Sunday, March 31, 2019

My Favorite Photos from March 2019

These are some of my favorite photos from March. The month started out with a big snowfall on the 2nd. The sky was so blue and provided a great contrast to the snow. This is a tree in the backyard.

The snow covered the berries on one of the plants in the front yard. The cedar waxwings and robins like to eat these in the Spring.

This is the front of our home. You can't even see it when the heavy snow weighs down the pine boughs.

As I was taking photos around the yard, this beautiful eagle soared overhead.

The snow is so high now that it almost is reaching the top of this four-foot tall fence.

I liked how the sun was shining through this oak tree. This is in the East pasture. We had all the pine trees transplanted about ten years after we moved here. They were in another pasture where the previous owners had started a little nursery of trees. We moved them before they got too big and their roots tangled. They provide a good visual block as well as a home for the wildlife.

The horses don't mind this weather too much. Bailey is wearing her penguin horse blanket. She wears it when the weather gets cold in the late-Fall/early-Winter until it gets to be above 30 degrees at night regularly in the Spring.

Hoss doesn't need a blanket. He seems to do really well without one. His fur is much thicker than Bailey's fur.

On March 8th, Sophia and I went to the humane society so she could play the harp while I pet some dogs. There were several who needed extra attention. LuLu loved listening to the harp music. She was very attentive.

On the 16th, I noticed the dogs were resting together. Aspen is using Cooper's hip and back for a pillow.

On March 16th, I made a SAORI woven scarf. This one is different from other weavings I've done in the past. This time I use a color theme and no roving (to add bumpy texture). I'm happy with how it turned out.

I learned some new skills and techniques this time which was fun. I ended up with a close-to five foot scarf during the three hours I was weaving. If you look close in the photo below, Eenie (the cat) is sitting to the right of the scarf under the blanket.

On St. Patrick's Day we had "shamrock shakes" with vanilla ice cream, milk, mint flavoring, and green food color. The girls topped their shakes with whipped cream.

On March 30, my sister, Sophia, Olivia, and I participated in a puzzle competition at the library. In 44 minutes we put together a 550-piece puzzle.

We were in second place. The team that won finished the puzzle in 41 minutes and 21 seconds. So close! Last year we were in first place, but it took us longer (about 56 minutes). We improved our time this year by quite a bit...and this year's puzzle was much harder than last year's puzzle!

Today I worked on doing the March clue for the Minnesota Quilters' Mystery Quilt. Each month we get clues to create quilt blocks based on fabric that was cut back in January. On April 1st, the next clue will be sent out.

A final picture for the month was taken today as well. It is of the front yard of our home taken from across the street standing in the ditch. I had to do that so I could angle the camera up to get the tops of the trees.

This is quite a contrast from the third photo in this post. It's the same grove of pine trees...except with no snow on them. What a difference a month makes!

A View of Where I Live

On the last day of March, it is rather bleak outside. There's not much color since the snow just melted about a week ago (though there are still patches of snow in spots). Within a month or so, though, there will be more color as the early-Spring flowers emerge and the trees start budding. It will look quite different. Until then, this is gives an idea what early-Spring in Minnesota looks like.

The east pasture is flooded from heavy snowfalls and then rain before the ground has thawed. This is the first time we have had a rather substantial-size pond in this pasture. This is one of two pastures for the horses, so there area is rather limited now.

The West pasture is having its own challenges too. These pictures show the Southwest (left side) and Northwest (right side) of the pasture. Never has this pasture been this flooded. We have a small lake (this is about half of the area - the other half is in the Southwest pasture (which we don't use) and in the neighbor's field. 

The horses are unable to access this pasture (what there is of it) since the water goes into their run that leads to this area. I can only hope this dries out soon. The frogs, though, came out this past week so I've been enjoying hearing them singing throughout the day and into the evening. The red-winged blackbirds, too, are singing. 

Onto drier land now. I'm standing across the street in the ditch to take this photo so I could get the full height of the trees. They have easily doubled in size since we moved here in 1995. They tower over our home and provide a great wind barrier when the wind is coming from the North.

