hump day nuggets: hunker down

hump day nuggets: little bits of the season in photos and words about the last week

I am seated to study my last week and stitch together my nuggets. I like blogging, obv, and I especially enjoy the nuggets. It’s my space to get real and look, from a curatorial perspective, at my life right this minute.


When combing through the last week’s photos, I saw a lot of play, food, lounging, and hunkering down. I like the phrase and I googled it, curious about the origin. Apparently it came from the Scots in the 18th Century. I am kind of Scottish. More Welsh and Irish but the family tree keeps shifting so who knows. Turns out my ancestors crafted some stories to cover history. Anyway, it’s in my blood to like this phrase.

Here, Alice hunkers down.

Hun´ker down (v.)
1. to crouch or squat; to sit on one’s haunches.
2. to settle in at a location for an extended period; also (figuratively) to maintain a position and resist yielding to some pressure, as of public opinion.
3. to take shelter, literally or figuratively; to assume a defensive position to resist difficulties.

PhotobucketHere, Ruby hunkers down.

1. to crouch or squat; to sit on one’s haunches.

:: Contemplative time arranging beads.


:: Joyous (and slightly dangerous) time teaching little sisters how to ride ponies.


:: I’ve tried a couple of times to capture Ruby when her papa comes home from work. So far, this is the only photo that *almost* speaks to her love for him. She squeals and crawls as fast as she can, her little knees audibly pattering across the floor.


:: Hilarious time experimenting with my new tripod. (Thanks mom and dad. xo)

photo directed by Margot and made possible by Tripod

:: And, even more hilarious time teaching Margot how to use her new camera. (Thanks Gramma Joan. xo)


2. to settle in at a location for an extended period; also (figuratively) to maintain a position and resist yielding to some pressure, as of public opinion.

We’ve been eating well. Simple stuff. Good stuff that highlights the flavors of the food we grew and preserved last season. I think I made the best chili I’ve ever made and, like every soup I make, have no idea what I did because I taste and add and taste and add until it’s good. It was good.

Oh the pressure cooker! Previously, we only used it for canning and why, why??! It cooks perfectly perfect beans in like 26 minutes (instead of 24 hours). 

And, we are out of our tomato sauce which I just cannot believe but it’s true. Lots of pizza and pasta and soup and *poof*. Next year will be the year I preserve enough. I say that every year BUT this year will be the year. ha.

:: Tofu Peanut Udon Noodles ::
We make this, or variations of it a lot. Our whole fam loves it.

– a few tablespoons canola oil
– tofu*, chopped in smallish cubes (3/4 inch)
– udon or soba noodles
– two carrots, julienned or chopped
– one broccoli stalk, crown coarsely chopped and stem finely chopped
– 1/2 cup peanut butter (again, not talking skippy. We use Maranatha.)
– a few tablespoons water
– soy sauce
– bunch green onions, chopped
– peanuts, chopped

*We purchase locally made tofu. We also really like Surata. Fresh and firm are key. 


Cut tofu slab in half length-wise and press water out. I use a clean dish towel placed under the tofu and then folded over the top and a few cookbooks on top to weight it down and squeeze out water. Let it sit for 10-30 minutes or really any amount of time will help. Cook noodles and set aside. Heat oil in skillet on high for a minute. Add tofu and cook until browned on all sides, flipping every five minutes. Mix peanut butter and water with a fork until it is liquidy and uniform, like the consistency of thick yogurt. Add carrots, broccoli to tofu. Stir frequently for a few minutes until veggies are bright. Add peanut butter water mixture. Add a bit more water if necessary. Toss. Turn off heat. Quickly add soy sauce and noodles and toss until just mixed. Don’t over stir. Garnish with green onion and peanuts. It’s also great with some kick. We like Sambal Oelek Chili Paste.

:: The weather has necessitated a lot of post-activity hot cocoa.


We make it ourselves with whole milk, cocoa and sugar. It’s an excellent way to have a delicious, special sweet treat without all that packaging, cost and extra sug.


3. to take shelter, literally or figuratively; to assume a defensive position to resist difficulties.

:: I am thankful Margot has overcome her recent, sudden fear of our chickens. During last weekend’s chicken chores she was all up in the chicken gossip like old days.


:: If you are considering making the switch to humanely raised eggs and meat, let our sweet hen, 16 Months, give you that last nudge.

I like to roam and be held. I like to flap my wings and cuddle with my chicken pals.

:: The cold, cold weather has made for super short adventures but we still adventure. Shortly.

