Sunday, January 23, 2011

It's cold outside...

I just came back in from a short snowshoe with my granddogger, Akira. It is COLD out now... about 2 degrees, but overnight, it's supposed to drop to -25 below with wind chills making it seem all the more cold. Ah, winter! I am grateful for all the firewood I brought in yesterday, and thankful for my daughter's help stacking it! The ol' wood furnace is going full tilt, and if it weren't for the wind, I'd get the fireplace roaring along with it! On nights like this, the cold shivers through any crevice it can find, and settles down upon one's shoulders and back like a damp and heavy unwanted cloak. I attached some thick felt weatherstripping to the door casings a few weeks ago, and it makes a big difference when it's so cold and windy. It was not unusual to sit in the kitchen or stand in the mudroom and see fine snow sift in between the door and the casing!

It seems to me that this winter is not unlike the winters of my childhood. We've had several snowstorms in a short span, and there has not been any melt-off and barren ground in between them as in the past few years. The trails out in the fields and woods are thickly blanketed with firm, packed snow allowing for skiing and snowshoeing. (I believe the deer and coyotes think these highways have been tramped down just for them)! The dooryard is full of deep, powdery snow... plenty for sledding and playing in! Yet even though we are in the grip of winter, the mornings are brightening earlier, and the daylight lingers ever longer before the night comes and chases her away.

Days have less urgency about them in the thick of winter. There is enough time for cooking and baking, and I suppose housekeeping! I've been finding time to hoe out the attic and various closets and storage spots. I've even snuck in time to read a few books! These are luxuries I do not take for granted. It seems once spring comes along, more demands are placed on my time. Barns need cleaning out and re-organizing, baby chicks need tending to, gardens need to be planted and trimmed; turned and weeded, fencing needs mending, and so on til one is lost in the whirr of what needs to be done next. Not to mention the longer hours to do them in.

So I will be content in winter's lull, and appreciate the time at hand, and accomplish what I will. I wish the same for you!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Snow is falling...

Finally it is snowing once again! And to think that in between storms, on the last day of December, a robin was searching for something to sustain itself under my feeders. I hope he's returned to a warmer place...

I don't know what falling snow does to one's spirit, but I know what it does to me! I tend to want to batten down the hatches, and gravitate to the kitchen. What is it about a snowy day that makes the most mundane, everyday chores more pleasurable? Thus I spent the morning shaking down the coals and ashes in the wood furnace, stoking up a good fire. From there, I checked again on the garlic cloves in the dehydrator, then went outside to feed the birds, who seemed quite impatient about getting their breakfast. The geese in the barnyard spotted me, so then it was off to water and feed them, and to check for eggs. (My threat of squeezing the eggs myself out of those darn chickens seems to have worked, as they are laying somewhat again!)

When I came back to the house, I grabbed a cup of tea, stuck a pot of soup on the stove to simmer for the day, and worked a bit on some Valentine's Day creations. (I would like to re-open up my other two Etsy Shops... it's been a long time.) And then I worked on the computer for a while... probably a LONG while, if I'm honest! I finally decided to join Facebook, and it is too much for me to grasp! But in defense, I had some digital design work to do for a few customers, as well!

Well, I'm headed downstairs to grab another cuppa and a bowl of soup! Have a lovely evening! ~Laura of Wildenblue Farm

PS: I almost forgot... I want to explain to all whose blogs I follow that I'm not a blog snob. We still have crank-up service in our rural area, and it is painfully slow. It takes me several minutes to upload a blog page that has backgrounds, images and music, and a few minutes to comment. I would love to be able to relax and visit all your blogs, but I only manage a few a week. If I could only come up with the thirty-thousand dollars I was quoted by one wireless company to run the lines from our neighbors' about a quarter of a mile up the road, or take down the two 40-foot trees in the yard that another installer asked me to think about... I'd be at your blogs every day!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's ramblings

As is the custom, I extend greetings this New Year's Day to all who take the time to read my humble blog. Thank you for being my unseen audience, and for your tolerance with me when I find not only my blog page, but my mind, blank!

The arrival of a new year is a melancholy event in that it is a reminder of times' passing. yet it offers a sense of renewal to one's spirit, as well. "Out with the old, in with the new" may work for some, but I tend to keep in the old, and keep out the new as much as possible. (I've listened to a fair share of "hoarding" jokes from my children... I just smile and bide my time!) I admit I do have an attachment to old things for whatever reason, and I believe it comes down to the fact that so many items from long ago are still amongst us. Plastic just doesn't have the longevity and feel that iron, glass and metal do, and to me, there is such a charm and nostalgia to anything passed down through the ages, whether it be advice, furnishings or implements from the farm or home.

Over this past year, I have kept a private journal of daily happenings in an old notebook by my bedside. When day was done, I jotted down not only what happened that day, but what got accomplished, how many eggs were collected, how many dozen were sold, how much grain was purchased and used, what was planted or harvested, and so on. My main reason for doing this was to get an idea of what I spend on organic grain and hay compared to what I save using my own eggs and how much I make back from the eggs I sell. It has been one year to the day, so I hope to get all the calculations together in the next week or so. I have had chickens, geese, guineas and ducks for over 20 years, and I feel the need to put into perspective everything involved before I give in to ordering more chicks this spring. Can I justify the monetary outlay for the satisfaction I get from raising my own birds? Hmmm...

I don't make New Year's resolutions, but if I did, I'd like to have the ambition to keep track of all my spending for a year. How much goes out to groceries? To feed the wild birds? How much on gas for a year? What about catfood and cat litter, let alone vet bills? I think it would be fascinating to see exactly what a year's worth of expenditures would look like. I feel I am pretty frugal and thrifty, but I'd like to see it all on paper, so I'd know where I could cut back even more!

I leave you with a quote by William Ellery Channing which shall serve as my resolution...

To live content with small means;
to seek elegance rather than luxury,
and refinement rather than fashion;
to be worthy, not respectable,
and wealthy, not rich;
to study hard, think quietly,
talk gently, act frankly;
to listen to the stars and birds,
to babes and sages, with open heart;
to bear on cheerfully, do all bravely,
awaiting occasions, worry never;
in a word... to, like the spiritual, unbidden and
unconscious, grow up through the common.