I T ' S
N O T
W H E R E
Issue No. o2
Winter in the Country It's not just another season! PAGE 14
Y O U
L I V E
I T ' S
H O W
A Fresh Cut
Tips on picking your next tree PAGE 26
Whip up a batch to celebrate PAGE 8
CONTENTS P. 5 RURAL reflections IG's we love
P. 13 SNOWFLAKES are magical
3 Editor's Note 16 Nature's Canvas The seasons paint the woodland with a colorful palette. 24 The Light Way Banish the darkness from your Christmas shots. 12 Winter's gifts The gunmetal days of winter bring surprising gifts. 20 Fabulously fermented Kraut Source gives you the scoop on fermenting, and a giveaway. 29 Foraging for Christmas Spirit Creating seasonal displays out of foraged greens. 23 Jord watch [coupon] giveaway Enter to win a $120 coupon towards the watch of your choice.
P. 28 Christmas Eve Companionship was the greatest gift of the season. P. 6 Winter Wonderland P. 7 Hank Snow
22 Between the pages Quarto publishing has a book for everyone on your list, and a giveaway for you. 30 Gatherings Subscribe Enter contests. Visit our website.
RURAL Vol. 1 Issue 2 Christmas 2015 Cover Image Jen Vandervoort www.thelightlaughed.com Editor Jen Vandervoort
Copy editor Carolynn Anctil
Marketing Email inquires to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Advertising Jen vandervoort email@example.com
Subscribe SEE PAGE 30 All Rights Reserved
Welcome We'd like to thank you. Each of you, who read, loved and shared our first issue of RURAL. We're overwhelmed by the response, the kind words, the way you've embraced and welcomed us! We're eager to share the Christmas issue of RURAL with you. An issue that wouldn't be possible without the contributions of the photographers, writers and sponsors featured in these online pages, and, you our reader. Our hope is that during the hustle and bustle of the season you'll find a moment of peacefulness in between these pages. Inspiration to take your own stunning Christmas shots, create something beautiful out of foraged greens, pick the perfect fresh tree, or whip up a homemade glass of eggnog. And be sure to enter the giveaways for your chance to win... Subscribe to RURAL on page 30. Also please take a moment to spread the love and click on the share buttons below.
Merry Christmas from all of us at
Disclosure: Thank you to the companies involved in the giveaways for generously offering their product for review. Opinions are 100% our own. RURAL MAGAZINE :: 3
CONTRIBUTORS Jen Vandervoort is dreaming about the next issue of RURAL. She blogs at The Light Laughed.
Donna Donabella is a writer, gardener, and blogger at Living from Happiness.
Lisa Steele is a best selling author who writes at her popular website Fresh Eggs Daily.
Grace Vanderzande is a farmer, writer, and blogger at Buttons Thoughts.
Carolynn Anctil is a writer, and artist, she blogs at Tin Rooster Farm.
Cindy Garber Iverson is a photographer, artist, and designer. Find her at CindyGarberIverson.com
Susan Troccolo is a professional writer who blogs at LifeChange Compost.
Kristin Pehl is a photographer, and blogs at Nature Whispers.
Judith Rogers is a freelance garden writer, blogging at Lavender Cottage Gardening
Linda Carson is a photographer and graphic designer. She blogs at 7MSN Ranch. RURAL MAGAZINE :: 4
RURALReflections IG feeds with a rural appeal
@livetohike RURAL MAGAZINE :: 5
Photography: Kristin Pehl
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Photography : Linda Carson
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Christmas traditions Written by Lisa Steele
Eggnog is a holiday tradition at our house. Fresh eggs from our chickens, along with heavy cream, vanilla bean and freshly ground nutmeg, make my eggnog truly a guilty pleasure guaranteed to deliver plenty of holiday cheer. One of the many benefits of raising backyard chickens is the knowledge that the eggs I cook and bake with are fresh and have been handled properly. Since partially cooked eggs can cause salmonella, if you are concerned about contracting it or will be serving this recipe to the elderly, young children, or those with suppressed immune systems, be sure to heat the egg mixture to a temperature of 160 degrees or more. Photography Jen Vandervoort
My recipe contains alcohol, omit it if you want to make a familyfriendly version.
