It is sap season, why not make birch syrup, too?

Birch trees can be tapped for syrup, as well as maple, but it is more work.

Making birch syrup has been on my to-do list for years. I am fond of birch-flavored beverages and am out there tapping maple trees each year as winter turns to spring. Birch sap runs right after maple sap is finishing. It just seemed like a natural fit. I really wanted to tap yellow birch, as […]

Don’t let that snow get away! Preserving snow crystals is easy (or so I was told).

Snowflake photo

  I live for snow. I am not a skier, I just love walking in the stuff, sitting outside with a book and tea in the white, and taking far too many photos of things poking up through the snow, draped in snow, casting shadows on the snow… (Oh, if you are here just for […]

Winter warming drinks. Kick it up a notch from your mom’s hot chocolate

hot cocoa graphic

Cold days call for warm drinks. Think of a hot winter drink, and I’ll bet the first thing you think of is hot chocolate. I wish I loved hot chocolate, but it always makes me sick. I think it is my fault. It is such a delicious sugary buzz, I gulp it down quickly and […]

Can’t get a fish from a hole in the road

Tip up with flag up

The ice has come, the ice has gone, the ice is here again. It will be here for six more weeks if we can trust that Ground Hog. I am skeptical of any creature also known as a whistlepig, though, and for whom the leading topics in an internet search include 1.) How to repel, […]

What is ice fishing really about? At Great Pond, it is not just the fish

American flags on a jeep

400 plus souls gather in a field of ice. Three boys toss a ball for their dogs. A silver-blue Miata cruises with its top down. Fires dot the expanse, and a small group huddles around each one, warming hands and roasting hot dogs. It is the annual Great Pond Fishing Derby. Fish are the reason […]

Sauerkraut is comforting to make, comforting to eat

Fermented veggies in jars

With a name like Zimmermann, it is not surprising I grew up eating sour food–pickled herring, pickled onions, sauerbraten, and sauerkraut. I prepare German and Scandinavian meals regularly, too. While I make a sweet-tart red cabbage, and misshapen but tasty potato dumplings, somehow I had never made sauerkraut. My grandmother made kraut. I recall the […]

Five ways to have fun outdoors with no snow, iffy ice, and freezing temps

Black bread butter, strawberry jam, and hot chaga chai, simple and soul-satisfying.

I avert my eyes from the brown and barren ground, and reluctantly stay off the very unsafe ice at some of my favorite ice walks. This is not a winter filled with powdery snow angels, hours spent crossing a flat frozen lake, or weekends hanging out at the fish shacks. Tempting though it is to […]

Yes, it’s cold–but you don’t have to be

Cold and wind are no excuse to stay inside. (Photo from previous winter, ice is not ready yet.)

It’s here, the cold, the crisp, the invigorating single digit weather that is a Maine trademark. The projected temperatures for this weekend indicate a big chill, and you can hunker down with warm slippers and a good book, or get out there and embrace the cold. Reveling in it is my choice, and I grab […]

Foraging for maitake mushrooms–the time is now.

a seventeen pound plus maitake

Maitake season is upon us. I was mourning that we had not gotten any this year, and that my supply was getting rather slim, and that it was pretty late, and whine after whine. Then, a burst of rain, and they were popping up all over. Now I have to scramble to freeze or cook […]