Tag Archives: family

The Quiet

Christmas morning was shared with eldest son, our daughter in law, and eldest grandson.  We had our traditional Huevos Rancheros and link sausages then opened stockings and Christmas gifts.  After a bit of wind down, last year’s rocket was taken down to the field and fired into the foggy, low hanging clouds.  The first one we never saw come back down, the second one we watched, but son and grandson could not find it anywhere it appeared to land in the neighbor’s fields.  Shooting the rockets was something that Jim did with our youngest son after eldest son was out of our house.  I think he had wanted a rocket when he was younger, but hubby wasn’t sure about it then.  Son and grandson got a pair last year for Christmas.  It lives here and gets used when they visit.  With both missing, we will get them a new one for future visits.  The rockets are fun to watch.  I wish I had all the money for all of the ones that have been lost in the past 20 years.

After their launches, they packed the car and headed across the state for Christmas #2 of the day and we were left in a very quiet house.  Since I had prepared our traditional full Christmas dinner on the eve, we had plenty of leftovers to enjoy it again last night.

We did talk with our daughter and her family, visiting son in law’s family in Florida this year.  We spoke on the phone with our youngest son as he was headed into work to let most of his employees have the day free to be with their families, and just finished talking with Jim’s sister who lives in Florida.

I had asked eldest son if he would make me a vertical lazy kate for my spinning bobbins. My wheel has a built in lazy kate, but I find that I get too much twist when I use it as the singles come off the end of the bobbins instead of the side.  This was made for me and under the tree yesterday morning.

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Last year he made me my soap molds and this year my lazy kate.  I love that he and his wife are so talented.  She made us ornaments of our first initials and hung them on the tree and made me a decorative bowl of the clay from the MGM site in Baltimore where she helped install a huge art piece also made of the clay.  I went to their house to help out the week that she was away working on that.

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It was pleasant having them here if only for a couple of days.

Our children know that we don’t want them spending a lot of money on us, so we love the handcrafted items such as two woodburned ornaments from our youngest.

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And the environment gift of an Arbor Day Foundation membership and trees from our daughter’s family.

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Cleverly presently with a tiny forest and a note.  We are trying to reforest parts of our farm and this gift will help us on the way.

Today is quiet.  We went to town to get lunch and a few groceries and around that I have been washing the bed linens from son’s family visit and our laundry.  It is cool, gray, and gloomy today so being outside has no draw.  The time is being spent spinning some brightly colored Merino wool and plodding through a book that hasn’t really drawn me in. Santa brought each if us generous gift cards to Barne’s and Noble, so I will get myself a book soon.  He also brought me a gift card to my favorite local coffee cafe.  I will enjoy sitting in there with coffee on many occasions.

The quiet will continue for another 8 days, then life will return to the school year routine of getting the grands off to their respective school days.

I’m hoping for a break in the gloom so I can go for a walk.  We have rain and gloom every day this week except Wednesday, and possible snow on Friday.  We will see.  Maybe I will just put on a jacket and rainboots and go outside anyway.

Olio – 12/23/16

Olio: A miscellaneous collection of things.

Very early this morning in the wee dark hours, eldest son and his family arrived for Christmas.  Yesterday was spent cleaning up as much dust and animal hair as possible with the vacuum and a lightly dampened mop to try and reduce the allergen level of the house.  The process was taken down to the basement as well, where there are no rugs, granddaughter helping by collecting various tiny lego pieces, parts of her “kitchen” and other random toys that were not put away.  The bed in the bedroom down there was made with fresh sheets, as was the futon in the sitting area for grandson.  The last of the gifts were wrapped and sorted to be put under the tree.

