Feed on

Spring is a bit early.

The snow is mostly gone now and the yard looks like the beginning April, not the end of January! This is so weird. Some snow remnants remain on shaded north facing slopes under trees, or where piled up by snow plows or a shovel.

Our remaining patch of snow in front of the house, easily covered by a small dinner plate. It will be gone today.

The garden has no snow left at all!! We just hope that it doesn’t get really cold at some point in February with no snow cover. Some of the strawberry plants will not be amused.

Clouds are low and the sky is gray, covering the mountain peaks. It looks like there was fresh snow last night at higher elevations, from what we can see of the mountains.

We can go take a walk now on our other property. The ground is still very frozen so it will be easy to move around. Maybe we’ll be that energetic today and get over there. Might bake something instead. I’ve been doing a lot of that lately.

Some of the bushes are showing signs of spring color.

It’s been an easy year for the deer! The ones we see frolicking through the yard aren’t looking the least bit skinny.

A meeting of the minds. The big male turkeys are hanging around together in a loose flock and they spend a lot of time trying to intimidate each other.

They were doing the old “I’m taller than you are” routine before I went out on the porch to take their picture. I was apparently more interesting and they all watched to see if I might do something important, like giving them seeds. That didn’t happen, and they’re back to chasing each other in a circle and one is hopping up and down trying to kick his compatriot. The one being kicked-at isn’t terribly impressed. We may see some tail fanning any moment now.

Recent visitor to our bird feeder. A Pygmy Owl sitting in the top of the ornamental plum tree, waiting for everybody to forget he’s there.

These little guys are such fierce predators. Between the Sharp-shinned Hawk, Merlin, and Pygmy Owl, our chickadees, nuthatches and sparrows have to pay attention.

We need to get out to the garden and snip off the tops of the asparagus plants pretty soon. Those spears should be coming up any day now. And we’ll look for signs of life in the rhubarb plant. We’re afraid it didn’t get anywhere near the water it needed last year, and is probably deceased. Boo.


Snow and Sunsets

Winter arrived.

This qualifies as brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, on January 13th. The lowest temperature was on this morning; the other morning it was a more moderate -12F, -10F, -6F, and another -10F. Heat waves!
January 6th it turned white again. Yay!
Frosting on the trees and ground, just a few inches but the transformation of the world is always dramatic when it turns white.

Fortunately for us, we had gotten these few inches of snow before the bottom dropped out of the temperatures and we are hopeful the strawberry plants had enough cover that this low temperature didn’t kill the plants. We will know for sure in a few months, right about the beginning of April.

We also had frozen water pipes during the cold spell which made for very unhappy people and critters who couldn’t have cared less (parrot and cat). On the contrary, Mish has been delighted in the current turn of events as we have had to leave the door open in the bedroom and so he can come in and keep us company as the mood takes him. Fortunately for us, the living room is much warmer and like all cats Mish gravitates towards the heat, leaving us in peace to sleep until morning when it’s time to feed the cat.

Then it warmed up a bit and on the 17th we got some more snow, about six inches of the lovely fluffy stuff.

As usual when it’s snowing, the mountains to the east no longer exist.
The world looks soft and fuzzy when it snows. Love it! The smell of fresh snow is refreshing.

We got our driveway plowed after these six inches were added to the several from the week before. Then it snowed again. Yay! This much snow down where we are means lots of it up high in the mountains where it needs to be.

Lots of big snowflakes and during the day too, so we could enjoy watching the weather doing its thing.
Our outdoor bird buddies are delighted with the seeds and suet, especially in these conditions.

We are seeing a couple of Song Sparrows hanging around this winter. They look like a ball with a head and tail stuck on the ends, they are so fluffed.

Shoveling the path from the front door, we now have a good foot of snow on the ground, and all the raised beds in the garden are gone from view.

Monday the 15th we had a really beautiful sunset.

The whole world was pink and purple for several minutes.
A sliver of a moon glowed in the sky, high overhead.

Keeping myself entertained means lots of baking stuff recently; sweet rolls, chocolate chip cookies, cheese cushions, and bread. And I finally got around to drawing an owl which has been in my head for a while.

A Great Grey Owl.

We saw these in Alaska and up on White Mountain. They are one of our most favorite owls, next to Snowy Owls.

Today is more baking, though I haven’t decided what yet, and working on my next drawing, a Gyrfalcon.

Winter time is so lovely.

New Year

We got a little bit of snow in December, which promptly melted. Then it snowed again. Then it melted again. Since the weather has been a little boring we’ve been keeping up with that theme and not doing much.

December 13th was one of our snowy days.
The world feels smaller with no mountains.

The trees are so beautiful with their frosting of snowflakes. Because the temperature was just barely below freezing, it felt like spring more than a week before the Winter Solstice. It didn’t last as the temperatures went near 40F and everything melted again. It’s been a very easy winter for the deer and other animals. Food has been much easier to come by.

Chickadees are loving the location of the bird feeder. They use the lilac bush in front of our porch as a convenient party place.

The buds on the lilac are already much bigger than previous years. I hope they have a sense of humor as the temperatures predicted in a few days are -6F. We hope our strawberry plants also have a sense of humor! They will have no protective blanket of snow.

Some perl cotton embroidery thread in various pale colors, for more bead knitted purselets.

Then I had fun with knitting.

