Foggy mornings, Christmas party, picker finds & just one of ’em days

Tuesday, January 14

We woke to the sound of rain on the metal roof. It’s such a pleasant sound when it’s a nice, soft rain. It rained throughout the night with the occasional heavy downpour.

The fog started showing itself across the hills and mountains as night gave way to day…

As I drove into work I couldn’t help but stop to take some photos. (Thank goodness there’s very little to no traffic!)

I just love this wispy fog…

…it appears soft, mysterious and lovely all at the same time.

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We knocked this week’s edition of the paper out fairly quickly today and as soon as we got the OK from the printer that our pages looked good I was out the door. I’ve got a party to attend this afternoon. It’s the last of my Christmas parties.

This one is at a co-worker’s (from the B&B) house. Her house is beautifully decorated and each year she has us all over for a fun time of eating, playing Dirty Santa (picking & stealing or keeping gifts), playing games and generally just letting our hair down. Literally. We all wear our hair up at the B&B since we serve food so we barely recognize each other with our hair down, ha!

The timer just went off meaning my Hot Mexican Spinach Dip is ready so I’m heading out. Tata for now – it’s party time!

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What a FUN time we had at the party! We talked, laughed, ate and played dirty Santa. There was nothing dirty about our game though. As each individual chose their gift it ended up being so perfect for them that no one wanted to steal it. This happened every time and by the end of the game everyone had a gift that was so suited for them it was kind of spooky. The same thing happened last year. Crazy!

I asked if I could take and share some photos and the hostess said yes!

The entire house is a Christmas wonderland!

Everywhere you look and in every room there is something Christmasy in it…

… and the main tree – so beautiful with hundreds of ornaments that have a story behind each and every one of them…

Like I said, it was SO much fun! Of course, we always have a good time when we get together.

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Farm news: CountryBoy gathered 5 eggs and Mabel’s doing well but still on a diet

Wednesday, January 15

Last night’s party made it feel like it was a weekend night. I had to stop and remember what day it actually was so I would know if I had to go to work and if so, which job did I need to go. Indeed, it was my day to go to Snug Hollow.

On my way up (down and around) the gravel road I spotted some wildlife…

You never know what you’ll see on the drive in.

Walking in to work I saw my beloved fog behind the Cozy Cabin (the original house on the property)…

It was a fairly easy day – I did some office and Social Media work.

I came home to the news that someone had booked the cabin for this Saturday night. Yay! It’s a good thing CountryBoy just got it cleaned and ready.

We are having a supper of leftover tortilla chips and the Hot Mexican Spinach Dip I made for the party and some shrimp and cocktail sauce. Crazy but good supper!

This evening I plan on crocheting the last few hexagons I need to complete all the hexagons for an afghan I’m working on.

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I’m trying something new this year… going plannerless. I LOVE planners. I’m also very picky about my planners. I like to know what’s ahead for the week or month and I like to stay organized. But, I also have a hard time throwing the planner away at the end of the year. Lately I’ve been struggling with ‘stuff’. I feel as though it’s weighing me down – yet all those things that I can’t seem to part with (like a silly planner) add up so… I am going to do my best to do without one this year. That way I don’t have the dilemma at the end of the year of not wanting to throw it away but not wanting it to become part of the ‘stuff’ that I’m beginning to dislike. Does that even make sense? Well, whether it does or doesn’t we’ll see how it goes 😉

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Farm news: CountryBoy gathered five eggs again today. We are so happy that a few of the girls have started laying again. We’ve actually had a few dozens ready in the past week or so whenever the neighbors would stop by for some eggs.

Thursday, January 16

It was an extremely slow day at work today. Slow is good – it means no stress. And no stress always makes for a good day!

On the way home I stopped at one of our hardware stores to pick up a couple of things I needed for a project I hope to start this weekend. They didn’t have one of the items I wanted but I found a suitable replacement. Now let’s hope that I can create what is in my head into something functional.