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Homemade Holiday Eggnog (makes approximately 3 quarts) 8 eggs, plus 4 additional eggs, separated 1 3/4 cup sugar 2 cups heavy cream, plus 1/2 cup 6 cups whole milk Vanilla bean 1 Tablespoon vanilla bean paste (or equal amount vanilla extract) 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, plus more for garnish, optional (1 cup liquor bourbon, sherry or brandy, or a combination) Whisk the 8 eggs plus 4 additional yolks with the sugar in a medium bowl until pale yellow and thickened. Set aside. Heat the 2 cups heavy cream, milk and scraped vanilla bean in a large saucepan over mediumlow heat, whisking just until bubbles begin to form around the edges. Add about a cup of the milk mixture into the egg mixture and whisk to blend, then pour the egg/milk mixture into the hot milk in the saucepan and continue to cook, whisking, for about 35 minutes, or until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon (for safety’s sake, be sure the liquid reaches a temperature of 160 degrees to kill any salmonella bacteria). Pour the mixture through a finemesh strainer into a bowl and allow to cool. Once cooled, add the vanilla bean paste, nutmeg and liquors to the eggnog and stir well. In a small bowl, beat the 4 egg whites with a hand mixer until soft peaks form and then gently fold into the eggnog. In a clean chilled bowl, beat the remaining 1/2 cup heavy cream to soft peaks and fold it into the eggnog. Refrigerate until chilled, then garnish with additional fresh grated nutmeg and serve. RURAL MAGAZINE :: 9
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Cosy up! Photography Jen Vandervoort
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"And on the days when the skies are a dark gunmetal gray, and they open up with a fury, we see another glorious scene. One of magic where the whole world is swallowed whole in white. I watch each snowfall as each is different depending on the temperature. And that snow can create such unique scenes.".....read the full post here.
Winter's gifts Donna article, may need image giving excerpt on Nov 12
Photography Donna Donabella
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Written by Judith Rogers
Snowflakes are magical. They form inside a cloud when droplets of water freeze around tiny particles of dust, salt, bacteria or another substance. The icy specs bump into other crystals and freeze together eventually making a flake so heavy it floats to the ground. Snow appears white because visible sunlight is white and snow crystals reflect this light. When the ground has a thick layer of fresh fluffy snow, sound waves are absorbed on the surface. If the surface becomes smooth and hard as it ages or from strong winds it will help reflect sound waves and sounds may be clearer and travel further. Sometimes deep winter snow can hold a secret, one that will reveal itself when the weather plummets well into the minus temperatures of freezing. Frost quakes or cryoseims are rare localized seismic events that occur when a sudden drop in temperature freezes groundwater which then expands and cracks the soil and rock. The crack will release a sudden burst of explosive energy resulting in a loud noise and the shaking of the ground. Frost quakes usually happen between midnight and dawn. Photography Judith Rogers
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Winter in the Country
Winter is not just another season on the prairies, it’s a rite of passage. Each year, the heart leaps like that of a child when the first snowfall delivers enough to lay a delicate carpet of white over everything. At the same time, the adult inside is hopeful that it won’t be necessary to shovel it and prays that the rumours of a mild winter will prove true. The world awakens slowly under a fresh blanket of snow. There is a reverent quality to the hush that hangs in the air under skies heavy with the threat of more weather. The feral cat is snug and warm in the hay bale shelter we constructed for it in the weather beaten shed out back. While inside, our house cat boldly claims the warmest spot in the house, right in front of the fireplace, as though it was her birthright. Written by Carolynn Anctil Photography Carolynn Anctil
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Mother Nature, a master artist, sculpts snowdrifts into abstract things of beauty that glimmer in the sunlight as though made of faerie dust instead of snowflakes. With snow shovel in hand, the wind bites at exposed flesh, raising cherry red marks on cheeks and noses like welts, reminding us that we are fragile creatures. Snowflakes balance precariously on eyelashes and ice crystals dance in the air like magical beings conjured up just for the day.
Things of beauty that glimmer
The winter sun is a flirt. Beaming brightly in a brilliant blue sky, she does not come near enough to warm before sliding away too soon beneath the horizon at day’s end. It’s time to go inside when fingers and toes begin to burn and go numb. Hot drinks, steaming in favourite mugs help to coax warmth back into chilled hands and serve as a welcome reminder that warmer days will return again in the Spring.
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Written by Grace Vanderzande
The temperature is hovering at 13 degrees Celsius, and I cannot wait for the sun to come up. I need to get back out there in the bush with my snowshoes.
Yesterday those neglected, dusty old snowshoes and I were certainly not disappointed in what we had found. A constantly changing canvas, once again repainted with a new base coat of snowwhite paint. Black, grey and brown thicklayered brush strokes depict the bark below. Brush strokes of wispy white attempt to cover the naked branches. There is no way to describe that kind of beauty with mere words. Not being a painter, I tried to capture the brilliance with my camera, in an attempt to freeze that moment in time. RURAL MAGAZINE :: 16
It's a constantly changing canvas, once again repainted.
