Friday, March 9, 2018

Still Not Spring

It is snowing again today.  Nothing is accumulating, but it is still disappointing after experiencing a couple of weeks of mild, Spring-like weather.

I started seeds for my garden a bit later than usual, but already some of them are coming up!  That at least is encouraging!

In the meantime, I spent some more time working in the wood shop with my dad.  I can't say that everything is going smoothly, although it is going well.  I have had to re-do several pieces, some of them a couple of times.  I will consider it a success if I end up with a box that open, closes, and plays music, AND still have all of my fingers.

This is the outside of the music box, made of walnut,
with bottom trim of oak

This bottom-less box is made of oak, and it will slide
 inside the decorative box.  The groove will hold
 a piece of protective glass, so that the works of the
music box can be observed.
This is the lid - also walnut with oak trim.

This weekend is L's last Basketball game - yet another sign that Winter is almost over.

I must close for now and go collect sap from the Maple trees.  It is Maple Sugaring time, and my dad has already given us about 6 bottles of Poplar Ridge Maple Syrup - delicious!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Odd Jobs

I spent a couple of days in the wood shop with my dad last week, starting to build a music box.  I had intended to do this last winter, but I didn't get the music box parts in time.  So far, I've had a few accidents, which didn't injure anything except a few pieces of wood that I had intended to use.  (Which is pretty amazing, given my lack of history using power tools!)

I started off by planing a BUNCH of pieces of wood.

This will be the walnut lid to my music box.  You might notice my new silicon Groove ring.  JP got us matching ones for Valentine's Day.

Later, I cut 45* angles in the pieces, and cut a groove into the bottom to form a box, which was glued and clamped together.

There is a second box made of oak inside the main box.  This is removable, and acts as a sounding board for the music box.

Over the weekend, I spent a few hours outside clearing out my flower beds.  I trimmed and discarded a lot of the old dead parts of the plants, and uncovered a few Spring flowers:

Hooray for Spring!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

We Are Family

One of the reasons that JP recently changed jobs was that for the past 9 years or so, he has spent several hours each weekend, holiday and vacation day fielding phone calls from his office or from the call service, and dealing with labs, letters and radiology reports coming in on the electronic medical records.  Because of this, even when he was home, he was not able to spend quality family time with us.

It has been a bit of an adjustment for all of us getting used to his new schedule that is not at all regular.  Before, I felt like I was single parenting a lot of the time, but now JP is very involved in carting the kids around and doing things around the house on his days off.

There are still a few single parenting days, but we are managing fine, and they are fewer and further between than in the past.  Friday was one of those days.  Unfortunately, he missed J's ukulele debut at her Choral Cabaret fund raiser.  She played the uke and sang with her friend, and did a wonderful job!

Yesterday he missed seeing L make a basket in her Basketball game.  Only 5 team members showed up, so she played the entire game, although they pulled in another teammate's little sister to give a couple of the other girls breaks.

I wanted to show a picture of one of my favorite birthday gifts this year:

Totoro and friends join my family of other matryoshka dolls, which I find nearly irresistible.

They all have stories, too.  My brother brought back the light colored set from Russia when he went on a school trip.  The blue set was purchased when JP and I took our trip to Alaska...we found it in an old Russian settlement near Soldotna.  The singing pigs are also Russian, I believe, although I found them in one of our favorite haunts, Glen's Fair Price, in our college town in VA.  The snowmen only come out at Christmas time with my other snowman decorations.

Today JP is home, so we can sit around and watch the Olympics together as a family.

Happy Sunday.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Ups and Downs

The temperatures have been going up and down around here.  We are currently on a spring-like streak, and it is in the 40's.  This follows 2 or 3 days of ice on the driveway that made me feel like I was risking my life every time I tried to leave the house!

Not only the temps are going wacky around here.  Crazy stuff is going down.

The low tire pressure light came on while I was driving L to school yesterday morning.  This is the second time in 2 weeks, so I took it to the tire shop.  They found a nail AGAIN.  This time they were able to patch it, however.  Today I am going to take the big magnet and search around in the barn for nails because I suspect it is happening when I back into the barn to unload bags of chicken feed from the Subaru. (Down.)

I spent a good part of the day out and about with my friend.  Although we didn't have much success shopping, it was good to spend time with her again. (Up.)

