Journal Entry: Spring Cleaning in January

Sun setting behind Mt. Anthony around 4:15 this afternoon, with the fresh parsley in the mudroom watching wistfully

My internal hard drive feels full—not in the “I know everything now” sense. What I mean is, there’s lots of junk on it. Lots of annoying clutter slowing it down, taking up too much space. It needs defragmenting. Or maybe reformatting. I need some intellectual spring cleaning.

I’ve also been thinking about the other kind of spring cleaning, now that the Chef has defrocked the Christmas tree and removed it from the house. He actually accomplished this plus a whole lot more one day last week when I was at work and he was stuck at home because of weather. (Sometimes we have nothing here in our valley, but the Chef has to navigate his way over a biggish mountain to get to the bakery, and when the roads are bad it’s simply not worth risking life and limb to bake sugary treats.)

Anyway, that afternoon I came home to a missing Christmas tree (a good thing), scores of ornaments delicately and lovingly piled into a chair (because he knows this control freak wants to pack them away just so), a house vacuumed to a fare-thee-well, and fresh, aromatic cornbread just out of the oven. Wow: is this what it was like to be a husband in the 1950s? I believe I could get used to a stay-at-home chef.

Spring cleaning thoughts in January may seem silly, but believe me, when you live way up north in the frozen tundra, where it’s dark by 5 pm, and sunshine is fleeting in winter anyway, you need something to sustain you until the first tender green shoots poke up through the soil. I’ve been counting the extra moments of daylight now that the solstice has come and gone: this hemisphere is tilting back towards the sun again, at last.

When it is clear out as it has been for the last couple of days, you can count on observable lengthening. I know, gentle reader, because I have been watching the clock and keeping up with the added moments. One day last week it was dark by 5:05 pm. Now it’s light enough to take Scout-the-Goldapeake Retriever outside without a flashlight at 5:15. You take what you can get. And this means that soon, even if my workday goes a tad long, there will still be enough light to take Scoutie for a run after work, if there’s not too much ice and snow.

I went to yoga this morning for the first time in a while, and it kicked my butt, as I knew it would. When I came home I decided to take a deep dive into a couple of projects that refuse to do themselves. That took most of the day. And I decided to make soup, because it’s been in the single digits here, and we’re only in January. We’ve flown under the radar for heavy snow thus far, but the weather gods suggest it’s coming next weekend. I leave you with images of the afternoon, and hope you are warm, wherever you are.

Fresh berries make me think of spring; eating them is a new winter habit

And they give me a perfect excuse to use this berry bowl my sister gave me

Fresh, aromatic ginger is a thing of beauty on a painfully cold Brrrrmont winter day

Readied for the pot

I decided to use these beans my sister gave us for Christmas in the soup; if you have not tried Rancho Gordo beans,  drop what you are doing and go get some

Making soup requires eating chocolate—it is my weakness, but if J.K. Rowling says it’s okay….

Scoutie smells chicken


2 thoughts on “Journal Entry: Spring Cleaning in January

  1. Oh Deb, how I miss you, Scout, and your beautiful way with words! I read every post you publish and it makes me think about all of our conversations about language and syntax (and everything else!) in that airplane hangar in Bennington at 802. I hope you’re well and please tell the other folks there that I say hi.

    • Wow, Katelyn: thanks! Scout is now Vocal Dog at 8Oh2 and feels compelled to alert us to all noises. He has important work to do, protecting us from water delivery guys and reminding people to stop the chit-chat get back to work, stat—it’s actually pretty comical. Hope you’re doing well, and I will say hey to everybody!~Deb

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