Deep tracks from a foraging deer cut through the snow, slipping between those dark, naked trees. The tracks headed down the hill to the edge of the pond. This lone deer had walked out onto that frozen pond. It had found the small opening where the cold water bubbles from a never disappointing spring. After quenching its thirst, it headed off to search amongst the trees for anything resembling green, buried under the fresh strokes of white. Those cool damp days of spring where new sprouts of green cover the ground, and the trees above spring forth with life. Those hot, sweltering, droughtdriven summer days where those greens shrivel, turn to brown, and crunch under foot. Sunny, bright fall days full of an incredible palette of colours. The colours falling to the ground like a lush carpet, waiting to once again be repainted. This old canvas recoated, over and over, preserving those beautiful masterpieces below, soothing the soul of this wandering girl with it’s peace and beauty. The sun is up, the canvas needs its audience.
Photography Jen Vandervoort
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The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found? J.B. Priestly PhotographyÂ JenÂ Vandervoort
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Photography Jen Vandervoort
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THE NEW SUPER FOOD FROM ANCIENT CULTURES Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickles are the new super foods that has a traditional history going back thousands of years and encompassing many different cultures. Naturally fermented vegetables and fruits rely on lactic acid to create the right environment for the formation of probiotics.
Lactic-acid fermentation requires 4 basic things: A certain concentration of salt A cool environment An oxygenfree environment Pressure on the food being fermented to keep it submerged in the brine Written by Karen DIggs Photography Karen Diggs www.krautsource.com
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What is lactic acid? Lactic acid is formed as a product of energy exchange during the metabolism of microorganisms in both plants and animals. The formation of lactic acid in foods provides the following benefits: Makes them more digestible Natural preservation of foods Amplifies vitamin content Helps to maintain friendly bacteria in our gut The Emperor Tiberius traveled with sauerkraut to prevent against intestinal infections. Genghis Khan carried sauerkraut on his campaigns to keep his soldiers strong. Captain Cook carried sauerkraut. No scurvy for his sailors! Vikings also carried fermented vegetables on their seafaring adventures. Here’s a simple recipe for making your own sauerkraut: http://www.krautsource.com /sauerkrauthowto
Enter to win! Click here to enter
Kraut Source is giving away 2 single units, Maplewood pounder, spice packet, and Celtic sea salt.
Contest closes 11/28/2015 Visit www.krautsource.com and share your favorite recipe in your entry. Contest open to residents of the US, and Canada. One Canadian, and one US winner will be chosen from entries.
Get 15% off any Kraut Source item use discount code Rural2015 Expires 12/31/15 RURAL MAGAZINE :: 21
“Financial compensation was not received for this post. Sample product was gifted from Quarto Publishing Group. Opinions expressed here are my own.”
Books make great gifts For everyone on your list You've got your list, you've checked it twice, and wow there are more than a few hard to buy for people on it. The perfect gift may lay between the pages of a book. Quarto Publishing Group* is offering you a chance to win copies of the books featured on this page. Visit their website and let us know which book would be the best fit for that hard to buy for person on your list. Contest closes 11/28/2015
Click here to enter Photo: Jen Vandervoort
The Chicken Keepers Journal is full of information and beautiful illustrations and has enough space for your own records.
Get the buzz on bee keeping with this honey of a book
Enter to win these books See page 30 for full details
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*“Financial compensation was not received for this post. Sample product was gifted from Jord Watch. Opinions expressed here are my own.”
JORD Crafted from sustainable wood a Jord watch makes a memorable gift that does more than just mark time. Each elegantly handcrafted wood watch comes packaged in it's own wooden keepsake box. Uniquely created from luxury hardwoods it's precise movements make it a gift to be treasured. Enter to win a $120 coupon towards the Jord watch of your choice. Visit the Jord website here. Click to enter contest and tell us the item # of your favorite watch.
Click here to enter
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Photography tips for dark days
Written by Cindy Garber Iverson Photography: Cindy Garber Iverson
holidays fall during a time when days are shorter and nights are Christmas
longer. The custom of decorating with twinkly lights was probably born from a need to add light to those long nights and has become synonymous with magical Christmas cheer. Trying to capture that magic photographically often seems technically illusive. Have you stood somewhere with your camera in hand and thought, “Oh, that’s such a gorgeous scene” snapped the shutter and then reviewed the image in dismay wondering what went wrong and why the image looks so different than what you saw? RURAL MAGAZINE :: 24
Here are a few things that help when shooting Christmas photographs. Low light requires a stable camera. Movement creates blur, sometimes motion blur is a happy accident, a lot of the time it isn’t. Stabilize the camera by setting it on a flat surface (e.g., table) to take a shot.
Use burst or rapid-shutter mode when shooting people or objects in motion To get a beautiful soft “bokeh” effect for lights in the background, focus on a subject closer to you, then take the shot with a gentle hand pushing the shutter button. If your camera has a timer feature, using it will allow you to put the camera down and take the shot without touching it at all.
