Snow Day (Sew Day)

January 18, 2017

Today, for the first time in 20 years, the Ellensburg Schools are closed due to weather.  It is not completely a ‘snow day’.  It is more of a ‘freezing rain, black ice, dangerous road condition’ day.  The highways are closed….everyone is being told to stay in.

I am really okay with this idea.  You might even say, I am a tiny, tad thrilled.  Zoe and I get our chores done.Alfalfa bales slide quite easily on the ice, so we just pull them out to the hungry cows.  The weather as ‘promised’ by my Sort-of-smart phone weather app, has warmed up.  Not to the promised 41, but 28, we’ll take it.  I scoop mounds of horse poop.  Team Off-spring, tackles de-icing the walk ways and filling up the wood stack on the porch.  We are all now officially warm, cozy and read to enjoy our day off!

Snow Day…Sew Day!

I am making a lap quilt for My Boyfriend, Bob.  Bob does not read the blog.  Bob is now 99 and I do not believe he has a computer.  Those of you who know Bob, better not tell him about the surprise.  It will be black, gray, red and white, my inspiration comes from Bob and his church suit, black suit, white shirt, red tie.I am sure he will like it.  I need to get it done, while it is still cold (haha) and rainy in California, so he can properly enjoy it.

I’m off to sew and I am certainly blessed.

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WINTER!!!

January 15, 2017

As of this moment, Winter is officially kicking our butt.  I had managed to maintain a sunny outlook on things, (even though there has been NO sun for a while now), utilizing an ‘attitude of gratitude’, as I drove to work in -12 degrees.

Frozen hot water pipes…

…glad we have a home with pipes to freeze.

Seriously, this only works for so long…

My Loving Spouse went straight to worry, which I cannot blame him.  The guy has three metal joints in his body and the SUB ZERO temps are making him ache.  The thought of burst pipes, cold  spaces, and crawling around under a house was a tad terrifying.  Luckily, he managed to thaw out the offending pipe, with fans and heaters and the bad British word.  We now do what goes completely against my drought laden Californian roots, we leave hot water taps dripping.

For warmth, we are burning a lot of wood and the bedrooms are running a lot of electricity for heaters.  We might have to sell the fatted calf next month to pay the electric bill, except beef prices are currently down.  Speaking of cows…the animals frost-free pipes all froze last weekend.  There was talk with Our Friend the Farmer about heat tapes, and other contraptions to thaw them out, but eventually we just had to get water to them the Californian way, which is why there is now 150 feet of garden hose in my beautiful claw foot tub.  We cannot leave it anywhere else or it will freeze.  We drag it out every other day to fill the animals water tanks and feed them lots of extra hay to help keep them warm.  I wish all I had to do to keep warm was eat more!My Sort-of-Smart phone’s weather app tantalizes us with reports of warmer weather in a few days time, then they change their mind when the days actually come.  Tomorrow was said to be 25 degrees, we had planned to clean out the poop filled chicken house, so the hens would start laying again.  Currently, we only have two hens laying and often by the time we get to the eggs, they are frozen.  Now, the app is saying that it will only be 20 tomorrow and I bet by the time tomorrow comes it will be lower still.

When we go out to take care of the animals, we prioritize and do the most important jobs first, food and water…poop can wait, and since we are feeding everybody more, there is plenty of frozen poop.  It is true, your nose hairs can freeze.  I come back inside when my hands hurt too much from the cold.

We are planning on a bug reduced summer, as these temperatures apparently do them in.  Now, that is a silver lining.  As I write this, it is starting to snow, which is always pretty and it means, that things are warming up!

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Stay warm my friends!

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Acts of Caring

January 10, 2017

Yesterday, I was touched by a truth.

My Librarian shared with the kids, that 49 of our 50 states currently had snow on the ground.  The only state that did not have snow?  Florida!  My Loving Spouse has not been handling this winter cold snap all that well, in fact he keeps going around the house, muttering….Florida, Florida, Florida.  I personally do not find it funny…not at all.

