Category Archives: holiday

Holiday Weekend

It was a beautiful holiday weekend here in Wisconsin. We couldn’t have asked for better weather.

The Golden Laced Wyandotte chicks were moved out to their netted pasture. They are about a month old now. They’re loving the fresh air, sunlight, grass, and insects. Our broody Wyandotte hen hatched out nine adopted babies, so that little family was also put in the electric netting for “safekeeping”.

In addition to moving the chickens around, Jeff and our Farmhand Extraordinaire, Dakota, got us caught up on goat vaccinations and hoof trimming, fencing, yardwork, hay moving, and a billion other tasks. Thanks for all the hard work, guys!

We had a great time at the Altoona fireworks with our friends, Dakota’s family. Dakota’s brother, Tanner, gave us a private fireworks show in his backyard afterwards. This is his stash. It was quite an impressive display!

We watched Tanner’s fireworks from the comfort of our friends’ new screen porch, which is the ultimate in summer comfort. What a great area to relax with friends! These guys are great hosts and it’s always great to spend time with them.

That’s Dakota there in the center of the photograph. We are going to miss him when he goes off to college this fall. Jeff says that Tanner will have a job here on the farm as soon as he is old enough. Two finer young men can’t be found!

Knowing of our love for fishing, our friends generously invited us to access the Eau Claire River from their property. Chef Jeff and I had a lovely afternoon there yesterday. Though we didn’t catch anything, we enjoyed being out in the woods and seeing the gorgeous scenery.

Afterwards, the Chef prepared the catfish he’d caught last week according to a recipe from this beautiful book, which also included recipes for homemade refried black beans and great guacamole. It was an outstanding meal, though we somehow got our hands on a jalapeño that must have been grown near a nuclear reactor because that thing was HOT – and this judgment from people who use habañero sauce on a regular basis!

We are so glad that Otter is acclimating to her new home. The other dogs love her… well, Molly tolerates Otter, but Molly’s coming along (that’s just her way – growl first, make friends later.)

Otter has Lyme disease so she’s on antibiotics for a little while. She doesn’t seem to have had toys or chews before; she’s finally understanding that baked cow ears are a good thing:

When Otter was found she was suffering from heat exhaustion. We are so grateful to our wonderful vet for taking her in for us for treatment and boarding, despite her history being unknown. We intend to go to a town meeting to see how we may be able to change the policies and procedures of our township in order that stray animals may receive temporary housing and care in a more efficient manner; we are not served by the County shelter due to the lack of a financial agreement between them and our township. There has to be a better way, and we shudder to think what could happen if one of our own beloved dogs went missing.

So yes, now we are a five-dog family. I would think we were certifiably nuts, except that the entire vet staff said they hoped we’d keep Otter because they knew we’d be good parents. And Valentine is getting up there in years and has Cushing’s, so, after all, we may be back to a four-dog family in the not-too-distant future anyway.

But if I had my wish, there would be a loving home for every dog… until there is, we will take in whomever the Creator sends us, sharing our blessings.

In crafting news, I am this close to finishing up my Drops blue alpaca lace shawl… just on the final rows. I started a Koigu “mindless” sock for traveling-to-fishing-holes knitting, and I hope to do some sewing this week before Saturday’s MaryJane’s Farmgirls meeting, where everyone will ask me if I’ve made any progress on my current stitching project (not yet, and it’s already been three weeks since our last meeting!)

I’ve seen a cute sewing pattern made up on this blog, and I purchased a copy here. The construction looks super easy, and I think it will be a neat use for some of my Tanya Whelan/Free Spirit or 3 Sisters/Moda girly-girl, flower fabrics.

Have a wonderful day!



Filed under animal of the day, animals, farm chickens, farm chores, farm fence, farm knit, farm recipes, fiberarts, fishing, flowers, food, gratitude, holiday, knit, nature, pets, summer, weather

Independence Day

Small town fireworks (Altoona, WI) on a beautiful summer night.

Grateful for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

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Filed under gratitude, holiday, positivity, summer

Daily Gratitude

A diamond-shaped wood splitting maul that will help us finally be able to chop the wood in the woodpile so that it actually fits in our small fireplace.

A husband who takes over splitting wood after I’ve had my three test whacks. The splitter works great. My bad shoulder, not so much…

A full wood holder by the back door.

Aromaleigh mineral makeup sending out inexpensive trial packets (with no shipping charges) so I can play around and see what actually works with my skin tone (please excuse the rare and icky photo of my tired-looking, winter-weary, test-makeup face with no foundation.)
The generous samples are enough for several uses. If you have trouble matching your skin tone, see their “linen” foundation shades.

A husband who believes the dogs value his cheffing skills as much as anyone; Molly is waiting impatiently for her venison tenderloin and brown rice dinner on a fancy plate for New Year’s:

Dogs that play together so nicely but pretend to be fierce, making “WAAH WAAH WAAH!” noises while gnashing teeth that somehow never actually touch:

New yoga DVD#1 (with meditation talk by the Dalai Lama).


