Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Since I Don't Make New Year's Resolutions . . .

. . . I've decided to just live by these ten points I found in a quilting magazine many years ago.  Apologies to the author since I no longer have a name to credit.  I'm sure any of you who quilt will be able to relate . . . and maybe adopt them as your own for the coming year.

* * * * * * * *

1.  Eat more chocolate.  (In my case,
it would be potato chips.)

2.  Never cook when I can quilt.

3.  Begin at least 10 new projects.

4.  Learn to love UFOs.  (Unfinished objects.)

5.  Never miss a fabric sale.

6.  Start a dust bunny collection.

7.  Spend more time in the sewing room
than in the kitchen.

8  Make sure my credit card
never feels neglected.

9.  Never count the number of
stitches per inch.

10.  Quilt only on days ending in Y. 

* * * * * * * *

Sounds like a great start to the New Year to me!  (Feel free to change any words in this list to reflect your own personal addiction.)

Sunday, December 29, 2019

A Holiday Snow

The following few paragraphs were written Saturday night, December 28th:

They say ("they" can certainly cover a lot of ground) we have a big storm coming our way.  I wish it was to be all snow, but the temperatures are supposed to be right at the freezing point so we're warned to watch out for a rain/snow/ice mix.  Not the kind of winter weather anyone wants to see.  We're looking for it to start tonight and hang around until sometime Monday.

We're fully prepared for such weather having as much food, of course, as we could possibly want to ride out any nasty weather, and the wood box on the enclosed porch is piled high with a double load of dry wood along with the two wood holders inside the house which are filled to the brim.

It's not unusual for us to have a spate of winter weather right around Christmas so this is not surprising.  There are certain things that must be done outside every day to keep our little place going, but other than that I'm kind of looking forward to tomorrow and possibly Monday being enjoyed without doing anything extra.  I have two books I ordered from the library that I'd love to dive into.

Did I mention I've been ordering holiday themed movies from the library for us to watch during the time leading up to Christmas and through New Year's?  Darn, but a couple/few of them have been returned unwatched (where does the time go in each 24-hour period, where?!), but we currently have two here waiting that I picked up earlier this past week.  The weather just may turn out to be conducive to actually picking a time for both of us to sit down and watch them.

And here I am again, Sunday, December 29th:

We woke to this snow covering this morning.  The temp has stayed a degree above or below 34° and the snow is about as heavy as can be.  At that temp, why is it snowing rather than raining?

Morning chores entailed clearing off poultry houses, steps and walkways.  Since the snow isn't predicted to be over until sometime tomorrow, we won't do much more clearing until then.  The forecast says we may get rain with this storm, too, which won't be much fun at all.

When we got up this morning, I had visions of spending a good portion of the day in my quilt room but you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men . . . and apparently me, too, as I haven't made it in there yet.  Papa Pea just said he's going outside to do a little more shoveling (the guy really knows how to have fun) so I'll probably guilt myself into clearing off the front deck and wooden walkways on either side.  If this snow continues as predicted, it will definitely be easier to clear off the 4-5" of wet stuff we have . . . than waiting until we get more . . . or it becomes soaked with rain.  

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Best Wishes to You All!

I'm thinking of all of you this holiday season, and want you to know 
I so appreciate our supportive community
 and look forward to the New Year before us. 

Let's make it a good one 
with lots of laughter, love, caring and sharing!


Sunday, December 22, 2019

Hear Ye, Hear Ye!

My daughter just put up a blog post (first one in years . . .  okay, not quite that long, but it feels like it) and I am pleased as punch.

I've nagged her to get back into blogging for a long time, but to no avail.  (Apparently mothers don't always give the best advice -- who knew?)  

I'd all but given up on her finding the time and impetus to do so.  

Therefore, I was so happy to see her back in the writing saddle when I opened my computer this morning. 

If you find time during these last few days before the holiday season, go take a peek:

She's a darn good writer!  (Ask her about the couple as-of-yet unpublished books she has in her files.  Hee-hee.)

Friday, December 20, 2019

A Good Friday and End to the Week

Just as fast as our recent cold weather spell seemed to arrive, it's now gone and our temp today was up to 32°.  No noticeable melting occurred but the fact that rain and snow and ice were predicted (never materialized) kinda kept us on our toes.

It was very dark and gray all day.  At 3:45 p.m. it looked as if Mother Nature was setting daylight on the lowest dimmer switch.  Well, only one more day before we start gaining minutes (technically anyway) of daylight each day.  Makes one look forward to the usually lighter and brighter days we get in January.

I wrapped presents yesterday afternoon and placed them under our little tree.

This is the third year we've had our artificial Christmas tree (best decision I ever made) and I still keep thinking about adding water to the stand so it doesn't dry out.  (Some of us apparently are slower learners than others.)

My plan was to attack the pantry today, do some rearranging, wipe down the shelves and make note of anything we might be short of to make it through the remainder of the winter.  Didn't get to it.  I did manage to get the top of my desk cleared which feels really good.  Happily, I didn't find anything such as an overdue bill I had neglected to pay.

Early this morning, all the tins of the various Christmas cookies were brought out to the kitchen counter from the pantry, and I made up five plates to be given away as a holiday thank you or "just because."

Speaking of goodies of the unbaked kind, I'm a lover of pears and I've been eyeing them in our co-op for a while now but have hesitated buying any because we have plenty of our own apples in the root cellar which should be eaten as our fresh fruit.