Just the girls and me on a hike. Holy workout wearing Ruby and pulling that sled with Margot up hill in new snow.


:: A trip to our favorite sandwich shop.


:: It is totally worth the 45-minute getting-dressed session to be in silent, perfect beauty just minutes from our front door.


In the winter, even the trees hunker down.


In the winter, every little thing gets groovy and crouches, settles, maintains, takes shelter and resists difficulties. Wherever you are, are you hunkered down under the same moon, spinning on the same planet?

Happy hump day out there.

61 Responses to hump day nuggets: hunker down

  1. Tara says:

    Our chickens we got in June have finally started laying. We have blue and brown eggs! Love your photos! I’m wishing for a productive garden this year too!

  2. Kelle says:

    Loving the sandwich shop photo. Wish we could have chickens but I’m damn near sure it’s not allowed here. This post makes me feel peaceful.

  3. jen says:

    soso want my own chickens, but i fear i have too many lives to keep living in this house already. someday though! this season is all about hunkering down … its when i finally get good at telling people no also. bc i kinda like just being homey.

  4. RMAinMD says:

    “she was all up in the chicken gossip like old days”

    ruby’s sweet smile while she rests her little head on her papa’s shoulders and gives him love

    “miss thing” gazing at the products upon the shelves, i imagine her mind is swirling with thoughts of what to choose

    (word verification,,,”floota”) I like this word, need to come up with a definition

  5. Maria says:

    *big sigh* what a beautiful post.
    There’s a big difference between Montana snow & New Jersey snow. I’ve been lookin’ for perfect snowflakes but all we have here are some dirty piles hugging the curbs, tinged slightly yellow.
    What beautiful pictures! Your girls are lucky to have a Mama like you & to live in a place like that.
    p.s. Daddy seems pretty cool too!

  6. Natalie says:

    I’ve been following your blog for just a short time…found you through Kelle’s and I just have to say that while our lives are completely different, it’s pretty damn cool to see that as mama’s we’re all a lot more a like than we think. Thanks for sharing your life! You take some very beautiful pictures, too!

  7. Your hump day nuggets always make me want to move to Montana. :) Love the photos!

  8. TRB Holt says:

    HAD TO post quick…..8!! IS MY LUCKY NUMBER!!!! Now to go read…..I’ll be back!


  9. Marti says:

    It’s funny how living in GA we are always yelling “Hunker down dawgs!” at the GA games – to bad they didn’t do much “hunkering down” this year. Boo!

    I use to go get eggs from the chickens every morning when I was little. I loved going out there every morning with my Mama Hancock. I got butted by the billy goats a few times but nothing too bad. We had some MEAN turkey’s…I learned how to climb trees at a young age because of them. And I would usually have to kick the rooster twice while collecting the eggs. I bet there were at least 30 chickens maybe more. All of the animals were gone by the time I was a teenager but I still walk out to that chicken coop when I visit and it seems so small now.

    If I am ever lucky enough to build a house on my Dad’s land I will probably get a few chickens…one can only dream.

  10. Callie says:

    I’ve been checking in on your beautiful family for a few months now—well, maybe even since this summer when Kelle came out to see you guys.

    And I just wanted to say that I love your photos and even more your outlook. And your adorable girls.

    Also, I love the phrase “all up in the chicken gossip”.

    And, this might be a dumb question, but it is a sincere one, what do you mean by the “good” tofu? I normally buy extra firm at the grocery store, but should I be getting it somewhere else? I’m a tofu newbie (having only just decided I liked it in the past year) and I want to learn how to make it even better!

  11. Ellie says:

    I just woke up this morning to realize…dang…forgot to soak beans overnight – but you and your pressure cooker…hmmmm, I like it! Lovely pictures, words and thoughts, as always – can’t believe how grown-up Ruby looks on that horse. Thank you again for letting us glimpse your lovely life.

  12. Taylor K says:

    I agree with Kelle. This post makes me feel very peaceful. It also makes me ache for my mountains. I miss them. Margot takes a good picture! Well done little miss.

  13. Hey chicken people,

    Even if you can’t/don’t want your own chickens, someone very close to you has chickens and will sell you eggs. Check craigslist, call your local county extension office. It’s possible and it’s important. Vote with your money.

    Marti, What lovely memories.

    Ellie, Get a pressure cooker! Amazing.

    RMA, what’s your definition for floota?

    Callie, Extra firm is a must but also the freshness and quality matters. We buy our tofu from a local business and, I’ll tell you, I will never go back. It’s amazingly better than the best tofu I had eaten before. As far as widely distributed tofu goes, I have a favorite that has a scrolly blue, east Indian-looking label…shoot. I’ll get you the name.

