tea_austen

Tara Austen Weaver

Writer. Editor. Adventurer. Gardener. Hiker. Cook. I share what I find astonishing and beautiful. New book: ORCHARD HOUSE, out now. Seattle + beyond

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I snapped this at a friend’s house last week, after she had been making cookies for her kids away at school. It reminded me of all the acts of love, big and small, seen and unseen. Love is a verb, today and every day. Happy Valentine’s Day ❤️
The snow has started to melt, it’s sliding off roofs with massive wet thuds and cracking tree branches with its weight. I will miss how otherworldly it made everything, how every familiar sight was transformed into something clean and new.
Happy Monday! We’re still snowed in, and actually I worked all weekend, but trying to keep homebound spirits up in the face of more snow. I’m fine, but Thursday will mark a full week of this. I hope our hill is clear by then.
Feeling very glad for the chickens, especially as it’s too snowy to get to the grocery store. #orchardhousegarden
In the winter I do these things I call Soup Supoers, where I make a big pot of soup and invite friends round and they bring sides or drinks or bread and we cozy up for the evening. Everyone is snowed in this weekend, and my neighborhood is especially impassable, but it’s still a soup supper, just on a much smaller scale. And tonight’s flavor is tortilla soup, one of my favorites.
What I love about snow is its transformative ability, how it makes me see even the most familiar landscape in new ways. It reminds me of the quote by Marcel Proust: The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. That’s what the snow is for me: new eyes.
Checking out the neighborhood. Today I saw skis—cross-country and downhill—snowshoes, and so many sleds. I was feeling sad that I had gotten rid of my snowboard a few moves ago.
Our sledding hill draws kids and grownups from the surrounding neighborhoods. Three blocks of slope and two blocks in which to try and stop. And then the hike back up to the top. #snowdayseattle
Made it out to feed the chicks and bring them warm oatmeal (they are very much over this whole winter thing). Eight to ten inches in the garden, with more on its way. #orchardhousegarden
The view from here: more snow than I’ve seen in awhile. Feels like living in a snow globe. I love how muffled and quiet everything becomes. We’re going to be here awhile.
Very glad I bought these tulips. The view out the window is getting whiter and whiter. Stay warm and safe, Seattle.
Here’s that raspberry curd I demonstrated on TV yesterday—it’s like lemon curd, but with berries (you can use any berry; I even made quince curd this fall). I really like my fruit curd recipe because it uses whole eggs, not just egg yolks, so you’re not stuck with the whites. You can stir the finished product into yogurt, drizzle it on pancakes or waffles (it melts and goes runny), tuck it between layers of a cake or into crepes, freeze it for a deliciously rich frozen custard, or go old school with scones, as we did yesterday. These are the cream scones from @coylesbakeshop , which are my favorite in the city. The server there looked at me funny when I asked for the smallest scones in the display case, but I wanted them to look cute And dainty on TV. This one was the less photogenic, backup scone, who never got its moment of fame, but served as a tasty breakfast for me the day after. We’ll be taking about berry curd and the book and all other things fruit and garden related at @booklarder tonight, if you care to join. Event starts at 6:30.
The thing I love about snow is that it pulls out all the small details, casting them in relief. How it makes you see old and familiar landscapes in a new and fresh way. We’re supposed to get a whole slew of new snow in western Washington starting on Friday (Cliff Mass has a good post on his blog about this). If you’re in the area, might be a good time to buy some groceries and cancel plans that require driving. This thing isn’t over yet.
There is my book! On television! I was there, too, and a big cherry cake. When I decided I wanted to be a writer, I never thought television studios would be involved, but there I was yesterday, doing a cooking demo on @king5newdaynw (which is a show run by the nicest people). I’ve been interviewed on camera before, but never while cooking! They made it all easy, however, and Margaret Larsen and I made raspberry curd, and it was fun. (Did I mention there are recipes in this book? Because you need ways to use up all the great fruit you’re going to grow). And tomorrow (Thurs) I’m at @booklarder at 6:30. I’ll be doing the talking there, but they’re making that same cake with blueberries (all the recipes are designed to work with a variety of different fruits, whatever you have on hand and in season).
Happy Lunar New Year! I’m not doing much to celebrate this year, but I managed to sneak into the International District for a bowl of soup. Noodles are for long life (just make sure not to cut them). Gong xi fa chai, everyone. Here’s to your happiness and prosperity 🎉
Left the house in order to pick some frozen kale. Cold and crunchy! I’m pretty sure the cilantro is dead. #orchardhousegarden #snowday
Small crowd at the feeder this morning, because the other half of the flock wouldn’t leave the roosting platform to jump down to the floor where their feet would get snowy! They just stood there squawking, wanting breakfast, not wanting to get cold for it (can’t really blame them). I gave them the warm oatmeal I cooked. I don’t often cook for them, but today seemed warranted. There were no prints in their snowy run. #orchardhousegarden
We’ve had such a mild winter, and all along I kept reminding myself that we weren’t in the clear—that it could still snow in Feb, even though the pluot tree was already blooming. I didn’t think we’d get THIS much snow, however. it looks calm, but there are gusts of wind whistling around the house and blasting the snow every which way. Time to cozy up. Glad I left some of the holiday decorations up. And that I went grocery shopping yesterday. There’s a steep hill out of my neighborhood (that will soon be filled with sledding children); I’m not going anywhere.
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