Everyone it seems has snow.  We are in this together.I was working with a little guy the other day at school.  He is anxious to learn, always has a smile, and thinks school is great.  There is lots of room for his family circumstance to be better.  I noticed his hands.  They were horrible.  One hand was rough, dry and red, the other was rough, and cut all across the knuckles.  It hurt to look at these little hands affected by this cold, dry weather.  The school nurse did what he could…

Quite a few of our kids eat two meals a day at school.  There was a caring group who worried about what these kids ate all weekend.  They started a weekly  program that sends home a bag of healthy snacks for these kiddos each Friday.

I quickly began to wonder, if we couldn’t find a way to send some hand lotion, in these bags at least once.  I told my friends who pack the snacks about my concern.  One of these good souls, went to the local Pharmacy and got some special test bottles of extra protective lotion especially for this little guy and his sister.

We have another 107 bags to get some hand lotion into.  I didn’t think it would be that hard, we just needed to put the word out.  After all…how many of us have those hand lotion samples from various travels sitting in our bathroom drawers.  One announcement at church and the little lotions are rolling in.

I am practical enough to know, that getting the lotion into the hands (pun totally intended) that need it, does not guarantee that it will help.  My hope is just that it will at least help some…

I took the special protective lotion to the teacher for the little boy and girl, whose hands were so bad.  As I gave her the lotion, I must have expressed my concern, that the effort would not make much of a difference.  She said,

“Sometimes the acts of caring for them is enough.”

The ‘acts of caring‘…

..and I am blessed, and as my mentor has told me many times,

We are blessed to be a blessing.

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Tough Stuff

January 4, 2017

It is winter and it is cold.  We are living in a multi-climate house.  It is very exciting.  No, that is a lie, it is crazy.  My goal (eventually) is for this home to often/usually/mostly be the same temperature (livable), give or take a few degrees in all the rooms.  Right now, it is a tad…chilly…but, not everywhere.  The family room and kitchen are toasty warm.  The bedrooms are reasonably comfortable with heaters and electric blankets.  The living room is a tad chilly.  The sewing room downright cold and the pantry is freezing!  Going from room to room…is…crazy.  Each morning My Loving Spouse or I fetch coffee for one another.  We adorn ourselves in slippers and robe for the journey to the kitchen.  My Loving Spouse wears all that stuff, because he is British.  I wear all that stuff, because I don’t want to freeze.

How cold is it?This was today’s single digit, when I went out to feed the animals.  The important part is the wind, catch the ‘feels’ like temperature.I fed the horses, put them out and cleaned their stalls.  I have learned it is easier to do this right after the horses have been in their stalls and everything is still ‘warm’.  Scooping up soggy hay is easier before it freezes to the barn floor.  The ‘road apples’ (horse poop) on the other hand seems to work the other way, once it is frozen, that poop just rolls around like marbles on a tin roof.

I was then off to school.  School is never canceled and certainly not for cold weather.  Recess in the country is a beautiful thing.  The playground is huge and the kids have plenty of play time.  The weather?  Handled with age-old common sense.

Wind?

Go outside and play, you’ll be fine.

Snow?

Go outside and play, you’ll be fine.

Rain?

Go outside and play, you’ll be fine…and you, kindergarteners do not stand under rain gutter down spouts.

Cold weather, single digits as we had this morning?

We do not send them outside, don’t be silly.  We wait until it warms up.

15 degrees?

Go outside and play, you’ll be fine.

…and they were and always are, and we are as well.

 

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Mr. T and Z…an update

December 31, 2016

A year in review?  I don’t think so!

However, as I do reflect on this year, I cannot help, but be gratefully amazed at our two biggest life events of 2016, the accident and the kids.

My Loving Spouse’s accident will always be a few seconds, where time stopped still for me.  Seeing him hit with that chainsaw…thinking I’d witnessed his death, we both have scars from that day…and an awful lot of gratitude, because it could have been so different.

Our ‘other’ kids, Mr. T and Z are embedded in our hearts.  We have transitioned to being their ‘Grammy and PaPaPat’ and how we love them so…

We see our kids on Sundays and sit all together in church.  Mr. T runs with open arms to be scooped up into our own, and let’s just say, we never think twice about going to church.