  14. Sage says:

    Miss Nici, we are most definitely hunkering down here in SLC. It’s been cold, 20 degrees today… which you may be balking at, but for us lake effect wasatch fronters, that is pretty chilly. However, I am from the northern part of the state, so I do know cold… don’t get me wrong. :)

    Anyhow, 37 weeks and so much of the last month has been spent indoors, playing games, folding and refolding baby clothes, drinking tea, and… well waiting. And we are still waiting. I think my mind is in total “hunker down” mode.

    I am fortuate to have my dad’s chickens for Annica and I to get our “chicken fix” just an hour away, but after seeing these pics with margot, well the pure bliss on her face makes me want some of our own.

    It is amazing to me how Ruby has grown…. she looks so big on the horse with margot. And I have been meaning to ask, where oh where did you get your amazing sled? A vintage hand-me-down perhaps? If not, do tell, because I think I need one for next winter.


  15. Sage, I love that last bit of waiting and folding baby clothes. Well, when I am in it I kinda want it to be over but, oh, the memory of that excitement. The best.

    I scored that sled at a garage sale for $5! It is the best. I don’t think it is vintage and I am pretty sure I have seen them at Ace Hardware.

  16. nic says:

    i just found you (via shannan), and i’m so glad she has such a dandy blogroll. i adore your chickens and your sled and the fact that you hail from the same cooking school i do.

    plus also, anyone who regularly employs the phrase ‘hunkering down’ has a lot of good things going on.

    lovely to meet you.

  17. Sarah Holden says:

    I have been meaning to ask……..where did you get the sled for the girls??? Looks right up my alley, we are on the hunt for a nice sled to pull our two girlies in………
    you can email if easier……purepanic76 at

  18. joan says:

    That was fun. I am trying that recipe for sure it looks great. Glad MB is learning how to use her camera. Thanks for the birthday song. Loved it.

  19. RMAinMD says:

    ,,,response to your question,,,

    ,,,floota: noun; a woman who is between 93 and 114 years of age who performs geriatric porn,,,

  20. Melina says:

    I am hunkered down. In a strange little cut-out pocket of the Washington DC airport. (I don’t want to say the name of the president this airport is named after ’cause I don’t like him!)

    This is not my favorite type of hunkered down. But I do have two hours of (costly) internet and some snacks. So, not too terrible.

    I was so glad to open my blogrole reader thing and see a new post. Excellent timing!

    I love the photo of the cool sandwhich shop. I’d love to see some more photos of Missoula and your family hanging out there!


  21. Anonymous says:

    Sorry I haven’t had a chance to comment much but please know that I look forward to reading every single post — hump day nuggets, mama digs and others. Looks as if nobody has ever had a better week of hunkering down! I am not a tofu fan but your recipe looks delish and has me curious if I would like it.

    Jill B (Overland Park, KS)

  22. Susan S. says:

    Callie, thanks for asking about the “good tofu.” I was wondering, too! I have a recipe that requires tofu in which the role of tofu is frequently played by leftover roast turkey or chicken. Maybe that would work in Nici’s FAB recipe, too? Nici, thanks so much for digging up the name of the tofu you recommend. I am REALLY looking foreward to trying this recipe!

  23. Whitney says:

    Posts like this make me feel like my wrinkles would go away and I would instantly be stress-free, if only I lived in Montana.

  24. Gramomster says:

    With Nici on the tofu. Extra firm, fresher the better, took me over 2 years after moving here (West Michigan) to find good tofu after living in Seattle and Northern CA.
    When we went to Missoula last summer, I had a grocery bliss moment… standing in Good Food Store, realizing I had YaYa’s Herb Popcorn, Hibiscus Cooler and Tofu Cutlets from local tofu, made in-store, for the first time since 1997. Heaven, I tell you. Heaven.

  25. LeLo says:

    You’ve inspired some hunkering down here. I love that even the trees hunker down. 😉

    Happy new year to you and your whole brood!

  26. Susan S. says:

    Gramomster, I’m currently in Seattle but can’t find any “good” tofu. Pretty sure that’s because I don’t know what I’m looking for. :-) Where and what did you buy? I experienced Good Food Store myself last summer. BLISS!

  27. Gramomster says:

    Susan, I used to get tofu from the University District Whole Foods on Rooseveldt. I think PCC also has good stuff. As Nici said, extra firm!
    I’ll shoot my sis a message, ask her where she buys now. I left Seattle 10 years ago, so my info and habits aren’t exactly up-to-date. LOL!

