welcome to our farmhouse…life is good

Tuesday, December 5

happy December!




Happy December.
photo credit


Secret surprises, home-baked cookies, fragrant evergreens, holly berries,
cold winds whistling around the old farmhouse,
snowflakes & snowbirds...

Yes, welcome December...a sweet time when the finest gifts
and greatest joys come from the heart.


Monday, November 27

oh yes, ballet IS a sport!


Happy Monday...Today I'm tiding up from the holiday weekend and can now allow myself to enjoy Christmas carols without guilt. Tony Bennett is crooning in the background...ahhh, toss in some Bing Crosby then Andy Williams and I'm in heaven!

Today's thought is this...

YES, ballet IS a sport! Oh I know, that's certainly up for debate with many; they, in my humble opinion, are wrong. After the past several weeks it is crystal clear to me there is no debate needed...and while not competitive (unless the internal struggle counts) ballet is absolutely as grueling for the dancers as football is for anyone who's donned football pads.






For the past several weeks, I've had the opportunity to join my daughter in rehearsals for The Nutcracker ballet. While she's been working to perfect ballet positions I would never attempt, I've been portraying adult Clara and practicing narration while the dancers rehearse. 


Thanksgiving week it all came to life as they had dress rehearsals and moved into the 89 year-old historic theater. The exquisite costumes, beautiful backgrounds, and amazing dancing were accompanied by extremely long days. These dancers, ages 8 to 18, who have been rehearsing since September, run through the complete production twice on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving for a total of 11 hours. Friday, the first day of the show, they put in a 10-hour day, then after the last show (where they've been in the theater already since noon, they'll then spend 2 to 3 additional hours packing props, costumes, and cleaning the theater, only to reverse the process back at the ballet studio. Another day of around 8 hours.






I've watched with amazement while these dancers go through the process from learning the choreography, executing the steps to coincide with music, then slipping into and changing costumes all the while giving us a breathtaking performance. (Did I mention many are doing homework in any free time they can find?) 

Sitting on stage as the narrator I could see behind the scenes...the 14 second Sugar Plum quick change my daughter was entrusted to make happen, the last-minute choreography changes, and the adjustments in narration as I was walking toward the stage. Stress-free: No. And yet these young dancers gave their hearts each time they waited for the curtain to rise.

Their heart-felt thanks to an audience that praised the dancers with standing ovations and lifted their tired spirits...we never saw the aching muscles, worn pointe shoes, and the feeling of stress through their beaming smiles.

And so yes, ballet is a sport, I've seen it for myself. And if we need any other vindication, Webster's Dictionary tells us so:


"An activity involving physical exertion and skill...for entertainment."


And what entertainment it was...I was thrilled to be so close to the process!


Wednesday, November 15

simple country pleasures...


Sparkling cold weather, sunrises tinted with rose and peach, orange-red bittersweet, and flocks of birds at the feeder...the days are exquisite and such a gift.  We enjoy every one, a blessed relief after the heat and humidity of a long summer. Even on a gray day with drizzly rain, November is the deepening of the year, and a quiet day spent reading and warming my toes by a crackling fire is a reason to give thanks.





This year, like so many of you, I've tried to slow down...to simplify...to make home a haven from the worries of the world. Not easy in an energy-charged life with teens...and yet, advice to
"...enjoy the season you are in." continues to ring in my mind.


Last year, on Christmas Eve day, I ran to the local convenience store...I don't remember why...tape, milk, bread, something I'd forgotten. And as I left, I noticed they had stocked the shelves with Valentine's Day candy. Sigh...






"Nature has its rhythms and its harmonies.
We would do well to fit ourselves as best we can 
with those cycles
rather than frantically throwing ourselves against them.
Be calm, be patient, be happy with the season you are in."
-Jeffrey R. Holland


And so, as we begin this holiday season, let's make every effort to truly ENJOY this time of year. When you find a minute, read this post by farmgirl Rebekah Teal...she absolutely made me stop in my tracks and take stock. 

Here's a little snippet of her wisdom, just to get you thinking...

News flash!

Christmas is not a competition...
Of how decorated your house is.
Of how perfectly perfect your gifts are.
Of how busy your days and nights are.
Of how much baking you do.
Of how many homemade gifts you can crank out.
Of how beautiful your family is (or appears to be).
Let's all. Just. STOP.


Wise words...make time to appreciate each day and the joy waiting to be discovered, be thankful for sweet memories, and look forward to a lovely future.

And NO Christmas music until next Friday!



Tuesday, October 31

merry Hallowe'en!



source:


Here's to plump pumpkins

and pint-size imposters...
cowboys & superheroes, 
pirates & princesses

Time to store up memories!