Walking down the driveway and back to our home, this is the side that faces west. So the window on the first floor where the shutters are is the dining room. Many evenings when we eat dinner, we can see beautiful sunsets from there.

The little section that juts out is the mudroom. It was added on before we moved in, but after the original house was built in 1890. On top of the roof is a birdfeeder. We get such a variety of birds visiting the feeder, and many of my close-up photos of birds are taken from this window while the birds at the feeder.

We have been experiencing an oddly-cold kitchen this year. I'm not sure what is going on with it. We did have a fire at our farm this past May (May 5, 2018). Even though the siding was removed and replaced since it melted, the insulation was not removed. I'm wondering if it became somehow damaged during the fire. There is a distinct temperature difference between the rest of the house and the kitchen as well as master bedroom.

So, while making dinner tonight, the girls brought in the portable electric heater so the little dogs could stay warm. Danny and Scooby, especially, liked sitting in front of it while I made dinner.

One of Cooper's favorite spots is looking out the window in the living room. The chair is covered with a blanket so his paws don't get it dirty. Often times he comes in with mud on his paws since the backyard isn't yet finished from last year's repairs. (Once the ground is thawed and it is dry, it will be regraded and sodded.)

At any rate, he loves watching the birds at the feeder and is very protective of it. He doesn't like when the squirrels eat out of it. Cooper also has an issue with the pheasants for some reason. They are rather big as they walk by the window. Maybe he thinks they are some type of threat to the other littler birds and wildlife.

While I'm at it, I might as well take photos of all the dogs. This is Aspen sitting on her favorite couch. The blanket should be covering the cushions. However, she moves it. She likes to sit on the cushion itself and not blankets. The other little gray mattress is for Danny. Sometimes he likes to sit up high on the couch and watch what is happening.

This is a lighted cabinet that belonged to my parents. It has many of their items in it that I inherited when both passed away in 2012 and 2015. I've added some of my own items to it that I don't want the pets to break.

Each item has a memory and story. The black pitchers in the back are from England in 1988 when my parents and I visited my sister when she was studying abroad during college. The two teapots are from China when we adopted Sophia and Olivia in 2001 and 2003.

The green glass bird belonged to my parents. My grandma had similar glass birds - a blue one (that my sister has) and a purple one (that I have). The silver salt and pepper shakers belonged to my grandma on my mom's side.

Last, the textured bowl with grapes on the outside and copper/gold on the inside is from my parents. They would put homemade cranberry sauce in on Thanksgiving each year.

This was kind of a hodge-podge of photos showing some of our home from the outside; our dogs in different rooms of our home; and a piece of furniture holding special memories.

Outdoor Mom's Journal - March 2019

During our outdoor time this month we went...outside to see the beauty of the huge snowfall on March 2nd. I always enjoy seeing how snow sparkles.

There sometimes are bird prints in the snow.

The trees look almost magical with their frost-covered branches against the blue sky.

The frost on the branches almost looked sharp.

The view from the street of our farm looked so remote and like something I'd see up north. It's been a joy to watch how the trees have grown so much since we've lived here. 

The sun was shining so brightly and made the ice on the branches sparkle.

The snow was so high that it almost reached the top of the woven-wire fence. 

The pathway from the barn back to the house was very narrow. The snow is heavy and high, so it is difficult to shovel wide paths. Thankfully, the days are getting warmer and the sun is moving closer to us so the snow will be gone by the end of the month. 

There was a bunch of crows that have been hanging around at the farm. They enjoy sitting on top of the pine trees next to the driveway. They get a great view of the pasture and farm. 

The most inspiring thing we experienced was...spending time outside on March 2nd trudging through the east pasture. The snow was very deep, so it was quite the workout lifting each leg high and putting it down into the snow.

Yet, the reward was feeling like I was in the remote Northwoods - all alone except for the horses.

While out in the pasture, there would be a periodic gentle wind that would nudge the snow from the trees - creating a "snow shower." 

Our outdoor time made us ask (or wonder about) the horses are able to handle such extremes in temperature.


This year, the temperature plunged to below -50 degrees windchill. During the summer, temperatures and "feel like" weather will be well into the 100+ degrees.

