Looking for Light





It's easy to find the darkness in the brutal cold and snow of late February.  Each day I remind myself to look for the beauty in the light.


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Strawberry Jam





Yesterday afternoon, the wind whipped across the field and the temperature dropped to -22 F.  The truck wouldn't turn over.  The car wouldn't start.  The computer froze up {momentarily}.  The hinge on the wood stove door broke.  

But we had strawberries.  Just past their prime organic strawberries, free for the taking from the market.  I wrote about this delightful place here.  Not good for eating, but perfect for making jam.  

Can you believe it... fresh strawberry jam in February?  It's like summer in a jar.

Fortunately, the truck and car both started this morning.  The computer is fine.  The wood stove door is still broken, but it's functional until spring when we can replace it.  

And, I get to eat homemade jam on toast for breakfast.

Take that, winter.



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A Knit Hat for Madysen




Last time we visited my niece {she's four}, I was finishing this hat.  I didn't have any other yarn with me, but promised I would knit one for her the next time I came to visit.  She requested that it match the shirt she was wearing and I happened to have just the color.  The yarn is a mix of something incredibly soft like baby alpaca and worsted wool.  I'm not sure though, the wrapper disappeared long ago.  You know me, I love contrasting blocks of color, so I added a border of heathered gray and a fun matching pom pom.  What four year old doesn't love a pom pom?  ... I hope she does.

{Joining Ginny}


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Perked




I woke just before the sun rose over the pines that line our dead end road.  It was Mike's night to stoke the fire and it's always a little cold on his mornings.  He likes it that way.  I let him sleep while I feed another log to Calcifer.  With my chair pulled up close to the stove's belly and the percolator on top, I read and knit a few rounds.  It takes almost two hours before the dark roast starts to perk, but I don't mind.  I enjoy the quiet moments of solitude in our tiny house.  One by one, the rising scent of fresh perked coffee wakes my sleeping babes and so begins the day.


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Weekending






We try not to schedule too many activities, because we like things slow and simple.  This weekend was nothing of the sort.  I can't remember the last time we crammed so much into one weekend, but since we were going to be traveling anyway, and all of our errands seemed to be in the same general location, it seemed wise to do it all in one trip.  

Luke ended up with a cold and fever earlier in the week.  Remarkably, he managed to avoid spreading it to the rest of us.  I can't say enough for hand washing, hand washing, hand washing... and nest building.  A giant nest of blankets brings comfort to any ailment.  Fortunately, he was feeling much better by Saturday morning.

Saturday morning we drove to Buttermilk Falls to pick up our second of four wood shares.  This is the first year the farm has offered a wood csa and it's worked out nicely since we didn't have a stockpile of wood to start out the winter.  It's nicely seasoned oak from deadfall on their property, that is cut, split and stacked.  All we have to do is load it ourselves.  For $100 per season, it' can't be beat. This wood, along with scraps that my father in law saves for us from his construction company, has kept us going strong this winter.  We've been cutting, splitting, and stacking wood on our own, as well, but it won't be dry enough to use until next heating season.

After loading up wood and visiting the sheep in the barn, we said goodbye and headed to my brother's to house sit for the night.  They have a new kitten, Charlotte, and the boys were over the moon to meet her.  They also have a sweet little dog named Lola, but she's not so fond of the new kitten or of having her photo taken.  

Mike and I had a wonderful Valentine's evening cooking dinner together. We couldn't go out to eat, since we were house sitting, so we replicated the meal from our favorite restaurant at home.... turns out, we like our version better and it only cost us a quarter of the price.   Also, Cole and Luke did the dishes!

Sunday morning, we baked our traditional Valentine sugar cookies, but I forgot the cream of tartar and they turned into a sloppy mess.  Luke said they tasted like sugary pancakes.  We cooked one batch for my brother and sister in law, then ended up eating the rest of the batter instead.  Yum!