This one is all about the blues.
This one was to commemorate the volcano in Iceland. There is a strap on the finished purse but I didn’t take a picture of it.
My friend Cassandra calls this one peppermint.
Three that didn’t get named.
Pale lavender yarn and some amethyst beads, and crystals.

So I got that out of my system for the moment. And I ran out of beads and haven’t gone shopping. So on to a new larger project.

First pattern repeat for the bottom border. I’m up to 12 border repeats so far, out of 34. Not exactly blazing fast as it is too boring and puts me to sleep almost immediately.

It’s amazing how huge the size 1 US needles feel after all the bead knitted purses which were made using size 0000 US steel needles.

Yesterday we had to run an errand in town and I thought a picture of our snow around the house might be interesting.

It’s pretty amazing! We’ve never seen the snow this low around here. The mountains around us are also extremely low on snow pack, which means this next summer could be “interesting” in terms of forest fires unless a miracle happens.

New project.

Managed to not knit something for several days.

One of my bead knitted purse-lets.

Takes longer to string all the little beads onto the perl cotton thread than it does to knit this pattern. Just a fun little project.

Finished completely.

Yesterday afternoon I blocked my knitting project.

Blocking is a fiddly process and I’m not super good at it either.

Then I had to do more waiting until this morning when it was completely dry to remove all the pins and blocking yarns.

All done!
The finished shawl is 60 inches by 59 inches – almost managed to get it square, and weighs 2.7 ounces or 76 grams.

Light as a feather. Very pleased with this project and loved knitting the pattern. Yay!

Cheese cushions.

It’s time to make one of our most favorite bread recipes. It’s amazing what happens when I’m not being obsessed with knitting all day long.

I have fiddled with this recipe off and on for years because I can’t seem to resist doing that, and it’s gluten free. This is the stickiest dough and it gets on everything. The benefit though, of being gluten free, is that I don’t have to let it rise first. Make the cheese filling first, divide it into fourths and set it aside. Make the dough and divide it into four parts and then divide each quarter into four little balls of dough and set all the dough aside covered with more plastic wrap to keep it from drying out. Then I can make sixteen rolls.

First four rolls completed and ready to divide the next fourth of bread dough into four more balls of dough.

I use a lot of plastic wrap making these because it is so incredibly sticky. One benefit of this is that the rolling pin stays clean. Washing my hands between every four rolls keeps my cup of tea clean as well.

Roll out each sixteenth ball of dough between two pieces of plastic wrap and then put a sixteenth of the filling in the middle and fold it all up.
Filling is now all enclosed in dough.
Added to the greased large baking dish to await it’s compatriots.
Two balls of dough left!

Halfway done. Yay! Time to wash hands yet again and then drink some tea.

All finished. Cover the dish with yet more plastic wrap and pop it into the oven on the bread proof setting, and wait.

Done rising and ready to bake.

Now the hard part. Waiting 25 minutes.

Done baking! Some cheese always escapes no matter how careful I am making the rolls.

The good news is one can eat the evidence.

The recipe book says to wait until the rolls are cool to eat them.

As if!!

Yesterday a new desk we ordered, and a chair, arrived. We assembled both and Oro is extremely happy to have his favorite human closer for conversations and the occasional head pet.

Oro is waiting almost patiently for his little piece of cheese cushion. I better get with the program.


We used to make our own yogurt, years ago. Somehow we got out of the habit.

First batch!


Knitting is finished and off the needles; all yarn ends have been woven in where they belong. All that’s left now is blocking which is a whole other project. Maybe tomorrow I’ll tackle that.

There are four sections to the pattern.
The world famous knitwear model is inspecting the project. Or maybe wondering why I woke him up from his nap.

This was the most complicated pattern I’ve ever made but in actuality one of the easiest to follow on the chart because it was so complicated. Except for the outside border part which put me to sleep.

It should look spectacular once it’s all blocked.

Three quart jars of pickled beets.

This was our beet harvest, for the most part. We didn’t plant very much this time around. And we also ate some fresh in mid summer, roasted in the oven. Very delicious! Now the jars have to sit for a couple of months to become well and truly pickled. We can start eating them in January which will be here before we know it.

Speaking of harvesting things this little chipmunk has totally fat cheeks!

We can’t really tell what it is that they are harvesting but they have been super busy the last couple of weeks. Mishkin has a fit when he sees them on the porch and he chirps at them. They are unimpressed.

They appear to have set up a winter home under the front porch.

We hadn’t been seeing them by the house until late this summer, probably because the last people here had dogs. It could be bad news next year for our red currants as chipmunks totally adore those and will harvest them incredibly quick. We know they are just fancy mice, but we love these little guys and it’s much fun seeing them so close. They have already gotten tame as far as seeing us outside. At first they would run and hide and now they just take a quick look to see what we’re up to, and then resume their important work of storing seeds for the coming winter.

Snowing????? Snowing!!!!

Winter storm predicted for today which is just absurd for October. Then we saw a pickup truck drive past our place, from up the road, all covered with snow. Shortly thereafter this happened.

Doesn’t look like much but there are big fat snowflakes flying around.


It didn’t stick.

Didn’t stick down here. Right up the hill from us the trees are white and what we can see of the mountains is also snowy. Ye gads.

Mish has the right idea.

The couch wasn’t soft enough, oh no. Must use pillow.

Remember the old story about the princess and the pea? Well, is he the princess or the pea? I know which one I’m voting for.

600 Rows

600 rows completed.

Just twenty-four left to knit, and then the top border which is the equivalent of another 39 rows, stitch count-wise.

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