Sunday, November 24, 2013

Observations

We were stuck in an uncommon deep freeze for most of the week. I mean really really cold. -35C with the windchill for two days! Paul was away on business for all of those chilly days so it was up to me to hold down the fort.



I was really worried about the dogs. How could they possibly tolerate this relentless cold? I spent the better part of three days bundling myself up and going out to check their ears and their foot pads. Each time I would put my fingers in their now thick fur they felt warm. They were playing, they were wagging their tails. I tried to bring them in the house to warm up (which Paul says is a very bad idea) and I couldn't even get them in the door. I took it as a good sign. Nonetheless, I made them pots of basmati rice and oatmeal and even gave them some of my precious homemade chicken broth. I put out some straw bales in the places they like to sit and sleep during the day. This they appreciated very much.


The weekend brought with it warm weather. Our temperature is at 3C and snow is melting from the roof of the house. The dogs are basking in the sun, panting away, trying to stay cool. We worked and worked some more outside on Saturday and today we went for a walk in our woods.



We have lived here 5 months now and I have made some observations:

  • When Paul is home I can be outside in the dark without a worry. When he is away and I put the dogs to bed in the evening I practically run back to the house with my 2ft long flashlight/billy club clenched tightly in my fist.
  • We have seen very little mammalian wildlife since we got the dogs but with a groundcover of snow we see evidence they actually live here. The woods were full of prints today. Squirrel, fox, deer, and rabbit. I am sure I'll see plenty of mammal predators when the chickens arrive.
  • Hunting season is kind of scary. As I walk through the woods these past two months I imagine what would happen if I were shot dead and all before I even get my chickens! We wear bright colors and make some noise so hunters won't mistake us for deer.

  • I really appreciate this homestead of ours. I hope to never take for granted the beauty and seclusion and wonder of it all.
  • The dogs MUST howl back at the coyotes at least 4 times a day, even if it is in the middle of the night.
  • I have found some old fencing in the woods which still stands in good shape. It is in just the exact place I plan to put a goat or two. Paul says we aren't getting goats, (but I am sure we will).
     
  • If I am ever tired or have a headache or just not up to par I can head outside for and hour our two and all is well again.
  • Even though I am outside working or walking or playing with the dogs on a daily basis, I really do need to get back to my yoga practice.
  • Most recently in my observations I realized that I do so need to start looking after myself better. I have to stop having potato chips for lunch and eat more fruits and vegetables. Winter tomatoes taste like nothing! I froze a bunch of organic kale and stocked up on blueberries and plain yogurt. The pantry is full of walnuts and almonds. I think a week of smoothies is in order!
  • And last but not least I know that I am living the life I have always meant to live and I have absolutely nothing to complain about! Life is beautiful.

 
(someone has been working too hard and deserves this afternoon nap)



Monday, November 18, 2013

Just Go Look For It

Beauty is everywhere. Often times we are too busy or too desensitized to notice it. Trust me. If you seek it you will find it. Beauty is everywhere even in the bleak days of November and in the bleak moments of your life. Sometimes you just have to look a little harder, that's all.





Sunday, November 17, 2013

Weekends

I just love weekends. Most of us do. Weekends around here are oh so predictable and in the predictability comes comfort. The same things happen most weekends. The same but different, in a good way.


Since the days are getting shorter and it is dark in the mornings even I have been sleeping in a bit. Hibernating, so to speak. During the week we are up by 6am but weekends we sleep a little longer despite having the same bed time. This morning I was still in bed at 7:30. And I liked it. Each morning we start the coffee and I get my boots and jacket on and go out to feed and water the dogs. Today they were still asleep when I went out. We still lock them in the kennel overnight so keep them safe from the coyotes. Most mornings Martha comes for a snuggle with Paul.

 

After we have all eaten we head outside to attend to whatever has to be done. I fork up the straw in the kennel and remove snow. Their bed is so warm and cozy it is not a wonder they slept late. Paul does the heavy work and sometimes I help him. The man works like ten men, never stopping until it is done. Athena plays in the snow and plays some more and when I think she must be frozen solid she plays yet some more. We eat dinner and all end up in the living room. I usually knit and Athena draws. Paul has his rum and talks with us both.

paul's idea of shovelling snow
 
my idea of shovelling snow

Athena has been reading during her nightly bath. The Guardian's of Ga'Hoole. She is on book six! She can't get enough of the barn owl Soren and his friends. The other night she came out of the tub and her finger nails were still full of modelling clay. Seems she was so into her book she forgot to wash! I usually go to bed before 10 and Paul will watch a movie. You know, the "man movie". Lots of gunshot, lots of "f" words and some sort of hero.

