"You must have been warned about letting golden hours slip by; but some of them are golden only because we let them slip by. " --James Matthew Barrie
This year's fall foliage is spectacular. The trees dressed up in their best and brightest. Orange may be the color of the moment with Halloween next week, but it's the yellow leaves I'm loving now. Against a blue sky they glow like pure gold. On gray days they are surrogate sunshine.
Happy Friday, everyone! Hope your weekend is full of golden hours! XO
"Eat in accordance with the seasons as you would dress for different types of weather." - The Bhutanese Guide to Happiness
Don't you think Farmers Markets are happy places? We've chatted before about how they're a celebration of the seasons. Our Seattle farms stands are now brimming with apples, pears, autumn squash and mushrooms. One look and you know it's fall. And for me, summer lives on thanks to a vivid memory of how a ripe tomato tastes on market day in Provence.
So, of course I loved visiting the Bhutanese markets -- a riot of flavors, colors and smells not unlike what you'd find at Pike Place here at home.
But in Bhutan there are no supermarkets -- no running to the local equivalent of Whole Foods for off-season strawberries. So you can imagine the vital importance of Farmers Markets, both for the community and the home, whether it's the multi-story weekend market in the capital of Thimphu or a roadside stand.
Traditional Bhutanese food was fantastic -- different from anything I've ever tasted. Lots of red rice, plenty of spice, and a few flavors that were totally new. Like crow's beak, a pod-like vegetable that packs some heat and is typically served cooked with chilies and cheese. And tree tomatoes - delicious with melon in a western-style gazpacho on a hot afternoon in subtropical Punakha.
I did finally meet a cheese I didn't like. Yak cheese. Dried, you can chew on it all day - or so Namgay, our guide, told me. No thanks. Not my thing!
Yak cheese aside, my guess is that the food we tried in Bhutan couldn't help but
be delicious because the ingredients were so fresh and seasonal. There is something to be said for the correlation between the
accessibility of farmers markets and happiness - both in Bhutan and in
But this is where we get back to happiness as a complicated subject. How grumpy would I be if I couldn't just dash to the corner grocery when we run out of milk? How nice is it on a crazy-busy day to pick up a relatively healthy, pre-made dinner? Surely supermarkets will find their way to Bhutan someday and people won't know what they did without them.
But is my life a little less happy because hyper-local, fresh, seasonal food is a treat, not an everyday practice?
"There is a child in every one of us who is still a trick-or-treater looking for a brightly lit front porch." -Robert Brault
Happy Monday, all! Can you believe how fast the October days are flying? Like fallen leaves scattering on a windy evening. Halloween will be here before we know it! Have you got your crew all costumed up?
It's been years since I dressed up for Halloween - these days it's candy dispensing duty more than crazy Halloween parties. But being festive is always fun, and I think these treats for feet would be perfect for a night of door answering and costume admiring!
Will you be dressing up this year and going out, or haunting your own house?
An early October weekend found us in Lake Chelan, Washington, enjoying sunshine and the company of dear friends. For the local wineries, it was Crush, but we had the crushing of a different fruit in mind.
With trees in the garden dripping with apples and an antique press at the ready, it was time to make some cider.
Lots of hands made short work of the job and before we knew it, we had the best apple cider ever. Fresh, crisp and sweet, the taste of a perfect autumn day in a bottle.
Happy Weekend, everyone! What fun fall activity do you have planned? XOXO
Thanks to Chris Drake for the pictures (not to mention a lovely weekend) and the Pelly family for being so darn photogenic!
Elizabeth wondered what happiness rating I would give this trip versus others, which was fun to think about. For me, there are typically two kinds of travels - the vacations to our personal "happy places" (Paris for me) where you feel totally at home and practically dance down the sidewalks in glee the entire time. Then there are the adventures - challenging your viewpoint on the world, rewarding but tough. I expected Bhutan to be more the latter, but it surprised me by being something else entirely. Challenging at times, sure. But the thing is, I just smiled a heck of lot on this trip. I felt very relaxed and found myself frequently delighted by the smallest things.
Like the dogs!
There are dogs everywhere in Bhutan, many strays. None look too hungry.
They always appear very relaxed and zen, and seem, well, happy - you couldn't help but feel the same watching them lounge.
The dogs who hang out at the dzongs (fortresses that serve as religious and cultural centers) and temples seem particularly content. Perhaps the Buddhist belief that a dog is the last animal form a soul takes before it is reincarnated as a human ensures that they are highly regarded.
I swear they smile in their sleep.
Do you thing they're on to something?
Relax, lay in the sun, enjoy the view, don't get too worked up --things will work out. Seems like a good philosophy to me!
Happy Wednesday, all! Hope you find a least a moment or two to relax, lounge in a ray of sun and be zen.