Welcome to our 1864 farmhouse…life is good!

Monday, January 30

sunrise over the barn..

"Just as a dancer, turning and turning,
may fill the dusty light
with the soft swirl 
of her flying skirts,
our weeping willow
now old and broken,
creaking in the breeze
turns slowly, slowly in the winter sun,
sweeping the rusty roof of the barn
with the pale blue lacework of her shadow."

- Ted Kooser, Winter Morning Walks

I'm linking up to Homestead Revival's...

stop by here...Homestead Revival
to find clever farm & homekeeping tips & ideas!

Tuesday, January 24

morning light...

The morning light was casting such pretty and unusual shadows from the spinning wheels, 
that I wanted to share...

When we take the time to look, even the simplest things are lovely.

Friday, January 20

the weather outside is frightful!

and it seems the birds are the only ones braving the winter winds and snow!

It was -1 when I drove the kids to school this morning. And with anywhere from 3 to 5 inches of snow expected tonight, topped off with another 4 to 6 inches of snow tomorrow, I can tell you that this family will be staying indoors!

On the agenda...
movies, snacks, games, popcorn, pizza, reading, naps, and sweet treats

The latest chocolaty treat we can't get enough of is Charlie Brownies. We enjoyed them at a friend's home over Christmas, and Sweet Girl had to have the recipe. They're so easy to make, which is good, because they don't last long!

Charlie Brownies

2/3 c. butter, melted
1 lb. brown sugar
2-1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2-1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
3 eggs
1 T. water
1 t. vanilla extract
12-oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine butter and brown sugar; set aside to cool 10 minutes. Sift together dry ingredients; set aside. Beat eggs, one at a time, into sugar mixture; add water and vanilla. Blend in flour mixture; stir in chocolate chips. Spread mixture into a well-greased 15"x9" jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 degrees 20 to 25 minutes; do not over bake. Slice while warm using a plastic serrated knife. Place on wax paper to cool. Makes approximately
48 brownies, depending on the size cut.

So for the weekend, I'm staying indoors...okay, I'll check on the outdoor menagerie, but other than that,
I'm curling up for the weekend and keeping warm.

How about you...what do you do on these cold-as-the-inside-of-an-igloo days?!

Friday, January 13

let it snow!

Oh how this Santa makes me smile! With his basket of eggs and a happy hen on his arm,
I'm not sure I can tuck him away with all the other Christmas decorations!

We're getting our first "real" snowfall today!  Yay! It's a chilly 13 degrees and there's a blast of 24-mph wind blowing across the open fields. And while perhaps not the most fashionable, I was warm & cozy bundled up in a heavy-duty Carhartt coat for an early-morning critter check. Cats were curled up in the barn and chickens were last seen enjoying a bowl of warm mash. Our trusty farm dog ventured out; however, then decided it was best to go back to bed.

Today is also our first snow-day from school, and the kids couldn't be more excited! The plans for our day include homemade cookies, board games, a movie marathon, and of course, staying in their jammies all day.

We'll also celebrate hubby's birthday today...we'll be wrapping presents and making plans for a special dinner. Pshaw! Friday the 13th is lucky around here...what a great beginning to the long weekend!

So we're sending you warm wishes on this frosty Friday morning...enjoy every minute!

Wednesday, January 11

let's do the math...

    6  happy hens
x     1  egg per hen =
6 eggs a day

You've heard me say it before, when this past November we had a daily egg count of 13.
Hmmm, I'm keeping the math simple...there are only 6 hens, so how did I find 12 eggs
in the nestboxes yesterday?

Obvious questions to ask...

-Yes, we're collecting eggs daily.
-No, our nearest neighbors are not the prankster sort.
-Yes, the kids are at school all day, so that rules them out.

Not that I'm complaining...I'm just surprised/confused/pondering the possibilities. When most of my friends are telling me their girls are laying less during these chilly days of winter, we have a day when our hens are laying 2 eggs each (or so it would appear.)

I'm suspecting these girls are smarter than we thought...

Friday, January 6

simple joys for January...

...make this the year you snap lots of photos...golden sunsets, laughing children, smiling grandmas, glowing faces 'round the campfire, that first juicy tomato, plump pumpkins, and snowy days of quiet beauty. Capture those moments you want to remember.

...start a new hobby. What have you always wanted to do? Is this the year it can happen? If not fully, then read, read, and read some more until you're practically an expert on what you'd like to do. Whatever it might be, the beginning of a new year has us filled with great expectations! Wise words
from Sir William Osler  tell us,

"No man is really happy or safe without a hobby,
and it makes precious little difference 
what the outside interest
may be...

botany, beetles or butterflies, roses, tulips or irises;
fishing, mountaineering or antiquities 
- anything will do so long as he straddles a hobby and rides it hard."

I spent a year reading up on chickens, coops, and all the how-to's to of beginning. Then, before I knew it, we were on our way home from the feed store with 6 little peeps in a box! Dreams do come true.

...take stock of things. Check food storage expiration dates, kids outgrown summer clothing, papers that need sorting/filing, socks that mysteriously seem to disappear, and wire coat hangers that somehow always seem to multiply. Start the year off, one room at a time, or even just one drawer at a time, and sort, give away, set to order. Donate clothes that no longer fit, corral wire hangers and take them to the dry cleaners, bundle newspapers for recycling (or roll them to make great fire starters), and file away important papers where you can find them. 

...when you take the Christmas tree outside, tuck it in the corner of your yard as a winter hiding spot for birds. Hang birdseed bells and suet cakes on the branches...the birds will be so grateful.

...the weather outside is frightful, so snuggle up by the fire, make popcorn, play board games, stir up some chocolaty cocoa, and watch favorite movies. Then, just so we don't forget all the fun of being kids, build a snowman, whip up snow ice cream, go on a wintry hike, have a snowball fight, and speed down
a sledding hill!

We' re launching a new year, and yet as the wind whistles through the pines and I see swaying branches outside my windows, it's natural to reflect on the past. While being richly blessed the past year, we also remember the loss of a loved one.

So we began January with favorite traditions, and now to consider what we'll do with the time that lies before us. A clean slate, a fresh start, a new calendar. How much fun, laughter, work, and personal growth will be put into this year is up to us.

May we all have a new year filled with blessings.

Monday, January 2

sweet surprises...

In our part of the Midwest, we're getting our first good snowfall today...it's beautiful and the kids couldn't be more excited!

A few minutes ago I went to the coop to see if the "girls" were keeping warm & dry. Sure, the coop looks pretty in the snow, but look a little closer...

do you see the message on the nest boxes?

That Little Man is a sweetie!
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