Welcome to our 1864 farmhouse…life is good!

Thursday, January 30

farm chic...

This, my friends, is Farmgirl Chic when the temperature is -26...

-26 degrees...

Yes...well, as warm as I could possibly be.
(did I mention MINUS 26 degrees?)

And so to quote Cary Grant...
"If you can't be chic, be odd."


While not chic, I think I've got warm (and possibly odd) covered!

Monday, January 27

snapshots of winter...

The winter wonderland outside our doors:

barns and milkhouse hardly visible...

somewhere out there are tire swings...

and chairs.

Left behind are pretty drifts...

and one goat who was curious enough to take a look...Glowbug!

Thursday, January 23

the weather outside is frightful!

Snowy days of quiet beauty...that's how I like my winters. I've always thought this season was lovely with her drifting, swirling snowflakes and sharp, clear, brilliant blue skies.

I've been firm in my belief that winter should last from Thanksgiving to the end of February. During those many evenings you would find me in a comfy wing chair pulled close to a crackling fire, sipping chocolaty cocoa, while I read a favorite book or work on my knitting. I may even drift off to sleep...

Snap out of it!

Winter on the farm doesn't mean evenings like this can't happen...they do, but only after several trips out to the coop and barns in the ferocious, howling wind. (Can I mention "in and out" repeatedly throughout the day?)

When it's this cold, a trip to the coop starts our day...is it warm enough? Is the heated waterer still working? The girls scramble to greet me knowing they'll get a treat of warm oatmeal on days like this. Once we're sure they're tucked in, it's off to the goat barn. This is the kids' first winter...are they snuggled into the straw keeping warm? Do they still have hay and sweet mix, or do they need more water in their heated bucket? 

Look at these faces...how can I not worry?

I wonder about the bees as I pass by, but there's nothing more I can do for them. In late fall the hive was wrapped and surrounded by bales of straw...I'll just have to wait for a warm day to see how they've braved the snowstorms.

It was 4 degrees when I drove the kids to school this morning (they're thrilled about a week filled with 2-hour delays!). Tomorrow calls for 3 to 6 inches of snow, and next Monday the forecast is for -13...brrr. Paired with strong winds, that makes for many bone-chilling trips outside.

And yet, while I do my fair share of complaining, when I come inside, there's warmth to be found. Today it was found in home-baked cookies and giggling kids...tomorrow it'll be something new.

So now, at day's end, as I write I'm listening to the rising wind and pausing often.

Yes...life is good.

Thursday, January 16

does anyone actually enjoy taking down the Christmas tree?

I've asked the question before, so I already know the answer...yes, there are some folks who are ready December 26th to pack up the holiday finery and get back to "normal."

I am not one of them.

Our tree usually stays put until the middle of January...luckily for us, we always bring home a Concolor or Frasier fir tree. They do a terrific job of keeping their needles soft (as well as staying put on the tree!) for several weeks...I highly recommend them.

However; by mid-January it's time to try and stir up some enthusiasm for undecorating something that was so much fun to decorate 6 weeks earlier.

It seems that part of the trouble are the memories tied up with each and every ornament...
for me, there's just something a bit sad about packing them away. 

Some ornaments, like these, are handmade and heartfelt...made by the kids, or given to us by dear friends.

Others ornaments stir up memories...the cheery yellow school buses declaring "my first day of school", a glittering seahorse brought back from a vacation to Assateague Island (we'll always remember the ghost crabs!), and precious little footprints from the kids' first Christmases.

January seems to find itself always facing two directions...looking forward, yet reflecting on the past. After this week, when the decorations are again packed safely away in the old trunk which sits in a cozy corner, there's time to think about days gone by and days to come. 

2014 is a clean slate...a brand new year waiting to be filled.
What will we do with it?
What will we change or improve?

My hopes for this year...

It's a time to consider what we will do with the days ahead...one thing is for certain - just how many sweet memories and happy days fill this year, is entirely up to us. 

Friday, January 10

surviving the Polar Vortex!

image source:imagebroker/Alamy

As the old-timers might say, "I had a feeling in my bones" that this winter was going to be a cold one.

Earlier this week, the temperatures plummeted, and January started off with a chilling blast. With temperatures at -15 and wind chills at -40 degrees, it's certainly been a time to remember. The ancient maples surrounding our 150-year old farmhouse creaked and complained as the cold, ferocious wind howled, and snow drifts piled up in front of every door to be found.

And as someone who is always cold (I might thaw out a bit at the 4th of July picnic!) I did my fair share of complaining as well. This weather was a true test, and while going outside, style was not important. Layer-upon-layer of sweaters, scarves, gloves, socks, and long-johns could be found under the warmest coats we could pull from the closet.

The bundling-up process went on several times a day as we went out to the barns to check on animals, refill water and feed bowls, and make sure all was well. Our goat kids sported "goat coats" to keep them extra cozy, while chickens were fed bowls of warm mash and oatmeal.

Indoors, we kept a blazing fire going, while mugs of homemade cocoa were passed around, chili bubbled away on the stove, and bread baked in the oven. We watched movies, played games, roasted marshmallows and made s'mores.

Today we woke up to more snow, but a much gentler wind was blowing through the pines. As I watched the boughs swaying, I thought about the year that has just passed. We have been richly blessed by family, friends, and experiences. Even the Polar Vortex brought us closer together as we cared for animals and each other...each experience we have helps us to grow.

And so with the Polar winds behind us, and plenty of winter still yet ahead, it's with renewed enthusiasm that we look forward to the dawn of a new year!

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