SnowPatrick’s Day

For our 18th wedding anniversary, Paul and I got a snow day.

We had all been thinking we might be done with winter (especially with the first day of spring in just a few days!), but nope!

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The nice part was that Paul’s office closed, and even though he was still working, he got to be home for the day.

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And it WAS a very pretty day.  It was my favorite kind of snow; the kind that sticks onto every part of the trees and weighs them down (I know, this is bad for the trees and power lines, etc).  This is the kind of snow we wish for in December but never seem to get.

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Left to right: duck, goose, chicken.   The snow didn’t slow down any of them.

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Nor did it slow down Lucy or stop her stream-loving adventures.    This is how you know these dogs are built to withstand extreme weather.  She enjoys the stream no matter the weather (or the snakes, to my extreme concern).  In the summer, her favorite thing to do is lie in one of the shallower spots all day and stay wet, occasionally splashing at the minnows and tadpoles.

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The kids had a day of crafting and coloring pictures for school – mostly things they came up with themselves.  I tried putting on a documentary about the history of Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day, but it very nearly put ALL of us to sleep.

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This leprechaun beard idea came from Pinterest (it’s just scraps of paper, rolled and glued onto a beard-shaped piece of paper).

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Dinner was perfect for the snowy, blustery weather – our traditional Steak, Guinness and Cheddar Pie.  Comfort food at its best!  Everyone loves this – even Oona!

And for dessert:

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A Guinness-Chocolate Cheesecake. I have to say, this was my first real attempt at cheesecake and I’m thrilled with how it came out. It makes me want to try a plain one.  The thing is, plain cheesecake (with a smidge of fresh fruit on top) is one of my favorite things on this planet, and I’m afraid if I make it I will EAT IT ALL.  And really, who needs that many calories? Not me!

We topped off the evening, as always, with Darby O’Gill and the Little People, and I worked on my Shepherd sweater by the fire.  All of that cabling being worked into a natural-colored wool just seemed so right to accompany the day’s theme.

I’d say it was the prefect way to close out winter, just in time to welcome spring.  I hope Mother Nature agrees.

 

Another Glorious Snow Day

We got several inches of snow yesterday and Paul’s office was closed, so I declared an actual snow day for the kids.  Normally we have school no matter what the weather, but it looked so blizzardy, and inside was so cozy with the fireplace (and having Paul home throws off our routine anyway), so I let everyone curl up under their blankets and just relax all day.

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It worked out well for me; I got the front right half of my Shepherd sweater done!

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It worked out well for Gulliver, as well – he had Paul’s lap all day.

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No one, though, seemed to enjoy the snow more than Gnocchi.

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He  had his goofy self a grand time while the snow fell.

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While Cosmo and the smallest lambs enjoyed the dryness of the shelter with a few chicken friends and the pigs.

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But, the day that had begun so snowy and stormy finished out sunny, and they all came out to enjoy some hay.

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It’s hard to believe that two days ago it was 73 degrees, and that a few weeks from now is the first day of spring.  It’s still rather frigid outside and the snow has not begun to melt yet.  Soon enough it will, though, and we will be installing a heat lamp into the big chicken coop for the arrival next week of our ducklings!  Winter may have some life left in it, but spring is nearly upon us!

 

 

Getting Too Ambitious

It’s almost March.  March means St. Patrick’s Day.  It means my wedding anniversary.  It means it’s almost spring.

We’ve already started digging out our books about Irish folklore for school, and searching out just the right shade of green polish for our toenails.  My iTunes playlist has been updated with plenty of Irish artists (John Cunningham is a favorite).

We’re starting to think about watching Darby O’Gill And The Little People.

We’re craving the look of green grass and the sound of new lambs bleating and sproinging around in the fields.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

March is a month of contradiction.  It heralds the vernal equinox but it also usually is the month of our biggest snows. Actual spring is still a ways off.  Even though my spring seed list is complete it is too early to start them just yet.

For now we must content ourselves with mostly indoor projects and finish those things we can before we move on to the outdoor ones.  And in doing so, it’s been difficult not to be overly ambitious.  After all, I have had some wonderful things lined up for quite awhile awaiting my time.

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These two fabrics just scream “early spring” for me.  They’ve been sitting on a shelf for several years now, patiently waiting to become a quilt.  I’m hoping I can start some cutting on it today.

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And then there’s this incredible llama-themed fabric Susan bought me last year for my birthday.  I am just as smitten with it today as I was when I first saw it (look at the llamas!  And the knitting needles with balls of yarn!!!), and I can’t wait for the perfect quilt project for it.

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Let’s not forget this adorable British-themed fabric I have been collecting in small bits here and there over the last year.  Just looking at it makes me want to go pour myself a cup of tea and look through one of my British Country Living magazines.

See?  Fairly overwhelmed with sewing possibilities!

But what about knitting?  I have about a million and one projects lined up to go on the needles, but for now I am thrilled to be moving along nicely with my Shepherd Sweater:

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I’ve reached that magical point in knitting it where I can begin to split out for the sleeves and the front.

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The most miraculous part? I am not even remotely bored with this yet.  I don’t know if it’s the yarn, the pattern or the combination of both, but this is still thoroughly enjoyable knitting.  I can see myself casting on another one as soon as this one is complete.  No, I am not even kidding. Maybe I can use some of my cream-colored Aran weight yarn?  Or the teal blue one?

