I slowed down a little over Christmas and New Year and savored the simple things that we tend to do around the farm during winter - lots of cooking and spending time with friends. Finding the holiday spirit isn't hard, especially when you get a dumping of snow when decorating the house. We were lucky to have a special day finding the perfect Christmas tree in the snow followed by an evening bringing out the ornaments and the lights. We've been pretty centered by the fireplaces since this ole stone house can feel pretty chilly, so having logs on hand is high on the list of simple essentials. To break up any cabin fever that can creep in, we’ve been enjoying walks with Nala and date nights at some cozy spots nearby. Here are a few highlights I thought I’d share with you all…
A lot of time here is spent prepping for the cold temperatures and snowy days – from fixing old weather stripping around the windows and replacing broken window panes to chopping and stacking wood for the fireplaces. We've also been clearing some overgrowth over our creek to help the rain and snow melt run through the creek bed rather than around it - part of a larger project to resume in the spring.
When it snows on the farm, it really snows! Like big fat snowflakes snow. With all the trees we have around the property, it feels like Narnia when they're flocked and it's the perfect backdrop for the Christmas season.
Christmas involves lots of cooking, a good amount of drinking and cozy nights by the fire watching movies on our laptop (we have yet to buy a TV). We also love entertaining and trying out new dishes, as well as some old favorites like sweet mince pies and rum truffles (see post here). One of our new adventures was poaching pears in Prosecco and serving them with homemade no churn cinnamon ice cream (recipe here). It was delicious!
Since I spend a good amount of my day indoors working, I like to get out and stretch my legs. The regular walk takes us down to the Hudson river. It seems like no two days are alike along the river... it always has a different hue and can be glassy flat, lapping waves or completely frozen over. You never know what you're going to get and that's part of the fun of the walk.
Jeffrey and I love good food, so discovering all the delicious eateries in the Hudson Valley and surrounding areas is a favorite pastime of ours. We recently stopped into Stissing House in Pine Plains. It was built in 1782 to serve as a watering hole for the town and originally had a tavern, beds for travelers and America’s first domed ballroom. It stands at the crossroads of two historic routes and what used to be the junction of several rail lines. When those rail lines were pulled out to make ammunition during the First World War, Stissing House fell into disrepair. In the nineties, the property was acquired and renovated, and in 1995 it opened as a French restaurant. It was recently reopened with much of the original charm intact and offers local farm-to-table fare.
We were drawn to this restaurant for its amazing food and huge cozy fireplace, and it did not disappoint. Downstairs is an intimate dining room and fireside lounge, while upstairs is the oldest Dutch colonial ballroom in America, which houses larger celebrations.
Although the winters here can be long, Jeffrey has a theory that spring and summer are sweeter when you've toughed it out for the months prior. When it feels like I can't take the 7 degree days and the layering up every morning, I remind myself of his musings. There are many simple pleasures to embrace every day that we're here, and when I'm not here, I wonder what the hue of the river might be, if the cardinals, bluejays and robins are jumping around from branch to branch, and if they're playing nice and taking turns to eat from the feeder. Or if the two deers that we often see in our field have been brave enough to visit our garden. And those snowdrops... ahh, yes... they will be showing their faces soon. How are you spending this winter season? Would to love to hear your favorite ways to pass the time.