Friday, February 28, 2020

Friday five ~ February 28

Can't believe the week has flown by already and I haven't posted!  It's not for lack of wanting to or even a lack of subject matter.  Just. too. busy.   But not too busy to count a few blessings today.

1. A fun time with friends at Cracker Barrel on Saturday.  We love to get together with our friends Dave and Gina for breakfast occasionally, and at least once a year we try to make it a Cracker Barrel breakfast with some of our family members joining us.  This year it was two of their daughters, along with our local daughter and her hubby and kids.

Nothing better than the Sunrise Sampler!

2.  Several lovely days to get out and walk this week.  Sunny, with warm temps.  The sap has been running and it's been so nice to see trees being tapped and know that sugaring season is coming.  So spring will be coming too ...

3.  The fun of making some simple Scripture graphics using Canva.  I'm finding this such an enjoyable and creative way to reinforce what I'm learning as I continue on the 40-day sugar fast.  I'm using these for Instagram posts during the fast.

4.  Mr. T getting to enjoy an adventure with two of the grandkids on Tuesday afternoon after school.  He took Sam and Josiah on a snowshoe hike through the woods to the old sugar house.  It's so much fun to see him having the time to have special times with the grandchildren.  They even spotted an ancient truck, as seen below.

5.  A pretty sky at sunset one night this week.  Not glorious, but just pretty and somehow reassuring.  Like a quiet benediction to the day.  The sun was setting as Mr. T and the boys finished their hike, and he got some pictures.  The one below was the nicest.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!  And, as my friend Denise often reminds people, don't forget to make some time to worship at your local church on Sunday.  It truly is important and will be a blessing to you.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Friday five ~ February 21

Somehow those Fridays just keep coming around very quickly!  And here is February three-fourths over.  Unbelievable!

So, here are a few blessings from the week:

1.  Lots of work getting done at my childhood home this past week.  Many boxes went to the thrift store and book drop, and two truckloads went to the dump (including an old freezer which was being used to store woolens).  Thankful for the help of two strong grandsons on Saturday to get that freezer up the cellar stairs! 

Below you see one of the interesting items Josiah found.  My guess is that it was a gift to my mother on her high school, or possibly college, graduation.  Office supplies in a wooden holder, meant to look like books on a shelf.  I did a little research and found that Dennison made quite a few varieties of these sets.  Some of the "cabinets" are larger and more detailed than this one.  There was even a set to hold sewing notions!

2.  Going out to lunch on Monday.  After a long walk in the wind, and some tests requiring fasting, it was so restorative to relax and enjoy a nice freshly made sandwich, some hot coffee, and homemade potato chips at The Common Man Roadside.  Dare I admit we also had a coffee date at McDonalds yesterday in the middle of grocery shopping?
3.  Getting to have four of our local grands with us for a good bit of time on Tuesday during the snowstorm.  Grampa took the boys for a long snowshoe hike, while Julia read and Ari played.  Grampa made his famous waffles for supper and we also had blueberry and strawberry sauces, maple syrup, bacon and little sausages.  Those last two items are a special treat,  enjoyed only when we have company or grandchildren over.

4.  Several sweet phone conversations this week.  I spoke with both of my daughters, with my dear young friend Jennifer, and with granddaughter Emily out in Nevada.  Emily and I share some cooking and crafting interests, so it's good to catch up with one another.

5.  Getting a bit of decluttering done in a couple of kitchen cabinets.  I have a LONG way to go, but was so encouraged this week when I sorted out some mixing bowls, some salad bowls, and a bunch of cookie cutters.  Some went into the trash, some are going to the thrift store and many of the cookie cutters are going to a friend who doesn't have any.   (Don't worry; I am getting bowls that I like better that were my mother's, and am still reserving plenty of cookie cutters for my own use.  Just thinning out a bit.)
Illustration from an old Gooseberry Patch catalog
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

a few more wintry scenes

Just a few more wintry scenes from our neck of the woods ...
I think this was last weekend.  Just before sunset.
 We have the  most interesting icicles on our living room windows.  This was taken through the screen, as you can see.
 On one of the snowshoe hikes.  I liked the spot of color from the sunshine reflecting off something.
 The same stream I posted the video of, a few days later.  There's a skim of ice on it in this photo. 
 Another just before sunset.
Yesterday's snowstorm, out at the beaver pond.  Mr. T took a snowshoe hike out there with grandsons Sam and Josiah.
 Not sure if he is just resting or if he took a spill.  My guess is he's resting.  He looks cheerful enough!
Can't tell if Sam is adjusting a snowshoe binding or looking at something on the surface of the pond.  I wanted to use this photo because it shows how hard it was snowing, even though the snow was very fine.  This was a storm that amounted to at least six inches, I think, yet there was never any winter weather advisory, winter storm warning, or anything else.  Crazy.  Just kept saying in the regular forecast that we would get 5 to 8 inches.  And yet some of the hyped-up winter storms, complete with names, have produced greater warnings, more school closures, and far less snow than this one did!  Go figure ...