After fixing sausage gravy and biscuits this morning, we visited until Jim had finished his PT and daughter has finished teaching her class and we all met for lunch out and split up in the various cars for errands.  Jim taking grandson for a haircut, daughter bringing granddaughter home to finish their laundry and to pack and load the car to await son-in-law to arrive home for them to begin their drive to Florida where they will spend Christmas with his parents, pick up the grandson who has been with his bio Dad for the week, and then on to have a Christmas vacation for the kids.  Son and I made a few stops for items on his list.

When we arrived home, a footstool box pieced and taped together with enough foam sheeting to wrap the house and holding my new antique spinning wheel was sitting on the table.  This excited me and I carefully opened the box and found all of the disassembled pieces inside.  We pulled up a photo and began reassembling it to make sure it is all there.

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It is all there, with a few flaws that may have to be addressed, such as two of the whorls missing a chunk out of them, but I think I can still use them.  An arm of the flyer has been broken and reglued in the past.  The legs had been removed for shipping and need to be reglued for stability.  The parts are pegged together and the leather that holds the flyer on the mother of all is dry and too wide in one place, covering the orifice hole, so it hasn’t been used in a long time.  I suspect it has been mostly decorative.  It is a double drive wheel and the only twine that I had to test it with isn’t beefy enough to do the job and frayed very quickly.  The bobbin is so tiny, but the wheel is gorgeous.  It was made by a Canadian from St. Andre, a wheel with screw tensioning.  Paradis was born in the early 1800’s.

Daughter’s family is on the road.  Son’s family shared a pot roast dinner with us and now they are off to a movie with Jim.  I elected to have some quiet time at home with a cup of tea and bake the pies for our Christmas dinner.

We traditionally have our Christmas dinner on the eve with turkey, country ham, and all the trimmings.  Tomorrow, we will avoid the last minute madness, just enjoying each other’s company, sharing a festive meal in the evening and do our gift opening after a big Christmas breakfast on Sunday, before they leave for daughter-in-law’s parent’s home to have Christmas with them as well.

Our house will be very quiet after they leave for more than a week, just Jim, me and all the animals.

Have a very Merry Christmas to all of you who check in on us through my blog.

Busy Days

The past few days have been busy.  Granddaughter started back to preschool, the dogs have had check ups and shots, we have been busy around the farm.

Between us, most of the fields have been mowed for fall.  I haven’t harvested the pears or apples yet, as I have been trying to catch up on tomatoes and peaches.  One day, I canned 30 pints of tomatoes and pasta sauce.  Of that, only a few didn’t seal, so we had a big spaghetti dinner last night and the leftover sauce was put in wide mouth jars and frozen.  We will use it first before we start opening the sealed jars.

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Each Tuesday, daughter and son-in-law pick up a one person food share of meat and one of fruit as a test to see if it is worth their money.  A lot of the fruit has been peaches, though the late frost killed off almost all of the peaches around here, so they must be bringing them from south of us.  Jim and I are the only ones in the house that will eat a fresh peach.  The first batch was made into peach/mango chutney, a very authentic tasting chutney.  The second batch were peeled, sliced, and frozen.  The third batch went to the spinning retreat with me and were enjoyed by the group.  The fourth batch was sitting there about to attract fruit flies, so I made 9 half pints of sweet chili sauce today.  I tasted a bit of it and it is sweet and spicy with hot chili sauce added.  It should make a great chicken or pork basting sauce or topping.  I think it would be good over cream cheese with crackers.  It is cooling on the counter and will be added to the increasing jars of goodies on the shelves.

Sweet chili sauce

Tonight late, our eldest son and eldest grandson will arrive for the weekend.  I have a dry rub pork shoulder that I will cook in the crockpot tomorrow and I think one of the jars of sweet chili sauce, a jar of the apple/pear chutney from last year, the last  jar of Pear Ginger Conserve will all be put out to eat with the pulled pork and slaw with a batch of roasted veggies for out dinner.

Tomorrow, we will get to return to the Farmers’ Market for the first time in a month.  We will precede that with breakfast out, and I will turn in my applications for the two winter Holiday Markets.

