Sunday, March 17, 2019

Spring has yet to spring...

Here in the Black Hills January and February are known for being cold.  March and April are known to bring big snows.  We had a blizzard on Wednesday.  It is hard to tell, but we probably got about 18 inches of snow.  The wind blew like crazy, so we had some lovely drifts.

 A long time ago we invested in a tractor with a snowblower.  It didn't take long to make a trail to the main road.  The best part is we are supposed to have temperatures in the 40's and 50's next week.  Yeah.
I made some chocolate babka loaves this weekend.  They turned out perfectly.  As you can see a little mouse nibbled on the corner of one loaf.  I love Pinterest.  Without it I would have never known the joys of babka.  Chocolate and bread.  How could you ever go wrong with that?

I hope you all survived the snow and flooding.  My mom sent photos of a Robin.  My husband and I saw about fifteen disgruntled geese standing on a frozen pond.  Spring is around the corner.  

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Will wonders ever cease...

Saturday was miserable.  We had several more inches of snow and nasty winds.  It has been a long winter.  

Friday morning had been warm, so the teachers and I introduced 30 students to the joys of snowshoeing:)  Have you ever taken 30 teenagers to do anything?  It is always an adventure.  South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks has an excellent program that allows you to borrow snowshoes for free.  I have used it before with my nieces.  Anyway, our center is in a beautiful location next to the creek.  We handed out snowshoes and started helping students figure out how to get them on.   All of a sudden I look up and half the kids are gone.  They didn't wait for everyone.  I headed out after them at a run.  I'm always anticipating disasters, like somebody falling through the ice or heading off on their own.  Well, it turned out to be a perfect day.  We figured half the students would 'dip out' as they call it and quit after 200 yards of hard work.  Boy we were wrong.  All in all the little buggers went a minimum of 2 1/2 miles and some went 3 1/2.  No complaints (teenagers and no complaints?), lots of laughter, and everyone helping each other over logs and around obstacles.  I love my job.  Just when you start to get cynical they surprise you.  I surprised them and  asked the culinary arts students to make hot cocoa and apple cider for when we returned.  Then we watched To Build A Fire based on the Jack London short story.  I never show movies in school, so they were elated.  Many of them had never tasted apple cider.    None of them had ever  used snowshoes.   I thought our ELL students would struggle.  I forgot they play soccer daily.  They were running and jumping in the snowshoes like gazelles.  All in all it was a great experience.  The day will always be in my heart.  

The kids weren't the only ones that got to snowshoe.  Today was beautiful, so Ella and I got to go for a run.  We didn't get to last week.  It was just too cold.  As you can see, she was also super happy.



I am so thankful that we have such beautiful views on our Sunday excursions.  Today the colors seemed to jump out.
That was it for the weeks, adventures.  I've been pretty limited on projects with my online class.  Yes, I'm still whining about it.  If I have to hear the kids complain, I figure I get to a little.  

Have you ever tried something new and had such a happy outcome?  

Sunday, March 3, 2019

-10

Hygge encourages a nook to read, relax, and rejuvenate.  Well, that I have...
There is nothing better than some chai tea, a good book, a fuzzy dog, and a husband that is willing to take a few photos, so his wife has something to blog about.
I hope your weekend was warmer.  I'm holding tough and waiting patiently for spring.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Hygge helps...

 It is still cold and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight.  Everyone is going a bit stir crazy.  I'm trying to utilize hygge to stay sane.  I learned about hygge (pronounced hue ga) from my Danish friend. It is a concept of being cozy and finding comfort in life's simple pleasures.  Sunday is my day dedicated to hygge. The day begins cuddling on the couch with Ella.  I have two cups of coffee and I write a letter to my brother.
 A strong piece of hygge is to enjoy the outdoors, despite winter temperatures.  They say there is no bad weather, just bad clothing.  Every Sunday morning Ella and I venture out to enjoy some fresh air. I have on silk long johns, thermal shirts, hunting pants, sweatshirt, and it is all topped off with Carhartt overalls and coat.  As long as the wind isn't blowing I stay warm.  The fresh air is invigorating.  
 It is always interesting to see what has been going on in the woods.  Usually, we see a set of coyote tracks.  It seems to enjoy a Sunday stroll to our cabin. There are plenty of deer tracks on my snowshoeing trail.  They like walking on solid snow.  A grouse lives in one spot and his tracks cross the road quite a bit.  I am always relieved when I see his tracks because that means the coyote hasn't got him yet. 
 We turned back early today, as there were fresh mountain lion tracks on my snowshoeing trail.  Since we had a dusting of snow, it had to have been within two hours prior to our excurision.  Even though I always wear a gun, there is no reason to walk into trouble if you can avoid it.  Ella didn't complain when we turned around to go back. I texted my husband the lion tracks and some tracks of my own.
Sunday dinner is a big thing at our house.  My husband loves to grill something special. Today it was pork loin prepared with a savory rub and cooked on a smoker grill.  He spritzes it with apple cider to keep it moist.  Can I say heaven on Earth?  Meanwhile, I made a rosemary Parmesan skillet bread and for dessert my mom's apple crisp. Only I use homemade apple pie filling, instead of plain apples.  With Hygge, a meal is a process to be enjoyed.  My husband takes pride in smoking and grilling things to perfection.  I enjoy baking, so bread and desserts are my contribution.   
Skillet breads are fast and easy this one only took 1 1/2 hours.  I found the recipe at the handletheheat.com website.              Rosmary/Parmesan Skillet Bread
2 1/4 t. yeast   
2 c. warm water  
4 1/2 c. flour   
1 1/2 t. salt          
2 T. fresh chopped rosemary            
Spread 2 T. olive oil in the skillet and and on the bread.  Bake in skillet at 400 degrees for 25 min.  Top with 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese and more chopped rosemary.  Bake another 10-15 minutes.

