Friday, December 28, 2018

Holidaze 2018

Our holidays were a bit weird this year. We spent most of December in limbo not sure if we were staying home, going to Michigan or going to Florida.   My grandmother celebrated her 90th birthday on Dec. 26th, so we were originally  planning to be there for her birthday party.  My parents usually stop by our house on their way to Florida and we celebrate xmas with them a little early.  However this year, my dad has undergone several surgeries for Parkinson's treatment and wasn't sure they'd be able to travel down to Florida. 
So we were suddenly looking at driving to Michigan to spend the holiday with my parents, then heading down to Florida to celebrate my grandmother's birthday.  The week before xmas, my dad was cleared for travel and they arrived on Dec. 23.

Stanley has been our Yule tree for the last few years. We always have a live potted tree, but the place where we'd been getting a live tree no longer offers them. So i'd purchased Stanley even though he's too small to really decorate. The kids love him though, and when i brought home an artificial tree i'd gotten from freecyle, i was not expecting the reactions i got. My daughter immediately yelled,  "we can't have a fake tree! We're betraying Stanley!"  When my son saw it, he said "this goes against our Viking heritage!!"  <- didn="" i="" p="" realize="" t="" vikings.="" we="" were="">

Once i began to decorate the tree, they eventually warmed up to the idea. i had to tell them it was just a decoration, we were not replacing Stanley.  Stanley is still our Yule tree. This is just an ornament holder.  It always quickly became out new cat tree as well. 

i had BIG plans for our holiday feast this year. i started off baking lots of treats and then planned a British themed menu with Treacle tarts,  Christmas dinner in a Yorkshire pudding,  pumpkin pasties and more. Then the day before my folks arrived i got sick. It was just a cold, but i felt miserable and didn't really want to be making food for people when i had snot dripping down my face, so my Very English Christmas never happened. Maybe next year.

We had a nice visit with the folks. My dad looked really good for the amount of surgeries he's had this past year. He'd had a DBS implant in the spring for Parkinson's, which almost immediately became infected. This led to several more surgeries removing different parts of the hardware, until he finally had to just have it all removed. Very disappointing, but glad it's over and he can move on.

Since they were able to come down and spend the holidays with us,  we didn't have to worry about that trip to MI.  It was a nice simple holiday with family.

My Grandmother's party was moved to the weekend after her birthday. So on Dec. 26th, my folks left for Florida and on the 27th we headed down that way too.   Although i wasn't thrilled be up and leaving right after xmas, i'm glad we went down and celebrated my grandmother's 90th birthday even though we turned around and drove right back a day later.  i'll post more about our super quick Florida trip on a different post.  Our ornament holder really looked lovely when we finally got it all decorated, even the kids agreed. ;) 

Monday, December 10, 2018

First Snow of the Season

The second week of December we had a major snow storm come through and dump about 20 inches of snow overnight.  This winter has been the snowiest we've seen in a while.  

Just a couple weeks earlier we were hit with an ice storm and lost power for almost 5 days.  Already this is more a winter than we usually see. 

Caring for critters in crappy weather is my least favorite part of homesteading. Although, i think i do prefer the snow to the usual ice and mud.  Our winters typically tend to be 99% mud.  There's not much worse than a muddy chicken coop.

Although our wood was covered in snow, we stayed nice and warm inside while husband kept the fire fed.  Thankfully, he'd brought plenty of wood inside before the storm started, so we had plenty of dry wood to last as long as needed.

Our bees are tucked into their hives for winter, and we are hoping they over winter well. This will be our first winter with bees, and so far it's been a pretty cold one.  We made sure they had plenty of honey/pollen frames to feed them over the winter, and we'll be checking on their food stores on the first warm days we get when temps are over 50 degrees.

 It's been very mild the past few years.  The snow helped me get into a holiday spirit a little quicker than normal.  On years where we get no snow in December, it just doesn't feel very festive. It was nice to hunker down and just enjoy the peacefulness the snow brings.