Order Tara's Bicycle Touring Cookbook Today!

Sleeping Under the Stars

by Tara

We've been sleeping outside every night for over a week now, and we have no intention of stopping anytime soon. Usually, around 10PM, we bundle up, grab our books and headlamps, and say goodnight to Tyler's mom, Jodi. Invariably she'll exclaim something like, "it's getting down to 20°F tonight!", and we'll smile, assuring her that we'll be plenty warm, and make for the door.

Then comes my favorite part: the first step into the great outdoors, when a vast sky of brilliant stars towers above, and a cold, early-winter wind blows in my face. Last night, we were scared half to death by a great flapping and wooshing of wings on our way to the tent—an owl had taken flight from its perch in the trees overhead. It's moments like this that make me feel fully alive.

Jupiter & Moon Behind Bare Tree

When the initial rush of being outside has passed, and the chill air creeps towards my bones, we scurry into the tent, burrow deep into our sleeping bag, and settle in for an hour or so of reading by headlamp, before falling fast, fast asleep.

Tara Reading in the Sleepingbag

In the morning, we poke our heads out of our warm cocoon, and a rush of cold air seeps into the nooks, crannies, and nether-reaches of our sleeping bag. Then, we slip out of our downy bed, and pad groggily back to the house, shoes crunching atop frozen grass and leaves. It’s very still and dark out; often, the world is wrapped in thick pillows of fog.

Safely indoors, we gravitate like moths to a flame, fluttering to the fireplace in the living room. Taking up residence in front of the hearth, I am so grateful for it's warmth. Tyler and I sit close, reading as we bask in its flickering glow, feeling quiet and contemplative and content. And yet, some part of me remains restless and filled with longing; I cannot wait until we're warming ourselves by a fire in the woods of Vermont!

Tara Reading by the Fire

The world outside gradually lightens, and so begins another day.

Previous Entry
Modeling Our Home


    So relaxing and fun! Maybe we should set up a tent in our backyard sometimes. Reading by the fire in the morning sounds wonderful! Right now I'm hanging out with a 2 year old in the too, but in a different way I suppose :)
    Posted by sarah on December 11th, 2011 at 11:12 PM
    What a beautiful little post, you capture so neatly the thrill of sleeping out, and the contrasts of outside and inside. Are you in a tent or bivvi bag or just sleeping bags under the stars?
    Posted by Stuart on December 12th, 2011 at 6:30 AM
    Sarah - You should totally set up your tent in the backyard! Perhaps you could make a fire pit outside or sit in front of one of those chimenea type things? Or you could even go on an overnight bike tour with Isaac! :-)

    Stuart - Thank you! For our backyard camping, we sleep in our tent. It's not meant to be used in winter, but I find I can sleep comfortably in it (under our down sleeping bag) in temperatures as cold as 15 degrees or so (Fahrenheit). We're looking forward to the first big snowfall, so we can build an igloo and sleep in that!
    Posted by Tara on December 12th, 2011 at 12:43 PM
    Lovely! I am also restless for our dreams to begin. The farm feels so close but so very far away sometimes. But you must be keeping busy in the meantime so you don't go stir crazy?
    Posted by SavvyChristine on December 15th, 2011 at 10:30 AM
    SavvyChristine - Oh yes, we're keeping busy! We've been working hard to pay off the land, writing a cycle touring cookbook, and helping take care of my grandparents. Lots of life happening in the meantime before we go to the woods. :-)
    Posted by Tara on December 18th, 2011 at 10:32 AM