Hygge is also about family and this crumpled piece of paper holds my mom's recipe for apple crisp.  I remember when I called her and wrote it down.  I had several failed attempts at apple crisp.  How is that possible?  It is only the worlds easiest thing to make.  We had a lot of apples one year and I was determined to try again.  My husband gave me some great advice.  Call your mom, hers is always perfect.  I did and it is.  As you can see, I must have called her some time in February years ago and I had to be somewhere at 11:30 on the 6th.  I know I should copy it nice on a recipe card, but I haven't because I enjoy the memory of calling my mom (probably a good 16 years after leaving home) to get one of her best recipes.   In case you can't read it... 
Mom's Apple Crisp
1 c. oatmeal
1 c. brown sugar
3/4  c. flour
1 c. butter  (I'm notorious for cold butter, so I cut it into little slabs when I add it to the mix)
1 t. cinnamon 
Try to keep it crumbly and cover the apples.  I have added to the recipe that I just use my frozen apple pie apple mix.  I thaw it in a sauce pan.  I think the added butter, sugar, and cinnamon adds even more.  Yum.  I bake it at 350 until the top looks done.  
After a good meal, I will usually take a sauna or my husband and I take a nap.  What else is there to do on a cold winter day?  The evening is spent reading and enjoying a cup of hot chai tea.  I prepare for the upcoming week making a grocery list, and planning next weeks meals.  I look back on last week while working on my blog.  Before bed I have a nice relaxing spa like shower with dry brushing and sugar scrubs.  Then end the weekend with a half hour of yoga.

I am tired of winter, but it is good to just relax.  Anyone that has read my blog for any length of time knows that I'm usually up to my elbows in projects.  When the weather warms up, there will be no stopping me.  For now, I will make the best of what hygge filled winter Sundays have to offer.   I hope this helps anyone else that is struggling with this long cold February.  Happy Hygge. 

Sunday, February 17, 2019

-4

It is -4 and still snowing. Ella didn't even want to go on our weekly excurision. I believe this photo says it all.

I sure hope it is nicer where you are.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Let's go on a picnic...

I've had it with cold weather.  It has been below 0 most of this week.   We all have a case of cabin fever.  I want to go on a picnic.  My husband and I were at the hardware store and I saw this wonderful camping dinner set.  Cups, bowls, plates and silverware that perfectly match my red Let's Go on a Picnic basket.  I'm in love.  They look pretty snappy if you ask me.  The best part is they fit in the picnic basket perfectly.

 Not quite an Instagram photo, but I am desperate for entertainment.  Maybe next weekend I can take my new combination for a spin.  I think it is supposed to be in the 20's.  That is like a heatwave.  

Poor Ella has been cooped up in the house, so I had to take her on her Sunday run today.  It isn't as pleasant in 5 degree weather.  I can't say we went very far.  It is hard going when you have five layers and overalls on.  

I apologize for the short and not so creative posts.  I also haven't been commenting as much lately.  I am entrenched in my on-line class.  I'm kind of tired of typing.  My brain is stretched.  I think I may have found what I'm supposed to put in my locker.  I think it is used to download files.  I haven't done that, because my I-pad is much faster and I can read while typing.  The problem is I think I have to download files into it for my next assignment.  Ignorance was bliss, now I have to learn something computer related.  Drat. Wish me luck.

Thank you to those who have posted happy plant photos.  They are keeping my spirits somewhat afloat.  As for the rest of us in the deep freeze, there has to be and end.  Right?

Sunday, February 3, 2019

It is only February!


Thanks to the cold weather the students and staff at our school didn't stray outside much last week.  Thus, we all ended up sick.  I spent most of Friday and Saturday in bed with a sore throat and fever.  Mind you those were the two warmest days all week.  I'm feeling better just as the snow and sleet starts again.  I'm sure it will be a lovely week.  I hope you all are warm and healthy.  It has given me a chance to get caught up on your blogs.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

I couldn't do it...


I couldn't do it.  I had to complete at least one project this weekend.  It has been too many weekends without working on something, other than homework.  

This week I got a new computer at work. Our tech guy was not impressed with the cobbled moniter shelf of speakers and a board.  I have to raise my monitor or I get a pinched nerve in my neck.  The new monitor is bigger and isn't overly stable on my improvised shelf.  We have plenty of scrap lumber in the barn, so I grabbed a short board and a two by four.  Volia!  In one hour I had a stable computer shelf.
I am so glad my husband taught me woodworking.  I may not be good at the fine details, but I know enough to make what I need.

