it’s december and i’m happy to be back home in the woods. we spent two enjoyable, whirlwind weeks in michigan eating lots of food, visiting family, and attending sporting events and i didn’t grab my big camera even once. not once! but now we are home. this is our first december in the cabin. in fact, it’s my first december that i will spend in my own home. in the past i’ve either been living with my parents or traveling home to their house for a good chunk of holiday time. this year our cabin is only a short drive away from my family, so we will be staying here for the most part. darin and i are planning on getting a mini-tree and i’ve already got plans to christmas-ify the cabin in other ways. i gathered berries and greenery on a walk this morning and even figured out how to finagle extension cords so we could have electric candles in our two front windows.
i’m looking forward to seeing winter arrive here. we are still waiting for a real snow accumulation, but the ponds are going through their annual freeze-up. i walked a different path this morning and tried to photograph the woods in a little bit of a new way. i’m still enamored with all the hemlocks. and chickadees and woodpeckers were out and about. i love winter!
in other news, i finally opened my own Etsy shop! Check it out: Hemlock Adventures Shop! I’d still like to add more sizes of photos and make edits in a few places, but otherwise it’s good to go! I’m not sure how much I will sell in the long run, but I’m glad a friend of mine talked me into going for it. Right now there’s mostly seasonal winter shots. :)
a good friend of mine came to visit last week and when we weren’t huddled inside the cabin crafting and knitting next to the woodstove, we were out hiking (or stuffing our faces with grilled cheeses). rain wasn’t in the forecast, but when we left for our afternoon hike we noticed big, dark, clouds looming in the distance. before long rain sputtered down at us and quickly turned to sleet, then snow! we were somewhat protected in the shade of a forested trail and as we looked out into a wetland clearing we could see the snow squall coming down in full force. it seemed that as soon as the snow stopped it started again further along the trail and with every step we took we saw the flakes waiver between icy and fluffy. the sun came through for us after all, though, and we finished our hike with the magical glow of the setting sun in the forest.
winter is surely on it’s way now. as i sit here and type our high temp for the day is only 32. i’ve started an afternoon cup of tea routine and have kindling to collect before the sun sets in a couple hours. the long underwear is on! when will we have our first good snow fall?
* a couple of the photos in this post show a stand of trees marked with blue paint. they are red pines infected with red pine scale in Bear Brook State Park. click the link to learn more. they will be gone after this winter! i feel sad to see so many trees go in a familiar place, but it’s also exciting to see the landscape change right before your eyes. forestry in action!
it’s mornings like these that make me feel so incredibly grateful to live where i live. to be able to peel myself out of bed in the morning for sunrise and simply walk a short distance from my front door to see these sights. these photos were taken last week before we set the clocks back. you’d think it would be easier to go for a sunrise walk at 7am instead of 6am, but oh, how hard it is to bundle up and go outside when it’s in the 20s. it was so worth it, though. i walked faster than usual down to the pond and was amazed to see the sun beaming through the trees and lighting up patches of mist. i was completely focused on the magic of the morning mist and wished i had gotten up a little earlier before the sun even rose. i continued on my usual trail and hunted down more fog on our other pond while the sun was working to quickly burn it off. the greatest surprise, however, was when i reached the boardwalk i always visit. it was a winter wonderland of frost! everything sparkled and shone in the light. i couldn’t believe it. i wish i had a video camera to really document how the frost twinkled like it was alive in every moment. we’ve now been having regular frost and freezing nights (with the exception of an usually warm Nov. 1st!). i don’t know if i’ll get to see another frost as gorgeous as this one, though. we’ll see.
my current reading wish list (aka i need to finish the books i’ve already started so i can get to these!): the signature of all things – elizabeth gilbert; cooked – michael pollan; a dance with dragons – george r.r. martin (the paperback FINALLY came out!); changes in the land – william cronon (i’ve had a copy of this for a while and it’s just sitting on my shelf).
a little over a week ago i went with a friend on a quick trip to the cape. she had to make the trip for work and invited me along. we drove further out than we needed so that we could stay closer to the national seashore on the outer cape. the sun was close to setting by the time we arrived, so we sped out to one of the beaches on the eastern side overlooking the bay. there i saw what i *think* was my first east coast ocean sunset. i don’t even know if i’ve watched a pacific ocean sunset the many times i’ve been out there. it was incredibly beautiful to see, and the high winds made the choppy water so interesting to photograph. it was freezing, though! the next morning we took advantage of the still late sunrise time (7:11am?!) and drove to the national seashore side to see the sun rise over the same (kinda) ocean. i know sunsets and sunrises are a little cliche for photographs these days, but i had a lot of fun capturing the waves and the golden light. i also kept thinking about how different the beach was from when i was in maine earlier in the week. white sand and dunes as far as the eye could see!
welcome to the cabin! i was thinking that since we got a new (used) wood stove last weekend and did a bit of rearranging in the cabin, i’d share some snapshots of what this little living space is like. this old jotul is smaller and about a million times more beautiful and functional than our old wood stove. the difference is like night and day. at the same time, we might not be staying in this cabin for too much longer, although we haven’t made a decision yet. if we don’t stay, i want to remember this cabin at it’s best, and that even includes it’s imperfections. it all mixes together to become home. it’s taken a while, and me and this cabin have had our ups and downs. huge spiders, stick bugs in my face, mice escapades, a moldy summer, dark days, smokey fires, flickering lights, snowmobiles right outside… but it’s also kept us warm in the winter, held up under blizzards and wind storms, supplied us tons of closet space and an attic, charged our phones, welcomed quiet sleepy nights, provided a nest for pheobe’s at our front door, and brings in close the sights and sounds and smells of the woods. i may not have room for all the furniture and precious kitchen supplies that live in my parents’ basement or the pictures and homey items i’d like to hang on the walls or set on the bookshelves worth of books i still have stored somewhere else, BUT i’ve been forced to live more simply. yeah, often i’ve resisted it and i’ve complained and i’ve been sad about it, but it’s time that i start embracing the simplicity, right? right.