Friday, January 19, 2018

Right Now

Right now, I'm...

...doing a lot of baking, mainly because I'm cold! These crazy temperatures have me drawn to the warmth of the oven almost every day (much to the dismay of the low-carb dieter in the fam), and today will be no exception. I'm thinking apple pie to close this week maybe... with a slice of cheese and a glass of wine tonight after everyone goes to bed? I think I just convinced myself. (Speaking of baking, I got tired of the last of the eggnog taking up space in my fridge so I dumped it all into cinnamon swirl bread, and y'all, put that in your notes to try, it turned out great! I'm not a fan of store-bought eggnog, but in bread it's subtle, makes for a very soft crumb, and goes so well with the cinnamon. Just sub eggnog for the liquid in your fav bread recipe. Do it!)
...vibing with housewives of yesteryear as I find myself becoming quite proficient at banking coals in the wood stove and using them to rekindle a fire the following morning. It's becoming a meditative part of my morning routine- kids go to school, house is quiet and dark, I get the ash bucket out and set to work... I'll be sad when fireplace weather leaves us.
...feeling thankful that all my chicken girls pulled through earlier this week when we went from 61*F to 7*F in less than 24 hours. I know Texans get teased about having a low tolerance for "winter weather," but come on, show me someone from the North who could regularly flip-flop like that during the winter, and also take in stride a day that might hit 105*+ only a few months later. I think we deserve a little slack! (I'm fretting about my bees, though, and hoping they're as tough as my feathered ladies... I'll be checking on them as soon as the temps are warm enough.)
...smiling at my rapidly-growing Suka who follows me everywhere- so eager to please- and realizing that she's losing her puppy fuzz and getting a shadow of a German Shepherd saddle! Looking back at our first photos of her, it's amazing how she's changed... but she still snores like an old man, has the worst dog farts, chews up unfortunate and forgotten balls left out by her littler people, and in general is becoming quite an irreplaceable and terribly loved member of our family.

Right now I'm looking forward to the warm-up that's supposed to be coming this weekend, and the chance we'll have to do some checking in on our outside creatures and projects. In the meantime, though, to hearth and home I'll stay because baby, it's still cold outside!

Wishing all a warm wrap-up to the week and a good weekend to come! Happy Friday!

Monday, January 15, 2018

A Refill

We ran out of (split and ready) firewood right before this most recent cold front, and it was a sad day when the sleet/snow mix started falling on Wednesday and our fireplaces were dark and cold. So this weekend, when we woke up to sunlight streaming in through the windows and read that we'd be getting up out of the 30's for a bit, we bundled up and got to work on a refill! Everyone pitched in, and after the first load or two was split we weren't even feeling the windchill anymore. It's true what they say- firewood heats you twice; once when you work to prepare it, and the second time when you actually burn it!

I'm happy to say that our wood shed is now filled to the rafters, the indoor rack is filled to the top, and we've had a fire in the fireplace almost constantly since Saturday afternoon... not to mention the driveway is now safe and clear of those dead oaks. If I do say so myself, we did good this weekend!

Sunday, January 14, 2018


We're taking it slow today after a long workday yesterday out in the chilly wind and weather! But we have a fire going now, we've had lots of popcorn and warm drinks, and everyone is taking full advantage of catching up on their reading and indoor play! It's soooooooo good to indulge in a lazy Sunday every once-in-a-while. Amirite?

Happy weekending!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Clean and Purge

This time of year seems to be the harbinger of cleaning, organizing, and purging urges... or so it would seem. Everywhere I look I see piles of clutter, forgotten closets, wasted cabinet space, and stuff that has outlived it's usefulness...

...and this morning I found the motivation to tackle three such offenders in one go. The main focus was my office, whose spaces were beyond filled and muddled and whose overflow was inescapably all up in my eyeballs every time I passed through. To do what I wanted to do in there, I had to first empty out a forgotten "junk" cabinet so our awkwardly-placed and underutilized lowboy could be emptied into it. I then moved the lowboy into my office (replacing the media cabinet thing that held my printer and such), and proceeded to tear everything apart...

...and then- finally- I put everything back together again.

I hope some day I can find a better place for that ugly filing cabinet... but for now it stays tucked in it's corner. I really like my lowboy arrangement, and happily everything worthy of keeping found a place in this new order.

We even have a functional, accessible 'adult' game cabinet now, too, with a little spare room to boot! (The kid games are on the other side)

Now, on to the next trouble area I go....................

