2

Chickens and Firelight

Posted by mrssmythe on March 27, 2017 in Chickens, Crafting, Critters, Seasons, Week in Review |

More snow. More chickens.

Well, technically not a lot more snow, but it did snow here this week,(very briefly) and the stuff that was already on the ground looks to be in no hurry to leave.

We did have some nice, sunny days, though, which prompted more sessions in a lawn chair against the barn, soaking up whatever rays I could. I also let the chickens out.

One of the chickens (Everest – our Lavender Orpington) behaves more like a cat than a bird. After pacing back and forth for a few minutes at my feet, she finally worked up the nerve to jump into my lap.

It made knitting a little difficult.

(By the way, she’s the chicken that Ginger takes sledding. Quite a character!)

We finally lit a fire in our fireplace this year. This was the first winter we haven’t had a ready supply of free wood on hand, and it pained me to spend money on the stuff after years of getting it for nothing (ridiculous I know) – so, we just didn’t have fires. But, after that tree came down a few weeks ago, our supply was replenished, and we’ve been squeezing in some fireside reading these past few blustery nights.

Manny, who is a connoisseur of comfort, was so glad we finally came to our senses.

Whenever a fire is lit, he’s right there, absorbing as much heat as he can.

He’s kind of a character too.

We are seeing some signs of Spring, despite the snow. This emerging daffodil was putting on a brave face on outside the church Sunday morning.

Until the daffodils appear in earnest, I’ve been buying them by the bunch at the grocery store. Anything for a bit of Spring.

And, finally, my most recent crafting –

I’ve been working on a fair isle slouch hat that probably won’t be terribly “slouchy” because I’m using a thinner yarn than the pattern calls for. But I think it will work. Anyway, it’s colorful and enjoyable to work on, and it keeps me from thinking too hard about the snow. All good reasons to keep going.

And, you keep going too! If, like us, your winter is lingering and you’re finding it rather depressing, take heart! Spring is just around the corner. (At least that’s what I keep telling myself!)

From the dining room table, getting ready to order an Easter dress for Ginger,

Mrs. Smythe

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4

More Snow…and Sledding with a Chicken

Posted by mrssmythe on March 20, 2017 in Chickens, Critters, Seasons, Week in Review |

First Day of Spring!

And, wouldn’t you know it, there’s still snow on the ground. A lot of snow.

Typical New England.

Things were kind of drippy and melty at the beginning of the week. My rock wall took on a new, slick beauty…

and the grass looked like it was covered in lace.

But, then the snow hit – a blizzard like I’ve never seen before. A solid day of swirling white that ended with drifts against the house and up onto the porch. Here you see what can happen when you forget to bring your boots in on the eve of a storm.

Thankfully, CPT A had another pair at the ready.

Ginger was thrilled to see more snow. The dogs seemed pretty happy about it, too.

Kipper and Manny spent most of the morning hunting something that was running around under the drifts along the back fence. What was it? A mole? A vole?

I think they would have stayed out all day if I’d let them.

And, the chickens took it all in stride. (I so admire the chickens – so unflappable).

Ginger even managed to take one of them sledding.

What an extraordinary bird!

I do what I can to get them to patches of grass during the day. Here you see me sunning myself in front of the barn, which is the warmest, sunniest place in the yard in the afternoons. It feels heavenly just to just sit and feel (relatively) warm – and then to hear the pleasant sounds of the chickens…their contented clucking. It’s lovely. I can almost forget I’m still wearing a parka and snow boots.

Almost.

From the dining room table, hoping to get some more sun today,

Mrs. Smythe

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12

Fighting Winter with Color and Crafting

Posted by mrssmythe on March 13, 2017 in Art, Baking, Crafting, Garden, Seasons, Week in Review |

Snow, snow, snow. That’s all anyone was talking about today.

Snow last week, and snow on the way. This in addition to frigid temperatures and incredible winds. It’s a lot to take in on a day when you’ve lost an hour’s sleep to Daylight Savings Time.

Coffee helps. Even crocheted coffee.

Here’s a little cup that I put together this week for Ginger. The last cup I made turned out more like a pitcher, so I found a thinner sock yarn and started again – this time with much better results.

Ginger is accumulating quite a collection of crocheted food!

In other news, we took down the rest of the tree that split and blew over last week.

I imagine the wildlife is pretty disgusted with us. Even though the thing was dead and rotting, it was home to loads of critters. Unfortunately, it was also dangerous, so down it came. CPT A estimates it was about seventy years old.

The stump was filled with ice crystals and chestnuts.

And, this Eastern-Eyed Click Beetle was also in residence. He wasn’t pleased with our meddling.

Now, we have quite a bit of wood to dispose of. Ginger is hoping we’ll wait a bit, though. She’s having fun playing on the remaining trunks.

I’m pleased to report that tree felling did not interfere with crafting. I managed to weave in all the pesky yarn ends that were cluttering up the back side of my Fireside Throw.

The project is now officially finished and has already been put to use keeping various family members cozy while movie-watching in the evenings.