When I got home from my outing, I took some scraps out for the hens.  The majority of them were clustered at the far end of the chicken yard, one was trapped in the walkway area, and there were feathers EVERY WHERE.  I went into the chicken house and found this guy staring at me!

One poor hen was trapped in there with the hawk and the partially eaten body of her sister.  I am now treating her for PTSD with counseling and corn.

My dad rushed over to dispatch the murderous bird, and I cleaned up the mess and tried to soothe ruffled feathers as best as I could. (Down.)

Later last evening, J had a special concert at the HS.  I bought some raffle tickets, which I rarely do, and ended up winning a gianormous basket of awesome stuff.  I got all of this loot...

...PLUS a Contigo travel mug, an essential oil dispenser, a scented candle, and some fancy hand lotion. (Up.)

Whoop whoop!

Today is Saturday...a definite UP. 

Hope you enjoy your weekend.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Super Bowl Sunday

We woke this morning to more snow coming down.  Our winter weather has been on and off lately - we will have a few days in the 40's or 50's, and then it will get colder again and we'll get some snow.  It doesn't stay cold long enough for the snow to stick around, and we are only getting an inch or two at a time.  This makes it seem like it's bobbling back and forth between Spring and Winter.

I thought I would take advantage of the huge, soft flakes dropping to take a walk this morning.  It was beautiful and still - almost gorgeous enough to make me love winter again. 

Here are a few of the pictures that I took:

This evening we are planning to make a bunch of homemade finger foods (chicken wings, jalapeno poppers, and pigs in a blanket) to nosh on while we watch the Eagles vs. the Patriots in the Super Bowl.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Weather or Not

Thursday - high temperature of 69*
Saturday - 19* high temperature

Sunday, January 7, 2018

It's da Bomb!

This week, we on the East Coast, have been experiencing the weather phenomenon known as a "bomb cyclone."  I wasn't familiar with this term, so I looked it up here.  Basically, it means that the pressure in a low pressure system falls significantly in a short period of time.  The results, at least in our corner of the world, were record low temperatures and a couple of inches of snow.

So far, it has also meant that the girls had 2 snow days and 1 two hour delay.  (Are you familiar with the song, "It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas?"  Well, I'm at the "Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again" point!)

The night time/early morning temps have been hovering around 0* to -2* for the past several days, but last night it was down to -6*.  We seem to be over the worst, as it was a balmy 23* outside today!

JP all suited up to work outside

When the temperature gets that low, those of us with "livestock" worry a bit.  It's difficult keeping liquid water for the chickens, rabbit & cats when it doesn't even get to 32* during the day.  Luckily JP worked Monday through Wednesday at his new job, and has been off for the past 4 days, so he has been able to lug the water to the chickens - a full container weighs about 25 lbs, and I am still on a 20 lb. lifting restriction since my surgery.  Otherwise, I have to take 2 trips:  one with a half full container, and another with a half full bucket of water to top it off.  Sheesh.

We were woken up a little past 2 this morning when the power went out.  We are fortunate to have back up heat in the house with our woodstoves, but out of luck when it comes to having accessible water when the power is out.  We got a fire started in the woodstove, and discussed the fate of the outside animals after reporting the outage, and went back to bed. 

About 30 minutes later, we woke again with all of the smoke alarms in the entire house going off.  We ran around with flashlights trying to remove batteries, but only got about 3 removed before they shut off. 

After that, we were a bit wired to try sleeping.  L, who woke with the smoke alarms wanted a night light.  (I worry a bit about J, who seemingly slept through the whole thing!!)  We decided to try moving the kitties into the garage, since their heater went off with the power outage.  After that chore, we sat on the couch by the fire with the dog for awhile, trying to relax a bit.

We did finally return to bed, and were able to get to sleep.  The power came back on around 6:30.  Soon after, the smoke alarms from which we removed batteries started chirping low power.  ARRRRGH!

We rose late, took liquid water to all of the animals, stoked the wood burner outside, and had a leisurely breakfast.  Of course, as soon as JP and I got in the shower and soaped up, the power went out again.  Since we have a pressure tank to pressurize the water from our well, we were able to quickly rinse off.

This time it only lasted less than an hour, but once it came back on, we filled several 5 gallon buckets with water, along with all of the back up animal water containers, and stashed them in the extra shower.  It reminds me of the winter we moved in here!

JP tells me that the forecast is for 60* on Thursday!

Happy Winter!