The best blessing is that the kids are doing great.  Their mom is not well, and it would seem, that this situation will not change, but for these two, at least, they are loved, they are safe, they are being given the best chance at a healthy life, with ‘foster’ parents that love them and provide positive role models for a different life, and for this and so much more, we are grateful.

Mr. T and Z and their new big sister M come often to the farm on Sundays for pancakes after church.My Loving Spouse and I revel in how well they are doing and to be honest, we love how much they love us.

Mr. T likes everything to be exactly the same every time.  The train comes out, the books are read and the toys are played with.We are happy to oblige and be a consistent part of his life.We never knew, when we started walking alongside these little ones, where it would lead…but God has been faithful….

and we are blessed.

Happy New Year to you all.

 

 

 

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The Best Christmas Tree Ever

December 20, 2016

At the risk of making the rest of you jealous, we/I/Glory Farm has the best Christmas tree ever this year.

One year when Team Offspring was young (ages 5, 7, & 10), my good friend was doing deep sighs about Christmas.

“The hard part”, she said, “Is that it is all up to me, up to me to create all the magic.”  She had her own Team Offspring, with similar ages to mine.  

‘Don’t your kids give presents to each other?’ I asked.  “That is my favorite part of Christmas, when I hear my kids saying to each other, “Wait, open the one I gave you.”

“Well, they don’t really have any money”, she said.  (You should know that she and her husband were doctors, so they did have some flexibility in their budget.)

I like to hope, that I said this next part kindly, but I am aware, that sometimes we all have selective memory.

“Well, a Beanie Baby is only $5.00, give them some chores to do, so they can earn some Christmas money”….and so she did and so they did and they had the best Christmas ever and lived happily ever after…or something like it.

That is still my favorite part of Christmas, that and singing in church with them.  Sharing the magic and sharing the work that can come with the Christmas season, which is why we have the best Christmas tree ever!  We have had trees that had a few more needles.  We’ve had trees that fit in the room a bit better, this is our first wall to wall tree.  We’ve had more expensive trees.  We’ve had a lot of trees that fall down, but we’ve never had a tree that Number Two Son and My Girl went off to procure together, to help, to surprise us and to be part of the magic/work that is Christmas…and I love it.I hope you find joy in the magic/work that is Christmas…and I am blessed.

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A New Knee Under the Christmas Tree

My Loving Spouse got another new knee for Christmas.  The title of this post is sort of a lie, because we still do not have a Christmas tree.  However, Team Offspring has plans to rectify this situation today (12-16-2016).  They have a tree permit and are going to cut one down, which is very cool. […]

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Our Busy Season

The last 6-8 weeks have been our ‘busy season’.  This is what I tell myself.  It helps me to make sense of our reality, that while some of you on this second weekend in December, have Christmas trees and Christmas lights, we have pumpkins on the porch covered in snow. We’ve been sewing and sawing […]

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New Digs for the Old Boys

We’ve spent plenty of time upgrading, restoring and cleaning our wonderful old barn.  My Loving Spouse has now added new function for the old space and our two old boys are very happy about the upgrade.Our horses are not young, sort of like us and winter can be hard on them.  Unlike us, they can […]

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Dear BJ

Dear BJ, Do you remember the wonderful quilting pattern book you sent me?  Oh, I am sure you do.  You probably don’t know, that I do not usually follow patterns or instructions or directions…but I just, love that book!  That gal with a Bee in her bonnet, sure is creative. I used that book a lot […]

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Wow, Thanksgiving!

We had family that traveled to be with us this year for Thanksgiving.  An honor, a crowd, a lot of food, pumpkin pies or just plain pumpkins, if you are a cow.I think I should write a realistic cookbook for Thanksgiving. Go to the store 1,001 times.   Still forget something, Put the bird in the […]

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Why a Parade?

I do know something about parades. I spent many high school hours practicing with my marching band for parades…band reviews…marching, playing and looking good.  I grew up entrenched with the ‘Granddaddy of them all’, the Rose Parade, leading of this parade twice in the band.  If you’ve never seen the Rose parade in person, you […]

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