I know many are thinking spring.  It's just not even close yet up here!

Friday, February 14, 2020

Friday five for Valentine's Day

Love-ly graphic by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
Yes, Friday has come around again!  Let's see if I can find five things to share.  Hopefully I didn't use up all of my material in yesterday's random post!

Here goes:
1.  Getting all of our paperwork submitted today toward getting passports.  We have no immediate plans for international travel, but we'd like to be able to drive to the Canadian Maritimes or other provinces.  We can also use our passports to fly to US destinations rather than getting a real ID driver's license, not mandatory in our state but recommended.

2.  Good fellowship over Sunday lunch with the pulpit supply pastor and his wife, plus another family from church.  I served Italian Wedding Soup which looked similar to the photo below from Taste of Home.

3.  Obtaining our Senior Lifetime Pass from the National Park Service.   So many perks with this!  We can't wait to start using it.

4.  A couple of coffee dates this week at The Common Man Roadside.  This is fast becoming a favorite spot of ours.  Actually, one of the dates did not involve coffee -- we got freshly squeezed orange juice instead from an amazing machine.  It's not cheap -- we shared a glass -- but such fresh orange juice is absolutely incredible.  The photo below is from Pixabay.  Maybe next time we get orange juice at the Roadside, I'll take a video of the machine.
Image by Iva Balk from Pixabay

5.  Glorious winter scenery today as we traveled north this morning to do our passport business.  It's been a gorgeous sunny day but very cold and windy.   Right now, as I'm posting this, it's 8º and feels like -9º!

Hope you all have a happy Valentine's Day and a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Thoughts on Thursday

So it seems like it must be time for a random post to touch on a few things I keep forgetting about.  A sort of collage of various things, but none as beautiful as the winter collage above, by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings.  If you have never visited Abby's site, you must.  So much Scripture and encouragement, not to mention beautiful free graphics.  Head on over ... you won't be disappointed!

So let's see, what did I want to talk about?  Just the minutiae of daily life, I guess.  I like to read that sort of post when others write it, so I assume my readers like this sort of thing too.

Let's start with reading.  I was a voracious reader in my younger years, but in the past 20 years or so I read mostly to fall asleep.  And I read very little fiction, as I've found that disturbing scenes from books tend to linger in my mind forever.  I have to be a better steward of my mind than that, so I am a very selective fiction reader and a frequent reader of nonfiction.  As I mentioned in some of my New Year posts, I want to keep better track this year of the books that I read.  As I thought about how to do this, I decided that each month I would just jot down the books completed that month of the back of my "Best of My Days" calendar cards which I keep on my nightstand.
This has been working out really well.  Here's the list of books I completed in January (some were started in December or even earlier; January is just when I finished reading them).

Shepherds Abiding, by Jan Karon
Esther's Gift, by Jan Karon
 The Quiet Little Woman, by Louisa May Alcott
A Fine Romance, by Susan Branch
Homemade Hospitality, by Barbara Sims

The last two fall into the category of books I've only dipped into before.  I finally read them through and Homemade Hospitality is headed to the thrift store.  It's an interesting read, but not something I'd be likely to read more than once.  I'm trying to read books that interest me but that I may not care to keep, so I can declutter them as I go.  (Other books I can decide about without finishing them!  I've thrown away many in that category, but I have many more to go.)

As mentioned in a previous post, I'm currently reading The Fringe Hours, by Jessica Turner.  I'm working through it slowly and answering the questions as I go.  Hoping to blog my way through it, but time will tell.

On my nightstand currently is My Neck of the Woods, by Louise Dickinson Rich, recently rediscovered at my childhood home.  (This copy was my brother's.)  I've read it before, but it's been decades, and this is probably one of those I'll keep.
Photo snagged from
Then there is crafting.  I also have very little time to craft, but am trying to squeeze it into my days for the mental health and stress relief benefits.  I always have a crocheted hot mat going; it's a great portable project. For those interested in seeing more of these and getting the link for the pattern, you can find it here: crocheted scalloped hot mats.
I'm also working on a UFO crochet project: a gift, so I won't be sharing a photo.  And last weekend I sewed a very simple small table topper from some pretty winter fabric.  It felt good to sew even for a few minutes.  I have another simple sewing project in mind and several more UFOs to finish.  There are many cross-stitch projects I'd enjoy working on, too, but I'd like to knock out those UFOs first if I can.

