Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Feathered delights

This morning a red-tailed hawk was perched at the top of a fir in our lower pasture. Not great photos, just a nod to how much I love seeing and hearing these raptors in our "air space" – and hearing the owls at night – and seeing the occasional bald eagle do a fly-over.

Tonight when I locked up the hens I snapped these photos. The Australorps and Wyandottes have such big, beautiful eyes, which weren't as obvious in the flash as they are in natural light. The girls' three-week vacation was obviously "the pause that refreshes," as egg production has soared the last two weeks. I sold four dozen eggs today!

Here are a couple other 'feathered delights':
Jackson and Gatsby were squirrel-watching. Jackson knows I won't let him out to chase the squirrels by day and the raccoons by night, but Gatsby is still having conniption fits every time he sees a four-legged visitor. It's nerve-wracking for all of us!

That's it for today from . . .

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Highlights and lowlights

I started a new knitting project last week.

Gatsby's girl came to see him yesterday, and we took our Aussies for a walk (I got the hairy eyeball for pointing the camera at Jackson).

The hens keep upping the daily total; they gave us seven eggs yesterday, and nine today!
My pony and I got out for a bit today.

I'm struggling with time, tiredness, melancholy mood, and painful knees, dropping the ball on posting daily about 40 Acts. I'm reading the devotionals and prompts and doing my best to keep up, but posting about them is a bridge too far right now. You can catch up/keep up by clicking HERE.

That's it for now from . . .

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Easy come, easy go

I shot the photo above of four deer in the lot to our north while I was riding in our arena Monday afternoon. That prompted me to take the photo below while riding yesterday.

Later, as I was walking up to the house, Blaise and Sarai posed for me. (I think these photos need a storyline!)

Then they were joined by Brigitte,

and Bardot,
Sarai's 2017 twins.

Last night it began to snow again – big, beautiful flakes. The dogs got covered when they went out for their bedtime potty break, as did Gimpy later when s/he came to the deck for some easy calories.

This morning it was gorgeous!

Even better, it didn't affect the roads, and now most of it is gone.

40 Acts
Today's theme (you can read it here) is about our gifts, our talents, and how we can share them. Since money has never been in abundant supply here, sharing what I can do has long been my modus operandi. What immediately came to mind is knitting, followed by baking. But since I'm a graphic designer, I volunteer that skill to our church and the Fine Fleece Shetland Sheep Association as well.

Speaking of gifts, the hens just keep giving more! In a few days of renewed activity, I've gotten 28 eggs, including our first green egg of the year yesterday (I got another one today).

That's it for now from . . .

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Winter Olympics abstract art

In other words, ice in my riding arena. 😉

So we didn't get any more snow overnight, Salem (3-5" predicted) didn't get any, and Portland was a skating rink this morning.

Last night the dogs desperately wanted out one last time, but when I realized it was because a raccoon was eating at the bird feeder, the dogs went to bed and our masked visitor (it was the one with a gimpy front leg/foot) got to eat in peace.

This morning, the feeder was empty and the sky was beautiful – more than enough compensation for the black oil sunflower seeds.
40 Acts
Today's 40 Acts (read the devotional here) has me stumped at the moment; I can't think of anyone in a new place. Completing this act will have to wait, but I will be keeping my eyes and ears open.

That's it for today from . . .

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Snow and chocolate

This morning we got a temporary dusting of snow. A lot more was supposed to fall this afternoon, but it stayed liquid until well past dark. Just now, at 10 p.m., we have about as much as in the photos above. 'twill be interesting to see how much we get by morning, and whether it affects Brian's school....

Thank-you for all your kind words and advice on yesterday's post. "Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow" – a Swedish proverb, according to t'internet. Fitting, both because my dear maternal grandma was from Sweden, and because the blogging community proves this time and time again. The sorrow has melted away like this morning's snow; now let's have some joy!
40 Acts
Today is "Chocolate Tuesday"! I didn't learn this until I was at work, so I wasn't sure if or how I was going to be able to fulfill it beyond the biscotti I took to share with my co-workers. But there wasn't much to do, so I got off in time to run a couple errands before lunch. At one store I bought a bag of Easter-wrapped Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. After paying but before leaving the checkout line, I opened it and handed them out to the surprised cashier and the other people in line behind me. All seemed delighted; it was fun! (And by opening the bag in front of them, no one had to worry whether they were safe or not.)

Then I had a lunchtime date with a friend from our homeschooling co-op days that I haven't seen in a year. Her two daughters are older than Brian (one is married and one is in college), so she was able to offer some perspective on these challenging teen years.

Oh, and we got FIVE eggs today!

Thankful for all of YOU . . .

Monday, February 19, 2018

I have a Father

I just came in from playing with the Aussies, breaking out a 'Chuckit!' I bought years ago but never opened because Jackson isn't really into "fetch." (Gatsby is, though, and Jackson likes to chase him and bark.) I needed a distraction, and being with happy dogs on this crisp, sunshiny day did the trick. We also walked down to check for eggs, and picked up #3 for the day. Yesterday we got four (woohoo!); at this rate February will exceed January's pathetic count of 18 even though the girls just started laying again four days ago. All good antidotes for what ails me....

