This weekend we welcomed the Winter Solstice, and along with it the longest night of the year here in the Northeast. It is always a potent time in which we nestle in with a warm cup of tea or broth welcoming the sense of quiet solitude with open arms. Winter has indeed arrived.
We are reminded that light is ephemeral in our temperate climate. Each year, we hear ourselves and loved ones remark at how early the evening arrives (hello 4:12pm sunset) and how late the sun peaks over the horizon in the morning. We sense our bodies shifting their circadian rhythms and asking for more rest and slowness. And for some of us, we find our mood shifting in response to the fading sunshine. This causes us to ask, how do we maintain a sense of light and resilience throughout the year? Where can we find the sparks of creativity, joy, or movement that keep us balanced through the months of colder weather ahead?
In Chinese Medicine, this season is associated with the qualities of the Water element, or phase as it is often referred to. It is punctuated as a time of stillness, intuition, self-reflection, and ultimate receptivity. It is this stillness that reminds us to preserve and restore our vitality, or Qi, after the hyperactivity of previous months. It allows us to turn inward to take stock of our resources, reconnect with our identity and dreams, and reaffirm the wisdom we have gained with another earthly rotation. Winter is also a time where we may experience fear, anxieties, or a sense of scarcity. Yet, as the resilience of nature shows us, we have the capacity to surmount those fears with defiant courage. With the solstice behind now past, the days are become lighter and we are reminded that there is dynamic change all around us. There is potential and momentum. These are some of the reminders that keep a warm sense of light within us as we shift into the slower season of Vermont's winter.
Relaxing into the slowness of winter can feel incredibly easy after a long season on the farm. Our bodies certainly crave time to recharge and regenerate, and honestly becoming hermits seems like a great idea. Yet, we find that's invaluable to balance that stillness with some sense of motion to truly nourish body and soul. These are some of our collective favorite winter activities to inspire and elevate:
Read! This is the time of year we actually get to be bookworms. We try to strike a balance between juicy non-fiction, fantasy, and of course herbal medicine and farming texts. Some of our current favorites include: Chasing the Scream by Johann Hari, The Resilient Farm & Homestead by Ben Falk, The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer by Jeff + Melanie Carpenter, and Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
Yoga - We like to mix it up between restorative yin and activating vinyasa flows to maintain our physical and mental flexibility. This form of gentle exercise and breath work can be incredibly supportive to dissuading the winter blues, especially when combined with our CBD Oil.
Live Music - Our team is comprised of huge music lovers. We give ourselves space to go enjoy some of our favorite artists and enthusiastically dance with fellow fans.
Journaling - This can take many forms, from actual prose to just absent-minded doodling. Our Co-Founder Joe is a budding poet and continues to use this as a tool of inspiration and reflection.
Skiing - As children of the Northeast we grew up skiing. It's one of our favorite ways to keep the blood moving and connect with Mother Nature while she's blanketed in snow.
Cooking - We revel in having more time and space to prepare nourishing food for ourselves and loved ones this time of year. We tends towards making a lot of bone and vegetable broths that then become soups and stews of all kinds. We also allow ourselves some decadent homemade treats, like Sarah's CBD Cacao Truffles (see recipe below).
CBD Cacao Truffles
Yields Approx 30 Truffles - 5mg CBD Each
What You'll Need:
Medium Saucepan with double boiler insert
1 Cup Fair Trade Cocoa Butter (can use coconut oil, but truffles will need to be kept in fridge to prevent melting)
1 Cup Raw Cacao Powder
1/2 Cup Maple Syrup (less or more depending on your desired sweetness. Can sub for honey here as well!)
2 Tablespoons (Approx. 15 g) Reishi Mushroom Powder (optional- try substituting for some of your favorite herbal powders. We also like ashwagandha, shatavari, eleuthero and astragalus)
1/4- 1/2 Teaspoon (Approx. 1-1.5g) Ginger Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Pinch of Ground Nutmeg
Hillside Botanicals 600mg CBD Oil (Optional)
Crystallized Ginger or Shredded Coconut for toppings (optional)
Add cocoa butter to double boiler and turn on med-low heat, allowing it to slowly melt.
While cocoa butter melts, mix cacao powder, ginger, nutmeg and reishi powder (or your choice of herb powder) in a separate bowl.
Add 0.25ml of CBD oil to each chocolate mold - this will dose approximately 5 full spectrum CBD to each truffle
Once melted, remove cocoa butter from heat and slowly whisk in maple syrup. Then begin whisking in powder mix until a pudding texture is achieved. *Note: beware of getting water in your mix, it will cause the consistency to turn very mealy.
Carefully spoon or pour your chocolatey mix into the molds. If you're adding the CBD oil you'll want to gently stir the mix in the mold while it is still a warm pudding consistency. You can use a toothpick or the handle of a small spoon - whatever you have on hand!
Place the molds in the freezer for a few hours to let them set. Remove from freezer and remove carefully from the molds.
Add toppings as desired, and enjoy this decadent treat!
However you choose to welcome Winter, we wish you warmth, light, and well-being.