Sunday, January 26, 2020

Which Side of Winter Are You On?

If there ever was a season that was disliked, no doubt it would be the season of Winter.  And for good reason... Winter often arrives early, stays late, and while here, creates so much extra work for those of us who live in the north.  Winter driving is mentally exhausting, stressful, with constant challenges. Shoveling snow off porches, roofs, walkways and cars... remembering to start the car to warm-up before you leave... white-knuckle driving in white-out, icy or slushy conditions... yes the difficulties of Winter are many, but for all its negatives, there is a beautiful positive side to Winter, and I'd like to focus on the positive side of Winter with you today :)

Mister Simba just may agree with most of you about the Winter season.
His expression shares perfectly his disdain with Winter! He likes to perch on top of cars where he is high and dry... lol! 

Winter days... sometimes the only sunshine you see is in the sunrise or sunset hours.
It is worth walking early... or late to see the views!

An unfortunate duty of winter is all the shoveling that has to be done... of roofs, porches, and cars. 

Wintertime allows soups to take center stage.
I made this Chicken Tortilla Soup after a morning spent shoveling snow.
It was soo delicious!  

With a sprinkle of Cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream... you couldn't ask for a more delicious treat! 

Some have asked me for the recipe, and I'd love to share it with you.  It comes together so quickly, in about 30 minutes.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
4 chicken breasts
6 cups chicken broth
1 Tbsp Fajita seasoning
1/2 cup Velveeta, cubed
1 can black beans (rinsed)
1 can white beans (rinsed)
1 can Ranch style beans
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 can corn
1 8­oz jar salsa
1 Tbsp. taco seasoning
Tortilla chips, sour cream & Cheddar Cheese to taste

Place chicken breasts in a large pot, season with Fajita seasoning, and cover with broth. Cook for 15 minutes or until chicken breasts are tender. Remove chicken and shred meat. Return meat back to broth in pot. Add beans, tomatoes, corn and salsa. Stir well. Mix in Velveeta cheese and simmer over medium­low heat until cheese is melted. Serve over crushed tortilla or corn chips with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkled Cheddar Cheese on top.

Personal Notes: If chicken broth not available, add 1 Tbsp chicken bouillon seasoning to water. If salsa is not available, add a can of diced tomatoes, and 1 Tbsp of taco seasoning. Any combination of canned beans can be used.

We had dinner guests one Sunday evening, and I was just getting ready to start cooking dinner, when the power went out.  So, the menu changed to tuna sandwiches with chips, enjoyed in the ambient lantern light and my LED lights.  It was a special time enjoyed by all! The power came back on shortly after everyone left  {smiles}

Walks in the snow are what makes Winter so special for me, but especially Annie.  She is a snow-loving dog! 

If you want the truth about Winter... just ask these two! 
A little bit of love along the way makes all the difference! 

This stately barn sits tucked into the valley with its beauty shared with all who pass by. 

The first full moon of the decade rose with skies clear enough to see it. 

As the dogs and I walked, the moon rose as the sun was setting; it was an incredible sight to see! 

Sunset and moonrise all in one breath.  

Enjoying some beautiful flowers adding extra color into our world. 

Miss Riley, the snow queen having fun in her favorite season. 

Having fun in the deep snow. 

Annie-girl with snow on her nose. 

Below are a few winter scenes that I have captured these past few weeks, mostly on our walks during the evening sunset hours or early sunrise.  It is remarkable to see the beautiful colors in the skies as we walk!

Thankful for the snowplow operators who have kept our road in such great condition all winter!

Lots of feathered friends gathered round our yard during the winter!

I have several Downy woodpeckers who frequent my bird feeders. 

We had a beautiful day of bright sunshine, and I went for a little drive to capture some of the glorious scenes with such pretty skies, and the trees decked out in fluffy white brilliance.

These two buffalo stared at me curiously as I captured their picture. 

A local buffalo farm on this bright day of sunshine. 

I love the quaint beauty of this old barn. 

It was so beautiful to hear the water flowing and see the beauty of the snow gracing the limbs of the trees. 

This little cabin actually sits backed up to a large rock outcropping, but it does look like it is part of the rock! 
Such a charming little spot! 

The dogs and I went for a ski together.  It was a beautiful crisp cold day, yet the snow had not packed enough,
and as I was breaking my own trail, the three of us grew tired quickly  

You can see how deep the snow was here at the edge of our property line. 

A tree bowed over with the weight of the snow arched in front of us. 

Riley was glad for the trail we had broken that she could walk in on the way back! 
Walking/skiing in deep snow without it packed and crispy enough, is hard work. 

My neighbor's horse came out to see us as we skied by her.  

She would have been an excellent trail breaker! I think she wanted to come with us... :) 

My neighbor's fence line on this glorious bright sunlit day. 

I hope you've enjoyed these glorious winter scenes that I've shared with you!  Since the last photo was taken above, a weather system moved into our area with fog, rain and warm temperatures.  The rain has washed away much of the snow, although there is still snow left.  However, with the temps continuing into the high 40s this week, it is doubtful if much of the snow will be left.  We often get January thaws, and still have February ahead of us.  But I've learned that when we have a "Blue Sky" day in the winter, to get outside and take advantage of it. 

Soon, before we know it, snowdrops, crocuses, and daffodils will be making their appearance, especially if we continue the warming trend we are currently in.  I am one of those who dearly loves Winter, but if Spring chooses to come early this year, I certainly will rejoice!  Are you still enjoying the season of Winter, or are you over it already and ready for Spring? 

Do share your feelings about Winter... and I hope I've helped you to see the beautiful positives of Winter, and perhaps you can understand why it is my favorite season... that is... until Spring comes along :)