welcome to our farmhouse…life is good

Saturday, January 13

two little words...

Overnight temperatures plummeted and sleet fell...pair both of those with an icy blast of wind and this morning we found ourselves bundled up top-to-bottom as we stepped outside. And while definitely not stylish, we were warm...that's the rule for today!

A blanket of fresh snow created deep drifts in front of the barns, but, as always, they are unable to slow our happy, tail wagging Wishbone from trotting briskly around the yard to see what's happened overnight. But soon enough, even she decides it's best to get tucked into a cozy blanket and settle down for a nap.

I feel glad to be home...another log is tossed on the fire and I'm settling in with a cup of herbal tea to read a book given to me by the daughter of a dear friend...The Little House Book of Wisdom. This young lady, a high school freshman, has such a love of all things old; old ways, old books, old homes. Few young people are fortunate enough to have this sense of history...a respect for the past and a sure knowledge that the small and simple things make the sweetest memories. And did I mention she plays the fiddle too? (Oh, some may call it a violin, but not us!)

The gusty wind whistles, but inside, all is well. And those two little words?

Simply Blessed.

Wednesday, January 10

pure silliness!

Here on the farm it's always something...as it is for everyone!

For a week the hot water line in the kitchen has been frozen, with temperatures -12 a couple of mornings it was no surprise. I truly don't think there's any insulation in this 154-year old kitchen (hint, hint, total renovation is on my mind!) We always keep faucets dripping and a space heater blowing warm air on the lines to try and stave off the inevitable as long as possible. A couple of years ago we had a low of -28...yep, I found my vanilla extract in the cupboard partially frozen!  (About that renovation...hop on over to my Pinterest board for some of the ideas on my wish list!)

Source: Here

Source: Here

Okay...back to reality!

And so for a week I've been boiling water to wash dishes. Now, as much as I love the idea of a Little House on the Prairie lifestyle, this was getting a bit old, and Monday, much to my delight, the hot water lines thawed, yay!

However; it was a short-lived victory. Last night I could hear, then see, water coming out from under the dishwasher. It's happened before...when the lines finally do thaw, we know that the dishwasher lines have taken all the stress they can and finally they burst.

Well, hubby can reroute water away from the dishwasher leak...I think we'll just wait until spring for the repair. Our forecast for the weekend is several inches of snow and temps below zero again...and so it goes!

Anyway, in all the ups & downs I wanted to share this snowglobe link...it was popular a few years ago and I thought it had vanished off the internet (I should know better).  It made me laugh then, and still does...just what I needed!  Hope you enjoy it too...remember to left click and hold on your mouse, then shake the mouse to see what happens.  

Happy Wednesday, friends!

Friday, January 5

first snow day from school!

We wait for it...
we hope for it...
we cross fingers and toes for it...

then suddenly, we get the text alert...school is CLOSED today!  It's followed by the family happy dance then the texting of friends (we don't want anyone to miss the good news!)

I love snow days...I will say the temps are a bit chilly, even for me...we saw -16 a couple of mornings (actual temperature, not wind chill!), but a good old-fashioned, getting-snowed-in for a few days would be fine with me any time.

So how does our day look? It starts with a big mug of hot chocolate, and if you haven't tried Double Dark Hot Chocolate from Williams Sonoma, you need to change that straight away!  It is sooo good, I think "heavenly" was the word I used when I told hubby how wonderful it was.
Not cocoa powder, but a mixture of semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolate shavings that melt in hot milk...yes, heavenly! 

There will be a crackling fire all day to chase away the chill...and I'm sure the kids will make s'mores before the day is over. I keep a vintage metal basket by the fireplace filled with all the supplies...just in case we need a sweet treat!

Always a movie marathon on snow days...some times it's the Harry Potter series, other times it's the Lord of the Rings, Merlin, Doctor Who, or Sherlock.

On the menu for today is my daughter's latest favorite, a BLATT...bacon, lettuce, avocado, turkey, and tomato sandwich, and there's a request to bake Toll House Pie.  

And so it goes, a happy Friday on the farm...wishing you a happy weekend as well, stay cozy, warm, and plan a movie marathon this weekend!

Monday, January 1

happy new year!

It was -16 when we welcomed in 2018...brrr! On a morning like this, all our animals get an extra portion of breakfast to keep them warm, along with special treats...apple slices for the goats, warm mash for the chickens, and a meaty rib roast bone for our faithful guard dog, Wishbone.

For all their charm, 154-year old farmhouses can be a bit chilly, so I wasted no time building a fire in the kitchen fireplace and I've slipped on a pair of thick, fuzzy socks to keep my "always cold" toes warm. The house is quiet...kids are still snoozing and that's just fine with me...these frosty days are meant for sleeping in, curling up in warm quilts, board games, and movie marathons.

And so that's our plan for the day...traditional pork roast dinner (although I'm the only one who will enjoy the sauerkraut!) along with a day to enjoy being together.

Thank you for stopping by to see what's happening in our little corner of the Midwest...I wish for you all the blessings of a brand new year: a clean slate, days to dream, and 365 calendar spaces to fill with the sweetest memories! 

Sunday, December 24

merry Christmas to all!

Christmas Eve on the farm, not a creature is stirring...

the hustle & bustle are past, 
and in the background Bing, Frank, and Dean are singing us Christmas wishes while we enjoy the warmth of a crackling fire.

But don't think we're snoozing just yet,
there's excitement in the air and shared whispers of secret surprises!

And so tonight, we're wishing you all the best on this Christmas Eve; may you be blessed with the warmth of family & friends and know the true joys of the Christmas season.

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!


Here's to plump pumpkins

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

Time to store up memories!

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