Wishing out my window

Dare we dream that winter is waning?  In Arkansas we’ve learned that the only thing we can count on with the weather is change.  This past past week’s predictions left event he professionals baffled, throwing their hands int he air, resigning themselves to the fact that they really don’t know.

But today the sun is shining and while the temp on my weather app only reads 4 degrees above freezing, I’m filled with the hope of spring.

And I’m sure that hope will be dashed.  It wouldn’t be the first and certainly not the last, but I keep on waiting for spring ans hoping it will be sooner that later.

I’m starting to plan this year’s garden.  As with last year’s I’m battling my chronic habit of over planting.  I dream big.  I have visions of canning and freezing and drying.  Freezing was my last resort last year and I still have bag of peppers waiting to be turned into jelly.  I’s really hard to plan for this year with last summers bounty still sitting int he freezer.

Maybe I’ll plan a canning party.   Maybe it will just be a party of one.


The Snow Walk

In my mind I love to go on walks.  I think about them all the time.  I reality I do love a good walk but never seem to find the time.  Or make the time.  The time is there.  It just involves me getting off my butt.

Al thought for some reason when it snows on the hill I’m motivated.  Maybe it’s just a subconscious effort  to fight off the coming boredom.  But I’d like to think it has more to do with wanting to see the beautiful outside in a blanket of winter white.

At the beginning of this year Alison Chino invited all of us to walk with her.  Now since she’s living in Scotland at the moment (poor lass) these are virtual walks she shares on her blog.  She has challenged herself and those interested in making #48walks.  That’s almost a walk a week with a couple off got good behavior.  One of my favorite things to anticipate is the beautiful pictures Allison posts of her walks on Instagram.  I’ve got to start that trip-to-Scotland fund soon.

So when Friday night covered the hillside in snow, I knew Saturday would want a walk.  After a breakfast of eggs in toast, I suited up in my hiking boots and insulated Carhartt bib overalls (these are my saving grace in the cold weather) and we headed up the hill.

Our land is covered with trees so when the ice comes as it did before the snow we tend to lose a lot of branches and even some of the trees themselves.  This was a good time to survey what needed to be cleaned up and removed come warmer weather.  More firewood for next year.

Luke started out with us on the snow walk.

HE of course found the trees with the old rope swing and climbers for an old deer stand.  Please pray for no emergency room visits.

Here is where the snow walk becomes the wishing walk.  We crossed the barbed wire fencing onto the adjacent land.  Land we wish and hope and pray will be ours some day.  Ben and I headed down the hill to the wide open pasture.  Clusters of small birds rise up from the snowy grasses as we walk along.

We concluded our walk by heading back up the hill to the house with stops to say hello to the goats.  They were interested in treats.  But were happy to stand there while I rubbed their necks and scratched between their horns.

The chickens weren’t at all enticed to venture out.  A few steps down the gang plank to double check that the ground was still white and it was back inside for them.

I returned to the house frosty faced ans ever so happy for the wood stove.  And hot drinks.

I hope I can do this more often.  Make walking one of my conscious efforts.  Maybe.

Flowers in the snow

The Farmer’s Almanac didn’t lie when they said this winter would be exceptionally harsh.  Sleet, ice, and finally snow this weekend.  But in the midst of the cold wind and rain there is something growing.  Something getting ready to bloom.  And once the bulbs start poking their fat green buds up out of the snowy cold ground, I know before I’m ready it will be time to prep the garden. 

So on Tuesday after a glazing of ice, I ventured out to attend a pre-event for the Arkansas Flower and Garden Show that will be happening later this month.  Cars full of Arkansas Women Bloggers arrived at a lovely house with wonderful food and a nice warm fire. 

Our hosts for the evening were Clark and Henrik owners of Colonial Wine and Spirits and as they wined and dined us the great folks from the Arkansas Flower and Garden Show gave us a taste of what we might see that weekend and how their main focus is on education.

Download the Schedule of Events and Programming.

I know for myself I always feel like I’m bumbling along with my gardening.  That I’ve just by the grace of God inherited a tint of my dad’s deep green thumb.  I’m always longing to learn more and for it all to really sink in and that I know what to do without having to give it much thought.

The sunny faces of jonquils and daffodils will be bobbing with the breeze in my yard soon.  Bulbs that have lived there for years long before we arrived on the hill.  There are a few red tulips that pop up along with the sweet smelling hyacinths.  Dad always took immense pride in his bulbs.  Carefully digging them back up every year and storing them on a shelf in the garage.  We would pour over the catalogs from Holland planning what we wanted for the next year.  I think I’d like to add more tulips to the yard.  Crocuses and grape hyacinths too.

Along with a wonderful evening we went home with some great goodies.  Among the loot were tickets to the Flower and Garden Show February 21-23.  I have 4 tickets to give away.  I don’t do too many giveaways but we’ll see how this goes.  Two names will be selected and each receive 2 tickets.  Please comment below and tell me what your plans are for your garden this year.

Home is where the hearth is

Arkansas weather is being, well, Arkansas weather.  A friend described it as “winter weather whiplash.”  The temps have been on a yo-yo and my sinuses are NOT enjoying the ride.

We’ve been dreaming of a wood stove since we moved to the hill. I guess you could say since we moved back to Arkansas since our first house didn’t have one either. In San Antonio we longed for days cool enough to build a fire in the fireplace. But when we move further north where the winters actually feel like winter we were fireplace-less.  We also worried about not having an alternate heating source since our house in all electric. 

I was determined to have a wood stove that was pretty.  One that complemented the decor of the living room and wasn’t a big black box (I was willing to paint it if need be.)

After searching Pinterest, I found some absolutely adorable models only to realize “These aren’t sold in the US only Europe” or “Good Lordy! That’s the price of a small car!”  My style taste was not in our price range.

But this year Craiglist brought a Christmas Miracle.  A man had bought a new house with a wood stove in it but his wife wanted it out.  (In my opinion she must have not been right in the head.) 

So he posted it for a song!  $350 + the gas to Memphis + a meal at the Rendevous for Ben & his friends that helped move it.

We spent most of our Christmas vacation building the hearth and bricking the wall.

(I plan to continue under the chair rail eventually.)

Our goal was to have it operational by the end of January.  And after much waiting on stovepipe and cutting holes in the ceiling and buying elbows for the piping (Good Lord we spent  more on those than the stove.  They aren’t cheap.)  theeeeeen, cutting a hole in the roof (that was not without a lot of nervousness on my part)……….

We were able to enjoy our first fire in our wood stove this weekend! 

Just in time for 67° F weather.  Our second fire sent us running to open windows last night when the thermostat reached 79°.  But rest assured its 31° today.

And I’m looking forward to curling up on the couch tonight and enjoy the show.