A favorite meal of ours is one consisting of zakuski – a Russian word for appetizers. Chef Jeff prepared a zakuski meal for New Year’s.

It was accompanied by my plum pudding (a/k/a flaming booze cake) which I’d prepared back in November, as is traditional.

It was also accompanied by vodka (traditional) and Scandinavian berry liqueurs (a new tradition).

К здоровью! *

* To health!


Finished keyhole scarf (one skein of Inka yarn).


Filed under farm chores, farm knit, fiberarts, food, gratitude, holiday, knit, pets, positivity, yoga

Daily Gratitude

Still day with snow on the ground and a cloudy sky, peaceful and quiet.

Cheerful pitter-patter of paws on wood floors.

Clean kitchen.

Hockey on TV keeping someone (else) busy and contented.

FREE Metta yoga practice from… not that I could actually do it, but it was great to listen to while doing my own simple practice. You could just sit and breathe while listening and still get a lot out of it!


Drops scarf; “Inka” yarn from Yellow Dog Knitting.


Filed under farm knit, gratitude, holiday, knit, nature, pets, positivity, weather, winter, yarn shop, yoga

Pax, Amor, et Lepos in Iocando*

Happy New Year, dear friends. May it be one of abundance, in all good things, for you!

* Peace, Love, and a Sense of Fun

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Filed under holiday, nature, positivity, weather, winter

Holiday Spirit

Chef Jeff found out the day after the election that his company was laying off 1800 people. I have heard of doctors actually quitting their practices due to the impending health care changes; they know they won’t be able to provide the standard of care they would wish to while limited by government time and cost mandates.

I’m afraid that people who desire “health care for everyone” might not realize that they’ll be paying for it with their taxes, and that it will mean substandard, government-“coordinated” (ahem) care for them and their families – those without care may get it, but those with health care will lose much of what they’ve come to expect. Physicians and health care companies already know that. Socialized medicine is an interesting idea – but “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch,” and the government hasn’t exactly been great at administrating “helpful” programs thus far (Google “Indian reservation”).

I’m afraid I don’t subscribe to a Sesame Street-ish, feel-good attitude that, if we just believe what politicians tell us, we’ll live in a Utopia of free, top-quality medical care. Words are cheap… good medical treatment, and good medicines, are not. *

A few days ago, Chef Jeff found out that he would be retained – yes, we have been on eggshells this entire time, which did not make for a very joyful Thanksgiving, but did make for vastly increased wine consumption during that particular holiday. Good thing Festival Foods had a by-the-case sale.

Chef Jeff, relieved and thankful, therefore decided that this holiday was one of celebration and deserved a real tree.

Tree shopping in Eau Claire is vastly different than in Milwaukee. Here, they use the honor system:

And our huge Fraser fir tree was a bargain at $35; in Milwaukee, this would be about $100! What are trees going for in your neck of the woods? Just curious!

Chef Jeff got some new, efficient LED lights and decorated the tree perfectly.

Molly and Emma are all aglow with Yule colors as well:

I made the best ever mac and cheese the other night, and thought you might like the recipe, as it earned an “Excellent!” from Chef Jeff – something I’ve never received before. Just don’t tell him how easy this is!

Homemade Mac and Cheese
Adapted from The Farmer’s Wife Comfort Food Cookbook

2 T butter
2 T flour
2 c milk
1 tsp. salt

3 c pasta
salt for cooking water
1 c. grated cheese
2 c. buttered breadcrumbs (allow 1/8 as much butter as crumbs; melt butter, add crumbs, stir until coated)

Preheat oven to 350° and lightly oil a baking dish (mine was about 10×10).

Cook pasta in salted water until just al dente. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to baking dish.

Meanwhile, melt butter in skillet; add flour and salt and stir to blend. Cook a little while on low until “floury” flavor is gone, but do not burn! Add milk a little at a time, blending, and stir until thickened (it will still be a bit runny). Turn off heat. Add grated cheese and blend.

Pour sauce over pasta and top with breadcrumbs. Don’t worry if it looks “liquid-y” – the pasta will absorb the liquid as the dish bakes. Cook uncovered for 20-25 minutes, until brown and bubbly. Major yum!

Chef Jeff is home for two weeks for re-training. He needs my computer and Internet connection for web conferences. He has already taken over my knitting room for studying.

I was going to post a pic of the new DROPS Inka seed stitch scarf I’m knitting, but I am being kicked out – no time to even make a link for you.

It’s going to be a very loooooong holiday…

* I respect that you may not share my opinion. It is, however, founded on the following: the fact that I have many relatives living in two countries with socialized health care (it sucks for them); the fact that I have a dear friend who lives in a third country with socialized health care (it sucks for her); and the fact that many of our family members and friends are physicians, pharmacists, nurses, health care workers, or involved in pharmaceutical education. Therefore, I do feel justified in sharing my opinion on this subject on my personal blog.


Filed under farm recipes, food, holiday, pets, winter