Category Archives: winter

A Philly Girl at Heart

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I might live in the frozen North, far from authentic cheesesteaks, Krimpets and tomato pie, and I’m not into football any more (after more than 20 years in a state without a team), but I know who I’m rooting for today!  And so does my Girl, who made me this origami ring:

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Winter Beauty

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This month has been odd.  We’ve had some really warm weather (Freezing rain? Here? In January?) that left a lovely layer of ice on the already snow-covered roads.  The ice was almost immediately covered by a big snow dump, though, and the temp dropped to a more normal negative 25 or so for a while. (It’s -22 right now.  It seems we’ll be getting out of January without any -40s!)  I’m not a big winter sports person, so I have not taken the opportunity to go skiing or snowshoeing or snowmobiling, but even for someone as addicted to the comfortable interior of buildings as I am, Fairbanks is undeniably beautiful under its blanket.  I don’t have a lot to say today, but I wanted to share some pictures.

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Welcome to the outside

This is the view from my front porch.   Usually when the tree branches hang that low over the path, we just shake the snow off them and they spring back out of the way.  Now, there is so much weight on the upper branches, the lower ones are not going anywhere, even though we’ve knocked off most of the snow.

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Across the street

This is the view from the end of my driveway.  All over town, the trees are bent over like this.  Well, mostly the birches, cottonwoods, aspens and willows.  The spruces stand straighter.  Depending on my mood, these graceful curves look like frozen fireworks or poor overworked homeschool moms, weighed down by responsibility . . .

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Down the street

We get to drive under a snowy archway while approaching our house. The lighter stripe in the distance is a break in the clouds, just above the hills.  Some days the clouds and  hills are the same color, but you can tell where one ends and the other begins by the texture.  The forested hills look like terry cloth; the clouds look like smooth gray wool.  Other days the sky is a brilliant blue, and the play of sunlight and shadow on the snow-frosted trees is so gorgeous it makes your heart ache.

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Farm entrance

This is the path into the farm.  Seed catalogues will be appearing in the mail any day now. 🙂

When I was growing up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, we didn’t get snow like this, and the heavy snows we did get usually melted in a few days.  Snow was a blessing and a curse – a blessing for the kids who got to play in it, and might get a day off from school because of it, a curse for the adults who had to shovel it and drive in it. (I’m sure there were winter sports enthusiasts back home, as there are here, but I don’t remember knowing any!)  Here, snow is just the way things are from October to April.  It’s best to acknowledge that reality and observe the beauty (even if I’m observing from inside.  With a cup of tea).

Happy Holidays!

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Happy Holidays!

I recently found a newsletter from a conservative political organization in my email inbox.  After considering for a moment from what possible source the organization had collected my email address, I read through the opening article.  It was a joyous shout out to the President-Elect, giving him the credit for doing away with political correctness and making it possible for Christians to once again say “Merry Christmas.”

Um, what?  I must have missed the notice banning that phrase.  I use it with confidence, among people who celebrate Christmas, especially on Christmas Day, itself.  I also use “season’s greetings” and “happy holidays.”  If I know what holiday, other than Christmas, an acquaintance celebrates, I offer my good wishes for that holiday.  I do not consider this “political correctness,” and here’s why.

In the church calendar, Christmas is one day.  One very important day, of course, but just one.  The season leading up to it is Advent – four weeks of waiting and preparing our hearts.  We light a candle each Sunday of Advent; the candles represent hope, joy, peace and love.  These are the gifts Christ brings with Him, and they are bundled together in my mind when I say or write “season’s greetings.”

If we are supposed to show the love of Christ, why do we get bogged down in arguing about these words?  All the holiday greetings, at their heart, are expressions of good will and joy.  Yes, there are other holidays included in “happy holidays.”  So what?  When someone who celebrates a different winter holiday, or who celebrates Christmas secularly, wishes me happiness, I’m grateful.  Their thoughtfulness does not diminish the importance of Christ to me, or in the world.  When I wish non-Christians well, I am loving my neighbor; again, including whatever holiday they celebrate, by using a generic “happy holidays,” or even by specifically wishing them “happy solstice” (for example), does nothing do diminish Christ and the importance of His birth.  In fact, by sharing these seasonal greetings, we increase the love, hope, peace and joy in the world.  Politically correct or not, isn’t that a good thing?

The Land Provides

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Seed catalogs have started to appear in our mailbox!! Yea! Spring is coming!  I can’t wait to see dirt (outside dirt, of course.  Sadly, we have plenty inside…).  Well, of course, I can wait.  I’ll need patience for another three months. (Four, if this winter holds on as long as last winter did.)

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The Garden in January 2014

May 5, 2013

May 5, 2013

Still, I love when the catalogs start arriving.  I’m going to have twice as much space for growing veggies this year, and no away from home job to interrupt.  And last year the property gave us most of what we needed to make a green house.  That will be going up as soon as we can remove a few small stumps.  What’s that you ask?  How did the property give us a greenhouse?  Well…

We had been pondering how we could build a greenhouse cheaply.  I’d seen a prefab one at Sam’s Club; it didn’t really look big enough or sturdy enough, but the price was decent (less than $200).  Husband went to check it out and discovered the much larger carport for about the same amount.  With some modifications and additional structural support, he thought that would make a really nice greenhouse for between $300 and $500 dollars.  He thought he might even be able to use some old pipe he’d noticed half buried in the woods on the property to lengthen the carport, or as replacement parts, if needed.  Turns out, the old half-buried pipe was all the pieces of a similar carport.  Only a few were damaged, and of those, most could be repaired.  And it wasn’t super old.

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Pipes Laid Out on Driveway, Summer 2013

He got some new pieces to replace the few unusable ones and lengthen the structure a bit, and built the first end wall last summer. We already had most of the plywood for the wall, salvaged from remodeling the inside of our house.

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Structure Complete. Sorta

This is a good sign, I think.  It’s like magic.  We have a need and the land provides.  I’m tempted to go stand in the middle of our field and say, “Golly, I could really use someone to clean my house….”