Tuesday, January 9, 2018


I was an early bird this year and got all my spring garden seeds ordered first thing (last year they were sold out of several varieties I'd lusted after because I'd waited too long). Happily- because I ordered so early- not only did I get exactly what I wanted, but my seeds have already come in!

Here's what I'll be trying to grow just as soon as it's warm enough:

Golden Butterwax Beans
Purple Podded Pole Beans
Dragon Tongue Bush Beans (a reoccurring fav of ours)
Chinese Green Noodle Beans (we tried the purple ones last year)
Rattlesnake Pole Beans
Landreth Stringless Beans
Desi Summer Squash
Sweet Dumpling Squash
Golden Zucchini Squash (new fav after last years' success)
Dragon's Egg Cucumbers
Muncher Cucumbers
Biet Alpha Cucumbers
Golden Beets
Albino Beets
Five Color Silverbeets (aka Rainbow Chard)
Country Gentleman Sweet Corn
Strawberry Popcorn
Purple Tomatillo
Tomatillo Verde
Amarillo Carrots
Parisienne Carrots
Black Nebula Carrots (always sold out in previous years!)
Chinese Red Meat Radish (aka Watermelon Radish)
Emily's Basil
Tall Trailing Mixed Nasturtiums
Tom Thumb Mixed Strawflowers
Fantazja Sunflowers
Mixed Orach
Galilee Spinach
Violaceo di Verona Cabbage (for fall)
Brunswick Cabbage (for fall)
Groninger Brussels Sprouts (for fall)

I've also ordered three live miniature kiwi plants, which are supposed to ship by the end of February. I'm hoping that won't be too late in our area to get them started, because wouldn't mini-kiwis be so cool? 

(If you're wondering, all of my seeds this year are from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds)

Last year turned out to be such an unexpectedly good year, and I've been working hard to keep the soil on the upswing so we might find success again this spring. I'm not sure I'm going to be able to sit still knowing my seeds are waiting for me out in the laundry room in their dark box... I'm just itching to tuck a few of them into the ground! Maybe that cold-hearty spinach could stand a few cold Texas winter days...?

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Five Things

It's almost time for the kids to go back to school, the temps are finally forecast to spend a few hours a day above freezing, and we're about 24 hours away from things getting "back to normal" around here. Five things on this frosty morning... 

First, of course, is Suka... part of our new normal is having a puppy in the house, and we're finally getting to know each other and figure out how Suka fits into the rhythm of our home. I'm pleased to say she's proving to be a smart, sweet girl who is eager to please and learns quickly. She knows her name, a few basic commands, and will usually go to her kennel without much of a fuss. We're off to a good start.

Speaking of Suka, part of what we're especially focused on in these early days is working with her around our smaller animals. She is, after all, German Shepherd and wolf, and her predatory instincts will only grow stronger as she grows up. She's done a great job so far of staying calm and not barking at the chickens, though she has tried to chase the cat up the stairs once or twice. Rory is less than thrilled that she seems to be here to stay, but he's becoming a little more present and visible every day. I'm still holding out hope that they'll be friends...

...and they are giving me reason to hope!

Also of note is our trip out with Grammy and Aunt KK to let a very excited flower girl pick out her very special flower girl dress. I assure you she chose the poofiest, fluffiest dress out of the lineup, and thoroughly twirl-tested it before calling it 'The One.' Now I think it's possible she may be looking forward to Aunt KK's wedding day almost as much as Aunt KK!

Next, would you look at this awesome vintage Dutch midcentury-modern lamp that was spotted in the corner of a guest bedroom at Nanny's house and so generously sent our way? I just love it, and this corner was in desperate need of a little light... thank you, Nanny!

And finally, though I crawled into bed way before midnight rolled on through, I made sure I sent my intentions for the New Year out into the atmosphere and toasted 2017 adieu, don't you worry... and so I'll end here by reiterating: may we learn from our mistakes, may we choose kindness over hate, may we never stop fighting for what's right, and may we fill the darkness with light.

Happy New Year. 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018


We. are. cold.

We're in the middle of an arctic blast, and the last 36 hours here in North Central Texas have been colder than in Anchorage, Alaska. No kidding.

We've been wearing layers, drinking warm drinks, and staying inside as much as possible... except for quick visits to our feathered friends to make sure their heated bucket is working and to bring them high-calorie treats, of course.

Even our pond is starting to freeze, which is pretty amazing to this warm-weather girl.

Good thing we didn't just adopt a puppy that has to go out every 45 minutes and once or twice at night, right? *Ahem*

Winter is here, no mistaking it!

Now where did Suka drag my slippers...?