Either way I need more hours in my day.  And more months before spring, apparently.

Olympic Winter Knitting

We’ve been thrilled around here to once again have the Winter Olympics on tv to enjoy.  Even better, we’ve had actual winter weather to go along with it!

And so, there has been much knitting.

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This is the Cypress Cowl from the JMF Marlowe pattern book.  I also knitted the matching hat for my friend Julianne, but sadly forgot to take pictures because I was in such a hurry to get it sent off to her.

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I also knitted up the Amalthea Cowl from the JMF Moonshine pattern book.

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This is the Cypress Cowl again to show detail – I just love how it looks, and the yarn (Marlowe) might be my new favorite silky soft yarn to knit with.  I want to make a massive blanket from it with which to wrap myself up!

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I’m also spending a lot of Olympic viewing time working on my Shepherd sweater.  There’s a knit-a-long going on on Ravelry and seeing everyone’s progress has really pushed me to try and get further along.

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I just love the cables.  It might be slow going for me, but it’s incredibly enjoyable in the meantime!
I’m hoping to be able to wear it at least once before winter is totally over, but I am not counting on it.  I’m just thrilled we’ve actually finally HAD a winter this year!  We’re trying to enjoy every moment of it.

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Hey Hey, It’s A Snow Day! (Photo Heavy!)

So far at the farm we’ve got 8 inches, and we’re expecting another one or two before it’s all over.  I took the break between snowfalls to take pictures of everyone outside.

There’s plenty of shelter, hay and fresh water for all of them, so we are all able to relax a bit and enjoy the snow.

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It’s especially nice when we start our day with a recipe from the always wonderful Smitten Kitchen!  This is baked eggs ranchero from her book.  The eggs came from our chickens, who have started laying again now that the days are getting longer.

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Charley trudged through the snow to get food and snuggles.

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I love how Francis is photobombing in the back.

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The dogs are taking it in stride.  Sabine’s been rolling all around in it, Orzo and Gnocchi have been playing in it.

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Cini has been ever vigilant against any interlopers, and hasn’t seemed to even notice it.

I hope you are all enjoying your snow day as much as we are!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Snow Comes to The Farm

A few days ago we got happy reports of potential snow for our area, and started making preparations in case we got hit.  Projections were for 6 inches or so, and though Paul was very unenthusiastic and grumbly about the idea of snow, he helped me get the farm in order so that we could actually enjoy it from indoors, unlike last year when we spent an entire storm outside trying to keep everyone dry.

But I digress.

The snow was not expected until late morning, so after we made sure all of the water troughs were full (and the tank heater working), we got busy delivering extra hay to both paddocks.

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Once that was complete I made sure the dogs were in where they could access the bigger shelters and Paul cleared space for the tractor in the garage.  Then we went inside and I got the kids working on their schoolwork while we waited for the snow (no sense cancelling school for home-schooled kids when there is no snow actually out there to play with!).

We waited.  And waited.  And waited some more.

Susan teased me with pictures of lovely white snowfall in northern Virginia, and we heard reports of plenty of the white stuff just to our west.

Some time after noon we started seeing some snow “drizzle” and then our weather reports changed.  We would now see around two inches total.

Needless to say, the kids and I were very, very disappointed.

Fortunately by around evening feeding time the snow began to pick up and we say some actual accumulation on the ground.

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Everyone was fairly unfazed by it, and focused more on FOOD!

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Though not much snow had fallen we double-checked on everyone’s hay and water levels and made sure the chickens were tucked away safely for the night.

Happily, we did get at least an inch, and the next morning dawned super bright and cold.

The water tank without the heater had to have the ice broken up.

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Aside from that, everyone was rather unfazed and unimpressed.

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Orzo and Lucy played a bit after they’d had their breakfast.

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The pigs and the little ones were content to remain in their shelter with the hay until I brought their grain.

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Only the ducks seemed confused; they’re the only animals here that hadn’t seen snow before.  They weren’t sure if they should eat it or nest in it.

Although we’re still disappointed we haven’t seen a really good snowstorm, I’m glad we at least got some taste of winter.  It’s such a lovely and welcome break from the rain and mud!

 

 

 

 

 

Laziness All Around

I can’t even believe Christmas is over.  It hasn’t quite sunk in.  The day itself came and went in a flash; the season itself never quite had a chance to find the right “feel”.

It was still a quiet, lovely holiday, with our traditional pigs in a blanket and chocolate cream pie.  In the evening we watched the new episode of Doctor Who with my friend Jessie’s family.

Since then I have been struggling to do as little as humanly possible.  A staycation of sorts.  It’s not always easy, or even possible, what with animals and children.  But I’ve certainly spent more than my fair share of time on Pinterest and Twitter, and even more time complaining about the awful unseasonable weather (rain, rain, more rain).

I may get some sewing or knitting done this week; more likely I’ll download some books and glue myself to the couch.

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I’ll also try to soak up as many scenes like this as I can before the lovely ambience of the tree goes away for another year.

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Everyone was happy with their gifts (and I can’t wait to try some recipes with Emily).

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Neve and her twin, Grumpycat.

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I may make another pie later.  If there’s one thing that can rouse me from my extreme unwillingness to move, it’s food.