Welcome to our 1864 farmhouse…life is good!


Wednesday, February 28

oh the fickle weather!

 If I didn't know it was February, yesterday's weather would have me absolutely believing it was April. I woke up to bright, cheery sunshine and a breeze so warm that I found myself opening windows. Before long, the temperature was 67 degrees - unheard of in a month that has an average snowfall of 6-10 inches and is the second snowiest month. 

It was the kind of day that tempts me to forget indoor chores and decide to get my hands and knees dirty tinkering in the garden, plotting and planning on changes to make, while dreaming of sun-kissed tomatoes. Yes, it would have been a terrific jump-start on the garden to-do list, but I resisted.





Yesterday my plan was to finish sorting the computer room closet...and when I say closet, I'm being generous. It's one of those tiny spaces tucked under the stairs in old homes, where the ceiling gradually gets lower and lower - no standing up in the back! And while it's small, and truly, can't hold much, it was certainly overflowing with paperwork. I ended the day with most of it done, happy that on Wednesday I'd wrap it up for certain.




Except that today I'm a bit sluggish...there's nothing like the adrenaline surge from a 5:30 AM Emergency Alert for a Tornado Warning - in February? Shaking the cobwebs out I read the words, "TAKE COVER NOW!" and quickly made a mental checklist: blankets, ID, flashlights, phone chargers, etc. ready to move to the basement? And while we were spared any damage, unfortunately some areas saw winds gusting at 60-110 mph and weren't as fortunate.

And so yesterday's hint of Spring is now long gone...today it is bleak with icy winds finding every way possible inside a house built 160 years ago. Tonight the low is expected to be 21 degrees, but here, surrounded by acres of open fields, it will be colder...I'd say Winter will linger just a bit longer. 




Ahhh February - somehow it seems to teach us patience as it teeters between seasons. 

Well, we might as well make it an event then, I'm planning on toasting marshmallows over the fire tonight - it's always a good time for s'mores! 





Thursday, February 8

Thursday thoughts...


These slow-moving February days...somehow they seem just right for contemplating common sense:





 and nonsense!




Leaving home to run errands can sometimes feel like a change in cultures as we leave behind the pleasant, bucolic scenes of country life,


friendly cows




a fella who has earned the name
Acro-Cat



peaceful sunsets beside the lake.



And head to the "big city"



This week alone we've dodged drivers running red lights, running stop signs, passing on a double-yellow line, and as witnessed above, a truck toting WAY too many pallets (once upon a time we found ourselves in this same scene, and yes, the pallets came off right in front of us.)

Don't get me wrong, there are lovely and exciting things to be found in the city...ballet performances in gorgeous historical buildings, an amazing zoo, a beautiful conservatory with botanical gardens, and the best-ever souffled egg sandwich.

And many times, this saying rings true;



 

Do I dream of faraway places? Sure...the rugged Yorkshire Dales, the beautiful landscapes of Wales, the glacier lakes in New Zealand. However; I have to admit, I'm most comfortable settling in at home. To hear and feel the quiet is calming. 

The familiar sights and sounds remind me, as the saying goes, that "home" is more than where we hang our hats.




I have a feeling that Gladys Taber and I would have been friends!







Wednesday, January 17

brrr!

The sun is shining brightly and the sky is a perfect shade of azure blue; birds are chattering as if to catch up on the latest gossip, and our rooster, Bandito, crows loudly to tell me I'm late in bringing warm mash for breakfast.

Yes, it sounds like a lovely winters day; doesn't it? 

Except that it's 4 degrees and the National Weather Service has issued a High Wind Warning...meaning winds of at least 40 mph with gusts of 58 mph or higher. 

A cutting wind is sweeping strongly across the open fields bringing with it a wind chill of -15. With plunging temperatures and gusty winds, oudoor chores are done quickly with heads bent down against the icy winds that easily cut through a heavy coat, thick gloves, and woolen hat. Water buckets are filled and animals get a hearty breakfast, then it's time to start cars, check the propane level, look for any fallen tree limbs, add to the stack of firewood by the mudroom door, and tie down or move anything that might blow away. 