As far as using up yarn, though – it didn’t make as large of a dent as I had expected (partly because I bought more yarn for the project when I wanted some additional colors). I still have a pretty good selection of acrylics that I’m now eyeing for scarves.

Also on the crafting agenda – a project involving granny squares inspired by art prints…

…which sounds a lot like my last project. But this time the yarn is a lot thinner and the project is about half the size of the throw. I think, mainly, I’m trying to find an excuse to keep working with those calendar pages – they continue to inspire me.

And, finally, Pepper completed her last lesson in the Great Courses “Every Day Gourmet” on-line cooking class. We celebrated by whipping up a batch of apple turnovers…

which felt a little like cheating because we used commercial puffed pastry (as specified in the recipe), but the results were delicious, and I’m sure we’ll be making another round soon.

So, that brings you up to date. Ahead for us in the coming week: more snow, more crafting, and probably more apple turnovers. Not a bad agenda…except, maybe, for the snow.

From the dining room table, getting ready to sit down with a nice cup of tea,

Mrs. Smythe

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6

Turkeys and Trees

Posted by mrssmythe on March 5, 2017 in Chickens, Critters, Week in Review |

The turkeys are back!

Here you can see them (if you look closely) walking in a line behind our back fence.

I was reading with the windows open the morning they arrived. They were making noises that I thought, at first, were coming from the chickens. But, the noises weren’t exactly like the ones the chickens make, so I decided to investigate. Turns out, the whole flock was out for a stroll, passing through our yard on its way to a neighbor’s.

They didn’t show much interest in our chickens, but several of them did stop for scratch the chickens had missed.

In crafting news, I made excellent progress on the Fireside Throw this past week. So much progress, in fact, that I lost my place and ended up crocheting and joining 11 extra hexagons. Once I realized my mistake, it was an easy fix, but it did slow me down.

The blanket continues to be an animal magnet.

In fact, within minutes of laying it out to photograph its pre-border appearance, Manny arrived.

I probably would have been okay if I hadn’t timed my photo shoot for the moment when the mail arrived. Still! I wish he’d show more respect.

I’ve chosen a nice teal for the border.

And, with that taken care of, I’ll only face the monumental task of weaving in all those loose ends.

(Ugh! This is the only thing I don’t like about working with so many colors.)

I’ve given myself a week to complete the task. We’ll see….

Meanwhile, the chickens had some excitement yesterday in the form of a fallen tree.

This was the combined result of natural tree decay (the tree had been dead for some time) and a very windy weekend.

Isn’t that a close call? I’m so glad the tree didn’t fall on the chicken coop! Or the chickens!!

As you can see, we have a bit of clean up to do. I’m waiting for the weather to warm up a bit. It’s been freezing here lately! March definitely came in like a lion.

And, finally, a little light-hearted something to close this post…

That’s an interchangeable Captain America action figure head. Pepper found that it – and others like it – make admirable finger puppets. Who knew?

From the dining room table, wishing you many such light-hearted moments in the coming week,

Mrs. Smythe

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Dogs Don’t Like Lentils…and a Crocheted Turkey

Posted by mrssmythe on February 27, 2017 in Baking, Crafting, Critters, Toys, Week in Review with Comments closed |

The week started with my dinner plans being scuttled by Manny. He found the Italian Lentil Soup mix I’d set out on the counter, dragged it up to our bed and disembowled it. Most disturbing – he didn’t even bother to eat it.

This is a dog who will eat just about anything. Green beans, spinach, carrots…. And yet, he gets a whole pile of lentils and decides they are not food. CPT A (who is not a lentil fan) thought this was pretty funny. We ended up calling for pizza that night.

Another challenge I’m having with the pets…

The Fireside Throw is getting so large now, I have to spread it on the floor before I can decide where to join the next hexagon. (I’m trying to avoid any obvious clumps of color). However, it seems every time I spread the blanket out, one of the pets turns it into a bed.

Thankfully, I’m nearing the end of this project, so this won’t be an issue much longer.

The pets do have beds of their own, but they seem to always want the same one at the same time.

Dogs.

Ginger had the Prisma App up again this week and got this nice picture of Ursa.

I even like how the wood floor came out. If I could paint, this is the style of painting I would like to do.

And, Pepper’s rocks finally came through their final tumbling cycle. Here they are, at the end – not quite as shiny as we imagined they’d be.

I was expecting them to come out glossy – like the rocks in the museum stores. Pepper assures me you can get that look – but you have to rub them with mineral oil or paint them with clear fingernail polish.

In the kitchen this week, we baked up a chocolate pudding cake – one of my favorite desserts.

I always use the same recipe, which you can fine HERE. It’s a nice, quick, easy dessert that everyone seems to like.

And, finally – this week’s play food item (per GInger’s request):

A crocheted turkey.

This makes me laugh every time I see it. And, really, it was a lot of fun to put together. The girls liked it so much, Pepper requested one of her own. Too funny.

From the dining room table, getting ready to start in again on another knitted sock,

Mrs. Smythe

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