I am loving being able to return to a routine and see things getting done.

A Day in the Life

Last Tuesday evening, son-in-law’s parents arrived by air, bringing Grandson A home from his 7 weeks in Florida.  With them was A’s eleven year old male cousin.  They got to have some quality time with the grandkids, enjoying some lunches out, a movie, laser tag, and the Children’s Museum.  This put 9 folks in the house for breakfast and 3 dinners.  They ate one dinner out with the kids and grands.  Yesterday afternoon, they left to return to Florida, of course leaving A here to get back on his routine prior to school beginning in a couple of weeks.

The bed and bath linens have been laundered, folded and put away until that guest room is needed again.  Last night, the kids rewarded us with a Mexican food meal out, freeing me from the meal prep, then we treated them all to ice cream out.  Tonight is a return to Taekwondo for A and is also the adult class for the kids, so dinner will just be Jim and me.

Once  home last night, I began spinning 4 ounces of over dyed Coopsworth wool.  I had hoped to use it with another skein that was left over from making the sweater last spring, however, the yarn weight is nowhere near the same gauge.  I will figure out what to do with them, perhaps make a hat and scarf set that can be used as a gift or go in my shop.

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This morning, I dyed the 278 yards of Leicester Longwool that I spun last week. It is destined for my use and it is luscious.

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In the midst of spinning, dyeing, cooking, laundry, and being grand-mom in charge, I worked on organizing my teaching materials, my product and labeling, and pulling out items that will be put in a reduced item basket to take to the fiber retreat toward the end of the month.

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This evening just before preparing dinner, I got the area above and inside the chicken runs mowed on a high setting and the jungle thicket that even the chickens wouldn’t enter, clipped and pulled down.  The cull chicks seem to prefer to stay inside their dry palace than to venture out in the wet to help keep the weeds at bay in their run.  Maybe when it dries out a bit, they will come outside more.  Tomorrow, I need to try to get two bales of straw to put fresh dry bedding in the coops.  The hay bale that was designated for the coops is so wet from this summer’s rains that it is growing mushrooms.  It will have to be broken up and used on the garden as mulch.

A busy week

This was a week of swim lessons for Gdaughter that lives here.  She is a little 4 year old fish.  Because of her lack of fear and the skills she learned last winter, they put her in a class of 6 year olds and up and she held her own.  Fearless to go under water, jump off the diving board toward a waiting instructor/catcher, swimming crawl and backstroke in a life vest and flippers.  I think she will be swimming well by the end of summer.

Today was a craft/vendor show for support of the Newport Volunteer Rescue Squad.  It was sponsored by their auxiliary that set it up in the Volunteer Fire Department building and served hot dogs, lemonade, and baked goods.  I have to consider my booth fee as a donation to the squad, because the event was not well publicized, was not well marked, and there were only 6 vendors.  Three crafts folk and three catalog sale type vendors.  The traffic was nearly non existent and I didn’t sell enough to even make my $35 booth fee in 5 hours.  I ended up with the full space that one fire truck parks in to set up my booth and though I knew that I wouldn’t sell knit goods in the summer, I still set up my newly homemade stand with shawls, hats, and mitts on it.  Many skeins of yarn, and a table full of soaps, lotions bars, healing salves, and men’s beard products were displayed.

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I finished the skein of yarn that I was frantically trying to get spun and plyed, but didn’t have time to wash it.  I skeined it up and took it anyway as it was lovely shades of green and not the reds, blues, and naturals of most of my yarns.  It didn’t sell, none of the yarn did, though my spinning on the drop spindles to pass the time attracted a fair amount of attention.

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Since it came home with me, I will wash and dry it before I put it in the shop.  It is about 180 yards of worsted weight with a bit of texture due to the Mohair carded in with the Longwool and Romney.

When I got home and unloaded, Jim and I drove to town to pick up a chair that I had ordered.  The furniture store was having a July 4 sale and I was able to pick up a chair I had wanted for about half price.