An “oopsie” shot isn’t always a mistake Don’t be afraid to bring an image into a photo editor and start pushing the sliders around, that’s how you’ll learn. You may discover a personal imageediting style along the way. Cropping can also work wonders with a seemingly “oopsie” shot. Play around in your photo editor until the image begins to look like what you remember it looking like when you took the shot. Look for photo ops where ever you go. One of my favourite Christmas images was taken under the fluorescent lights of a Dr.s office that I reworked it when I got home. Cindy Garber Iverson is a photographer, artist, and designer living in a semi-rural niche of the San Francisco Bay Area in Northern California. Find her at CindyGarberIverson.com RURAL MAGAZINE :: 25
FRESH CUT Written by Judith Rogers
Having a fresh Christmas tree is a tradition more than a thousand years old and today it supports thriving Christmas tree farms. One acre of their evergreen trees produces enough oxygen to support eighteen people and as an air filter thirteen tons of air pollutants can be removed per acre, per year. The tree farms also attract and sustain wildlife by providing shelter and food from the seedbearing cones. Which evergreen makes the best tree? White pine is wonderfully soft but difficult to hang ornaments on, so better suited for hanging garlands. Scots pine, although not native to Canada has been introduced by the Christmas tree farmers because it is a thick, hardy tree that holds its needles well. They have made good use of it by pruning the trees into rounded, conical shapes. White or Blue spruce has stiff branches, great for heavy ornaments but prickly too which will keep young ones and pets out of it. This variety requires a lot of water on a regular basis. Photography Jen Vandervoort
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It's important to recut the tree trunk when you get home. :: Fir trees are chosen for their durability to retain their needles and last a long time in standing water. ::Whether it be a Fraser or Balsam, both have a heady fragrance and are distinguished by the flat needles as opposed to the square or rounded ones of the spruces. ::It takes seven to ten years in the field to produce a six to sevenfoot fir tree that could be the perfect one for you. Whether purchased from a lot or cut down by yourself, when the tree arrives home it is important to recut the tree trunk flat across – not on an angle because the water travels up the outside cells of the trunk and will need that full surface to accomplish this. The fresh cut will expose new cells for water intake, which, if monitored carefully should keep a tree fresh for several weeks. If the water reservoir is allowed to dry out, the cells will close over the exposed trunk causing needles to fall and it will have to be recut again.
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Christmas Eve Companions
Written by Susan Troccolo Photography: Susan Troccolo
Our home is warm with a crackling fire and glowing white lights on the mantle. From the stereo a choir sings Silent Night. My father, who is 92 years old, sits quietly with Carmela, my husband’s mother, who is 97 now. I study them from the kitchen, tears in my eyes. Their white hair is soft in the warm light and their heads are barely slanted towards each other. They are friends. They have both lost spouses in Christmas’ long ago. I go into the family room…"Can I get you something?…Mom? Dad?” “No,” Carmela says,” Susan, you are disturbing our reverie.” She smiles, but I see that she is right. They have need of nothing now. Time is all they have left. Time and this warm fire. In six months, Carmela will be gone. Dad will write me a letter: he was glad to have spent Christmas with us this year. He says he will miss Carmela so much. I see that mom knew what I did not know, that all any of us have left is the moment: the white lights, the warm fire. And the peace of an old friend at your side. RURAL MAGAZINE :: 28
FOR CHRISTMAS SPIRIT
Christmas is a stressful, and expensive time. There isn’t enough time or money as I try to capture elusive Christmas spirit, I know it isn’t something you buy. I'm beginning to suspect that Christmas is in the details, enjoying peace and quiet, going for a walk to look at Christmas lights, sipping hot cocoa by candlelight while listening to Christmas carols. I love going for walks in December, especially after a big storm when the fragrance of fir and pine and cedar is heavy in the air. It is impossible to resist collecting branches and cones to take home.
1. A five twiggy star is a simple project using five sticks that are roughly the same length. In my sample, I've used red dogwood, you can also use pussy willow branches or mossy sticks from the woods. Five rubber bands make things easy. Attach to the sticks, and once you're happy with the shape add some ribbon, and sprigs of greens.
3. 1.Coat hanger wreath 2.Twiggy star 3.Birchbark star cutout 4.Twine wreath
Written by Christina Linder Photography Christina Linder
For a simple wreath, start with a wire coat hanger, shape it into a circle. Gather your greens and attach them to the hanger with wire, and decorate. You can make it thicker by using more greens. Smaller wreaths can be used to decorate place settings, hang in a window, or where you want just a little tiny bit of Christmas charm. I hope you find the time for forage walks this December, and that both you and I will be able to find some peace while putting together a wreath and contemplating what Christmas really means to each of us. RURAL MAGAZINE :: 29
Gatherings RURAL MAGAZINE
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