We’ve had a very busy past few days!
The girls danced in our church’s Medieval/Epiphany festival while CPT A and I both helped behind the scenes. I worked as an usher. CPT A did everything from greeting guests and performing first aid to animal wrangling. One of his many tasks was to help get the three camels in the performance through the church’s front doors.
These are the same camels who perform at Radio City Music Hall in New York City over the holiday season. It felt a bit like meeting a celebrity!
The entire weekend was fun, exciting…and exhausting. I’m very glad it’s over. Monday, I tackled laundry, dishes, and walked the dogs for the first time in days….all the things that had gone undone while we were off “playing theater.” Performance life is colorful and lively for sure, but I’m a homebody at heart, and it was definitely nice to get back to a more normal routine.
My idea of thrilling is seeing wild turkey tracks in the snow – something I saw with the dogs on one of our walks this past week.
It always surprises me how big they are.
And, while we’re on the topic of turkeys, our turkey has figured out how to get on the barn roof. Can you see her up there near that dead pine bough?
It’s really not that big of a feat for her. She has only to hop on the neighbor’s fence, turn around, and leap another three feet to the roof. I’m told that wild turkeys roost in trees, so this probably feels perfectly normal to her. It’s a little surprising to see, though.
In knitting news, I started a nice, easy project to fill down time during dress rehearsals and odd moments of the festival – something I could knit even in the dark if need be. (And, no, I didn’t knit while I was an usher, though I was tempted!)
It’s a scarf pattern that uses two separate shades of a single yarn – you switch from one to the other every two rows. It’s very easy and you get a wonderful stripe effect. I’m using Lion Brand Amazing yarn, but you could use any yarn, really. If you’re intrigued, you can find the pattern HERE.
And, finally – here’s a shot CPT A got with a phone camera on the last night of the festival. Things had finally quieted down, almost everyone else had left, and he brought us outside to point out how the light came through a particular tree in front of the church – something he had noticed while directing traffic earlier in the evening.
The photo doesn’t do it justice, of course. But, it was very magical at the time – a sort of whorling pattern of tree branches with light at the end; one of those quiet, eerily beautiful things that are so easy to miss if you don’t just happen to see them.
From the dining room table, hoping you, too, will see something quiet, and eerily beautiful in the coming week,
“Cozy” is the worm I’d use to describe our New Year’s Eve this year. For us, it was a rainy night with lots of wind – the perfect weather for hunkering down by the fire and watching old movies…which is exactly what we did. After a very busy and full Christmas season, having a night for the family to just sit and relax together felt like an enormous luxury. I highly recommend it.
Here you see Manny pretending he is a lap dog.
That dog loves the fire. The minute we light one, he plunks himself down in front of it, or near enough to catch some of the warmth.
A highlight of our evening was the Black Forest cake I made.
Doesn’t that look impressive? Here’s a secret: it’s from a mix. Can you believe it? It was a German mix that I picked up at Yankee Candle. You can find the mix online, too. It’s the Kathi Black Forest Cake Mix. And, while it’s a step up from the cake mixes you find at the grocery store, it’s still pretty easy to put together. A warning, though – it’s not nearly as sweet. In fact, we ended up adding powdered sugar to the whipping cream that you use to frost the cake. (The mix didn’t call for any sort of sweetener). Also, the maraschino cherries were my idea. You were supposed to use cherries from the canned ones you used in the filling, but the canned cherries we had were flesh-toned and not very pretty on their own, so I went the maraschino route.
And how did it taste? Delicious! I would absolutely make this cake again.
Shortly after New Year’s Day, all of the Christmas decorations came down.
Well, not all of them. I left the twinkle lights up, and the front window boxes are still filled with their greens, the sled remains on the front porch, and all of the candles are still in the windows. Basically, anything that wasn’t too Christmassy got to stay – especially if it kept things feeling cozy. We’re heading into the bleak winter months now, and anything that can help dispel the gloom is most welcome.
Something else that is dispelling the gloom – a new knitting project!
This is the camel yarn that Pepper gave me for Christmas. She knew I’d lost the camel yarn hat I’d knit several years ago and had been lamenting its loss ever since. This yarn is actually 100% camel – and baby camel at that – so it’s very soft and knits up like a cloud.
So far, I’ve finished a hat to replace the one I lost. With the remaining yarn, I plan to make some fingerless gloves. I haven’t quite settled on a pattern, though. I hope to have pictures to show you in about a week.
So – that brings you up to date. I hope your New Year is off to a wonderful start and that you, too, are relishing these cozy, quiet days after the holiday season.
From the dining room table, getting ready to walk the dogs,
We’ve been up with the sun this past week. Not that we weren’t before. We were. But this past week, there’s been more of an urgency about our mornings. We’ve wanted to make sure the new birds are doing well, so, at the first sign of light, CPT A has been popping out of bed, throwing on some shoes and heading out the door.
So far, so good.
Which is not to say there haven’t been some tense moments…like the day the wild turkeys dropped in.
Our own little turkey fell right into line behind them and would have flown off with the group if her wings hadn’t been clipped. As it was, she made it to the back fence, trailing the guinea hen all the way.
The sparrows are another point of concern – at least as far as the turkey is concerned. She watches them warily.
Meanwhile, the sparrows know that where there are chickens, there will be cracked corn and seeds and other goodies. So, they bide their time, waiting for the flock to return to the barn, then swoop in for the leftovers.
At night, the three hens and the turkey all manage to squeeze into the coop. The older birds aren’t thrilled with the new arrangement, but they seem resigned, and tolerate the new sleeping arrangements. Meanwhile, the guinea hen makes her own sleeping arrangements. One night, she escaped the barn and spent the night in a nearby pine tree.
(That’s CPT A shining a flashlight on her.)
Most nights, though, we find her perching in the barn. She’s always the first one up.
All of this has ensured that we spend much more time outside than is usual. If the birds are out free ranging, we tend to keep an eye on them. There are still plenty of hawks in the neighborhood, and the guinea hen, despite her clipped wings, is also able to hop the fence.
Usually, I spend the time outside doing yard work. I’ve been raking up the remaining leaves, putting away pots, picking up deadfall.
Sometimes, though, I just sit on the back step and knit.
Here I am, in my bathrobe at about 7:30 in the morning, working on a sock. You can only knit for so long when it’s 26 degrees, but I think it’s very pleasant to be outside first thing in the morning, listening to the birds and watching the chickens, sipping coffee. Often, it’s the best part of my day.
Another nice morning happening – arriving at church on the first day of Advent.
CPT A snapped this photo from the choir loft while everyone else was making holiday crafts in the Fellowship Hall. It was a lovely start to the Christmas season.
I hope your holiday season is shaping up well. I’m actually a bit ahead of the game this year with my Christmas shopping and am hoping that momentum will hold through the rest of the season for things like cookie making, letter writing, and tree trimming. Check in next week, to see how I’m doing. 😉
From the dining room table, leaving you with a recent photo of Ursa and Opal, doing their best impression of Peace on Earth,