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Though I am a tall woman, my height is in my torso, so most chairs are not comfortable for me for any length of time as my back doesn’t touch the back of the chair in order to put my feet on the ground.  This chair fits me perfectly and allows me to recline or put my feet on the ottoman, or move the ottoman and spin from the chair.  It required assembly once home, but I haven’t moved from it in an hour.  It is so comfortable.  This is my new spot and I am loving it.

The young chicks are all escape artists.  Being so, they cause the hens angst and then they too manage to get out.  I have moved the netting around, expanded the pen, opened the meat bird pen to them which allows the chicks out through the fence, but keeps the hens in and still they escape.  There is still one sitting 10-12 eggs and another that wants to be broody, but as I am only getting 1 or 2 eggs per day right now, I won’t let her sit.  I am hopeful that if we get a few from this next brood that there will be enough birds to expand my flock a bit and still have enough for the freezer without buying day old chicks and raising them in the garage brooder this fall.

Tomorrow, I am going to take the large cardboard box that held a desk for my stepmom, that we hauled across the state with the table and chairs, and the box and packing cardboard from my new chair, and it will be laid to the path and just outside the garden fence to start the prep for next year’s perennial bed around the vegetable garden.  I am still trying to decide whether to remove the garden fence and return to electric fence and to use the fencing to create a large chicken run around the orchard for them to have more space to range.

Last night we drove up to the hill above our house to see if we could see where the logging noises were coming from, only to discover that they had clear cut the woods immediately behind our neighbor’s fields.  We think that there is land between it and us that is owned by someone else and are hopeful that they don’t breech the hill we see to the west of our lower field. While up there, I took a new photo for my header shot.

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Still loving life on the our mountain farm.

A Week On the Farm – April 24, 2016

A Day Late!

Busy weekend.  Daughter and family went away for the weekend, but eldest son and family arrived.  Daughter in law had a job reinstalling an art piece for an artist that she works with.  They had de-installed it a couple of weeks ago and packed it up for the owner, who drove it to their new house about 45 minutes from here.  DIL and son went over yesterday to install the piece and we got eldest grandson time.

Today was dedicated to work and fun on and near the farm. Last year, we tried to use the chicken tractor that was too heavy for me to move by hand and not sturdy enough to move by tractor as a brooder coop, inside one of the chicken runs.  It ended up being a disaster, we lost batch of chicks after batch of chicks, regardless of how we tried to secure it.  Son was determined that we could make it work.  Last fall, he cut some cedars, stripped the branches and brought the trunks up near the chicken pens.  Today, we set about making a base for the chicken tractor that lifted it up off the ground on a solid floor.  One of our goals was to not spend any more money on it, as it probably only has a couple more years of life before the reclaimed wood fails.  My idea was to put it up on blocks with a plywood floor.  He said that was too expensive.  We had many old cedar posts that were being used mostly unnecessarily to try keep weeds out of the garden or to keep the chickens from going under fences.   We decided to use them.  Four large fairly flat rocks were located in rock piles and used as the corners instead of cinder blocks.  Two of the cedar trunks were used to be floor beams and the cedar posts, cut to length as the floor joists, surface.  Now I need to let you know that at this point, I threatened to rename son, Huck and give him a paddle.

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The end joists were screwed to the cedar trunk beams and the rest packed as tightly as we could put them.  “Huck” questioned whether they were close enough together and though they are, they surface is neither smooth nor flat.  I said that I would spread a thick layer of newpaper, wood shavings or hay over it and that would probably do.  DIL had the idea that we could make a sod house type floor to smooth it out instead.

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We started laying hay over the raft perpendicular to the floor.

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A few tractor buckets of soil and sod were layered on top of that, the rocks removed and packed down.  Thereby creating a sod floor over the cedar raft.

