The month of January is known as Soup Month. Normally, in mid-Michigan, the cold winter months welcomes a bowl of warm soup. Lately, our daily temps are above freezing. But I am certain the cold temps and snowy days are just around the corner.
My question for all of you is do you have a favorite type of soup? My soup tastes usually depend on my mood. (Yes, I am one of those emotional eaters). When I am feeling ill, I love a nice warm bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup. On days, when I am feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I like a high-quality tomato soup with a tasty grilled cheese sandwich. What can I say–my tastes are rather simple. But I am always willing to try something new.
As a child, the winter months always met homemade bean soup. For almost two days, my mother would allow the Navy beans to slowly simmer in a large cast iron pot on top of the old, pot belly stove. Adding ham, onions, and other seasonings, the smell of the soup would drift throughout the old farm house.
The final meal would always involve homemade bread, biscuits, and a dessert. Of course, the best part of the meal was the house full of guests. For most of us, the homemade bean soup was a tasty treat. Well except for my younger sister who to this day is not a fan of bean soup.
My attempts to make bean soup as an adult do not yield the same results as my mother’s tasty homemade recipe. I cannot tell you if my attempts fail because I do not own a cast iron pot and an old wood burning, pot belly stove. Or the difference in taste is due to missing family members and friends that are no longer with me.
Regardless of the reason, homemade bean soup will always remain one of my all-time favorites; a nestled memory on a cold winter’s day.
Today, January 5, 2017, is known as National Bird Day. How can you not love an entire day dedicated to our fine feathered friends? As a nature lover, I find birds fascinating. Every species seems to have a unique personalities and behavior patterns. During the colder winter months, I sit and watch the birds from the warmth of my home.
When the feeder is low or empty, the little Chickadees are very vocal.
Whereas the little Sparrows line up and stare at me from the edge of the roof or the nearby shrubbery bush, both methods get my attention. I am usually adding seeds to the feeder immediately.
After the feeders are full, the Mourning Doves cautiously gather seeds on the ground.
When the Blue Jay comes to the feeder, all the other birds fly away.The Blue Jay’s presence always seems larger in life. The site of the deep red Cardinals against the snow covered ground is always breathtaking.
The older I get, the more I love to watch the birds. Yes, I photograph them too. But there are days where I just like to observe. Of course, my observations usually end up in one of my stories. I mean, how can you not imagine little fairies or other small woodland spirits riding on the back of the birds to defend Mother Nature and the rest of the natural realm.
Over the holiday season, I was able to photograph a beautiful Barred Owl. The sighting in the natural habitat was absolutely remarkable. I was on my way to pick up some stuff at my nephew’s school. The roads were snowy from the recent accumulation. Of course, I was in rush. As I drove by the wooded area, I spotted the Barred Owl just sitting there on a lower branch. Obviously, the beautiful creature was searching for his next meal.
When I first drove by, I did not have a camera with me. Not even my pocket camera which I had just taken out of my purse. Since I was close to home, I immediately turned around to go get a camera. The whole time, I was thinking, “there was no way the owl would still be there”. As I was rushing out of my drive, I proceeded to get my car stuck. After some time, I managed to get my car back on the road. By this time, I was absolutely convinced the Barred Owl would be gone.
But, sitting on the lower branch right off the side of the road by the Maple River was the beautiful creature. If I would not have been in such a hurry, I could have watched the Barred Owl all day long. The owl was not skittish of me. I managed to snap a lot of pictures. We just seemed to stare at each other. His black eyes were mesmerizing.
After all the years of living in the countryside, I had only witnessed an owl once before in the wild. The last time, I was a child. And, no, I will not tell you how many years ago that occurred. At that time, the owl was flying down to retrieve a dead carcass out of the road. I cannot tell you the type of owl we saw the night. But I can tell you, the initial sighting all those years ago was one of the reasons why I enjoy nature and wildlife.
I find owls completely fascinating. Well, of course, the Harry Potter series confirmed my love for the stunning creatures.
Today, January 3, 2017, is known as Festival of Sleep Day. Dedicating an entire day to sleep sounds incredibly relaxing. In fact, I think my cats have been practicing for this unofficial holiday for some time. Mid-Michigan is dreary today. I woke up to dense fog, followed by rain and cold. My cats (and dogs) did not want any part of being outdoors for a long period of time. Instead, they all are curled up around the warm fire enjoying a lazy afternoon.
As for me, my sleep patterns vary. I love to stay up late in the early morning hours. I find the night time silence inspiring. What can I say, 3 a.m. and I are old friends. At least on this Festival of Sleep Day, I can sneak in afternoon nap without a twinge of guilt. I will simply blame the quick snooze on research for my blog, right?