Monday, January 27, 2020

Deer sheds, winter walk and scalloped potatoes

It was a balmy 32 degrees yesterday so the oldest and I spent a good deal of time outside to shake off the dust.  The initial idea was that we'd set up the game cameras as we've had a lot of canine-like tracks around the chicken pen this month. The yard is starting to get a distinct smell to it again, like how the last male fox stank. I'm actually hoping the tracks belong to a fox because they seem larger then they should be and we don't need to see another coyote. 
Frustratingly, neither one of the game cameras are working. One I think has an issue with the memory card but the other camera is just refusing to turn on. So we ended up just taking a long walk through the brush out back. He brought his little card for identifying animal tracks, along with a mask and snorkel. Because an outdoorsman can never be too prepared.

We kicked up two deer and found this area where a buck has been rubbing his antlers.

Identified some deer tracks although the little one argued they were elk.

We think the deer we kicked up were bedded down here. 

More deer tracks.


We didn't find any sheds. It's probably too early but we had a fun time looking.

Here are the 2 sheds that I've found.  One was sitting in a cornfield in the spring and the other was laying by the side of a busy road. I nearly wrecked the car pulling over to get it.  It was in a spot where deer cross regularly and probably when the buck jumped off the bank by the road it just fell off.

Made another recipe from this book last night. Neither my husband nor I had actually eaten  scalloped potatoes from scratch before and they were delicious.  They should have been as the dish was mostly cream, butter and cheese. Yum.

Here was dinner. Venison steaks, scalloped potatoes and salad.  The oldest and I also made donuts from Magnolia Table again yesterday morning.  

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Short picture post

Winter is here.
Just two photos that I thought were lovely.

Tonight's sunset from the upstairs bathroom window.

And brass bells still hanging in the old lilac tree.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Snow, crafting

The weather turned and we've had nothing but snow, ice, freezing rain and high wind.

It's cold, wet and depressing.

Someone really should have picked up all the junk in the yard.  Maybe it will snow more tonight and just cover it all up.

We've been huddled inside, watching shows, crafting and cursing the weather.  Fair warning that the following pictures are quite awful due to the low light and my inability to edit. I mean , really bad.

The oldest has been making characters from the Netflix show Rescue Riders.  It's an animated show about Vikings and dragons and it actually quite fun.  We use a lot of tape and construction paper around here.  Probably enough construction paper to account for an entire forest.

Hangers for all of his Superwings planes.

And this Dinobots school house which Bee has claimed for her own personal appartment. 

We've been watching shorts on the Smithsonian channel about anoles. They're small lizards that live in wild in the southern U.S. and are kept as pets.  I remember seeing them climbing on the side of my Great-grandmother's house in Alabama when I was small.  The oldest is obsessed with the idea of having one and my husband and I have considered this as we both had them when we were little.  As far as workload, these small lizards would be somewhere above a fish but not nearly demanding as a cat.  Plus I think it's really intriguing to see the pictures online of people who have made beautiful terrariums planted with orchids and air plants and such.  We will probably not spring for this because the oldest doesn't want them to look at and observe.  He wants "a snare on a stick so I can catch them like a scientist!" and then conduct experiments to "see how high the different species can jump!" So, um. No. 

An anole lizard.

We did get out a small tank and get it "ready" for an anole: we made shredder paper bedding, added sticks for climbing, a "toy" plastic snake and a background.

There was an afternoon where we pressed all sorts of plastic toys into fimo clay to make "fossils".  We baked them and then painted them.

The youngest was given a goose feather and a paintbrush and mostly just painted his hair green.

Here's what I've been up to:

My dad recently gave me these two vintage glass domes.  They are lovely.  He thought I might want them for my curiosity cabinet.  But instead of filling them with feathers or skulls or other oddities every time I looked at the taller one all I could imagine was a flock of tiny Budgies.

Thanks, internet picture.

I flipping' love budgies.  They're so pretty and adorable. So I decided to make some out of fimo clay.

Half done.  I need to finish them and then figure out how to make a tiny tree to perch them on inside the glass case.  Working with fimo clay has been a lot of fun.  

Here they are at an earlier stage.

The sculpting was easy, I learned to bake the figures in a bed of baking soda so they would keep their shape and not sag.  They've been mostly painted with acrylics but then the details done with colored pencils.  I'm not sure about sharing pictures of them half-done but it's such an unexpected treat to have a project to get excited about. 

Well, that's it for tonight.  I'll probably work on the budgie flock after the kiddos have gone to bed. 