    And I gotta say… hunkering down is sooooo my thing this winter! I am hunkering hard. My bestest things this winter are my Snuggie, my slippers, my books and my tea.

    That deli looks great! Those shelves go so high! I feel like it must be like looking up a redwood for Margot :-)

    And that blue sky… oh love. Crazy beautiful.

  28. Gramomster says:

    Susan, I used to get tofu from the University District Whole Foods on Rooseveldt. I think PCC also has good stuff. As Nici said, extra firm!
    I’ll shoot my sis a message, ask her where she buys now. I left Seattle 10 years ago, so my info and habits aren’t exactly up-to-date. LOL!

    And I gotta say… hunkering down is sooooo my thing this winter! I am hunkering hard. My bestest things this winter are my Snuggie, my slippers, my books and my tea.

    That deli looks great! Those shelves go so high! I feel like it must be like looking up a redwood for Margot :-)

    And that blue sky… oh love. Crazy beautiful.

  29. Susan S. says:

    Thanks, Gramomster! I’ll check it out!

  30. Katie says:

    I had a horse just like that as a kid – it was my Dad’s (he was raised in Kalispell). And I love that Margot has her own camera! Start ’em young I say.

  31. Jennifer says:

    I’d like to make a reservation at the Nici Bed & Breakfast and a guided tour through the snow! :o)

  32. kate says:

    Wonderful! THanks for the nuggets! Great post today! Enjoy the season …

  33. Gramomster says:

    Susan — Hannah says she gets Nasoya at Whole Foods.

  34. Jean says:

    I saw a pet chicken living indoors in a movie recently. Do you think they can be house-trained? I have my doubts, but would love to have a chicken running around it here, especially if it laid eggs.

    Thanks for the recipe. I’m gonna make it.

    Hugs to y’all. xoxo

  35. Kate says:

    We’re hunkered down too. My babe is sick and we’re all living on our bed…two grownups and sick almost-one-year-old, two regular cats and the fat lady (our obese love-hound of a cat).

    Love your nuggets – I have to investigate locally-made tofu…I’m not digging the store-bought stuff and babe is getting picky with it. Love your chickens too…they’re beautiful. We had chickens growing up and I’d love to have some chicken-family again.

    Great post for the middle of this never-ending winter.

  36. Finally remembered at 5am this morning!

    Surata Organic Firm Tofu.

  37. Lois Lane says:

    I second Marti’s comment. I love the phrase “Hunker Down Dogs” which I learned at UGA but to me it has a “dig deep,” “keep fighting” kind of connotation as opposed to the peaceful, cuddly connotation i get from your post. I like both meanings. And luv you!

  38. FinnyKnits says:

    #1 You look beautiful. That should be the first thing I say, always, because it’s stunningly true.

    #2 I love that your chickens like to cuddle. I WOULD CUDDLE THAT CHICKEN. I’m also glad that Margot has overcome her fear, suddenly.

    #3 I can’t get enough of dogs in the snow. The pure joy of it all.

    #4 When did I start numbering things? Weird.

  39. Susan S. says:

    Thanks very much, Nici and Gramomster, for the tofu recommendations! I know this will make all the tofu difference. SO looking forward to trying that recipe!!!

  40. such a nice post. I haven’t been here for a while and i am so glad i stopped by for your nuggets! You are a beautiful writer!

  41. KWQR says:

    Lovely nuggets! I swear that photo of Alice running in the woods is exactly from my dream last week of our hike in the woods. Cool.
    We’ve been hunkered down the past week & are getting ready to un-hunker & fly across country for my in-law’s 50th anniversary. Boys are staying at my Mom’s so it will be a solo trip just me & hubby. Am so excited to fly without kids… I think I will be the mellowest traveler around. Delays? No problem, I’ve got a stack of magazines & books & no one else’s needs to worry about!
    Love your happy chickens… we get eggs from my mom or a friend in town. No going back to grocery store eggs after having the real deal. Can’t wait to try your noodle recipe… looks delish.
    Happy hunkering!

  42. elissa says:

    hi! melina of the wilder coast told me about you- your blog is great! i also sew, and i’m expecting my first baby in… ugh, 2 weeks (can’t it be sooner?!), but i’ve been taking advantage of nesting, which has motivated me to sew millions of little outfits and cloth diapers and crib sheets, etc.

    your pictures are beautiful!


  43. Gramomster says:

    Elissa… LOL! You sound very much in hunker-mode!