However, a friend stopped by today to share with us (yippee!) part of a box of pears she had received as a Christmas gift.  They look like "real" pears, not hybridized for cosmetic purposes.  I can't wait to taste them.  On the last piece of property we owned in Illinois before moving up here, we had two old, old pear trees.  One bore luscious, juicy fruit we ate almost right off the tree and the other one produced a harder pear that turned out delicious when I canned them in a light syrup for a good, simple dessert.  Yep, I really like pears.

Enough jabbering on for this post.  Seems like it will be a good night to get all ready for bed and then spend some time on the couch knitting.  Of course, an open wood fire will add to the relaxing ambience.  Cozy, cozy, cozy.  A good Friday, a good end to the week.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Welcome Winter!

Old Man Winter seems to have moved into our area.  After high winds during the day yesterday, we were warned of an overnight low of around 14° below zero with a dangerous wind chill factor of -37°.  That's cold.

Papa Pea does such a good job of banking the fires in our wood stoves last thing at night that we had half a log perking away inside each stove when we got up this morning.

School for today was put on a two-hour delay with reports saying conditions would be better around mid-morning. 

Papa Pea heading out for morning chores.

Upon rising today, our thermometer showed a low reading over night of -11° and there's only a little wind ruffling the tops of the trees.  That's all good news.

I do wish we had this much snow (old picture shown above) now as we go into the coldest part of our season, but we don't.  It was taken in 2014 and we've not had that much snow on the ground of a winter since.  Currently, there is an almost-adequate covering on the ground, which will help, but we could use more.  The raised beds in the garden are just barely covered.

More Christmas cookie baking for me on the schedule today.  And I want to (really have to) get started on wrapping the presents that will go under our tree.  Sadly, my gift wrapping skills seem to have fallen by the wayside in the last several years, and it's become a bit of a chore it doesn't seem as much fun as it used to!

Well, what am I grousing about?  This is going to be mighty fine day for staying inside, filling the house with the aroma of baking goodies . . . and wrapping presents.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

A Poultry Yard Visitor

Our daughter stopped in just before dusk tonight for a short visit and announced I should get a picture of some of our youngest Muscovy ducks sitting on top of the Samurai just outside the poultry yard.

Why are they out of the poultry yard sitting on top of the Samurai?  At almost that same time, Papa Pea called from his upstairs office to come see the fox running back and forth on the inside of the poultry yard fencing trying to get out.

Mr. (?) Fox had gotten in and harassed some of the poultry, but then forgot how he gained access through (over?) the electric fencing which isn't turned on because of the build-up of snow at the bottom portion of it.  If he had jumped in, why couldn't he jump out?

Papa Pea went out to check the situation at just about the time the fox went under the fence (we think) at a spot we couldn't see, ran down the driveway and into our thick woods.

There were some scattered feathers in evidence in the poultry yard but no casualties.  Papa Pea thinks our big Muscovy adult male probably went after the fox and discouraged him a no uncertain terms.

Tomorrow in daylight, we'll check out the fencing to see if we can figure out where the fox got in.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

That Holiday Feeling

The holiday decorations are up and the house looks festive and cheery.  Whadda relief to have that done!  I'm finding the actual act of putting the decorations up isn't as much fun as it used to be (an understatement), but I still enjoy seeing the color and the memories everything brings to mind once it's done.  (There's no free lunch, is there?)

A treasured cross-stitch picture
by my daughter
given to me one Christmas past.

While unpacking these decorations, I made the decision to eliminate many items that I've not used in years and/or ones that don't have any sentimental value.  That felt really good.  (Hey, I'm getting good at this de-cluttering thing.)

A 32" x 32" applique piece
I did a a couple of years ago.
(It stays.)

Now it's time for me to bake a big bunch of sugar cookies for my daughter.  No, it's not that she allows herself to indulge in copious amounts of the cookies, but rather gathers together her little group of six happy urchins (children of her dear friends) and has her annual, huge Christmas cookie decorating party with them.  Thus far, the boys are still eager to enter into the spirit of the season (and frosting and assorted toppings) and dive into the project with as much enthusiasm and gusto as the girls.

I love this large jingle bell wreath
given to me by a friend
a few years back.

And then there are my own Christmas goodies to start making and baking.  Each year I waver between getting them done early (and often having too many disappear too soon) or waiting until right before the 25th and feeling we don't have adequate time to enjoy and share them.  Also, I kinda like to have them ready to make plates of assortments to give before the (sometimes glut of) sugar-laden goodies appear in everyone else's homes.  Such a dilemma, eh?

The little Santas on the right are
from Iceland and were
a gift to me from my daughter
when she visited there
about 15 years ago.

At any rate, I'm definitely experiencing that getting-close-to-the-holidays feeling now and plan to relax and enjoy the season to the utmost.  

Bring on the aroma of cookies baking in the oven and Christmas music on the player.


Tuesday, December 3, 2019

A Really Hungry Flying Squirrel

We seem to have a flying squirrel with a voracious appetite that has been making nightly visits to our . . . 

. . . peanut butter feeder and . . . 

. . . suet ball.

If you have ever seen a flying squirrel up close, you know they are adorable, velvety soft-looking little creatures with huge eyes.  But this one is starting to border on the destructive side.

As you may note from the above picture of our peanut butter log feeder, he's doing a good job of starting to eat the wood from around the holes that I fill with peanut butter.

What was once a perfectly round suet ball surrounded by a string net bag suffered an awful beating last night.

We've seen flying squirrels on the peanut butter feeder at night and the seed feeding platform outside the window of Papa Pea's office upstairs so we know they are around, and we've always been happy to provide them with their nocturnal goodies.

But this guy has got to learn some manners and maybe knock on a window to let us know he's especially hungry and wants a refill of his snacks.  Like pronto!