pinch me

I’ve walked down to the mailbox twice now. Why not? It is just so darn gorgeous here, and taking the walk down to the end of the road where the row of mailboxes are perched on the bank of a roaring brook, passing beautiful historic structures that are my new neighbors shining in the late afternoon light, feeling the rightness of it all, continues to take my breath away.  Not to mention the sound and smell and sight of moving water everywhere that feels so sacred…

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My new favorite thing to say is that I have to pinch myself all day long to be reminded I am really here. Every view out a window settles in my heart. Sitting in my small home office I command an almost 180 degree view out the two windows.  Home doesn’t adequately describe what this feels like. It is so much more than a knowing that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, it is a peace and contentment I’ve only dreamed about until now.

The past few weeks of emptying boxes and settling has been fun. With a well-timed respite in my work life at this time, it has been leisurely days to enjoy the process. I’ve had dear friends and family here already for help and nourishment and company.

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I’ve already been able to leave Nora for hours on her own in the house, balanced by hours of her free roaming and dashing in the wide meadow out back.

I am even already set up and working on a new quilt…

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And oh, the woods continue to beckon! Yesterday it was a slow meander down to the waters edge, sitting to take in what is there, watching Nora daringly flirt with the rushing water from tops of large stones, noticing the last of the golden leaves that appear as wings of giant birds throughout the landscape.

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Walking the now familiar path I see something different today. A large rock similar in size to the other moss covered pieces in its presence, but this one is light and bald. Walking up close I see it is a huge piece of quartz, mostly rose, with cream and gold. Holding court in the heart of this magical place…

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And there it is again, the feeling of ‘pinch me’, is this for real?, as I think of the sizable piece of rose quartz that graces the threshold to the house…

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The presence of this quartz in the woods signals the truth of home everywhere I am in this place.

On a more practical note, the new beautiful gas range was installed just in time for visits last week, enabling me to make pots of soup and yummy baked things. After discovering that I’d forgotten all my cookie sheets and racks at the old house (!!) I decided to make some shortbread in a pan using the gorgeous dried cranberries I just bought. Adapting a recipe, it went something like this: preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9″ x 9″ baking pan with parchment paper, cutting the corners to overlap and fit paper cleanly in the corners of the pan, edges of paper overhanging edges of pan. Cream two sticks unsalted butter with one teaspoon pure vanilla extracts and a dash of salt until fluffy. Add 3/4 cup confectioners sugar and beat until just incorporated. Add two cups flour (I used my cashew/whole wheat pastry flour mix) in two batches, beating each one until incorporated, adding just enough so that the dough is not sticky, but also not stiff. Mix in 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 1/2 cup dried cranberries. Dust hands with flour and press dough evenly into pan. Score top for desired size and shape of pieces (I scored seven rows, each divided by three). Bake about 40 minutes until top is dry. Let set a minute or two then cut through the score lines. Cool in pan for a few more minutes to set, then lift shortbread out of pan and finish cooling (on the paper) on a rack.

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These were such a hit I had to make them twice in two days. A perfectly simple recipe to honor my new simple life. Ben insisted on being in the kitchen to make the second batch with me, smile. The few that are left are in the freezer now, but honestly, they taste just as good frozen.

A new pot of soup is sitting warm on the stove now in anticipation of company for lunch. We’ll eat, and then go take a walk in the woods.  I could get used to this. Pinch me…!

8 thoughts on “pinch me

  1. OMG that quartz! The close-up looks like inspiration for quilt. Your happiness is contagious Kathy; I’m so happy with you! Once again, our blogs have a snippet that overlaps but I’m saving mine for Halloween (still tinkering). XOXO

  2. Fantastic setting Kathy, everything about your new home and surroundings are just so beautiful. So New England also, love it. That roaring brook is wonderful, so is the view behind your house the surrounding foothills, the old church, the woods, boy it just takes my breath away. Really happy for you and Ben. Enjoy.

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