    Though my youngest is almost 19, I soooo remember that last bit of pregnancy being sooooo long. My best friend always said, ‘Pregnancy is a month too long. It’s exactly long enough to make labor sound like a really GOOD idea!’

    Susan… good luck with the tofu! The good stuff does make all the difference in the world. I’m so making the peanut soba recipe this weekend!

  44. elissa says:

    yeah- I welcome labor at this point!

  45. Sarah B says:

    Love “hunkering” down as well! Your blog is really cool. I love your style and how you photograph-you are an inspiration!


  46. Amy K says:

    Can’t wait to try the peanut tofu recipe. Your girls are absolutely adorable!!!

  47. Anonymous says:

    Though I love to hunker down, I also love a long hike, and I’ve been searching for a terrific new pair of hiking boots/shoes. Would you mind sharing the brand of the pair you are wearing in this post? They look divine.

  48. A friend of mine called the years with young children “the hunker down years.”
    So true. Love seeing all the ways in which your family enjoys its hunkering!

  49. Christi says:

    Can’t wait to try the yummy recipes. I made your pie crust and it was amazing! Couldn’t believe how easy it was. I love to “hunker down” especially after all of the excitement of the Holidays!
    6512 and growing! I love that “the hunker down years” very true!

  50. this is one of my favorite blogs. you capture life so well.

  51. Brandi says:

    Is that a Piper and Paisley “slouch hat” you are wearing? Super adorable. Also, what are the boots you have on. I have Christmas money burning a hole in my pocket and dig your style! :)
    Love and read your blog religiously!

  52. Catherine says:

    So much beauty here as always! And isn’t Maranatha peanut butter the best??

  53. j210209 says:

    I found your blog a few months ago when Kelle came to visit you and I just wanted to say how beautiful your life is :)
    Your girls are gorgeous and like Kelle you inspire me to be a better Mummy.

    Oh and I really want chickens. We have a big enough garden so maybe one day! x

  54. Anonymous says:


    This past week I’ve been hunkered down with the flu and it was very validating to read your post knowing that there is someone else out there hunkering down. From your photos and words, I get such a sense of the personalities of your girls. I love how Margot is so authentic- seeing her in all her glory no apologies no hesitations reminds me to not be afraid to be me! She has such a strong and joyful spirit! You can see it in her face… she lives life to the fullest!!! And Ruby…. she is fiery and edible… :0) I just want you to know I learn from you, your blog, and your girls. Thank you!

    Much Love, Val-Marie

  55. Anonymous says:

    Ooooooh…how did you know I was in the store today looking at every label on every hot chocolate box/mix and putting them each back on the shelf. Hydrogenated oils and corn syrup. No thanks! We used some good chocolate milk instead and heated. Perfect. I am going to get some powdered cocoa though and try that too. :)

  56. Questions about my hat and boots, both of which I am in love with:

    Hat, Piper and Paisley
    (15% off, coupon code: digthischick)

    Boots: Ulu

  57. I know you’re a chicken Mommy, and a good one at that, I just wanted to say because of Betty’s chicken egg allergy, we’ve been sponsoring a duck. Our friends have a bunch and we buy the food in exchange for eggs. Betty can handle the duck eggs and — oh my — baking with duck eggs gives THE BEST fluffy baked goods. You can’t taste a difference — even in organic meatloaf, pancakes. Unless you eat it fried or scrambled. Then, well, it squeeks a lot on your teeth. Have you thought of getting ducks? Do you know any good duck books? We may get one for 4H.

  58. Joy says:

    loved this…Gracee is so bummed because the runner-up name we had for her was Ruby..she makes us call her Ruby at times when we are in public and is forever telling us that she looks more like a Ruby than a Gracee! So she is slightly put off that your Ruby has her name that she really wanted. cracks me up. We live on a farm and have entertained the chicken thing but what is holding me back is that I have a friend who has a health food store who has chickens that are free-ranged (if that is the correct term) and we buy her eggs…less work involved. But now that my girl has seen yours loving up those chickens it may just be in our future..great post!

  59. sarah says:

    crazy! just tonight i was feeling cold (we got a ton of snow last night / today!) so i was in the mood for hot chocolate, but had none, so googled how to make hot chocolate from baking cocoa and did it! it was super good (i used rice mlk, of course). but ya, never going back to the Trader Joe’s tin again!

  60. Could you post your cocoa recipe? I’ve always wanted to make my own after having heard my husband talk about the cocoa his Grandma used to make when he was a kid. Pretty please?

  61. Great, thanks for sharing this blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Fantastic.