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The fence was removed from the meat chicken pen’s upper end (no chickens in there right now) and son and I wrestled the tractor out and adjacent to the sod covered raft.  The two of us could not lift it alone, but a neighbor and his friend were using metal detectors on our field looking for civil war treasures and they came up to help out.  With DIL eyeballing where it should sit, the other four of us each picked up a corner and set the tractor on top of the sod covered raft.

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This left a few gaps and we decided to line up the rocks that we had pulled out of the soil around the interior perimeter.  The shot I failed to get was son on his hands and knees inside this structure as I handed in rocks for him to fill the gaps.

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The structure is now soundly in place and as secure as we could make it.  The lower hardware cloth sides are going to be closed in, leaving the upper triangles for vents, a ramp built and the nesting boxes installed.  A low chicken wire fence will surround it to allow the chicks and their mommas outside once they are a few days old.  I still need to reattach the fencing that we removed to get the tractor out of the run.  A predator will now have to climb, and gnaw in to get to the babies.  Perhaps we will have better luck raising them this year.

Once we finished and had lunch, we took off on a hike that was a portion of the hike we did last summer backpacking.  The hike is about 5 miles total with the first half a steep climb to a ridge that is a beautiful, fairly level walk out to a rock outcrop that allows us to look through the gap to Blacksburg and Christiansburg in the distance.

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In spite of the beautiful blue sky, there was quite a haze off in the distance.

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The first shot, looking east toward the towns and the other looking west up the valley and the farmland.  Sorry they aren’t clearer.  It was definitely still looking like winter up there though the temperature was summer time.  There was no leaf cover at all at the elevation.  I certainly got my steps in today, almost getting twice the 10,000 step goal with 19,780, walking/hiking 8.63 miles, and the equivalent of 111 flights of steps.

They are headed home.  Daughter and her family have returned from their trip.  Leftovers prepared, eaten and cleaned up for dinner, a shower taken and now I am ready for bed.

Tomorrow is the last nice day for a week of expected rain, so I will try to repair the fencing, enclose the brooder coop and work more on garden prep.  We are approaching our last expected frost date and I will be able to plant the tomatoes, peppers, beans, popcorn, pumpkins, bush beans, cucumbers and flowers.  The part for my car came in, and that is also on my schedule to get the part installed and the reinspection.  An appointment has been made to get another estimate on replacing the ball joints in a few more days.

Loving life in the mountains.

Olio – March 5, 2016

Olio – a miscellaneous collection of things.

This is a weekend of family.  Eldest son and eldest grandson rode the late bus in last night, arriving in the wee hours.  We started slow this morning with a good breakfast of our eggs, bacon, tortillas and homemade banana walnut bread.  We followed with some family visiting and catching up while daughter, SIL, and the other two grands went to their last swimming lesson of the current sessions.  After a brief trip for books and gravel, we tackled the basement soffit reconstruction.  Due to the leak we were experiencing last fall and winter, the soffit that was sheathed with drywall was blistered and crumbling and eldest son ripped it down to the framing at Christmas to help us diagnose where the leak was originating.  We had had a roof repair made that had not cured the problem prior to that.   Seeing where the water was coming from allowed the leak to be actually fixed and we left the soffit open until we were sure that we no longer had a problem.

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They came this weekend to not just visit, but rebuilt, this time using beadboard paneling and pine trim that can be unscrewed and taken down in the event of a future need to access the plumbing, electrical, and heating ductwork that all converges in that area of the basement.  Mountaingdad and I had made a run to Lowes on Friday to purchase most of the necessary wood and screws to make it happen.  Some ripping with the circular saw, cutting with the jigsaw, fitting and screwing in place and we now have this much done.

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Tonight, after a homemade Mexican food feast, he and I returned to Lowes to get more trim pieces that we realized we would need.

