I don't need to remind those of us in the Northern Hemisphere that the lighter the sky at, say, 4:30 p.m., the closer we are to spring.
(And I love spring more than any other season. No reason to list a litany of reasons. You know what I mean: buds, birdsong, the angle of the sun.)
Observing the sky at a given time helps me to remind myself that winter, which can be beastly here in Wisconsin, is a temporary condition.
I am pleased to report that the sky was still medium blue at 4:30 in Northern Wisconsin. As I looked out my window to check, a bird flew across the tree tops, heading south against the coming night perhaps: One of those small moments that never fails to enchant me.
While we wait for spring, we spend winter nights and weekends experimenting in the kitchen. Most of the experiments never make it to the pages of this blog, but they provide a welcome distraction from snow and cold.
Inevitably there is a Christmas gift from my husband that makes my kitchen time fun and sometimes challenging. I'm still experimenting with the mandoline he bought me a few years ago. My back and feet thank him daily for the chef's floor mat he bought me a bit more recently.
This year's gift may be less comforting to my back. The mortar and pestle is one I chose myself from a little shop in a neighboring city that sells books and finely-crafted furniture and other household or decorative items. As you can see from the photo, this is no ordinary mortar and pestle.
It's heavy, too, something I did not consider. I only looked at its aesthetics.
My husband jokes that it provided traction during the month it spent in the trunk of his car.
I swear it's a lethal weapon.