I think the Spring and Fall are the favorite times for the horses. They gallop and spend more time outdoors (rather than choosing to spend it in the barn), and finding food is much easier to do.

In the garden, we are planning/planting/harvesting...nothing at this point. By March 31st, all the snow has melted and we are looking at some serious flooding - especially in our west pasture.

The ground has not thawed yet and between the snow and rain, the pond is increasing in size. The horses can't reach this pasture since their walkway/path is under a good couple feet of water (at least).

It is hard to do much of anything outside since we can't dig yet. We have to let things dry out like they are on higher ground here.

Thankfully, around the house things are relatively dry. They are just brown and dull in color compared to the start of the month with the brilliant white snow and beautiful blue sky.

I added nature journal pages about...daily observations that I see from the house as I look out, when I'm outside, and/or when I'm driving. I'm continuing to keep track of the birds I see and noticing how they are starting to change as some early birds are making their way back north.

I am dreaming about…
days when I can see the lawn furniture. Underneath the snow, there are two outdoor chairs and couch. I've never seen the snow this high before.

Even the picnic table is piled high with snow.

A photo I would like to share...
when I was outside on March 2nd taking photos of the snowfall, an eagle flew from the east pasture, through the backyard, and right overhead. It was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen!

Saturday, March 23, 2019

March 2019 Scavenger Hunt - Photography

This is a swap on Swap-Bot in you find five things to photograph and send the images to three partners. Below are my photos for the five items:

 A pretty sky photo 

Although this isn't a sunrise or sunset photo, I like this photo of the sky because it isn't snowing or raining. February and most of March have been filled with both which has created some challenges here with flooding. Our pond, which is normally half this size, continues to grow each day as the snow melts.

The photo was taken on the first day of Spring before I took all four dogs for a walk. I have to do two walks (two dogs at a time). They liked the warmer weather, no ice on the road, and seeing the cows down the block from us.

Something smooth

There are a couple of things that are smooth that I found. One is a figure of a camel that is carved from wood. I think, if I am recalling correctly, it is from an olive tree. My dad brought it back from a trip he took to Israel many years ago (probably two decades ago).

The other photo is of bowls I made in pottery class. I did the four on the right-hand side (the two in front and two in back); and my teacher did the bowl on the left side.

These are trimmed bowls, so the goal in the process was to create smooth sides by trimming and then using a wet sponge. Obviously, I am unable to make bowls that look like one another. I guess each will have a different purpose.

Something with the words "Have a Nice Day" on it

This was a lot more challenging than I thought it would be. Apparently there are no signs, posters, or anything that has the words "Have a Nice Day" on it.

So, I printed out an image I found online of the phrase. I only have a black-and-white printer, so the colorful letters aren't shown in the image. As I looked at the image, I thought it would be fun to do as a papercutting and then fill in the letters with different colorful papers.

The image above is of Aspen, one of our dogs, laying on her back under the bed covers. She likes to burrow under them for some reason. She wasn't ready to get out of bed quite yet. I guess she's taking it easy on a Saturday morning.

Something tucked inside something else

The girls and I received an invitation to attend a volunteer appreciation lunch at the nursing home where we volunteer.

On Wednesday (the first day of Spring), we did an activity with some of the seniors at the nursing home to celebrate Spring. We had a nice time talking and spending time with them. Next month, we will go back and Olivia will be doing a presentation about the nature photos she took while Sophia plays harp music.

Something that gives you hope

This past week, Sophia and I worked on scholarship applications. From the 20th-22nd, we were able to write, print, and assemble 14 packets that went to various organizations, foundations, and businesses. We are hoping that some of these materialize into scholarships so that the costs for college are reduced and student loans don't have to be taken out during the first year (at least).

The other thing that gives me hope is when I see the little "whiskers" at the end of the Christmas Cactus leaves. This means that there will be new leaves that will grow from them.

I'm also hopeful that this plant will bloom this Easter. It usually blooms twice a year. However, this past Christmas it didn't bloom as much. There was only one bloom which is unusual. This is the plant that my Dad grew for decades. I have been able to take cuttings from it and create another plant.

It would be wonderful if both plants bloomed next month. I can only hope that these little whiskers are a good sign.