Adjusting to Country Living

My life has changed drastically in the past few months; I sold my house, got married, and moved to the country. I've lived in small cities my whole life and was brought up camping, hiking, fishing and canoeing. While I have an appreciation for the outdoors, I understand now that I am, by no means, a country girl. Don't get me wrong, I love living in the country; it's just different. This is what I've learned so far about country living:

- You can’t get a queen-sized bed up an old farmhouse stairway.

- There are monsters in the corn, I swear. And one of these mornings when I take the garbage out, they’re going to get me.

- 80mph winds can rip a door off the barn.

- Twenty minutes: the amount of time it takes for the Fire Department to arrive when your silo might be on fire.

- Cows bite. Hard!

- When the power goes out, you can’t flush the toilet. No power = no well pump. (This one was a real eye-opener for someone who’s had city water their whole life.)

- The barn is cleaned (of manure) in the morning. In other words, don’t hang your clothes out on the line until after noon unless you want to SMELL like you live in the country.

So far, every week of country living has brought it’s own set of challenges. But then there are those moments that make me never want to see another city like how early in the morning, wispy fog rests on top of the farm fields before the sun burns it away. Or an autumn storm that turns the sky black but a few rays of sunlight sneak through and make the cornfields glow as if gilded in gold. Or night skies so clear and dark that the pinks and purples of galaxies delight the eye.

­­­Autumn is a great time to fall in love with just about any place but winter is quickly approaching. If you’re anything like me, you’ve squirrelled away some vegetables to help get you through the cold months ahead. Hopefully you have a few butternut squash left to make a pot of my delicious, creamy soup. 

Butternut Sage Soup (serves 4-6)
2 butternut squash, roasted and peeled
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 C. onion, diced
1/2 C. carrots, diced
1/4 C. celery, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh sage, minced
4 C. vegetable broth
1 C. heavy cream
1/4 C. honey
pinch cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until squash is tender. Scrape pulp out of the skins and set aside. (Roasting the squash can be done the day before.)

In a 5 or 6-quart stockpot, heat oil over medium heat. Saute onions, carrots, celery and garlic until onions are translucent, about 4-6 minutes. Add squash and sage and saute for 2 minutes. 

Add broth and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Finish with heavy cream, honey and cinnamon. Cream soup with an immersion blender or puree until smooth in a blender. Enjoy!


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