Earlier this afternoon, I told son that both of the surviving chicks from last summer had developed into beautiful young roosters, however, with only 8 hens, we didn’t need two randy young males spewing testosterone in the flock.  I thought we could wait until problems began to deal with it, however, when I went out to lock them up at dusk, the boys were cock fighting and once in the coop, attacked a hen, so I captured the first one I could grab and he is now in the freezer, to become soup at some time in the future.  My flock is down to 9, but the hens and the Foghorn Leghorn will be happier.  Hopefully, we will be able to successfully raise some chicks this summer and we will increase the flock to 12 or 14 hens and Foghorn Leghorn.

Since my return from the spinning retreat, I have been having a fairly significant arthritis flare.  My right basal joint has been a problem for several years, as has a shoulder injured 38 years ago.  The basal joint treated with injections, surgery and finally just splinting when it is too aggravated. Today, while I was holding the beadboard sheets for son to cut, I noticed that my finger joints were beginning to swell.  I guess that was inevitable.  Some recent research on foods that trigger inflammation and foods that help calm it has caused me to alter my diet in the past couple of months.  Though I have enjoyed some other benefits from the diet change, it hasn’t really helped the joint pains if I overdue as I am prone to do.  Perhaps it is also a result of the fickle weather we have been experiencing with days of the 70’s followed by days in the low 30’s, rain, then sun, then snow.  This is springtime in Virginia and if you don’t like the weather, wait for 24 hours, it will change.

Tomorrow afternoon, I will drive son and grandson home, spend the night with them and then take them to the Metro station early Monday for them to go away as a family for a few days and I will return home.  Our week is supposed to be more springlike, maybe if it stays dry, some garden cleanup can begin.  The garlic is up several inches and will have to now be protected from the chickens, the blueberries never got a good weeding in the fall, but I have been stockpiling newspaper and bought a hay fork, so I will layer newspaper and cardboard around the bushes and pile on some spoiled hay for mulch.  I’m looking forward to playing in the dirt again.

Hopefully, the snow we had Thursday night was the last measurable snowfall of the season with more warm days to come.  Another couple of weeks and the turnips, onion sets, and peas can be planted.  I’m trying to figure out a way to allow the chickens to continue to wander the aisles of the garden and among the blueberry and raspberry bushes to help keep the weeds down this year and to allow them to feast on the unwanted bugs.  I can’t fence each row, some crops are too tall to row cover, but I will figure it out.

Olio – February 20, 2016

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things.

On this day 29 years ago, my youngest was born.  He was 11 days late, I thought he would never enter this world, and when he did decide to come, he was presented sunnyside up, with a huge head, and weighing in at a whopping 11+ pounds.  We didn’t have to have a C section, but almost.  We are extremely proud of him as he became an EMT at 18 and has volunteered with it ever since.  He moved on to earn his Paramedic certification with Advanced Life Support and has worked in that field most of his adult life.  He recently has started his own transport company and is awaiting the final inspections to start moving with his two ambulances at the ready.  Happy birthday, son.

The snow from last week finally is gone except for a few sheltered places in the woods and on the north side of the house and barn.  There is a coastal storm that is threatening us next week, hopefully not to interfere with my friend’s and my drive to the spinning retreat on Thursday.  The forcasters can’t decide if it is going to be snow, ice, or rain, we are hoping it is only rain or if the snow or ice is on the earlier end, coming on Tuesday.

I am packed for the retreat and ready to go as compactly as I can be.  Since, I am only taking soaps, lotion bars and salves, I have packed it all into one large wicker lidded basket, instead of the usual 5 or 6 wooden crates when I also have yarn and knit wear. This retreat is for fiber folks, they make their own yarn and knit wear.

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The only items that didn’t fit were my cash box and my business cards.