Speaking of creating… I worked on my crochet project last night. I finished two out of the three hexagons and discovered that I won’t have enough Ivory yarn to finish the third hexagon. Looks like I’ll have to get another skein. Meanwhile, until I can get the yarn I think I’m going to try to start putting them all together and I’ll just stop when I get to the missing hexagon.

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Farm news: CountryBoy re-worked the culvert area by removing the cinder blocks and replaced them with rocks. He also wants to relocate some plants around it so as he walked around trying to decide which plants to use/move he got distracted and started pulling weeds, pulling up expired tomato plants and picking up sticks and tree limbs that were strewn around the yard. He’s picked out a few suitable plants but will wait to move them in Spring.

Total eggs: NINE!!!!!

Friday, January 17

I woke up with the intention of starting my little project today. Instead, we ended up making the hour long drive to Rural King to get our monthly supply of feed… chicken, swine, bird, and cat. A few other things usually end up in the cart such as a container of cheese balls and this time, some epoxy for the gutter on the cabin.

We also looked for some lanterns to replace two of the oil lamps in the cabin as well as a replacement hurricane globe. (The globe, or top part of the oil lamp, was not seated correctly and when CountryBoy moved it to clean the table it fell off and broke. We came up with the idea of using lanterns instead which should be a safer solution. They also look really cool in the cabin!) When we didn’t have any luck we decided to browse the Peddlers Mall to see if we could find any.

We LOVE walking through these type malls! You just never know what goodies you will find. This particular walk-through also helped us burn a few calories after a lunch of Chinese food. Yum!

After walking down a couple of the aisles we were beginning to think we were just getting some exercise. All of a sudden we found a large lantern but it was a bit rusty. And expensive. We carried it with us for a bit and then we found another one. And then another one. So we put the expensive, rusty one back and we opted for two medium size lanterns. And the total of both lanterns was still cheaper than the large one.

Score! We also found an electric lantern that uses a simple Christmas type bulb…

It was more than I wanted to pay but I knew it would match the oil lanterns and would suit the cabin style far better than my chicken lamp that was in there. (Personally, I’m glad to have my chicken lamp back. It is sitting on my desk. I can see again!) How does an electric lamp work in an off-grid cabin? It plugs into a portable power pack. That’s the ‘plus’ part of our ‘primitive-plus’ cabin!

Anyhow, we swapped everything out this evening and they all look really good.

With the addition of the lanterns I had to update the cabin guidebook this evening. I took a picture and used it along with a brief description on how to operate and light the lantern. What may be second-nature to us (because we live like pilgrims according to one of my beloved co-workers ;)!) may be completely foreign to others so I created the guidebook to educate and answer any questions one may have about wood-stoves, oil lamps & lanterns, making coffee with a French press, using a composting toilet, etc. Many guests have been appreciative of the guidebook and we’ve had some really nice comments about it. I will update it again once the secretary/cabinet is up there. And that section will mainly state what can be found in and on it.

I also spotted the perfect pitcher for the antique wash stand…

My Dad’s cousin gave us this wash stand and bowl but there was not a pitcher. I have been searching for one ever since we decided to use it in the cabin but I never saw just the pitcher – it was always with the bowl as well. While walking around I spotted more of a regular style pitcher that I thought might work (it was shorter) and had decided to make due with it until I spotted this one on the next aisle over. For .50 cents more I put the other one back because this style of pitcher is what is typically used on these wash stands. And it was prettier! Score!

We also found the perfect cabinet for the cabin…

It’s actually a secretary according to the tag but we think it will work much better than the very crowded tea cart we’re currently using. It needs some work but nothing major. I can’t wait to get it up there!

Farm news: four eggs

Saturday, January 18

Goodness, what a day it has been so far.

