Delightfully Ordinary

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I had a delightfully ordinary day today.  I won’t bore you with all the details, but my day went something like this…

wake up in my own bed

take the dogs for a stroll around the pond

make coffee

work in the shop till early afternoon

make pizza dough

take the dogs for a long run up one of the local mountains

stop by the store

work ’til early evening

make pizza

enjoy pizza

stop feeling sorry for myself.

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i know, sorry…maybe that was too many details.  but, the point here is my day was nothing but ordinary, and it was truly delightful.  i am also trying to make a point of preparing myself meals while being home…and being without PB.  cooking just does not have nearly the same excitement eating alone as when you are sharing it with others. one of the things i am missing the most about not being in the methow valley this summer is being unable to cook for my favorite firefighters and friends.  i don’t mean to brag, but we can throw a pretty mean dinner party; and purely because i glean an incredible amount of satisfaction from feeding and sharing delicious food with the people i love.  well, my theory of wether or not i would be just as satisfied eating a good meal by myself proved to be true.  enjoy the following food journey.  i hope it makes you smile, because I sure enjoyed it!

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This is Summer

 Happy summer solstice, sweet butterflies! Summer always seems like this moment of long-awaited angst and excitement. Feelings exaggerated by a long cold winter, lack of sunshine, a wish to be surrounded by green and color, and just an overwhelming desire to fully embrace all the glories of this wildly beautiful earth of ours. I love summer, but if I’m to be quite honest, it’s not my favorite season…but it does house many of my favorite activities.

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 I had a long day playing catch-up in the “office” yesterday, (I always use the word ‘office’ and  ‘work’ loosely as I still can’t believe I’m making a living doing what I love, as I assure you it does not feel like work!) and was absolutely ready to get outside when the 5 o’clock bell chimed louder than even the melodically shrill call of the red tail hawk.  I’ve never packed so fast…post office packages, mail, backpack, water bottle and zip…out the door…crum, forgot my shoes and keys, back in, OK now I’m ready.  We head east after dropping letters and packages at the post office, with no real plan other than just to be outdoors smelling and experiencing the myriad of life the sweet days of summer shares with slaves to the hills, such as I.  Everybody that encounters myself and my two crazy dogs on the trail always remarks on Ryley and Waylon’s exuberant disposition and insane zest for life.  These two LOVE to be outside.  They are lovers.  They love…love!  They are acclimated to the cooler mountain climate so after a climb to the summit, they were ready to hit the creek for a pretty serious romp.  We all stayed and splashed around for a good long while.  We met quite a few other dogs, Max was my favorite though….a Labrador and Great Dane mix.  I remarked at his size and commanding stature, as both my dogs, while very strong, are on the smaller end of size for their breeds.  Dogs bring so much joy to my life.  Do they also bring joy to yours?

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After we were all thoroughly cooled off and delightfully refreshed by the fresh mountain creek water we made the drive back west and decided to spend the rest of the evening working in the garden.  This to me is the truest joy of summertime.  Gardening is the culmination of everything wonderful and delightful: sunlight, long and warm days, cool and crisp evenings, afternoon rain showers and the harvest to bring everyone all together.  There is nothing better than getting your hands dirty and sharing your labors with those you love.

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Happy sweet days of summer.

xx, Hannah












Two Women, Three Dogs, the Mountains and a Whole Lot of Flannel!

I just returned from a little mountain frolic with a girlfriend, her dog and my two dogs.  We had such a beautiful time together.  We hiked, ate delicious meals, fished, took photos, read, relaxed and really just enjoyed being with one another in the company of the mountains.  As I looked back through the photos from our trip, I couldn’t help but laugh at the outstanding presence of flannel.  Turns out our common interests of trees, mountains, nature, animals and food…also extends to our love for flannel!

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IMG_8649 IMG_8611 IMG_8621 IMG_8654Needless to say it was an AMAZING trip, and I just feel so full of life after I return from the mountains.  I have one more big backpacking trip planned, and hopefully I can squeeze one or two extra small ones in.  I hope you all are getting out and are able to enjoy the woodland beauty of this gorgeous earth of ours.

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Misty Mountain Top

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My sea of trees has a misty mountain top.

A layer of cloaked sky over glaciated rock.

The owl hoo’s and the warbler’s melodic calls no longer audible beneath the roil of open sky.

Rain for days.

Grey and heavy with unknown, as far as the eye can see.

Saturation drowning cotyledon green.

A respite from weather calls aloud, but a longing rainy-day soul wins.

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When my mountain top is misty, I find a quietness to my days.  A hot cup of thermos’ed coffee on my forested slopes reminds me why I live this wild little life of mine.  A simplicity to the days and an ease to life.

