Saturday, December 31, 2016

Ending on a few good notes

"Good-bye and good riddance" seems to be the predominant attitude towards 2016. Can't say that 2017 looks any better, but that's this ol' world for you according to the Good Book. No matter; whatever happens, we can trust in Him. Love this song:

Today's treasures came early:

We haven't had a lot of frosted leaves this year, so these were a treat this morning. When I got to the barn I thought I saw ice, but realized they were scattered dove feathers when I got closer:
Sad, but beautiful still.

"Finish as you mean to go on" is a familiar quote. This year I've done that in several areas. In knitting I blocked both a gift knit and a small shawl I knit for myself over two years ago – and wore it the last two days:

Tonight while at a social function at church, I finished up the Wensleydale fiber sample that came with my lilac Aegean so it could start fresh:

And in between I got in a very short ride on my handsome Lance.

Here's a video of the Irish hornpipes and reel my guys played at the social:

Thankful for another year at . . .

Friday, December 30, 2016

Today's treasure... yesterday's sunset, taken from near Brian's school after I dropped him off for basketball practice:

That's it for today from . . .

Thursday, December 29, 2016


I haven't made time for sheep-snuggling lately; time to remedy that.

Looks like I also need to make time for a coat-change, Benny!

The next line in the old song I quoted from yesterday is "My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue." True, dat; you can't take it with you. But....

We do have treasures here; they are all around us in leaf and flower, fur and feathers. These have always been meaningful to me; I think you can tell that from my photographs. Still, sometimes "life" interferes (as with sheep-snuggling), so for 2017 I choose to be more intentional about appreciating them. Whatever else I blog about, or even if I have no time to blog about anything else, I'm going to try to post a daily "today's treasure" photo.

I hope you don't mind if I start early. ;-)  Today's treasure was photographed by my neighbor, who has named him Cloud; I have only captured glimpses of this rare and elusive beauty:

That's it for today from . . .

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Cleaning house

We got home late Sunday night, Rick's mother in tow. (She arrived at the airport an hour before us from her Christmas trip.) The next morning we opened family gifts, then Rick took her to town on his way to work. Brian and I did chores, picked up the dogs from their respective sitters, and practiced violin before he went to a friend's for the afternoon. That gave me a block of time to get to work, first on the travel and holiday detritus, then on vacuuming and mopping (laundry ran all day in the background). I'm still not done, but feeling good about the progress.

Good to be home with my own pups, too.

I've also been cleaning house on my laptop. I have determined that 2017 will be a non-acquisition year; to that end I am unsubscribing from all retail email lists, saved eBay searches, etc. I have everything I need and much, much more, so going a year without buying anything other than consumables like food, animal feed, and toilet paper will not be a hardship. Not that it won't be hard, as I can be as tempted as the next consumer by all that retailers tell me I should WANT-WANT-WANT, especially when deeply discounted – hence the unsubscribing. In addition, the following will continue: divesting myself of what clutters our life, cooking from scratch (and pantry) and making as many gifts (using supplies on hand) as possible.

The exquisite big leaf maple salad bowl my husband made me for Christmas:

Some of the yarn I can look forward to using next year, a birthday gift from a friend:

We live in a culture of conspicuous consumption, shamelessly modeled by our president-elect (see this oft-shared 2010 Trump family portrait, verified as authentic by But all our STUFF weighs us down, amps up our stress, and drains us of physical, mental, and emotional energy. I want to live what's left of my life as free from those negatives as possible, remembering that "this world is not my home, I'm just a-passin' through" – better to travel light.

Another kind of "traveling light:"

Facing the new year with resolve, at . . .

Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas trip in pictures

 A Texas welcome:
Brian returned the favor by putting up decorations:

More puppies joined the party (don't worry, they were soon mingling and mugging for attention):
With the gang all gathered, we opened our simple gifts. The slippers ended up fitting my brother perfectly: 
The next morning, in Nebraska, another knitted gift was opened:
and appreciated!

It was wonderful spending time with family. Now we're back home, and that's wonderful, too.

More about that next, from . . .

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Merry, merry!

Is this not the loveliest tonal red you've ever seen? Now wound and ready for trip-knitting, then gift-giving. (Rain has come; snow is gone.)

Fa-la-la-la-la-la, from . . .

Monday, December 19, 2016

All done with your holiday baking?

Here's the promised biscotti recipe, in case you want to whip some up to set out for Santa Saturday night. (I suggest you serve them with coffee instead of milk; Santa's got to be up all night, after all!)

Traditional Biscotti
1 cup whole roasted almonds, chopped coarsely
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour (I use whole wheat pastry flour)
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 300°. Line baking sheet with parchment paper (I spray with coconut oil pan spray instead).

Beat together last three ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients well, then add egg mixture followed by the almonds. Form a log 3"-4" wide by 14" long and bake 30-40 minutes. (Dough is sticky; I find it much easier to use wax paper to form the log.) Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes, then cut with sharp knife into 1/2" slices. Bake slices for 10 minutes on each side until firm to the touch. Cool and store in airtight container.

Merry Christmas from . . .

Sunday, December 18, 2016


Since we didn't put up a Christmas tree this year, our hall tree is standing in as gift sentry. heh

This is a post on gifts. (I know, the title. Duh.) Not an exhaustive post, mind you; I just want to share some high points so far. The first is one I gave to Brian's violin teacher. I often take photos of their cats, and their dogs when they're out, while we are at his house for weekly lessons. Gertrude, their beloved oldest cat, passed away this fall, so I had Shutterfly make this enameled metal ornament from one of my photos and gave it to them early in their card. The next week teacher and wife thanked me effusively, and pointed it out hanging above Gertrude's favorite napping spot.

My dear friend Debbie gave me a belated birthday present when we attended our dressage chapter Christmas party:
She has given me a dated bulldog ornament for eight or nine years running; I adore them all! Someday I'll find a stand of some sort to display them all together, maybe year-round. "Teacup Bullie" is a lonely-only-ornament this year....

Do you see that lovely texture under the ornament? Some time ago I sent blogpal Theresa the remainder of the yarn I'd spun for my homeschool textiles class from a longwool sheep. It was too coarse to use in knitted garments, so I thought she could weave something with it. Never did I expect she would weave something for ME with it – especially one of her exquisite birch bark runners!
That's not all, either. Apparently to balance the understated natural palette of the runner, she gifted me this wild FatCatKnits fiber to spin:

Doesn't that look like the perfect antidote to winter? I can hardly wait to get it on my miniSpinner!
The runner coordinates perfectly with a beautiful collectors' plate I got at that dressage chapter Christmas party. One of our members inherited a bunch of plates from this (Diana Casey) and another artist – then brought them to the party for us each to choose one as a sort of door prize! Generosity upon undeserved generosity; it is truly humbling, and inspires me to be more generous myself.

Isn't that the Spirit of the very first Christmas?

SO grateful at . . .

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Inside, out

Highlights of my day, inside . . .
From this –

– to this!

. . . and out.

Neighbor's pup "Milo"

That's it for today from . . .