How to survive the relentless greyness of January

There is no escaping the endless parade of grey, rainy, and cold days of a winter in the Northwest . . .

Even as I notice nature's hopeful signs of approaching Spring, the persistent grey blanket of weather wears me down.  No amount of snowshoeing on brilliant mountaintops, observing the new green shoots coming on, and no amount of vicariously enjoying the travel blogs of folks in sunnier climes can lift me out of this sodden, mossy, grey funk.

What's a person to do?  Chocolate, Wine and Beer my friends, that's what!

Every year Portland hosts the Chocolate Fest, a benefit for the World Forestry Center.  Chocolate fest is over 85 vendors of fine chocolate, wine, beer and even boutique vinegars all providing little samples of pure sunshine and joy.

If you think you know something about chocolate - think again.  Unroasted, organic, infused with everything from sea salt to citrus and beyond, every chocolatier has something different and scrumptious.  Habanero, jalapeno, and cayenne are very big and will definitely clear your sinuses while delighting your palate.
Photo from the Chocolate Fest site - but I'm down there somewhere.

Now, I think I can make it until Spring . . .

After several hours of sampling, a few judicious purchases - Habanero dark chocolate caramels with sea salt; Lime Cilantro White Chocolate, and some amazing truffles from Arrowhead Chocolates - I feel I might just make it to Spring - or at least until Spring camping.  Hmmm . . . . I could go camping over at Wallowa Lake State Park - which, coincidently, is very close to Arrowhead Chocolates.

Freezing fog outlining everything in silver!

I didn't notice this spiderweb until this morning!

Another spiderweb

The Annas hummingbirds were chittering away at me from the trees until I got the feeder thawed out and rehung for them.

Silver lace on lots of plants

And this poor confused rose

The big mountain out in all it's glory!!

Warm enough to 'shoe in short sleeves!

Broke through the inversion layer and fog in the valley to a brilliantly sunny and mild day on the mountain.  White River is a great cross-country ski, snowshoe and general 'play-in-the-snow' area with fantastic views of Mount Hood.  After lunch, we almost fell asleep on our tarps in the sun!

Mt Hood in the background

White River basin - the water was very clear and I loved the sound of rushing water.

This is turning out to be a good year for snow down low enough for good nordic skiing and snowshoeing.

What to love in January?

Even though it's still dark and cold, there are signs of spring!

The crocus are starting to peek up thru the mulch, trees are getting buds, and so are the rhodies. 

Signs of spring help get me through the last part of winter - what gets you through the dark months?

shiitake 'shrooms!

Best present ever!! Friends gave me a kit from that will grow about 2.5 pounds of shiitakes over the lifespan of the kit.

I'm thinking shiitake risotto.

What are your favorite mushroom recipes?

test publish from my new nexus 10!

I think a tablet will be a great way to stay connected on the road.   so far I'm having a great time with it.  Using my smartphone as a mobile hot spot keeps me connected almost anywhere.

Also, I want to experiment with a sketching program.  Myrna, over at creativity journal is doing some very interesting things on her ipad.