My heart was broken in stages this morning. It started with the unpleasant teenager. I know I shouldn't take his adolescent attitudes and acts/inactions) personally, but they feel like poison darts to my soul. So I turned my attention to things that needed doing, including making that batch of biscotti.

Then I decided to look through a couple bags that had been deposited by my chair last night. Rick and Brian brought back some stuff from my dad's that his wife had set aside for me nearly a year ago, just before she vacated the premises (with all that was going on, we didn't think it was safe for her to stay). She had told me what some of it was (we stay in frequent contact) – a quilt my grandma made, and a 'hobnail' bedspread my grandma had owned – but the rest was a mystery. After pulling out some miscellaneous items that I didn't recognize from one bag, I turned my attention to another that contained old books. I pulled out the first one; it was my grandfather's German Bible. Oh my. My precious, godly grandpa. The next book I pulled out was his German hymnal. I can remember hearing him sing hymns in German very late in his long (103 years!) life; he had a lovely voice. I also remember his love for me....

After looking through all the old books, including one that had belonged to my great-grandpa, a German immigrant from Russia who homesteaded the family farm in Kansas, I turned back to the first bag. There were two towels wrapped around boxy shapes, which turned out to be stacks of framed photos, along with one small oil painting. Some of them – my high school senior photo, our wedding photo, and the painting by me – were gifts to my dad over the years; most of the rest were childhood photos of me, pictured with and without my dad. I felt like my heart had been cut out and handed to me; my dad no longer wanted even these photos of his little girl around.

That's when I took myself outside with the dogs, and was given a song to comfort my heart:

I feel much better now. The song has done its work, the teenager is acting more human/humane, and I'm getting ready to go outside and ride my pony. Even though he is exhibiting intermittent lameness, Rick said it was okay if we took it easy. Sigh; the hits don't stop, but that doesn't mean I have to.

40 Acts

The devotional is here (what a cool kid!). To complete the Green and Yellow Acts, I'm going to share my biscotti recipe with you (some of you already have it) and share some of the biscotti with friends and co-workers tomorrow.

Traditional Biscotti
1 c. whole roasted almonds, chopped coarsely (I used sliced almonds)
2 c. flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour, and subbed in 1/4 c. cocoa powder)
3/4 c. sugar (I only use unbleached, organic sugar)
1 t. baking powder
1/8 t. salt
3 eggs
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 t. almond extract

Stir together dry ingredients. Beat eggs and extracts, then add dry mixture. Form into a log 3" wide (waxed paper facilitates this greatly) and bake 30-40 minutes at 300 degrees. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes, cut into 1/2" slices and lay them flat on the pan and bake 10 more minutes on each side. Store in an airtight container, and serve with your favorite hot drink!

That's it for today from . . .

Sunday, February 18, 2018

A lovely day to work inside

(I think mammals on the deck are going to be the death of Gatsby)
It's February 18 and we woke up to our first snowfall; crazy! Seems everyone is saying that about their weather these days. Out in Ohio where Julie Zickefoose lives, it's flooding. No, spring floods aren't crazy, but as she wrote on her blog this morning,

If only we could funnel this rain to places out West that need it so badly. This climate change, and the odd jet stream that has formed since the ocean water is so warm, is tough, bringing Arctic cold way farther south and east than usual, while it visits arid drought on the West. And it's not fake, and it's nobody's imagination. Nobody makes up a flood like this. It's here, the unfriendly neighbor, creeping up the front steps.

Anyway, snow showers have fallen off and on all day, even as the light covering we had this morning melted away. With overnight lows in the 20s predicted for most of this week, that pattern of sticking and melting could likely continue, making for messy morning commutes. So far, though, the roads are just wet.
Snow on the railroad tie around the daffodils

FAT flakes!!!
So what have I done inside? Laundry, dishes, let-dogs-out/let-dogs-in-after-wiping-12-wet-paws, a big pot of seasoned pinto beans, a four-loaf batch of bread, let-dogs-out/let-dogs-in-after-wiping-12-wet-paws, some graphic design work for a couple clients, phone conversations with family, let-dogs-out/let-dogs-in-after-wiping-12-wet-paws, all while keeping the home fires burning – and letting dogs out, cleaning paws, and letting them back in. I'm tempted to make a double batch of biscotti to use up some of the store-bought (gasp!) eggs now that my hens have returned from vacation. This morning I collected two eggs when I opened the pop door, and shortly thereafter saw this,
so it might even be a three-egg day!

40 Acts

Today's devotional is on James, one of my favorite books of the Bible. It is not followed by Green/Yellow/Red acts to choose from; instead there are questions to ask oneself. Faith and deeds, inextricably linked.

That's it for today from . . .