Snow Days

We are enjoying our second of two snow days here. Both school and college are closed after we received about seven inches overnight on Sunday. Even Spouse is telecommuting because the roads are icy.

I have to say that, at least at this moment, Mother Nature has a funny way of giving us exactly what we need. When we have no need to leave home, life slows immediately, and you can feel the layers of stress slip away from all of us. We can focus on the little things, like the wild birds and the light.

This fellow and a friend showed up at our feeders yesterday. Thanks to the Merlin Bird App, I’m pretty confident that he’s a varied thrush.

Nikon D5000, 200mm, f/5.6, no flash

The light has also been amazing of late as well. I got this shot at sunset when I was feeding the horse and goats.

Samsung S9

And this shot this morning, when the sun broke through for a bit.

Nikon D5000, 30mm, f/11, no flash

Now, you’ll have to excuse me. I hear a cup of hot green tea, my book and crochet are calling me,

Project Check-in: Blueberry Bliss Afghan

(If you have been getting an obnoxious number of alerts for posts entitled “testing,” I’m working behind the scenes on Curious to improve the design and one widget in particular. I think I’m done.)

I also thought it was time to show my afghan progress. In a way, it comes as a surprise for me, too, because I usually work with it balled up on my lap, so I don’t see its actual size.

Not too bad!

This afghan makes me chuckle. I bought this kit sometime during the first half of last year and unpacked it at the beginning of the summer. Since I need my knitting and crochet projects to be portable, I always carry two or three balls of yarn and leave the rest at home. School let out, and I made an initial stab at the pattern, then put it aside because other things took precedence. I returned to it this past winter break with a vengeance and flew through the three balls of yarn in my bag pretty quickly. Because I don’t check the size too often and I often make small lap or baby blankets, I thought I was pretty much done. That is, until I opened my stash for something else and found nine more balls of yarn awaiting me. So, maybe not as close to done as I originally thought. Good thing I am genuinely enjoying this pattern!

Thought-Provoking Quote

“Rather, they point to what St. John of the Cross indicated as the most vital question at the end of our life: ‘Have you loved well? Was everything that was done, done for love’s sake?'”

Rupp, Joyce. Boundless compassion: creating a way of life. Sorin Books, 2018
(I received a copy of this book from the publisher and am in the process of reviewing it. However, this quote simply caught me off guard, and I had to note it.)


Review: The Backyard Homestead Seasonal Planner

The Backyard Homestead Seasonal Planner is the book every novice homesteader should be seeking. Anne Larkin Hansen divides each of the four seasons into an early, middle and late stage. She then takes the myriad tasks that a small homesteader faces in the garden, field, pasture, orchard, beeyard, barn, coop, shed, woodlot, and wildlife habitat and provides a workable schedule to tackle what should be addressed in each stage of each season. Furthermore, interspersed throughout the planner are useful articles and tables of information on various topics, along with charming pencil illustrations. To make matters even easier, each section opens with a summary page of seasonal priorities that includes space for the homesteader’s own notes. The genius of this book is that it brings together and organizes so many possible aspects of homesteading in one volume. Indeed, Hansen makes what at times feels overwhelming seem very workable. And, who knows? The backyard homesteader might even discover some new endeavors to try.

(Reviewed via Netgalley.)

Review: Upstream

Product Details

Sometimes, books arrive just when they are needed most. For many, the past few weeks since our Presidential election have been anxious ones filled with uncertainty about the future. Published before the election and without thought to its outcome, Oliver’s essays in Upstream could not have come at a better time. Inside this small book, Oliver shows the reader her world. For a brief moment, the reader walks the forest and coast with Oliver and hears the terrifying cries of the horned owl, marvels at beauty in a fish’s entrails, becomes absorbed in a spider’s life, and chuckles at the prospect of a resident bear. Oliver speaks with eloquence about Emerson, Wordsworth and Whitman, reminding the reader of these troves of wisdom. Maybe most importantly, Oliver embraces with equanimity less pleasant aspects of life: predators eat the turtle’s eggs, the injured gull dies, the town transforms when the economy alters, and Oliver changes with age, but the beauty and strength Oliver finds does not diminish despite those realities. And the same will remain for the reader, whatever the future may bring.

(I received a copy of this book through

Feeling Hawkish?

I have to preface this post with an apology about the quality of the photography. It is clearly awful, but I was shooting fast across several acres with my zoom lens, and I will readily admit that I will take an grainy photo over no photo at all, if that is my only option.

Yesterday, we had what I believe were two hawks hunting in our goat pasture. I couldn’t see enough to identify either definitely. I know that one got a good meal, though.

Hawk on fence.

Hawk on fence.

Nicer view of top portion of hawk with snake.

Nicer view of top portion of hawk with snake.

Hawk with snake.

Hawk with snake.

You just never what you may see here on a given day!