Sweet Mountain Life

Gardening, Vegetarian Food and Life in the Mountains of Western North Carolina

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Early Morning Walk

Morning Walk

We woke up to a beautiful dusting of snow on the ground this morning! I’m like a kid when I hear the weatherman mention possible flurries. Michael finds this quite funny.

After restocking the fire, we headed out with the three pups tagging along. Oh, the things we would see if we could keep up with them, running up the mountain and through the steep ravines. I do believe that watching the ease with which they move motivates me to enjoy our outing even more.

There’s nothing that beats an early morning walk on the mountain, especially in the Winter. It always seems more peaceful. You can hear the winds coming forever and see them wave through the trees before they ever reach you. I still get excited by all of the little magical things I find in nature. Sometimes, it’s snow on fungus growing off an oak log. Sometimes, it’s watching Bella try to step onto the ice at the edge of the pond for a drink and watching her reaction as the ice cracks and disappears. It really doesn’t matter the season, there is ALWAYS beauty to be found.


It seems that a big part of the days is restocking wood for the fire. Michael’s “time to make the donuts” line is “time to cut and split the firewood”. Recently, he’s cut into some Hickory and found that Hickory is “really heavy”. He brought a truckload down to the house and had to carry a few loads up the stairs to be used in the living room fireplace. All that climbing and carrying can only be good for a person, right? 😉


A roaring fire in the house always makes me think of warm comfort foods. My sister, Rebecca, posted a yummy looking Apple Pie Baked Oatmeal that I thought would be wonderful to wake up to. The recipe was easy to make and delicious. It has no added sugar…the apples and dates take care of that. But, everyone is not like me, and Michael would prefer his a little sweeter. A drizzle of maple syrup did the trick, and I would make the recipe the same next time.

Jessica's Piggy Cookies

On a final note, my daughter, Jessica, moved recently and wasn’t able to take the boar that had become a pet to her new home. That’s right…a wild boar. Sweetest, smartest animal ever! Knowing she couldn’t take her baby into her new neighborhood and knowing that he would be best left in his wild home, she left him behind with heavy heart. So…I made her some Piggy Cookies. I know they won’t really fill the void, but cookies from Mom never hurt! By the way, since I don’t use conventional food coloring, I boiled some cranberries and used the liquid to make the icing pink. Fun!

Enjoy Life and Live Vegan!
Catherine and Michael


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The last week or so has been great fun! Michael and our neighbor, Steve, set to work pruning the apple, plum, peach and cherry trees. The cold puts the trees into a dormant state that is perfect for trimming them back…way back. It always amazes me how much growth there is during the Spring and Summer and, therefore, how much must be trimmed away in the Winter. After this Friday’s snow passes, it will be time to trim the apricots and the larger cherry tree near the kitchen window.


Neighbor Steve also built some cool birdhouses and shared a few with us. Michael sealed the roofs and set to putting them in the trees.

Too cold and wet to play outside

249 Too cold and wet to play outside

The dogs have taken to staying inside, unless their “friends” venture out to play. They love to jump into the truck and ride up the mountain with Michael when he’s got wood to cut and split. Otherwise, they seem content to lay in front of the fire and wait until it’s necessary to take a trip outside. I agree…fire is my friend.



When temperatures are chilly, I tend to stay in the kitchen and cook. Nothing warms me up like a hot pot of stew, soup or sauce on the stove and cookies in the oven. Michael has no problem eating most of the goodies, so that saves me, at least a little. 😉

Tonight, dinner is homemade spaghetti and sauce with vegan meatballs. I also had some sugar coated peanuts that we received for Christmas. We weren’t eating them, so I chopped them up and put them into a batch of chocolate chip cookies, cutting back the sugar a bit. The result was wonderful. And, no more sugar-coated peanuts!. (Planned on posting a pic of dinner on the plate, but couldn’t wait to eat it and forgot to grab the camera 😉


Best of all, Michael made my end table!! I wanted a small end table to put beside the couch in the basement. What he did with a log from the woodpile was amazing. Be sure to take a look!

Enjoy Life and Live Vegan!
Catherine and Michael

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With the New Year behind us and the cold weather ahead, Michael spent yesterday cutting, splitting and stacking wood. There’s nothing more comforting than knowing there’s firewood 3 feet outside your door when the temps are getting into the teens! Hope you all stay nice and cozy!!


Enjoy Life and Live Vegan!
Catherine and Michael