Sunday, February 19, 2023

Would You Like Some Ice With That?

 The following two shots are of our back wood working area.
This is looking to the right.
And this is looking to the left.
Ice.  Solid ice.  This is a result of our high temps this winter.  Well, maybe not "high" for some of you, but certainly not usual winter temperatures for us in northern Minnesota.  We've even reached up into the 40s a few days, and the snow we received at the first part of winter continues to melt a little each day.
This month of February has so far given us temperatures quite a bit above normal so much of the area we keep plowed has turned to ice.  It makes driving in and out of our one-quarter mile driveway interesting. 
Not especially nice for being out and around anywhere, but it has been easy on our supply of firewood. 
We typically receive our greatest amount of snowfall in the month of March, but by then the sun is high enough that much of it hitting the ground melts during the day.  And will probably make more ice when the temperature drops at night. 
We may soon be putting on our ice skates to do our outside chores! 

Thursday, February 16, 2023

More Musings From My Mind

~  This past Valentine's Day brought back a memory I haven't thought about in y-e-a-r-s.  Back when I was in 8th grade, I went to a Valentine's Day dance.  For the occasion, my mom helped me set my hair in a currently fashionable style which was very different from my usual every day coiffure.  When I arrived at the dance (with my girlfriends as at that age we weren't actually having "dates" with boys yet), the boy who I "liked" and who said he "liked" me, too, took one look at me and said, "Why does your hair look so funny?"  I spent the rest of the dance crying in the restroom.  Do you have a memory of something that happened in your own younger years that you'd handle in an entirely different way now?
~  In the past, I've fainted many times because of the unmanageable pain of endometriosis.  (Sure am glad that's all in the past now.)  Have you ever fainted?
~  I had an aunt who was a fantastic baker.  One wouldn't think something as simple an an oatmeal cookie could be so much better than any other oatmeal cookie, but my Aunt J could prove differently.  She raised four children of her own who I know benefited from her baking expertise, but she also sent boxes and boxes to nieces and nephews away at school and to other friends and family.  My uncle often said if he had been wise, he would have invested in 3M because she used so much packing tape on a regular basis.  Sadly, these days the cost of sending goodie packages to anyone is so prohibitively expensive, one almost needs to take out a small loan in order to do it.  Do you frequently mail packages to anyone?
~  I have a wide gold wedding band that I've been wearing since the day way back in 1963 when hubby and I said, "I do."  In order to remove it from my finger, it was cut totally in half once years ago when I was bitten by a black fly (nasty little devil) on my ring finger which swelled up like a balloon.  I remember my mother received a new wedding band and engagement ring around her and my dad's 20th anniversary because both of her narrow rings had worn completely through in the back.  Do you still have and wear the same wedding ring or rings you received when you were first married?
~  I call myself primarily a quilter now, but the first handcraft I learned was knitting.  I don't know exactly how old I was when I asked my grandmother to teach me to knit (around ten years old?), but I was a dismal failure at it.  Years later in college I had a housemate who was an accomplished knitter, and she gave me the push to try it again.  My interest was immediate and I was obsessed with yarn and knitting needles until many years after that when I took a basic quilting class.  I still knit a bit (mostly socks), but I do more quilting now.  If you have a creative hobby (or business) you pursue, what is it and when did your first interest of it start? 
Thoughts and memories, questions for you.  I'd love to hear anything you might care to share. 

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Saturday Morning

The day is starting to dawn now at 7 a.m.   Our days are lengthening although we have a long way to go until full summer time when I can see the sky brightening at 4 a.m.  What a different world we have in winter versus summer.
We're pulling out of our first really cold spell of the winter starting today.  Or so they say.  Yesterday morning we had a low of -17°.  That was cold.  This morning the thermometer reads 7° above with a forecast of going up to the high 20s.  And then the same warmer temps for the coming week.
I put off town errands yesterday because . . . well, because I could.   And didn't want to spend anymore time outside than necessary.  The cold temps held on right through the day before the warm-up overnight.

I was ready to start a brand new cross-stitch project but decided to be disciplined (ahem) and finish this Easter themed one I started last year and then got disgusted with myself it (early on as you can see) because I found I had goofed when doing the "e" and "r" on the right hand side.  My count was off and it took me a while to figure out why.  Or where.  (Having to know how to count correctly has proven to be a challenge for me apparently.)  
When I decided yesterday to "make it right" I rectified the problem by painstakingly taking out both letters, redid them in the correct position and am now finishing the left hand side of the word.  Easter isn't until mid-April this year so I figure I have a good chance of getting this piece finished!  Provided I use all fingers with which to count, of course.
The light we put in the chicken house continues to reinforce the fact that chickens really do need a certain number of hours of light out of twenty-four to lay a normal number of eggs.  Our eggs are now rolling in with good consistency, and we once more have enough to share.  Yippee! 
There is a problem in the hen house, however, which we think we'll have to take drastic measures to fix.  
The little black bantam Silkie rooster has been viciously attacking our full-sized Black Australorp rooster who is about four times as big as the Silkie.  The black bantam has drawn blood several times and is merciless in making the Australorp rooster's life miserable.  The banty hens are laying well now along with the full-sized birds, but come spring time we have no desire to hatch a fertilized egg with what may be the genes of this particular nasty Silkie rooster.  He is going to have to go.
As the temperature climbs today, I'm going to load my vehicle for the Recycling Center (does everyone accumulate as much cardboard these days as we do?) with all recyclables, stop for a few groceries at our Co-op, and pick up some material at the library that has come in for me.

Then perhaps spend some time on my Easter cross-stitch project.  And maybe I'll bake that Blueberry Pie my husband has been hinting for.
Hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Pay Back

All those years of having my bright, inquisitive, little daughter standing on a stool next to me at the kitchen counter have paid off.  That time seems so long ago now (it was), but I do remember how every now and then I couldn't help thinking that I could cook and/or bake anything about three times faster without my little kitchen helper beside me.
Now as a grown woman, dear daughter lives by herself, loves to cook and bake, but it's not something she does a lot with only herself to feed.  So yesterday she did wonderful things in my kitchen.
Not only did she make a batch of Black Bean Burgers for the freezer (yum) and try a new recipe for chapatties made with einkorn flour (a dismal failure -- how do recipes like that get published?), but baked six loaves of bread.

Two rye loaves which gained her great favor with her dad, two loaves of Egg Bread, one made into Cinnamon Bread -- be still my heart -- and one left plain.  Also, two robust loaves of Oatmeal Bread that had yet to come out of the oven when I took the above picture.

I really want to drizzle some white powdered sugar frosting over the top of this loaf, but that makes such an ooie-gooie mess in the toaster!  Toasted Cinnamon Bread for breakfast with an egg fresh from the hen house . . . can't be beat.
No, we didn't sit down yesterday and stuff all six loaves into our wee mooths (as my Scottish grandmother used to say).  All but one loaf, the Cinnamon Bread, went into the freezer for the benefit of having a stash of homemade bread put by for the future.
So, yes, I'd say this is definitely pay back for those years of clouds of flour floating through the air and apple peelings littering the floor along with the million questions of "Why?" from my little kitchen helper.  Now she's a big helper and I love it!