midwinter fun

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One of our favorite midwinter treats is a trip to our state farm show. The livestock competitions and displays, cooking demos, agricultural learning booths, and of course the food (!) always make for a fun day out at an otherwise quiet time of year. This year we particularly liked the preserved food and craft competition areas (definitely plan to enter some of our Baldy Hill Pantry items next year!), the bar-b-que sauce pickled eggs, and the livestock barns — although we were disappointed to find out the chickens were on display only the first weekend due to a lack of volunteers, so we missed them. As always, the milkshakes were especially yummy, too. πŸ™‚

Over the weekend, I made up some suet cakes for our outdoor bird friends. We’d been gifted some venison offcuts from a friend, which we make for the dogs, and I heated up the fat and added bird seed to old packaging from store-bought suet cakes

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I then put them outside on our porch for an hour or two to allow them to cool and harden, before transferring to freezer bags to store until needed.

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Super cheap, easy to make, and the birds love them, too! πŸ™‚

In the US today, we celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. Here is one of my favorite quotes of his, so relevant now as ever.

Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.

Have a great week, everyone!

 

 

welcome, 2017

We made it! A brand new year, 365 days, waiting for us to make into something that’s uniquely ours. I love this day and its traditions. I look forward to the annual burning ceremony, the start of a new gratitude jar, and of course the food! Although not particularly superstitious, I do like to fill myself with as much good luck food as possible on New Years Day. Breakfast was a bagel (round food, shaped like coins = prosperity), and then lunch featured a melange of cultural traditions: long noodles for long life and sauerkraut, peas, and carrot coins, all again for prosperity.

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James had to work, so his traditional PA Dutch new years meal of pork (fatty meat to ensure plenty to eat all year long) and sauerkraut simmered in the slow cooker all afternoon. For my own vegetarian dinner, I had another cultural mishmash of lentils (their coin-like appearance is to bring more wealth) and collard greens with hot sauce.

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If nothing else, we at least start the new year with happy bellies. πŸ™‚

Today also marks the last day of Holidailies 2016. Many thanks to all who stopped by my blog space during the past month, as well as to the organizers of this annual holiday tradition. I wish you all peace and joy and hope to see you again here soon!

christmas throwback

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This year for Christmas, my mother gifted my siblings and me each a photo from the albums she kept from our childhood. Here I’m peering into the same stocking shown on the far right of a picture I included in my last post. The stocking was knitted by a neighbor of my grandmother for my first Christmas, and almost 50 years later, I am still using it — even the reindeer’s jingle bell nose has survived all this time! ❀ ❀ ❀ these Christmas traditions and memories! πŸ™‚

winter solstice

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Oh I do love this first day of winter! It’s been especially busy the past couple days (beyond the normal pre-holiday rush, I had some urgent admin business related to my school funding pop up on Monday), but we did make sure the Christmas/Winter tree made it up on time! πŸ™‚

My final grades for the semester were posted today, and I was so happy with the results. Not that I’m motivated by grades; I’m simply trying to learn as much as I can from each class. But it is nice when efforts are noted and projects are successful. πŸ™‚

The gifts I made for friends and family were printed today, and I’m really pleased with the results, too. Each is unique and beautiful in its own way — I’ll post photos of them after they’ve been gifted, as I don’t want to spoil any surprises. I still have some shopping to finish tomorrow and Friday, and then wrapping and more baking on Saturday (there are chocolate peppermint cookies in the oven now, too), but it feels good to have the bulk of the work behind me.

Now, off to enjoy some of those cookies!

marking days

img_5418As life would have it, this year James and my anniversary came smack in the middle of my finals week and his busiest sales season, so we’ve yet to really celebrate it. However, it was super-nice to find this little note tucked in my breakfast napkin. He’s a sweetie who makes me laugh — I can’t ask for more. ❀

I did finish up the last of my final critiques with my instructors yesterday, so the fall semester is officially a wrap — woohoo! Which mean my winter break began in full this morning, and I could start to check tasks off my holiday to-do list. The first was ordering the calendars we give to family and friends each year. Sorting through our photos is always such a nice way to review the past 12 months, as well as be reminded of the beauty that we live with each day. And on a day with negative wind chills and snow squalls, I was grateful especially for the summer photos, with their blue skies and hints of warmer weather. πŸ™‚ Here are the photos that made the final cut:

With that Christmas task complete, I’m continuing the warming up thread by opening up a couple jars of summer, that is, our preserved homegrown tomatoes, and popping out a few pesto cubes from the freezer to make this tomato farro soup for dinner this evening.

Wherever you are, hope you are snug as a bug in a rug, too, and enjoying this almost-winter night.

deck the halls (phase 1)

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Although most people in our area can’t wait for the food on the Thanksgiving table to get cold before putting up their Christmas decorations, we take much more time to deck the halls, often putting the final touches on the tree as the Solstice suns sets. And now that I am a full-time student as well, currently in the last week of classes with four studio art projects to complete before the final critiques with professors on the 14th…let’s say not much else holiday-wise is on the agenda until later next week.

Except for this sweet wreath made by my friend Patty! She brought to the Christmas Market on Saturday, and James hung it while I was at classes this week. πŸ™‚ Now between my chili sauce bottle design project and mounting my sculpture for 3D Β class, Β I just need to remember to water the poinsettia! πŸ˜‰