Some are no doubt wondering how the decluttering is going.  It's slow, very slow, here at our home, since we are very busy cleaning out my childhood home.  I did, however, throw out a huge stack of catalogs.  I have a cabinet where I keep them, so they are out of sight, but usually I go through it seasonally and toss the out-of-date ones.  I did a little of that before Christmas but not much.  There were catalogs from summer, fall, and Christmas in there.  I believe I threw away 55 catalogs or so.  I've taken a box of unwanted items to the thrift store, too, and started filling the box again.

 Others may be wondering if Mr.T is keeping his promise to help with housework.  Indeed he is.  So far, in addition to the vacuuming and dishes he has always helped with, he's scrubbed the tub and shower, dusted the bedroom (no small task!), changed the sheets, and much more.

Wondering how things are going with the house we're cleaning out?  Pretty good.  We've found a home for some of the furniture and lots of the kitchen things.  We've taken hundreds of books to the thrift store and book drop.  Box after box of household items and bag after bag of clothing have left too.  We are hoping we can finish up this task in a couple of months, but really you can't imagine the magnitude of it.  Attic, cellar, house, outbuildings -- all of them crammed with the belongings of several lifetimes.

What have I been cooking these days?  In winter we eat lots of soups.  Just about any kind of soup is a favorite with us.  You can click the "soups" label in the label cloud to see many of our favorite recipes.  Usually I'll serve some sort of bread on the side with a soup -- crackers, cornbread, breadsticks, biscuits, etc.  We had lunch guests on Sunday and I made a version of Italian Wedding Soup in the crockpot.  I served it with cornbread and baked an apple crisp to have with ice cream for dessert. 

What's my quiet time looking like so far this year?  I have so many options for Bible reading and study, but so far I'm keeping it pretty simple.  There are several studies I want to do, but for January and February I have been doing the Scripture writing from Heidi St. John and just meditating on journaling the verses a bit.  Hopefully in March I can squeeze in time to begin an actual Bible study, but I do know that what I am doing contributes every bit as much to my spiritual growth.  I'm still struggling to fit my prayer time into a reasonable time frame.  I tend to take a lot of time praying.

Of course we had to take some time to vote Tuesday in New Hampshire's famed first-in-the-nation presidential primary.  They handed out "I Voted" stickers and I stuck mine temporarily to my wallet.  So thankful for the privilege of voting!

Our town's voting place is the elementary school, and the  8th grade was having a bake sale (complete with locally roasted coffee!).  Mr. T and I ran into neighbors we seldom see as we left the gym, and they were heading to the bake sale down the hall, so we went there too.  He and I each got a "brookie" -- a brownie-cookie cross that was baked in a muffin tin.  Scrumptious!

Guess that's probably enough randomness for now.  I'll get back to putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward ... just like Mr. T's snowshoes do.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

A snowy video and a few more photos

We had more snow yesterday, and a little more this morning.  Mr. T went out for another snowshoe hike today, not as far as the pond.  He took more photos and some nice videos.  Here is one of the videos he took:

It's such fun to me to see that out there, in the frozen snowy woods, a brook still runs freely in spite of the cold.  Saturday night it was ten below zero here!

Here are a few more photos:
He went up above the brook to get this shot looking down upon it.
Snow-covered lichen
An interesting dead tree along the way
I asked the woodsman what sort of tree this was.  Alas, he failed to notice.
The grandkids' seldom-used tree house
So there you go!  Hope you've enjoyed these glimpses of winter in our back yard.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Winter beauty

"He giveth snow like wool: He scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes." Psalm 147:16)

"For He saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth ..." (Job 37:6a)

"He casteth forth His ice like morsels: who can stand before His cold?" (Psalm 147:17)

"Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow?  or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail?" (Job 38:22)

"Praise the LORD ... snow, and vapor; stormy wind fulfilling His word." (Psalm 148:7-8)

"Out of the south cometh the whirlwind: and snow out of the north."  (Job 37:9)

  "By the breath of God frost is given: and the breadth of the waters is straitened." (Job 37:10)

"Out of whose womb came the ice?  and the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it?  The waters are hid as with a stone, and the face of the deep is frozen."  (Job 38:29-30)

On Thursday and Friday we had some serious snow and ice storms.  So on Saturday Mr. T thought it a perfect time for a snowshoe trek to a favorite destination of his.  Starting in our backyard, he hiked through the woods to the hidden pond pictured at the top of the post.  It takes about 35 to 45 minutes depending upon how often one stops to take pictures.  He actually did this trek twice, because the camera batteries died soon after reaching the pond the first time.

Along the way in both directions he found many interesting things to snap photos of, including a rushing brook with frozen edges, pictured in the second photo down in the body of the post and also a closer look below.
 Even the spindly little bushes below were covered with ice and snow.
 It was interesting how even the grasses were ice coated.
  Another unusual sight was the snow-and-ice-covered cattails pictured below.
Hope you've enjoyed these photos of New Hampshire's winter beauty!