The Chickens Are Laying Again

Posted by mrssmythe on March 16, 2018 in Chickens |

So nice to see eggs in the nesting box again! We’ve missed them. I’d almost forgotten our chickens could lay eggs. But, with longer days and their molting done, the chickens have picked up right where they left off in the fall.

Now, the goal will be to get the chickens out into the yard and into the sunshine as much as possible. They’ve been cooped up long enough! (No pun intended).

From the dining room table, anticipating another omelette for lunch,

Mrs. Smythe



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Toe Shoes for Ginger

Posted by mrssmythe on March 15, 2018 in Family |

Ginger has reached an important milestone in her dancing career. This past month she got her first pair of toe shoes!

Here she is at the dance store, getting fitted for them. The incredibly flexible woman on the floor is her dance teacher.

Turns out fitting toe shoes is a lengthy process. In the hour we were there, Ginger tried on eight different shoes before she found a good match for her feet. The different brands, though they look very similar, have subtle differences in the way they fit, so depending on the shape of your foot – say, long toes or general narrowness – you’ll prefer one shoe to another.

Once the shoes were home, Ginger had to sew on the ribbons.

This was another surprise for me, as I thought the shoes came with ribbons on. Turns out this is just another way for dancers to customize their fit.

And here they are – all sewn and on Ginger’s feet…

Lovely, right?

Not so lovely on my feet.

Looks a bit the way the stepsisters must have looked trying on Cinderella’s glass slipper…poor things.

From the dining room table, getting ready to walk the dogs – in a pair of comfortable size 12 sneakers,

Mrs. Smythe




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More Snow

Posted by mrssmythe on March 14, 2018 in Seasons |

More snow…

lots more – about eight inches more, to be precise.

CPT A commented the other day that it feels like we’ve had more snow in the month of March than in all the rest of winter combined…and there’s more in the forecast for today.

It is pretty, certainly. And, with temperatures being warmer, overall, the roads aren’t as bad. The driveway will sometimes even take care of itself…which is what we’re hoping will happen today.

But, all that said, March is off to a very lion-ish start.

From the dining room table, hoping to be more regular about posting in the future…

Mrs. Smythe




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Flu Doings and a Fun New App

Posted by mrssmythe on February 1, 2018 in Art, Critters, Seasons, Week in Review |

Activity ground to a halt here as first Ginger, then I, then, finally, Pepper, came down with the flu. CPT America had the forethought to get a flu shot and escaped….which was a good thing because we definitely needed a well person here to dispense medicine and buy popsicles. The three of us spent a solid two weeks lying on sofas, watching movies, reading, and knitting. It would have been very nice except for the fact that we all felt wretched. And, though CPT A may not have had the flu, he ended up exhausted, himself, from playing nurse.

But – we are all doing so much better now, and I finally feel up to showing you a few amusing photos from the past couple of weeks.

The first come from a new App I discovered while sick – the Google Arts & Culture App. Have you seen this yet? You take a photo of yourself, and then the App finds a selection of “matches” from portraits in its art database. It’s very amusing, and I confess I spent an entire morning going through photo albums, taking photos of my relatives in order to find their fine art counterparts as well. Some matches were very close – as in this match for my paternal grandfather:

And this painting looks eerily like Ginger, don’t you think?

That said, I’m not sure how I feel about being paired with this young man…

…especially since I think he has a mustache.

I dug out some more historic pics of myself. Here I am in 7th grade: 

This may not seem much of a match at first, but I think our noses and mouths are very similar.

Some of the pairings, though, were ridiculous.

If you’re interested, the App is free and very easy to use.

I didn’t do a lot of knitting while sick.

Actually, that’s not true. I did a lot of knitting the first couple of days. Then, I got thoroughly sick of knitting, cast it aside, and didn’t look at my current project until just last night when I finally felt like picking up my needles again.

Since I didn’t do much knitting, I turned to something I rarely do…puzzles. Pepper had a periodic table of the elements puzzle she’d received for her birthday. She kindly let me work it. Shadow helped.

Not really. Shadow was actually very much in the way throughout the project.

And, she continued to be in the way after I’d finished the periodic table puzzle and had moved on to one depicting a Smithsonian gift shop scene.

I enjoyed working on those puzzles so much, I’ve now started a third – one I found at the East Longmeadow Public Library which has a nice selection of puzzles available for check-out. They’re very popular. When I was there, one had just been returned and another was in the hands of the man standing in line in front of me. I guess I’m just now figuring out what a lot of people already know – a puzzle is a great way to help fill a long, cold winter evening.

So that has been our life of late. Not terribly exciting, but it’s a relief to be feeling better. If you’re currently battling the flu, yourself, you have my full sympathy. I hope you feel better soon!

From the dining room table, getting ready to make a cup of tea and work a bit on that puzzle I mentioned earlier,

Mrs. Smythe


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Continued Cold and Snow

Posted by mrssmythe on January 15, 2018 in Chickens, Crafting, Critters, Seasons, Week in Review |

Snow and frigid temperatures continue – except for one strange day when we reached 60 degrees and all of the snow melted in a matter of hours. Lawns flooded, then froze again into shallow ice rinks the next day. Strange.

Ursa has been enjoying this winter very much.

When we go for walks, she veers off the path and plunges into the snow.

Then, she rolls around on her back. It’s almost like a bird dust bathing. This time of year, we have to work hard to get her back inside after we let her out.

Someone else who enjoys snow…Ginger!

Ginger was thrilled to find piles and piles of the stuff at a nearby park. Crews had cleared the parking area and, in so doing, had created great snowy mounds perfect for scaling. Ginger would have stayed all day if I’d let her, but the wind was biting, and I lured her back home with the promise of hot cocoa.

I also wanted to get the rest of the Christmas decorations taken down that day. Shadow wasn’t much help:

In other pet news, the chickens have been very good sports about the recent weather. At one point, our back yard hit -26 (F) overnight. We did what we could to keep them warm, and they came through very well. None of them seem to have suffered any ill effects. I think we even escaped the dreaded frost bite that can occur on their combs when the weather gets truly awful.

One funny moment, though – Pepper forgot to open the door to their run one day and the chickens weren’t able to get to their coop at sundown. They took it in stride and holed up in the barn, with Mabel – our Easter Egger – scaling a ladder to find a nice lofty spot to roost.

When Pepper discovered them, she helped Mabel down…

and sent them off to their beds.

Now, more than ever, I’m grateful CPT A made the barn alterations he did this fall. I can’t imagine what the chickens would have done without its shelter.

Meanwhile, I’ve been sheltering in the house, spending what time I can working on that sweater vest I showed you a while back. I hope to finish it in the next day or two. This past week, I cut the steeks for the neckline and armholes. It seemed a bit unnatural, taking scissors to something I’d put so much work into…

But, everything turned out all right. Here you see the neckline, mid-process. Nothing came unraveled, which is always the concern.

Now, here we are – already halfway through January. Winter is settling in with more snow on the way. Ginger and Ursa will be thrilled. CPT America – maybe not so much. He does the plowing, after all. But – as long as I have needles, yarn, and a good book, I think I’ll be fine.

From the dining room table, getting ready to pick up said needles as soon as I finish here,

Mrs. Smythe




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