself ready to make plans for planting.  Since it is barely January, this is a wholly unreasonable position to take.  

I remind myself that last year at this time, we were awash in snow and frigidly cold temperatures.  

That scene is a marked contrast with the current weather, which has sometimes been seasonably cold but hasn’t yet been frigid.  Today’s forecast even calls for temps in the low 60s.

This year, on the relatively warm Monday afternoon after Christmas I took down the outdoor holiday lights and replaced them with the string of clear lights that I’m using to light the porch in the early evenings.  I stored away some of my Christmas decorations, set out some pinecones and greenery for January's porch cheer, and let my mind wander over to the months when I can have plants outdoors again.

I’ve some fear that in the months ahead winter will exact a cold revenge for my premature thoughts of warmth and spring.  But I’ll have a cozy blanket and a pile of garden catalogs to keep me toasty when that happens so I plan to take the risk.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Good Luck

My years in the South taught me that eating black-eyed peas on the first day of the year brings good luck.  Even though I now make my home in Yankee territory, it’s a custom I still I embrace.  I love me a black-eyed pea in all forms but lately my favorite form is a recipe I’ve had since my days as a Tennessean: Texas Caviar.  It’s a colorful collection of peas, corn, tomatoes, jalapeño, lime juice, ortega peppers, red onion, green pepper, cilantro and spices.  In the bowl before it’s all mixed together, it already looks pretty tasty.

Mixed together it’s even better and a delicious way to start 2015.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Soup Friday: Baked Potato Soup

One of Winter’s virtues is the fact that there are so many good recipes for soup, the perfect anecdote to chilly days and nights.  As we settle into the cold, I will be making plenty of soup for our Winter suppers.  Every Friday this month I plan to post a picture of the week’s soup and, when available, the recipe (or a link to it).  

Over Winter Break, I made the only recipe I keep secret: baked potato soup.  I make this soup a few times each Winter and it’s always delicious.  Recipe details will not be posted here but y’all are welcome to come on over and I’ll serve you up a bowl.  It’s worth the trip.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

January 1: Peach Tree

It’s become my custom to select a part of my garden and feature it at the start of each month.  It’s a way to mark the seasons but it’s also more than that.  Changes that seem small each month add up to something greater when the year is complete and stopping to mark that passage of time makes me more aware of the subtleties in the world around me.  We’ve been in the front yard for the last few years but in 2015 we’re headed to the backyard again.

In 2013, I planted a dwarf redhead peach tree here at the intersection of the row of hostas, my clematis vine, and the red bird house at the corner of the garage.  Underneath, there is grass.  Spring will bring tulips and daffodils.  

The peach tree is coming along nicely; there may even be some fruit set on it this summer.  As the seasons of 2015 unfold, we’ll watch the peach tree’s monthly progress on the first of each month.

In January, the tree’s slim green leaves are long-gone and the branches look stark in the cold.  But if you look up close in the morning sunlight, there is evidence that the tree is already at work for the growing season that lies ahead.  

The tree has all the makings of a productive 2015.  That’s happy!