Country Living and Natural Colours

Christina here. With life in the 21st century increasingly hectic, there are quite a few people who decide they want to escape from the rat race and live a simpler way. Buying a smallholding or croft can be the start of a new way of life, and that is exactly what the heroine in my recent novel HIDDEN IN THE MISTS did. She wanted to live in tune with nature, be healthier and happier by spending more time outdoors, and growing/producing as much of her own food as possible. It’s something I think a lot of us dream about and after being cooped up in cities during the pandemic, many people went on to follow that dream.

RoosterClearly it is not for the faint-hearted though – there is no doubt it is hard work. Keeping chickens for eggs, having a cow or two for milk (and/or goats), a flock of sheep for wool, and perhaps other animals for slaughter is probably a must. (Not to mention having to learn how to look after them and doing things like milking.) As is growing copious amounts of vegetables and having fruit trees and berry bushes, as well as foraging in any nearby forests. My heroine is lucky in that she lives on the west coast of Scotland so she is also able to go fishing, which is an added bonus.

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The Simple Joys of a Daily Walk

Rose in rainAndrea here, inspired by Anne’s recent post on “Simple Pleasures” I, too, have been thinking more about the small things in my everyday life that make me stop and smile, and appreciate my blessings.

I have a daily ritual of taking a long walk, usually in the late afternoon. I call it my plotting walk, as I use it to think about the pages I’ve written that day . . . and how to untangle any kinks that crept into the story or character development. It’s something I really look forward to, not only for story aspects, but because it’s also—quite literally—a breath of fresh air. After sitting in my writing room for hours, it resets my perspective. I’m a very visual person, and there is so much outdoors that catches my eye and reminds me of all the little unexpected beauties in the “ordinary.”

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Spring Flings!

Regency boating party

Butterflies 2Andrea here, and very happy that here where I live, I’m beginning to see signs of Spring finally starting to push aside the chill of Winter. Leaves are budding and flowers are starting to unfurl, adding tantalizing touches of color to the muted shades of the landscape. The air is warming, allowing hats, scarves and parkas to be hung in the storage . . .

February and March always feel endless here, and I am SO looking forward to spending more time outdoors—in shorts and T-shirts!—as the days grow delightfully longer. After all the isolation of the past year, the coming warm weather feels even sweeter as we (carefully) begin to tiptoe back to some semblance of normal activities.

So, in celebration of all fun seasonal activities ahead, I thought I’d compose a list—admittedly a silly one—of all the things I love about getting outside in warm weather . . . with a Regency twist!

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A Man For All Seasons

Hum 1Andrea/Cara here, As a unabashed history geek, I’m always excited when I discover the in-depth story of a fascinating figure from the past about whom I don’t know much—and I’m even more excited when in the process I also gain a broader perspective on the world in which the individual lived and how his or her achievements helped shape it. So I’m here to gush about my newest historical hero heartthrob—Alexander von Humboldt.

Today, most of us know dare only vaguely familiar with his name as an ocean current located somewhere off the Pacific coast of South America. But in his day, he was arguably one of the most famous men in the world. As the Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm IV said, he was “the greatest man since the Deluge.” On his death, newspapers around the world proclaimed how fortunate they all were to have lived in the “Age of Humboldt.”

Hum 9Scientist, Poet, Educator, Artist, Philosopher. The details of Humboldt’s extraordinary personality and accomplishments are brought to life in The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf. His insatiable curiosity, his meticulous recording of data and details of the natural world—from the tiniest insects to the faraway stars—his lyrical prose that expressed the wondrous joy at seeing Life as a great web of interconnected threads, literally changed the way the 19th century world looked at science. From Charles Darwin to Henry David Thoreau and Walt Whitman, both scientists and artists were inspired by Humboldt, who today is being re-recognized as the Father of Ecology.

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Birds of a Feather . . .

Snowy_owlsCara/Andrea here, It’s been a gorgeous summer here in the New England (yes, a few hot, muggy days, but on the whole, it’s been the sort of weather that beckons us to put aside all the mundane things that keep us at our desks and take a break to enjoy the pleasures of Nature.)

My favorite time for a walk is early evening, and my favorite place is a nearby golf course that juts into Long Island Sound. The everchanging nuances of the sunlight on the water is lovely, Sunsetand the subtle rhythms of the landscape—the breeze ruffling through the grasses, the play of wildlife, the flight of the birds—reminds me of how important it is to take the time to appreciate the small moments of beauty that are easy to miss in the rush-rush pace of modern life.

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