Posted by: morrowsl | January 10, 2019

Once Upon a December Day

And, just like THAT, the holidays have come and gone and it’s time to throw Christmas back in the closet!

What the hell?

Not that I’m actually complaining that it’s time to drag out the totes and pack up the breakables before Frio figures out where I’ve stashed his favorites and actually breaks a few more. It’s that I swear I just got all the totes put away and batteries replaced and gifts wrapped and floors swept.

And too, if thirty days have flown by so fast I barely had time to notice, it also means that I got zero time in the holiday. I’m not exactly sure what I did for thirty days that was much different from any other day. I suppose I need to recap and see what happened when I wasn’t looking.

Justin is a huge fan of apples, so we tend to always have them to hand. The problem is that he isn’t always in the mood to eat them, and they often get too soft. Luckily, he also loves apple butter and it’s really easy to make. Thanks to two enormous Honeycrisps, I had enough apple slices to fill the Instant Pot and ended up with a nice batch of butter in under an hour. Some for him, some for me, and some to give away.

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Linda, checking out the Big Pond

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B, checking out Capt. Neighbor Boy’s tree stand

This was our first year without Dad and Mom for the holidays. We talked about getting together and how we wanted, as a family, to deal with that. Jack and Linda solved the dilemma by hosting Thanksgiving dinner at their place. That left us to our own family gatherings for Christmas, but also left a hole where our Family White Elephant used to be. Sister said we needed to have a sleepover, under the tree. We picked a weekend in mid-December. B and Lee, Linda and Jack, Mike and me. There was supposed to be a meteor shower. It wasn’t bone cold out. We made Tex Mex. B brought a VHS player and videos from Mom and Dad’s place on Lake Whitney.
Having everyone here for a slow down weekend was just the right way to usher in the holidays. By the time they had all waved goodbye, I was ready to get Christmas cranked up. B helped with decorations, inside and out. Our immediate family event would be in January. So the only real “gathering” would be Christmas Eve and Day with Sheli and J.

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Sister making Mema’s fudge in her trusty deep-sided iron skillet

All that was needed was a quick trip to Sister’s to make some suet for the bird feeders and a couple of batches of Mom’s chocolate fudge. Bring it, Santa, I’ve got fat boy goodies!

In between, there were still daily chores to do and projects to complete while the weather held. We had some very fine days in December. So, why not work outside?

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My first ever tractor driving experience

The red tractor is in need of electrical help. The lane up to the house is very twisty and not at all conducive to large trucks with long trailers. So Lil’ Red had to be moved to a better spot for pick up. This afforded me an opportunity to “drive” a tractor for the first time. You can’t see it, but there’s a log chain between Lil’ Red and Big Blue. I just pretended I was following closely behind! Lil’ Red is my favorite of all the things we brought here from the Ohio farm. It is a reminder of that place and our family there.

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Gate support post – left

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Gate support post – right

Our garden space is fenced, but still needs gates to keep the deer and hogs out of it. Mike has been working on the first of two gates and is about ready to hang it. That required sinking and securing gate posts. We got them in, but then got rain. So cementing had to wait until after the weather cleared up again.

Mike built a compost bin our first year here and it’s about ready to dump onto the garden. I’ve filled it with all the debris from the chicken coop and run as well as kitchen scraps, leaves, and dead plants. Moving it will require a day of tractor work.
I’m not a huge fan of leaves all over the yard. But, with twenty-one acres of mostly woods, it’s impossible to keep the yard clear. I’ve opted to clear only the “lawn” areas, leaving the rest for the chickens and wild critters to use as they see fit. The chickens love to scratch through the layers for worms and bugs and seeds. The bunnies and such use them for cover and nesting.
The upside to having so many leaves is having plenty to add to the compost heap and for blanketing the garden soil. It took two full days with a bad run of weather in between, but the front lawn is mostly clear, the decks are leaf-free, and the garden has a mulch cover. In the process of covering the garden with leaves, I discovered that the rain on top of the deep tilling we did in late summer has left the soil VERY wet. I stepped into mud and sunk up to my ankles with the first wagon-load of leaves! Not sure how we’re getting the compost spread, but I’m thinking a flock of hens might be just the ticket.

Sister asked if I’d started ordering seeds. I haven’t. I know much of what I want to grow and I’ll start seeds in the greenhouse for sure. Right now, I’m just not quite ready to admit December is gone again and it’s time to start thinking of Spring.


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