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They will fit into the red and blue plaid bag on the floor.  The group has a nightly happy hour, and the bag will also carry the snacks and snack dishes for the items I will be contributing.  We do a gift raffle and as a vendor, I must supply one gift of $20 value or more and will as a participant, provide a second.  They will go into that bag as well.  That leaves only my clothes, spinning wheel and fiber to put together.  That won’t be done until Wednesday night, unless we are going to get snow and ice, requiring my car to be put at the top of the driveway or even up at the paved road, in which case I will pack it all before moving the car.

Today was a beautiful spring like day.  The melting snow finally allowed the Buffys to venture over into the garden area to scratch and search for goodies.  With the longer days, I am generally getting 3 to 5 eggs a day.  Interestingly, the two Americauna have produced more than half of the eggs produced in the past three days.  This puts the 6 Buffys to shame.

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One of the Americauna’s eggs are blue, the other more olive.  The Buffys eggs vary from pink to darker brown and from tiny like the top right to giant like the bottom right.  It is nice to have fresh eggs for breakfast and for baking with the bonus of having enough to share with some of my friends.  The girls will be cared for in my absence by Mountaingdad and daughter.

The house is quiet tonight.  Daughter and family went out to dinner and to a movie for the kids.  It is strange to cook just for two after 13 months of having a house full.  As I was food shopping today, I found a grass finished New York strip steak, so Mountaingdad got a treat tonight.  Risotto and sugar snap peas rounded it out and provided my dinner along with a glass of the Merlot that my brother made last summer.

At the Christmas party for my spinning group, I scored 12 ounces of California red wool. I started spinning it recently and have fallen in love with the fiber.  It is a natural white color and spins like a dream.  I have one bobbin full and it looks like it is going to fill 4 bobbins once done.  Once I see how many yards it is once spun, I will decide what it will become.  I definitely won’t sell this yarn.

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Our local Barnes and Noble sells Harney and Son teas.  A year or so ago, I went on their website to buy one of my favorites, Autumn Cranberry as a bulk loose tea and received a travel sample of Valentine Blend, a chocolate with rose bud black tea.  I savored that delicious, fragrant tea, hoping that it would be carried by Barnes and Noble around Valentine’s day.  They did not get it in, so again I visited the website and today, my 4 ounce tin and one pound bag arrived, just in time to tuck some into my luggage to go with me to the retreat.

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We are hoping that this week’s weather does not produce more school outage.  Grandson has only been in school a few days in the past two weeks due to snow, ice or extreme cold.

Tomorrow, I hope to enjoy the warm day to finally weed the asparagus bed before the new shoots begin to emerge.

Snowed in again

A beautiful snow this time, no wind.  Daughter and I took a walk in about 10″ of new snow, no drifting.  By the time we started back, we were getting a little sleet.  The roads near us are impassible, but no need to go anywhere.  Groceries were purchased yesterday, dog food as well.  We did get out for our Anniversary dinner, though the snow started hours earlier than predicted.  Last evening we followed our son in law down the mountain, us in our 4 wheel drive truck, him in his little low 2 wheel drive sedan and he went to work 12 hours early to nap there as he wouldn’t be able to get to the hospital today.

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Ooops, got my glove in that one.
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Our old pole barn
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An old snow covered wheel on a rock pile.
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Snow covered hay rake
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Old fly wheel driven saw in front of our barn.
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Barn and house from the top of the driveway. Not going anywhere for a while, though the 2 4-wheel drive vehicles are behind me.
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Rock wall in our sink hole, several hundred feet away.  We have Witch hazel planted above it and went on a search for it, it should be blooming now, but could not find it.
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Our house in the hollow from the hill above us on the neighbor’s farm.

It isn’t snowing as hard now, still thick and gray outside, some sleet due to crust this over this afternoon.

On our walk, we spotted another very young calf, a little black one tucked between two black cows at the hay feeder on the neighbor’s farm.  Some of her girls look like they are about to burst.  Daughter was calling them Moocicles, with their coats dripping icicles.

