recent joys

It's been one of those mornings. You know the kind. Not terrible, but it would be much easier to create a list of unjoy than of joy. There's plenty of joy here, too. It's about choosing focus. Always. Choose joy or not. I'm going to choose joy. What about you?

Anne Butera, pink geraniums, My Giant Strawberry

I don't know what I'd do without my houseplants. It's only just the beginning of winter and I'm already feeling like there's a huge garden-shaped hole in my life. It helps to be watching for flowers opening in just about every room of the house. I am so happy I brought my two fuchsia plants and some geraniums inside for the winter. At the first frosts I wasn't sure I would. These flowers have been cheering me to no end.

Fuchsia Flowers, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

That tiny flower upside down back there... that's just how it grew. Upside down. Days later it's still upside down. Pale and faded, but still dancing.

It has not been good weather for photography. Dark, dark, dark. The air is hazy with humidity and fog. There's still a lot of ice everywhere. Our snow is looking more and more pathetic and yet it's still beautiful. The hoarfrost is magical.

winter, snow, hoar frost, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

The subdued colors are dramatic in their own way. It's about really looking and paying attention to details.

One thing I always try to pay attention to is the action at our bird feeders. There are only a couple windows with good views of them, but each time I'm in one of those rooms I look out to see who's there. Juncos, nuthatches, goldfinches, chickadees, woodpeckers (red bellied and downy), house sparrows. There are cardinals in our trees and bushes, so bright at this time of year. I love watching our squirrel, too. He doesn't bother the feeders, but he's often around. I found an ear of corn in the backyard that he brought in. The yellow kernels have been disappearing slowly.

Something else I've been enjoying lately is cup after cup of tea. I'm both a coffee and tea drinker. Starting out the day with coffee and moving through types of tea during the rest of the day from black to green to herbal. Right now I have earl grey in my cup. I'm looking forward to drinking some green tea later. My mom recently cleaned out their cabinets and gave me some tea that they weren't going to drink including some delicious Gunpowder Temple of Heaven. When's the last time you just sipped and savored a cup of tea without any other thoughts in your head than the taste of the tea? I've been trying to do it with each fresh cup. Last night I brewed a tisane with peppermint I harvested and dried during the summer. So satisfying. And of course, it made me dream of all the herbs I'm planning on growing next year.

Before I wrap up a couple more calendars that need to go out to customers today, I want to share one last joy. Remember in my last post when I was unsure about whether or not I should be recommending a book I hadn't yet read? Well, now I am absolutely certain. I finished reading Susan Branch's A Fine Romance: Falling in Love with the English Countryside. Oh, it was so much fun. Visiting Sissinghurst, Beatrix Potter's home, Jane Austen's home, Vanessa Bell's home and Rosemary Verey's home and, and, and... so many beautiful places with gardens and pubs and tea rooms and beautiful details to discover and celebrate. It's a lovely book to look at (and makes me want to keep my own illustrated journal) and is full of insights about how the small things matter. How we live and what we make of our lives mean something bigger than each of us individually. It was a complete joy to read.

Wishing you a weekend filled with many joys and the focus to recognize them.


  1. Lovely post, as always.
    Things that are bringing me joy these days are knitting while watching Call the Midwife reruns.
    By the way, I love tea, too, and would be bereft without my IngenuiTEA brewing thingamajig. Try it?

  2. You are right, small things do matter: flowers opening (even upside down), hoarfrost, a cup of tea. Through paying attention, we find joy. Thank you for your photos and reminders to savor life's little details.

  3. Good morning Anne! Just getting caught up...we had no power for a few days here in VT, so no internet. LOVE your photos. My new "tea" of choice, via an Ayurvedic consultation at Kripalu, is very simple...about a half teaspoon of fennel seeds brewed in a mug of hot water. Very soothing. Also, I am a long time fan of Susan Branch and this book is now on my holiday wish list (I think Lindsey may have noticed). Thanks for the head's up. We have been soaking in the beauty of the big snowstorm we had here, and have been giddy to be here, despite the power outage. All is back to normal now, and we are heading out on holiday errands after a nice breakfast. Happy Monday!

  4. Beautiful flowers. They made me smile too. I'm a coffee and tea drinker too. I love trying different ones and just a couple of weeks ago my husband and I were laughing because I had 19 different types of tea in the pantry. I realized I didn't enjoy them all so he brought the ones I didn't want to the office. I like to combine Yogi Immune Support with their Women's Moon Cycle tea. I also love Irish Breakfast Tea.

  5. Beautiful post, Anne. fantastic tribute to life, joy, gratitude and even winter!

  6. So happy to be sharing joys with all of you. Thank you!


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