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!
So we expected a little bit of snow for Christmas, and got a dusting. It was enough for us to call it a "White Christmas!"
It was quite a surprise for us to awaken on L's birthday to 1/2-1 inch of snow! Luckily, our friend, C, spent the night, so the girls spent a couple of hours playing out in it.
Even Stella had fun.
I think L had a nice birthday. It took most of my energy to bake her this Tres Leches Cake, so JP brought home Chinese take out for dinner. We also tried playing her new Harry Potter Clue game, which is actually quite complicated!
This is a narcissus that she planted and grew. It is the birth flower for December.
I am home after spending 2 nights in the hospital. I did it again - scheduled elective surgery for a few days before Christmas! This time it was a bit more extensive - a hysterectomy.
I stressed about the worst case scenario, but everything went better than expected, and I'm actually feeling better than I anticipated after sleeping in my own bed last night, and getting a shower. I just have a strangely poochy belly, and walk a little more slowly than I'm used to.
I stayed on the Labor & Delivery floor, so my walks every couple of hours took me past the nursery, where I could see lots of tiny toes & noses. I'm so glad that I did not bring a baby home this time - I'm long past that point in my life!
Once again, I worked really hard to have everything done ahead of time, so I have just been sitting back, watching Christmas movies, and sipping hot tea. Unfortunately, the dirty clothes hampers that I emptied out right before surgery, filled up again while I was away. We are slowly working through that as well.
We are expecting snow tonight, which should make Christmas day even more perfect!
Today I prepared a recipe from my "Mastering the Art of French Cooking", by Julia Child, for the first time. I must say, this is the first time that I ever sautéed bacon in butter - a sure sign of a French recipe. I also added cognac, which I subsequently lighted - it made an impressive flame! The recipe that I tried was "Coq Au Vin," and it was absolutely delicious, although it wasn't much to look at.
This weekend, we attempted to get the Christmas baking done, as it is the last weekend before my surgery. I made "Millionaire's Shortbread," which tastes like a million dollars, and looks like at least five bucks. J made "Chocolate Mint Cookies." L baked peanut butter biscuits for the dogs, and mixed up dough for gingerbread men, which is in the fridge. I attempted to make sugar-free buckeyes for JP, which apparently taste better than they look.
L has been busy writing a Harry Potter/Crazy Cat Lady inspired Christmas story this weekend. She looks super smart with her new haircut and glasses.
J has been working hard on making personalized gifts for her posse. Speaking of new doo's, here is a picture of her enjoying a "Candlestick Salad" and sporting her new haircut. This recipe can be found in one of my go-to cookbooks, "The Mennonite Community Cookbook." It can also be found here.
That's about it for tonight folks, I hope you are enjoying these days before Christmas!
Well, another hunting season has come and gone without my even seeing anything that I could shoot at, let alone shoot at something. It seems that it has been a fairly poor season for everyone concerned...except the deer. Our neighbors were complaining that they didn't get anything, and my dad only got one doe during the senior season in October. Oh well, as long as I don't hit any deer with my car this winter, I'll be ok.
JP and I took advantage of a hunting-free day today, and hauled more wood to store under the barn lean-to near the wood burner. We also cleaned out the hen house, since the hens have been treated twice with wormer and have about 4 more days until we can keep their eggs again.
In the meantime, I have collected 5 feed buckets of eggs in the garage.
JP, the girls, and I took them down by the creek and threw them across into the field. We didn't want to dispose of them anywhere near the house or the chickens. The girls and I took advantage of a tree and practiced our aim. It looked pretty gross by the end of our session!
We finally got our trees decorated. Our main one is in the family room downstairs, and the girls have a small one in their room. It looks so festive!
J decided to get her hair chopped off. It looks cute. I'll post a picture when she lets me take one. L decided to have a couple more inches cut off her tresses once she saw her sister.
Next weekend, I am hoping to finish up Christmas shopping and bake our Christmas cookies. I only have 11 days until my Holiday Surgery, so I need to have things done ahead of time.
This week is L's Christmas Chorus Concert, and J's is next week. There will also be one or two Basketball practices and some voice/guitar lessons thrown in as well.
I hope that all of your Holiday preparations are going smoothly!