Spring Has Arrived!

Posted by mrssmythe on April 11, 2017 in Critters, Garden, Seasons |

Wouldn’t you know it – I finished my new wool fair isle hat (thinking all the while how nice it would be for dog walking), and the very next day, the temperatures soar to 87 degrees.

Typical New England.

I won’t complain, though. It was wonderful today to open the windows, grab something other than a sweater to wear, and put on flip flops. (Oh, flip flops, how I’ve missed you!)

The only strange thing was the trees – they still don’t have leaves. And, when the temperatures reach the eighties, you expect some shade. You expect some green.

But, I won’t complain.

Ginger took Opal outside for a bit.

Opal was quite pleased to get back onto the grass.

And, I took the opportunity to plant the pansies I bought over the weekend.

They are among my favorite plowers, pansies. So colorful; so cheerful. Like little jewels.

Elsewhere in the yard, things are finally waking up. Here you see the emerging bleeding heart plant…

And, a blurry shot of the neighborhood forsythia bushes – taken while on a walk with Manny. (It’s hard to get well-focused photos when you’re walking a dog.)

It’s so good to see the plants again. And, it’s lovely to feel warm! I am awash with happiness this evening.

From the dining room table, hoping you are feeling equally cheerful,

Mrs. Smythe

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Chickens Don’t Like Bubbles

Posted by mrssmythe on April 3, 2017 in Chickens, Garden, Week in Review |

The turkeys are back.

We heard them before they saw them this past week. They were gobbling through the woods just behind our house. Moments later, they appeared in the neighbor’s backyard.

Ginger took Mabel over to the fence so she could see them.

Mabel thought they were very large for birds.

(We haven’t told Mabel about ostriches yet.)

In other chicken news (and, it seems to have been a particularly eventful week for our birds), the snow finally melted and the chickens were able to “graze” near the fallen tree. I imagine, it’s like a bug smorgasbord there right now.

And, Ginger introduced them to bubbles.

The chickens did not like bubbles. They ran away.

There was even plenty of sun and dust for them to take a much-appreciated (from the sounds and look of it) dust bath.

I can’t get over how funny chickens look when they dust bathe. And, when the four of them try and scrunch into the same dust hole, writhing and contorting and tossing dirt up on the air, well, as Ginger says, “it’s better than TV.”

Elsewhere in the yard, the giant alliums are popping up.

Honestly, I’d forgotten I’d planted these. But, now, I’m so glad I did. I just hope the chickens will leave them alone.

So far, so good.

The above photos make our weather look pretty good, but we did get plenty of snow/sleet/freezing rain over the weekend.

The pansies at the garden center weren’t in the least bit phased by the weather, though.

They are among my favorite flowers. So brave!

And, finally, a couple of photos I took while on a walk in Forest Park on Sunday. In true New England style, the weather did an about face and we had sun and warmth for much of the day.

A vey welcome change!

From the dining room table, hoping you’ve had plenty of pleasant weather lately as well,

Mrs. Smythe

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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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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.


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

Mrs. Smythe

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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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