Friday, October 27

October magic...a joyously busy time.


October has ushered in the harvest season...and with that she has flung a brilliantly colored cloak across the fields, valleys, and woods. 

A week ago I decided it was time to put the garden to bed, and I spent the afternoon picking the last of the peppers (who this year have refused to stop sharing their bounty!) and removed spent plants, then tilled the garden under. Except for the row of peppers...I just couldn't! They still have blooms, and if the weather is just right, we may yet harvest more.  While I was working the sun was bright and hot, it felt like a summer's afternoon, but that night a chill set in, and yesterday morning we had our first heavy frost, waking up to a temperature of 24 degrees. Brrr.


























When October comes, I feel beset with busyness. It's such a happy time...the 
temperatures are cooler, the colors are glorious, and the nesting instinct has intensified. I can get more done without the humidity of summer, so I'm tackling chores as the days go by. Quilts are dancing on the clothesline, the porch has been swept and the rugs shaken.  It's also time to tuck the honeybees in for winter...this week the feeders need to come off, and soon the hives will be wrapped to keep them as safe and warm as possible. 

The last of the corn surrounding our farm has been harvested, and in the distance I can hear the corn dryers hard at work.




Wild bittersweet grows along a fence in a neighboring field, so I've come home with armfuls that have found spots both inside and out...mantels, cupboards, vintage buckets, and next to plump pumpkins are curly vines of dazzling orange berries that brighten the days.





It's my favorite month, in my favorite season. For me, a time like no other.

Sweet country life...simple country pleasures. October is the autumn idyll.


Wednesday, October 18

bread recipe you have to try!


Today's post is short & sweet...

You can whip up the start to a wonderful loaf of homemade bread in about 5 minutes...

This recipe (thank you for sharing the original!) is oh-so simple and wonderful! And in 8 hours (yes 8 hours...but we all have enough to keep us busy, so time will fly!) you'll be enjoying warm, butter-topped slices of this:



I won't spend any more time telling you how easy this is to make, or how your family & friends will think you picked it up at an artisan bakery, or how you will BEAM with pride when you serve it. What are you waiting for? Let's get going!

Ingredients:


3 c. all-purpose flour
2 t. salt
1 t. active dry yeast
1-1/2 c. water (110 to 115 degrees)

Whisk together the first three ingredients; add water and stir until a shaggy dough forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; set aside 8 hours.


When ready to bake, heat oven to 450 degrees, place a 6-quart Dutch oven, covered, into oven and set timer for 30 minutes.


Meanwhile, remove plastic wrap from dough, gently punch down and turn dough out onto a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper. Flour hands and shape dough into a ball; sprinkle top lightly with flour. Set aside while Dutch oven is heating...30 minutes.


Remove Dutch oven from oven, and using parchment, lift dough and place it, keeping parchment underneath, into the Dutch oven. Cover Dutch oven and bake 45 minutes; remove lid and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until golden.  Remove from oven, lift loaf from Dutch oven and place on a rack to cool.


I'm not going to tell you to wait until it's cool to slice it...that would be silly. Wait until it's cool enough to carefully slice, then top with oodles of real butter. Yum! 







Wednesday, September 27

it's that time...



Join me for a walk around the farm this week, I'm feeling very...



goldenrod in bloom...the last big hurrah for honeybee winter food storage



hot sun streaming down on the fields...



garden bounty ready to become homemade pasta sauce...



the juiciest, sweetest pears...our first big harvest from this tree!



apples...ready for apple butter!



lovely blooms...these will dry beautifully



the crunch of leaves underfoot...



and the true sign of harvest time!




The soybeans are in...the fields are strangely empty. And while the corn isn't quite ready yet, it won't be long. With days and days of temperatures hitting 90 degrees, I'm looking forward to a break in the weather...a break the local news has promised will be coming tomorrow!

Like so many of you, we're on the doorstep of my favorite time of year; Fall! A time of harvest moons, crisp apple cider, the scent of woodsmoke, and sweater weather! October will bring more Farm Flicks (bonfires, hayrides, and outdoor movies) with friends, along with a Glamping night with best girlfriends (we call ourselves the Domestic Goddesses!)

Ahhh, a time of busyness, but a time to feel oh-so...








Tuesday, September 5

superheroes!


The world is filled with images of superheroes right now...

Captain America, Ironman, Spiderman, but here's something to think about...






Moms, you are heroes...and what you do matters! I love this quote from Susan Branch...


"You need to know that you are the fairies that run ahead
and make everything magical,
because you know that even the smallest of things can be special.
And you need to know that what you do is nothing short of heroic."


Hats off to Pink Tractor for sharing this photo with the world...enough said!


 
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