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Homemade doughnuts

Today the oldest and I made homemade doughnuts from the Magnolia Table cookbook. 

I remember my grandma occasionally making doughnuts on Sundays. Here we are using her measuring spoons, cutting board and biscuit cutter. Not the yellow plastic thing, that's a playdoh toy. I couldn't find anything else to cut the centers out with but, hey, it worked.

Here they are frying in my great uncle's cast iron Dutch oven.

And here are some of them after we all attacked the platter. The recipe made a dozen as promised. They were hands down the best donuts I've ever had, cost about a dollar and were made in an hour.  We made plain, powdered sugar and maple glazed. The glaze used up the last of the maple syrup that I made in the spring.

Homemade doughnuts are absolutely going to happen often here. Our waistlines thank us.

Magnolia Table is such a fun book. I had borrowed it from the library and, while not cooking anything from it then, enjoyed reading it so much that by the time I remembered to take it back we had a library fine of $7. After so much Jamie Oliver cooking it was intoxicating to read terms like " Hellman's mayonaise,", "Jimmy Dean sausage" and " Velveeta cheese" used over and over. So Santa got me a copy for Christmas and I am very happy.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Warm days

The weather has been so odd this year. Just three days after it snowed it warmed up again, and how. Today the temps here reached 64 degrees. Tshirt weather.  It did sprinkle rain all day and the sky was one big grey blanket but who cares. It was warm.  It's a bit disconcerting that we haven't actually seen winter here yet. We have a hen that is trying to sit on eggs in January. Crazy.

Some of the houseplants went outside today for a little vacation.  The cats both shook the dust off of themselves and climbed trees.

The kids and I took a long walk all around the property.

Looking at this photo it is not suprising that the oldest came home with a tick. Yuck.

He's quite the outdoorsman. Always wanting to blaze a trail through the thickest of brambles and brush. I'm happy to teach him how to navigate these mazes like my dad and grandpa did for me when I was little. "Step on this thorn bush with the side of your foot. Here, I'll lift this bramble up, duck under it".

 We were stuck in the middle of a bramble patch, him, the baby and I when it started to rain. "Don't worry mom, it's just a little rain" he said. Yep. No big deal and well worth the price of being out in fresh air. Oh be still my heart.

We have a buck that visits this pine pretty regularly to rub his antlers. 

It was a good day. We jumped on the trampoline, played soccer in the yard. I think tomorrow we'll go for a long walk and maybe make donuts from scratch.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

A bit better every day

A picture just to remind us of summer...

Because this morning we woke up to this:

Winter finally came.  The snow is swirling outside the window and it feels like being inside a snow globe.

Things are good around here.  For whatever reason I've felt very relaxed and content the last couple of days. It's a strange sensation.  Since New Year's I've been trying to be a just a little bit better to myself and our family every day. A bit kinder and more patient. Counting blessings on my fingers before bed (10!). Doing a bit of yoga at night, taking a hot bath or god forbid eating a vegetable. Putting more of an effort into the house although it's still mess most days. Purging things we don't need and downsizing.

This shelf of spices was stuffed before I went through it.  There were some amazing discoveries including this jar of lime leaves that expired back in 2013

Wish I were joking but no.  This whole cleaning spree was actually prompted by the night that a mouse got into my baking cupboard.  This happens every winter so I have learned to decant everything into a glass container before it gets stored in there. Still, there was a mess to clean up. Turns out the whole house benefited.  Yes, I caught the mouse.

It feels a bit like pushing myself to blog today about something,  anything just to get back in the habit of writing down thoughts. Hopefully this is what I need to shake the dust off and get back into the swing of things. 

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Holiday recap

The little one was stunned at 6:30 a.m.
We let everyone else sleep until 9.

After what seems like a month of solid visiting; 4 birthdays, family in town, multiple Christmases, we are all just done with holiday cheer. It's been a complicated month even without the holidays; the stove died, we were all sick, the geese went on a rampage and killed the ducks and now our main vehicle is in the shop too. And I think I've gained 10 lbs from eating my own weight in cheese and cookies

 Duck killers. On the bright side one of the ducks is in the freezer. I guess that's a bright side.

It's been an odd December. Looking back, december is usually a weird month here.

It's been really warm for the most part. The oldest and I spent an afternoon planting bulbs.

And the new rooster has proven to be an absolute gentleman. We've named him Kwazii after the character in Octonauts " a daredevil cat with a mysterious pirate past."

We've been working on our yoga poses.

The Christmas decorations are down. Our days have been spent crafting, playing outside and cooking. It's been a restful time.