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#Blizzard of 2015

We made it, folks. The hashtag-Blizzard of 2015 – also known as Snowmaggedon 2015 and Juno – is behind us now, though many are still trying to find their cars,  shovel out their driveways, and find a place to put all that snow. Some parts of the Northeast received up to three feet of the powdery white stuff, and many areas sustained white out conditions and high winds for much of the day. In our area, they’d predicted up to two feet,  significant enough for the most hardcore of Mainers to head out to Reny’s to get some storm supplies. We ended up getting just about that, no more.

blizzard 105 A lover of weather extremes, I ventured out the afternoon of the great storm in my snowshoes – my good ol’ Tubbs – and my camera.
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And to no one’s surprise, there was no one out but a few determined neighbors snow blowing their sidewalks, and a small army of plows from the City of Bath.
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Wind and ice whipping my face, it was very difficult to see. Normally, you get a view of Lake Winnegance and the Rt. 209 bridge going out to Phippsburg and Popham Beach, but the blizzard made it completely disappear.
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Even the Winnegance General Store was temporarily obliterated from view.
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Until I was right on it. Too bad I couldn’t stop and take a break from all that blizzardry, because the store was not open. And the Winnegance General Store is always open.
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Guess they, too, were hunkered down in the storm, hopefully eating something wonderful and homemade. I’d like to think that.

Two days later, school is back in session and the roads and driveways have been cleared, mostly, with a warning from the Bath Police Department that motorists should approach intersections with caution, as the snowbanks are particularly high. Leave your headlights on, too, they say, as an extra precaution.

And soon the snow banks will grow even higher, maybe even as high as Mount Katahdin. According to the National Weather Service, more snow is on the way for Friday and possibly Monday.

I think I might head to Reny’s this time.

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Juice Up: 4 Quick Recipes

A Christmas gift, a cheap single serving blender, sparked a New Year’s resolution:  Eat more fruits and vegetables.  And I must say, so far, so  good. After less than a month of experimenting, I feel much better, more energized and more positive. In fact, it’s developing into a very nice morning ritual, drinking down 8 or 10 ounces and knowing that I’ve ticked off several daily servings and imbibed a bunch of vitamins and nutrients. I figure if I don’t do anything right for the rest of the day, at least I’ve started out doing something good for my body.

The thing is, making your own juices from fresh, local produce is so much cheaper when compared to as much as $10 for pre-made organic juice at the grocery store. It’s also very easy; if I can make a delicious and healthy drink in minutes, anyone surely can, using just a few guidelines.

  • Start with the liquid ingredient, then add soft fruits and vegetables, and work your way up to the hardest stuff.
  • For a single serving, a cup of liquid or yogurt is a good base.
  • In experimenting with different types of fruits and vegetables and all their different flavors, consider which has the strongest taste. Pineapple and banana, for example, tend to overpower other ingredients such as kale.
  • Cold ingredients will produce a cold drink, but if you want your juice or smoothie a little colder, just add some ice cubes at the end.
  • Drink the juice as soon as possible to take advantage of its freshness and the height of its vitamins and nutrients.

Kale Pineapple Banana Smoothie

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Green is good! This is a great drink for  kids who aren’t fans of kale because it tastes like pineapple. Blend 1 cup of apple juice, 2 cups of kale, two big spears of pineapple and 1/2 a banana.

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A great breakfast drink, this juice starts with a one cup base of orange juice. Add two spears of pineapple and a half of a mango. Blend until smooth.

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Greek yogurt is a terrific probiotic, a live culture that helps to balance the bad bacteria in your body, especially in the digestive tract. Mix 1 cup of vanilla Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup of strawberries and 1/2 cup of blackberries. Blend well.

Beet Carrot and Ginger Juice

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Beet juice is a new one for me and I found it to be quite delicious, especially blended with carrot. Since I don’t have a juicer, I blended the ingredients first, and then filtered the liquid through cheesecloth. Recipe calls for 1 cup of apple juice; 1 regular size beet, peeled and sliced; 2 medium carrots; and 1/2 teaspoon of fresh ginger root, minced. Blend well and pour through cheesecloth, squeezing out excess.

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Jan. 1, 2015: Paperwhites in Bloom

Just as we rang in another new year, the paperwhite bulbs I planted less than two weeks before began to bloom. I kid you not. And now, as I write the words “rang in” I hear bells chime from some mysterious place, and wonder if it’s just coincidence or if it has a more prophetic significance.

paperwhite 010 paperwhite 016 I didn’t really plant the paperwhites; I set them to water, hoping they’d fulfill their promise of blooming in time for the new year. And bloom they did – just as the page turned to 2015.

It’s called bulb forcing, and I am new to this business, and absolutely bewildered and delighted to see these flowers blooming so far ahead of when they normally would. It’s not global warming, weather gone haywire, or anything else. It’s taking nature by force, and forcing something to happen sooner than it normally does, forcing a little springtime when I need it most, giving nature a little nudge.  Actually a big push.

paperwhite 024 bulbs 033 Cheap thrills.  I purchased a handful of bulbs for less than a dollar a piece, and set them in water, their tops just exposed. That’s it.  No expensive potting soil or fancy fertilizers. Nothing. And they grew quickly, both upward and downward, into the sky and into the water below, with very little effort on my part and with December’s very limited ration of sunlight. This particular glass holder, which I scored for a buck at the local thrift store, is ideally suited for bulb forcing, as it is concave near the top to hold the bulb in place so the plant doesn’t shoot off in some wrong direction. The clear glass also exposes the roots, which resemble a jellyfish, though much less fluid.

As for the perfect timing of the blooms with the turning of the calendar year, and the bells chiming as I write – well, I am tempted to conclude some sort of sign, a premonition, about the coming year. But I’ll stop myself right there, so I can just savor the moment, the beautiful winter white blooms, the lovely peppery, flowery scent.

Welcome, 2015.

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