April 28, 2017

Special visitors

Imagine our delight when this beautiful family sauntered into our backyard yesterday morning!
Moose are so elusive; I have only seen one other and that was at least four years ago.

A beautiful gift and blessing!

March 31, 2017

February was confusing, but March is...March!

We had a rather crazy month of February, including some days that were warm enough for us to don sweaters when working outside, a warm wind that truly smelled of spring, and the ladybugs in the walls of our 137 year-old house woke up and clamoured to the windows hoping to get out into the garden and begin their year! There was lots of rain, which thankfully evacuated the 2-foot coating of snow and ice attached to the roofs of our house and garage, There were also very cold days that were unmistakably wintery and February-ish. And then came March. The first half was quite blustery, with maybe one warmer day. We are going through firewood like crazy! The weather is completely inconsistent as it goes up and down. It will be warm and the snow will melt, but then it will rapidly freeze and the pathways turn to glare ice. Not a pleasurable aspect to barn chores, I assure you! The major maple syrup producers in our area went ahead with their sap collection in February, but we did ours at the end of the month. We are farther north than the central operations so our seasons always come in a bit later than the "norm".
Each year is an adventure in itself, waiting with baited breath for nature's cues to take on certain tasks. We know better than to get excited when the warm breeze flows in during April and May and to wait until the last week of May to even consider planting our precious spring seeds and seedlings! Currently, Jason built a raised hot compost bed to be used inside the greenhouse, which will warm the seedlings during our frigid spring evenings. An exciting project! I love that about homesteading; how each and every year is peppered with bran-new ideas and building projects (or the acquisition of new barnyard flock members~!) Ahhh, spring, we are ready for you!

Here are a few pictures of our March adventures!

Still lots of good stuff in the pantry!

Brothers, piled up :)

Always going

Jude loves to take things apart, trying to figure out how they work

Ollie reading

and Jude reading!

Jude is silly!

us three

We all got a nasty cold. Poor Ollie felt so awful that he fell asleep on top of a lego bin, toy house, and a log!

We are so ready for green

A trusting little friend on our morning walk :)

New painting!

Another new painting! I have been loving ravens this past winter

Always, I have friends with me when I work upstairs in my studio

A delightful picture Jude drew of Ollie and us as happy pirates dancing!

the beginnings of sap flowing..

Jason waiting for the sap to drip

Maple syrup time!

It was warm on this particular day, which you can see by Jude's wearing no winter coat!

Grandma-Jude came to visit :)

Cozy tea parties by the fire every day

Jason feeding the rocket stove, making the sacred maple syrup

One of hens had a nasty injury, so she lived in the house with us for 5 days

Here she is after her bath

Jude's awesome new 'do'!

Matilda was less than impressed that a chicken was in the house

Ollie as a pirate

Pirates doing pirate things in my kitchen!

With a pretty new apron to keep her (much improved) wound covered, our hen was easily reintroduced back into her flock. She was so happy to be running around with her buddies outside again!

And last but not least, marathon cooking! On this day I made butternut squash soup, chile, and rice pudding.

February 5, 2017

February's food and such

Here is our indoor garden! Jason has been growing some lettuce and kale in our bedroom.
Gardening doesn't stop just because there is four feet of snow outside!

These are gifts and snacks that the boys made for the gnomes.
They live in the big old maple tree on the edge of our property. There is a big opening in the base of the tree, and of course everyone knows that means it is a gnome dwelling.

Gluten free pizzas. Such a treat for lunch!

Chocolate banana bread, gluten free of course, and also egg and dairy free.

This was taken out the window of my art studio. I love my studio. It is the brightest room in the house, so we often congregate up there on any given day to draw and paint. The boys each have a desk and we light a candle and listen to music while we are creating. 

February 1, 2017

January hibernation recap

 Happy February 1st! After a months's worth of hibernating I suppose it makes sense that I would be surprised that indeed, January has passed! February feels very different from January..In February you can allow yourself to believe that spring really is coming, not that there are any indications! The snow is at least four feet high at the lowest parts all around the homestead. We can literally step comfortably over the TOP of the livestock fencing! It's amazing really. We haven't seen snow like this in many years. Here are some photos I took in January..

Healthy no-bake snack! Jude and I made them together. He loves to help in the kitchen.

We had a few warmer days and the ladybugs in the walls of our old house woke up.
Jude and Ollie were delighted, and promptly started building them houses and castles!
Here is one peeking out of Jude's specially-constructed tower!

This is my Mom's cat Sumo! She is just the funniest thing. I love to take pictures of her when I am visiting :)

I did some doodling when I was at my parent's house. There are no farm chores there so I can just draw whenever! Such a luxury!

Me, with glasses. I have had them since late 2016. I was so shocked when I realized I couldn't paint because everything was blurry. It took me a while to register what the problem was! It's much better now that I can see! Haha!

Full moon in my parent's backyard.

And again. Beautiful.

Pfeffernusse cookies! I made these WAY too many times over the holidays (and after, come to think of it). They are soooooo good!

One of my newer paintings, which has already found a new home :)

January snow.

Jude at the antique store where I work, donning a vintage hat.

Another new painting that has also found its new home :)

Working in my studio with my favourite two helpers!

Jude became very excited to pick up knitting again. It's a wonderful thing to do at any time of the year, but especially during the short, dark days of winter. He knitted with dedication until his project was finished..

A machete-cozy!

My drive to work..If only I wasn't so sleepy on my way in, I might be able to enjoy the beauty of it!

Jason has been busy with the boys' homeschooling while I split my time between creating paintings, doing all the regular home-based/farm-based chores, and working a few days a week at the antique store. The rhythm of our days is definitely much different than it was last winter or the winter before that, but I love our life in all its shapes and forms. We are so blessed to be cozy and warm in our much-loved little farmhouse with the freezers stocked full of frozen chickens, berries and vegetables, the pantry lined with jars full of summer's bounty, and our wood shed piled high. What more do we need, really?

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