Mike had also made arrangements with a couple of local farmers to pick up five new chickens on Sunday.  We cleaned up our cookie mess, said goodbye to Lola and Charlotte and headed out the door. We bought two Golden Laced Wyandotte from one farmer and three Black Copper Marans from the other.  They're all laying, except for one Black Copper pullet and she should be laying by spring.  As soon as they adjust to their new surroundings, I'll take some photos.  They were still a little skiddish this morning, so it will probably be a few days.  The photo above is one of our Buff Orpington's.  We started doing photo shoots of our chickens this last week, along with The Daily Egg over on facebook, if you'd like to check it out.  

We're finally home.  The boys and I are glad to be spending the day doing absolutely nothing.  Poor Mike is on the road again, though.  He's picking up Jake, who has been staying with a friend for two weeks.  It sounds like he had a great time working on a theater crew and meeting all kinds of new people, but it will be so nice to have all my chicks home again under one roof.  


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Knitting and Such




Finishing up a few projects around the house this week....

Knitting :: A slouchy hat.  It's part of my quest to design a good fitting slouchy that covers my ears and forehead without riding up in the back.  Do you ever get hat lift?  Maddening, right?   This hat doesn't do that.  I think this is it.  I'm calling it The Birchwood and I'll talk about it more as soon as the pattern is finished.

Tiny House Building :: Mike built me shelves over the kitchen area.  We'll stain them in the spring, when it's not twenty below, but for now, it's the little things that make this feel like home.  It's comforting to have all my ingredients in one spot, instead of, "Has anyone seen the baking soda?" I'm baking again.  A lot.  

Soap Making :: Full Moon Soap.  It sold out last week, so I had to make more.  Doesn't it look good enough to eat?  Well, you could.  We only use natural ingredients.  I wouldn't recommend it, though.


Have you been inspired to finish up any projects this week?


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Winter Lust


The cold.  The snow.  The quiet.  The peace.  The vastness.

I've lived in this climate all my life, and by now I've usually got cabin fever with an aching in my bones for the warm sun to return.  An uneasiness settles in.

This year it's not the case.

I have a new lust for winter.

Maybe it's the naivete of our first year off grid... or spending more time outside... or the simple contentment with life... or a true connection to the days.

I suspect it's a little of these along with a lot of other reasons.

Mostly, I think it's because we were scared shitless about making it through our first winter... off grid... in a tiny house with five people and whether or not we'd freeze to death or kill each other.  Or both.

We're over the halfway mark, and so far we're a long way from either.

Ask me again at the end of March, but right now, I am having a love affair with winter.
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Around the House




I stood at the window this morning, contemplating a solo morning ski through the woods. The boys were still asleep and Mike was quietly moving about the yard, doing the morning chores.

As I watched the February winds swirl last night's snow across the corn field, I pulled my blanket tight around my shoulders and decided against it.  

There'll be time enough for skiing next week, when the weather is a little better.  For now, I'm content to just hang around in the house, listen to the crackle of the fire, bake with my boys, and knitting. You just can't go wrong with cookies and knitting.

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The Daily Egg :: A Desktop Calender



If you follow us on Facebook, you'll know all about this photo.  If not, let me catch you up...

A couple of weeks ago, our ladies started laying eggs on a pretty regular basis.  Mike thought it would be fun to photograph the eggs that he and the boys were collecting each morning.  It's turned into a full blown family photo project.

I know a few of you have emailed us about selling prints, postcards, and calendars of The Daily Egg, we're working on it and will let you know when they will be available in the shop.

For now, as an experiment of sorts, we've created a desktop wallpaper calendar.  It's free and we hope you enjoy!  Click the link below and save to your computer.  {We're new to digital artwork, so if you have any problems or questions, just ask.}







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Casting On


Casting on, by candle light.  It's going to be a hat that I've had in the back of my mind for far too long.  What are you casting on this week?

{Joining with Ginny}




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