That is it for excitement.  The wind is howling and the snow is vicious.  We had a couple of nice hours this morning.  Enough for Ella and I to get our weekly snowshoeing run.

I hope the weather is good where you are. Do you know your way around a wood shop?  Who taught you?

Sunday, January 20, 2019

January Blahs...

 Not much going on at the cabin.  Homework is cutting into my project time.  Homework and housecleaning is about it for the weekends.  I still haven't figured out what the on-line locker holds.

Since this is a 3 day weekend, I did sneak in a snowshoe hike at Eagle Cliff with a friend of mine.  It started out pretty sketchy.  I studied the maps and knew what trail head we needed to start from.  Problem was there were no warning signs that a trail head was ahead.  We would come around a corner and there it was.  Ok, we will go to the second one.  Missed it also.  Drat.  The major trail head we managed to find.  We stopped to look at the trail maps.  

Problem was it was a cross country ski trail.  We had to return to the first trail head for the snow shoe trails.  There were two other women at that trail head looking to snow shoe and we all decided to go back to the first trail head.  Problem was, we couldn't find it.  Where we thought it was, turned out to be another cross country ski trail head.  I'm just going to say that a cross country skier was very quick to point this out.  We all headed out again.  I pulled my jeep into what we thought was another trail head, but it wasn't.  The other ladies drove by in search of the ever elusive snow shoe trail head.  

We said to heck with it and decided to show shoe on the the Forest Service road on the opposite side.  I was relieved my friend was good with this choice, as I was getting pretty apprehensive that we were getting lost on a highway much less a bunch of little crisscrossing trails in the woods.  Our Forest Service road turned out to be an excellent choice.  A snowmobile went down the middle of it, so we could walk next to each other and visit.  It went right down the middle of a beautiful meadow.  There was nobody else around, so Ella could run without bothering anyone. We had a great time.  After the hike we went to the Sled Haus restaurant in Lead and had an excellent meal.  As far as we know those other two ladies are still driving around trying to find the mysterious trail head.
I don't know how I got so lucky.  A great husband, a beautiful cabin, and good friends.  I am thankful I got to spend the day with Michelle.  I have a lot of respect for her and enjoy her company.  Plus, we were both going stir crazy with the winter weather.  How do you keep active during the winter?  Have you ever had the same experience where the more you look the more lost you get?

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Hibernation...

I was looking back at my blogs and I seem to be in hibernation.  I went from three or four projects over the weekend to one if I'm lucky.  Getting back into class work has taken a bit of my spare time.  I did get a few things done this weekend.

Yesterday I made some homemade ice cream.  It is an easy peasey recipe.  One cup of cocoa mixed with 1/2 cup of water.  Mix well then add to 3 cans of sweetened condensed milk and six cups of milk.

This morning I saw the funniest thing.  We feed the deer in the winter.  Every morning there are two bucks that spar while waiting for me to feed them.  This morning the bigger of the two was standing in the middle of the meadow with a bewildered look.  At his feet was the antler of the smaller buck.  They must have been jousting and the antler shed.  The bigger buck kept sniffing it and looking around, like ''did I do that?" I wish I had the camera.
All I have left is to rack my wine.  I'm still losing batches.  I lost the hard apple cider.  I still haven't figured out what the problem is.  I got a new cleaner for the equipment, but that hasn't helped.
That's all of the excitement at my end of the world.  Have you been doing any projects?

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Back to class...

I haven't posted because as of January 2, I am back in school.  I have to take a re-certification class to renew my administration and teaching certificate.  There are a lot of firsts with this.  

It is the first time I have taken a class just to re-certify.  Classes have always been for a reason; to get more endorsements or to get my masters.  I'm having a difficult time taking a class just to take a class, so I picked a hard one - action research.  Ouch!  

It is the first time I have done an online class in this digital age.  For one class I now have 3 new e-mail addresses, three new passwords, and an online locker.  I still have no clue what an online locker does.  I looked in it and there was nothing.  I wish I could cram some of the things in my office locker in there: tons of photos, student work from long ago, a dead plant or two, coats, a Nepali dress, an African dress, and a set of grungy clothes in case I need to work with the chickens or in the garden.  Somehow, I don't think any of that goes in an online locker.  If anyone knows what I put in there please fill me in.  

It is also the first time I have used the new APA format for papers.  Did you all know that you no longer are supposed to space twice after a period?  There should be an age limit on this.  I learned to type on a typewriter.  Muscle memory dictates two spaces.  I tried to be aware typing my first paper and I was only successful once.  I spent more time deleting extra spaces than typing the paper.  Argh!

Anyway, don't give up on me.  Posts are probably going to be a bit scarce until April.  Either that or they will be like this one filled with new revelations.  Like the new virus my computer has after downloading or uploading all this class stuff.   In an attempt to alleviate my fears that I may be too old for this digital age learning, I am going to post some peaceful images from the snowshoe excursion Ella and I took on Sunday.