And while this picture was taken a few years ago, my "stylish" winter apparel never changes:


Stylish? No

Warm? Yes!





Christmas decorations have been tucked away, but I had to share an ornament story...

This little tent was bought years ago as a reminder of all the Cub Scout campouts.




Now, as young kids do, they sweetly felt that the Baby Jesus ornament needed to be inside the tent to stay warm & dry...and so it was.

Look closely inside. 

And there it's remained for many, many years, and always makes me smile.



Something new...this year we celebrated for the first time with Christmas Crackers!  





And to answer a question, searching for the pickle ornament is just for fun. It's an old tradition that is said to have originated in Germany. There are three pickle ornaments hidden on the trees that the kids look for; when they find them, there's a family gift to share. Most years it's a board game, but this year it was Sundae Set, and so Christmas dessert was a variety of ice creams and toppings!




These days I'm spending time sorting and organizing. Winter months just seem to be a good time to take stock of things that need doing...all those things that somehow seem to slip a bit when warm weather calls me outside.






However; I need to remember to make time for more important things than chasing dust bunnies and organizing books. Time for non-stop movie marathons,
 mugs of chocolaty cocoa, snow ice cream, and s'mores in front of the fireplace. 





"Winter is not a season, it's a celebration."

— Anamika Mishra


Monday, January 1

happy new year!

Here's hoping you had a lovely Christmas!

I'm sending wishes for a joyful, peaceful, healthy new year!


                                                      


The days fly...December found us visiting the lights at our local zoo...

      

                                            


and enjoying The Nutcracker ballet in a beautiful old theater built in 1928;
here's the stage:


                                      


and this is the ceiling...lovely!


                                  


We enjoyed secret surprises, ate favorite foods, and as always, had the kids search for the pickle ornament. Something we've done for ages, when they find it, there's an extra gift for all of us to enjoy.



Then December ended with a little mystery.

While now gone, one morning I came upon this in the front yard...





glittering, sparkly, and pink, I have no idea what it was. It was found in a little muddy area under an evergreen tree; I'm definitely stumped!

I don't have any sparkling decorations outside and we don't often walk under that tree. While I tried zooming in, I just couldn't get a clear photo. Then, as if by magic, it was gone.


My guess: holiday faeries or maybe Santa's reindeer?

Your thoughts?!


Here's to 2024...
don't follow your dreams,
CHASE them!





Friday, December 22

2 days, 6 hours, 25 minutes, and 18 seconds...


That's what the Christmas Countdown on my phone tells me...am I ready?

Well, I still have wrapping to do and stockings to fill...but other than that, I do think I'm ready. While I felt earlier this month as if I was running behind, somehow, it's all come together...and that's good. 

Christmas should not be a season of holiday humbug. It's a time best spent gazing out the window wishing for Christmas snow, delighting in the sounds of familiar carols, savoring the aromas of traditional foods, sipping hot chocolate, and listening to a crackling fire. A season of comfort & joy.

While our tree has been up since Thanksgiving, other than lights and the garland, I held off on decorating it until my son was home from college so we could all do it together - now it's glowing with all the sentimental, familiar ornaments.




No, it doesn't look like it belongs in a shop window; however, for me, it's perfect...filled with memories. 

We all get caught up in it sometimes, don't we? The feeling that the holidays are a comparison of how "perfectly perfect" everything is...our gifts, our tree, our decorations. But here's the truth...how much I decorated (or didn't), how beautiful my gift wrapping is (or isn't - I am a big believer in gift bags!), and how photo-worthy my tree is (or isn't) doesn't matter. GASP!

We all know what to do, but sometimes forget: keep it simple, be there, enjoy every moment. 




