happy new year

Happy New Year! I’m still allowed to say that, right? I can’t believe January is almost over. And furthermore, I have not posted on here in a very long time. I am planning to change that and try to post more regularly. I’m shooting for twice a month for the whole year – that’s 24 posts. That shouldn’t be too hard, right? Right.

We are in the thick of winter around here. We’ve had fresh snow every week since winter started, and we even got a blizzard a few days ago. Right now I can’t get out of the driveway, but I have been promised that it will be shoveled for me this evening. Perhaps we should invest in a snow blower for next year. Some of the drifts in the yard are a couple of feet high!

Even with crazy snow and wind, I love Colorado in the winter. After the snow clouds roll away, the sun comes out and casts everything in a dazzling glow. The trees wear snow like frosting. Walking through the woods feels like being in Narnia; it is magical and slightly eerie.

We are getting ready to take our pig in for processing. We got a hampshire piglet last summer and have been raising her for meat ever since. This is the first time I have ever tried my hand at this and it has been a great experience. We bought the pig at 40 lbs, and she is now around 300 lbs, and ready to be delivered to the processor. It is a little bittersweet – my husband has grown quite fond of her, and she is rather cute and pretty smart. However, this has activated a certain amount of respect for where our pork comes from that otherwise would have lain dormant, had we continued to only buy our meat at the grocery store. I feel connected to my food in a new way, and to the lengthy and sobering process of raising an animal and caring for it and feeding it well so that it can, in turn, feed us well.

One of my goals for this year is to go on 20 family hikes. Our first one was to Castlewood Canyon State Park. It is a beautiful place, with a deep canyon, an old dam, a waterfall, and lots of scenic hiking. This was our second time visiting this park, and each time, I have left wanting to come back and explore some more. We did a 4 mile hike along the creek bottom. Everything was covered in a blanket of snow. We threw snowballs, ate snow, and goofed off as we hiked. I was attacked with snow several times and later found a handful of snow leftover in my coat pocket. We found a side trail that went over a little bridge and up a small mountain. There were only a handful of people there, probably because of the snow. It was a lovely afternoon.

I am beginning to plan out my garden for this spring. When I say “beginning” I mean that I have ordered a catalog from Botanical Interests. Ha. But there is plenty of time. I probably won’t start my seeds indoors until April, since we can’t plant outside safely until after Mother’s Day. I am also perusing chicken catalogs and tossing around the idea of getting a baby lamb or goat. We shall see. I will somehow have to organize my animals this year to coincide with several trips we are planning on taking. I will need to find someone to come and care for the animals while we are gone.

I hope your year is off to a great start!

spring fever and yarn along

I have had major spring fever all week. My seedlings are growing, though I think next time I start seeds indoors, I will have grow lights and a table set up. Having pots in sunny windows has proved to be too much temptation for the cats.

I am reading At Home in Mitford again. I have already read this whole series, but I love it so much that I have decided to read it through again. I find it peaceful, contemplative, comforting, and the characters are so true to life while being lovable at the same time. It is quite humorous too! Jan Karon (author) has a gift for funny stories and great dialogue.

I have been knitting like crazy, maybe as a form of self-medication for lingering winter. I have been longing for spring deeply, wanting warmth and green and afternoons spent outside. I finished the shawlette and wore it to church on Easter. This was the Zuzu pattern out of the book Sock-Yarn Shawls II. I knitted it in Happy Feet 100 Splash hand-dyed sock yarn. I love how it came out. It is soft, drapey, warm without being stifling, and has great stitch definition. I also made a hat, and I’m working on a baby cardigan for a friend at church. More about those later.

We went for a hike in the mountains recently, and I thought, like I do every time we go hiking in the mountains, that I really need to incorporate more of that into my life. I feel so restored when I am walking through the forest. There is so much to look at, to smell and hear and touch. It is a feast for the senses. It grounds me. It heals me from the stress and weariness and confusion that life can sometimes hold.

My chickens are still living in the barn, though we are talking about having someone build us a pen for them that is outside, predator-safe, roofed, and big enough to enclose their coop. This is their coop. I am going to paint it barn red with white trim. It is very well-made. The previous owner left it for us, and it is a work of craftsmanship.

We are having a fence installed around the perimeter of our property this week. We talked about doing it ourselves, we discussed at least a dozen options, but the reality is, we would like to focus our time and energy on other projects this summer, and as the dogs keep escaping and need to be contained somehow, a fence is an immediate priority.