(this is my dog jack. he follows me everywhere and won't leave my side.
he is my favorite. don't tell max)

Sunday he makes breakfast. Every Sunday. Bacon or sausage, hash browns, eggs and toast. Athena and Paul have a glass of orange juice and I have a can of tomato juice. I forgot to chill a can so I missed out this week. Isn't it odd that I only drink it on Sunday? I know. Usually we will head outside for more chores. Today, after shovelling snow again, (it snows a lot here) Athena asked if I'd go sledding with her. Why not? We have our own hill, plus it is so much fun! We must have done the run 15 times or more and today even Paul joined it. It was cold and it was snowing but we stayed out for two hours anyway. The problem I faced was that the dogs follow me everywhere so each time I slid down the hill I had two giant pups run down on each side of me. I nearly ran them over on more than one occasion. We all wore our new custom fit elk hide mittens he commissioned from the Hutterites and they were SO warm. I have trouble keeping my fingers warm, even in the house so to find out these did the trick was a special bonus.

bone broth simmering on the stovetop
these things must be started at the crack of dawn. :)
 

When the work is done and we are sufficiently tired we come inside for popcorn and a family movie. Athena has dill pickle seasoning, Paul has plain old butter and salt and I have really come to love my nutritional yeast popcorn. We have a run on dog sled movies going on. Last week we watched Iron Will, which I highly recommend. This week we watched Snow Dogs which is just plain fun and next up is Snow Buddies for Athena to watch on her own. Nothing like a good family movie day. Please feel free to add your suggestions for family movies in the comments. I am always looking for good ones to watch.


Dinner is usually a bid deal on Sundays. Some sort of roast always makes its way into the oven. Today, however, we opted for grilled beef tenderloin. It won't be fantastic, as is usually is, because I don't have any blue cheese to go on top. That's okay though because there really is no way one can mess up beef tenderloin now is there? We'll open a bottle of wine and Athena will have some grape juice in a wine glass and so ends another wonderful weekend at our house.


Repetitive? Maybe. Boring? Never. Comforting and grounding and centering. A coming together before the new week begins. Now if you will excuse me, I am off to shovel again. I am not complaining though. Remember, I love to shovel snow.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Out There

We have had snow for a week now. Same as last year the first snowfall stuck. We got a few extra weeks of fall this year which was especially nice. The snow came in one swift storm which passed through last Sunday evening. It snowed some more on Thursday and so shovelling was in order.
I love to shovel snow. I really do. It is good exercise and heats up the body when the temperature drops. There is a definite sense of accomplishment when you look back and see the banks built up along the sidelines. Job to do. Job done. Simple as that. So I have cleared a path to the dog kennel and an area around our back door and a wide swath for us to drive in as we leave our immediate yard. I made a path and cleared a parking spot for Paul's work vehicle as well. Like I said, I love to shovel.


Little Miss A loves the snow too. I don't know if it is because since she was a little tot I took her out in the winter or if these things sort themselves out on their own. All I know is that I have always loved winter. I was out every single day last week and didn't see one bug!! Gotta like that.
She is working on her toboggan run and gets frustrated when the dogs put their footprints in her path. She goes outside every single afternoon. Time when she would normally be still in her desk at public school. The beauty of that is NOT lost on her.



The dogs are enjoying the snow as well, so far. Perhaps when the mercury dips into the -30s they won't so much. These two dogs are the best of friends and the worst of enemies. They will play so nicely and go exploring together in the mornings and then in the afternoons it is a battle for dominance. Max will sometimes fight back. Jack always wins.


 


We have had trouble finding wildlife tracks. Those boys follow me everywhere I go. Which is good, and bad at the same time. They chase squirrels up trees and sniff prairie chickens out of their leafy hideaways. Maxie even caught a chipmunk and Jack ate it.

Each year I am in awe about how beautiful winter is. Autumn is lovely with her vibrant color but it is so fleeting around these parts. A few weeks at best. Winter continues to amaze me with her twinkly brilliance and her stillness. Just stand in the winter woods and listen. You will hear the squirrels scolding and the woodpeckers drumming their beaks on hardwood and you will hear the chickadees familiar song as the eat the last of the berries and seeds and skit from tree to tree looking for more.
It is enough to take your breath away if you dare go out in it.







I read a little quote the other day that I will share with you here. It rings true to me and I'll bet it will for you too.

"There is no Wi-Fi in the woods but I promise you will find better connection."
And you will.