After we finished our coffee I got started making some banana bread. I grabbed a baggie of mashed bananas from the freezer to let them thaw a bit. (Tip: mash those over-ripe bananas with a potato masher and put 1 cup of mashed bananas into baggies and use in your banana bread. So good and no waste!). I began mixing all the ingredients – dry in one bowl, wet in another – and then poured the wet into the dry stirring as I was pouring. Immediately I realized that the consistency didn’t look right. And then I saw them… the frozen bananas still in the baggie and not in the bowl of wet ingredients. sigh. I quickly dumped them into the batter and stirred until they were mixed in. Everything appeared to be OK so I split the batter into three mini loaves and popped them into the oven.

Long story short – one loaf burned on the top so I pulled it out but the bottom was still mushy batter. The other two were deformed and slightly burned on the top. Not one of them was presentable enough to take up to the cabin for this afternoon’s guests. I was pretty bummed. I’ve never had any problems when making banana bread.

We decided to eat some brunch – BELT (bacon, fried egg, lettuce & tomato) with mayo sandwiches. While the bacon was frying a truck was coming down the drive. It was our electric company looking for the neighbor’s house. Meanwhile, my bacon got extra crispy. Too crispy. Like burned crispy. (My bacon is thinner than CountryBoy’s as his is a chunk of fresh bacon from our neighbor that he cuts into thick slices before he cooks it.)

He decided to cook me some more bacon but shortly after the power went out. He salvaged some of the burnt pieces and we ate by the light of an oil lamp. Halfway through brunch the power came back on.

Now that I had eaten something I decided to tackle another batch of banana bread. This time, things went better but something is still off. I don’t know whether it’s our oven or we’re wondering if I used too much egg. The recipe calls for two eggs so I used an extra large egg and a small one. I did that both times. Maybe that was the problem. At least that’s what I’m hoping. Anyway, I managed to get one loaf that looked presentable and that was all I needed. The goopy loaf went to the chickens and the other four are going in the freezer for us to eat. I’ve also been wanting to test a loaf for freshness after being frozen – it would save a lot of time and ingredients if I can use them. I’m just afraid that they might dry out. We’ll see.

While I was having a time in the kitchen CountryBoy started working on the cabinet. He tightened all the screws and removed the glass panes in the upper part of the cabinet. They had been taped in and the wood strips were taped as well. He will make new strips and nail them in.

There are two shelves that go in the upper section and there are two shelves on the bottom. The center pulls down and lays flat and there’s a drawer beneath that. It will give us a lot of storage and useable space without looking crowded.

At one time this was a fine piece of furniture. As you can see it has been painted and as you can’t see many wood pieces are broken or simply missing. She will never see her glory days again but we will make her beautiful just the same and put the white paint to work in her favor. I plan on doing just a bit of distressing and we’ve already added the glass knob to the top section.

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Today has been cold, windy and raining but the rain stopped in time for us to take the banana bread & snacks up to the cabin. While we were up there we started the fire in the wood stove to knock the chill out and discovered that one of the lanterns was leaking. We cleaned it up and set it on a paper towel and told the guests to go ahead and use it. Once the oil is gone we will try to seal the seam with a fine bead of clear caulk or silicone.

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Needless to say with this morning’s banana bread fiasco I did not get started on my project. I guess it will wait until next weekend. And, speaking of project, I forgot to mention in yesterday’s post that I discovered that I finished the crochet hexagons wrong. sigh. Last night I pulled up a video on how to stitch the hexagons together and right off the bat the lady mentioned the fact that we had finished our hexagons with a slip stitch. WHAT? NO! I finished each and every one of them with a single crochet. I tried to piece them together as they were with the single crochet and it’s not working out. I also finished them with the same color yarn as the yarn used to piece them together rather than with the color(s) of the block. That’s probably why I ran out of that color and had to get more. sigh. I’ve spent too much time on these hexagons to have them not look good after being pieced together simply because I didn’t finish the edges correctly. So, my evening project from now until it’s done will be pulling the single crochet edge off and re-doing it with a slip stitch. Keeps me outta trouble I reckon.

Before I sit down to tackle that, though, we will eat and then I’m heading upstairs to take a relaxing bath.

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Farm news: seven eggs

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