The black bean soup slowly cooks in the crock-pot, while my hands find themselves busy, in my little garage shop.

Finding a hum to my drum,

and creating magic from motion.

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I come from water.

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These misty mountain days allow me to reconnect with slowness.

Motion with tranquility.

Movement with grace.

Sound with song.

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While my sun-fueled self longs for the time of the solstice, my tendency towards solitude rejoices in these misty mountain days.

Rain brings growth,

coolness calms the fire,

an elevation of saturation,

brings ethereal notions to the forefront.

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My misty mountain top is a sanctuary of self.  A temple of the trees and truly heaven on earth.  A presence in time and space allows the soul to begin anew.  As I sit in the presence of this majesty of nature, I know that time will reward trust in the good.  Just as I came from water, so does this.

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An Evening in the Garden

This evening was spent in the garden.

Picking pie cherries

Thinning the veined beets

Cropping the spicy arugula

Weeding the feathered carrots

Pinching off the tomato suckers

Trimming the rainbow chard

Cutting some super-kale

Trellising the baby peas

Encouraging the not-so-giant beans

Hoping for the not-so-hot peppers

Cheering on the daddy-long-leg zucchini’s

Picking a few pungent herbs,

And finally settling into hours of dusky twilight.

As I write this, I am sipping my gin and tonic (with freshly squeezed lime & a muddle of  freshly cut mint and basil, naturally), sitting by the fire on my patio amongst my sea of trees, in my little mountain meadow and just taking it all in.  I have already met four birds whom I do not know, making quick jots of color and size, for identification later.

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I cannot get enough of here.

I have not been here enough lately.

Not in a bad way, just in a slightly fuller schedule than I would prefer to have, way…

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I have truly been experiencing summer this year, and it has felt very sweet.  I awoke early this morning, made my cup of coffee, cut my honeydew melon, buttered my homemade toast, slathered the butter with my homemade nectarine jam, sat down on the computer, answered a few emails, poured a huge glass of water, tossed in a few chia seeds, squeezed a lime in (ran out of lemon :)), added a few freshly picked herbs, laced my running sneakers, and finally scooted out the door.  I dashed around town, running the few errands I had to, and then set the truck in the direction of the mountains.

I often run with music, but today I left the iPod and ear-buds in the truck.  I unloaded the wolf pack from the bed of the truck, and the three of us let our feet carry us into the hills.  Within the first few gallops I was already beckoned to stop, to admire and examine a peculiar bone that appeared to have been sawed off.  It looked to be the part of the femur, right below the hip socket, and just above the long cylindrical shaft.  It seemed to me, an odd place to saw a bone off, as usually you just separate the pelvis from the body, and then break the joints free, by cutting away the tendons that attach the muscles to bone….so I wondered to myself, just what was this particular hunter was thinking?

The pups and I decided to do a long loop this morning, as we were feeling spry and ready to circumnavigate the mountain.  I am unsure of our exact mileage and I am ignorant of the amount of time taken, but I can tell you it felt so good to simply put one foot in front of the other, simply letting the sounds of the forest carry me onward and upward.

I love to run.  I love the freedom and the energy of this simply beautiful human-powered activity.  I love that I can stop at beckons whim to grace the forest lupine with my fingertips.  I love that I can meander into the lone and wild fern patch to visit the even loner and ever astonishing beautiful forest tiger lily.  I love the rhythm of steps and the melody of stride.  I love that my own strength is carrying me up and around this mountain.  I love to run.

I experience an extraordinary release of creativity when I run.  I often wonder if I should run with my sketch book or a tape recorder to capture these surges of thought.  Ideas, visions and thoughts flush forwards and outwards just as wheat is threshed from its’ chaff.

Most of my visions of creativity come from form, shape, sound, scent and sight of this little forest world.  It is just the animals and I on this trail.  No distractions.  No to-do list.  No cell phones.  No internet connection.  It is a primal connection of self to land.  An awareness of unions and a connection to being.

On today’s run we saw a mama coyote with pup, a bull moose, two doe’s and sign of black bear.  We heard the owl call and found two flight feathers.  We saw the vultures and crows circling a kill and decided to stay away from the bones, this time.

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Today, I was entranced by sound.

I was overwhelmed by scent.

I could not help but touch living and deceased, alike.

I was overwhelmed by the beauty of bark and needle.

I lived for the quench only a mountain stream could provide.

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A day in the shop, after a morning like this, is always momentous.  I cannot wait to share with you what today’s forest happenings have brought forth.

Be well, sweet wild things!

XX

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