Here's a look at a few of my favorite ornaments:

because my daughter loves popcorn,


and my son loves hot & spicy foods,


and yes, we're Dr. Who fans!


little newborn footprints,


places we've visited, 


and sweet wreaths made in Kindergarten.



this is my favorite Santa...he's keeping watch from on top of the Boone cupboard in the kitchen



we also have a tall, skinny tree that's filled with old-fashioned ornaments...


postcards of vintage homes decorated for Christmas,


knit stockings and rusty snowflakes,


hand-stitched candy canes,


and Popsicle stick trees made by little hands. 



And so, with my remaining 2 days, 6 hours, 25 minutes, and 18 seconds, I'd better take my own advice and focus on being present...I'm off to bake some more cookies, watch favorite movies, and curl up beside a snoozing dog!




Sending heartfelt wishes for you to have a wonderful, cozy, joy-filled Christmas.





Tuesday, December 12

readying for Christmas!

December is here and full of the promise of snowflakes & surprises, music & memory-making, traditions & tree-trimming. Without a doubt, there's a busyness to December, but there's also time for quiet reflection and cozy evenings.





I've loved visiting your blogs and reading up on how you're spending your days;  however, I'm afraid I've fallen behind in my own writing...where does the time go?

Here's a little catch-up:

We celebrated my son's 20th birthday in November...yikes, no more teenagers? When did that happen?! 


The Saturday after Thanksgiving we visited our favorite tree farm to bring home the Christmas tree. The weather was ideal...blue skies and sunshine with just enough of a chill in the air to feel like Christmas. (And believe me, there's nothing like trudging through the mud, rain, ice, and facing bitterly cold winds to take the fun out the day). 

And while the tree farm generously provides hand saws, let me be honest and say a dull saw blade will absolutely put a damper on cutting down your own Christmas tree. I'll spare you the details...I'm sure you can imagine for yourself...weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth.  

And so, the last few years, we've followed the saying: Work smarter, not harder. 
Now we bring along a chainsaw!

After the kids found a tree that was just right, heads together, they pulled it down the hill. Soon we were back in the lodge by a roaring fire enjoying a simple lunch before going home with the "perfect" tree. 




December was Cookie Month in the "not shop, shop" and it kept me busy...






Tomorrow I'll deliver the last of the Christmas goodies, then I'll take a couple of months off to plot & plan for next year. 

College finals are wrapping up tomorrow, and soon, as the kids say, "the balance will be restored" with everyone home. I love the laughter I hear, the movie marathons, the sneaky surprises, the fun of s'mores made in the fireplace, and again realizing that the kitchen draws everyone like a magnet...with a fire going in the fireplace and Christmas carols in the background, it's the coziest room in the house.



While we all find ourselves busily making lists and mailing cards, let's also try to slow down enough and take time to ponder the blessings of being where we are at this time...and pause gratefully.

It's time to enjoy the simple pleasures of the season...the sound of church bells, the fragrance of fresh balsam, watching a gathering of snowbirds, and discovering deer tracks in the snow. 

It's a magic we're never too old to enjoy.


Source Unknown







Monday, November 20

thoughts of harvest...

Colorful pumpkins and squash line the steps signaling that harvest-time is here. Jars of jams, jellies, and pickles made in summer now line the pantry shelves, geraniums are overwintering in the cellar, and fields, once filled with corn, are now bare. There is a sense of quiet and rest.

It's a time to catch our breaths, this time between Thanksgiving and Christmas - it's a short time, and should be enjoyed. Below are just a few photos of what it's like in my corner of the world...toss another log on the fire, settle in with a cup of tea, and listen to some sweet violin music  "e're the winter storms begin."


Even in October, the geraniums were lovely...


and quilts were drying on the clothesline.


Evenings have had the prettiest skies, 


and afternoons were spent discovering old barns; all with stories to tell, I'm sure...a different time, fueled by oats and hay, not gasoline, but still lovely to me.





I love the small-town faith of roadside stands with honesty boxes:



An old lilac tree - which usually blooms in May, gifted us with a few new blooms,
unheard of in October!




Even Bailey is ready for a long winter's nap!





Sending you heartfelt good wishes this Thanksgiving, wherever you may be. 

 


 
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