We came back from our walk to warm leftover soup and leftovers from our Anniversary dinner out for lunch.  The woodstove is keeping the basement toasty and the downstairs floors warm.  We haven’t bothered to light the upstairs fire, saving the wood in case the power fails as the ice accumulates.  I guess I should fill some containers with water, just in case.

The week is supposed to warm, so perhaps the asparagus bed can be weeded before the shoots begin to appear, the chicken coop cleared of the spoiled straw that has housed them during the two snow storms, and their food and water returned to the outdoors.  For the past couple of weeks, they have mostly been getting warm water inside the coop twice a day, their feeder inside the coop staying filled and with single digit temps or snow, they have been locked in.

I have finished the body of my handspun sweater.  I need to pick up the stitches to add the sleeves, perhaps that will be a good afternoon task, plus I bought fabric to make granddaughter a little backpack to carry her dance clothes in.  She got a leotard, dance pants, and a skirt for Valentine’s day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Valentine

Thirty eight years ago this evening, I became Mrs. Mountaingdad.  We had met about 10 months earlier through a mutual friend.  Over the Christmas Holiday from the school system where I was a counselor, we went on my first overnight ski trip.  I had been on a one day semi local trip with a group of students and teachers from the school where I worked, but not a trip to a big resort, not a trip to Vermont.  We went with a local ski shop, with Mountaingdad’s sister and her friend as part of the group and stayed off resort at a really cool working dairy farm/Inn.  The SIL to become, her friend, and Mountaingdad were all skiers already and had outfitted me with very short skis to begin and longer ones for later in the week if I got the hang of it.  First day out, I separated my shoulder.  I am a determined soul and with the thick layers of clothing that helped restrict movement, continued to ski for the rest of the week, needing help to dress and undress, to braid my long hair, cut my meat for dinner, or anything that required flexibility or strength with my left arm (I am a lefty.)  We arrived home on New Year’s Eve and went straight to the ER where I was Xrayed, put in a restricting sling and referred back to my family Dr. in a week for the 1970’s version of physical therapy.  That night, Mountaingdad proposed to me and I accepted.  We didn’t want a huge wedding and set about to make plans, knowing that we wanted a ski honeymoon. As it turns out, Mountaingdad was a romantic, he suggested Valentine’s Day for the date.  Plans were made and on that night, my first Valentine, my Daddy, stood in the back of the church as Mountaingdad had my brother bring me a Valentine card, and Daddy walked a teary bride down the aisle and passed my hand to the man I was about to marry, my new Valentine.

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Rehearsal night, sitting with my Dad as we watched what we were to do the next night.

Every Valentine’s Day for 67 years, my Dad sent me a Valentine’s Card, usually one like the kids hand out at school.  I could count on getting at least one card as a kid.  As I had children, my daughter also received a card from him, and later my granddaughter as well.  He sent them to all of his “girls.”

I lost my first Valentine, my Dad in December.  He was 92 years young.  Healthy and vibrant until August, showing his age and a rapid decline after that.  He remained at home, still helping out as he could until 2 weeks before he died when he had back to back hospitalizations and passed with his kids, stepkids, a niece and his wife with him over the last few days.

I knew that each Sunday, when we talked to each other on the phone, would be difficult and that holidays would also be tough for a year or so, but I didn’t think about Valentine’s Day, that is Mountaingdad’s and my day.  A few days ago, this was in the mail.

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I couldn’t even open the envelope as I knew what was inside.  I handed it to my daughter, teary eyed and had another cry.  My stepmom had sent the Valentine cards on to all of his “girls” for him.  Yesterday, another envelope arrived for the three girls in the house.  This one contained 3 cards and a note explaining that my IBB (younger brother) knowing that Daddy had carried out this tradition forever and he was continuing it.  I cried again.  Thank you IBB.

Tonight, I have but one Valentine.  He and I will go out for a nice dinner and celebrate our 38 anniversaries together.  He has been my love for a long time and continues to be there for me when I need him the most.  I love you, Jim.