Sunday, December 25, 2011
Friday, December 23, 2011
Long ago and far away, I believed in Santa Claus. My mother, who also made those kicky curtains you can see behind her left shoulder, told me all about him. To be fair, she also told me about Jesus, who slept perpetually in the tiny manger of the creche you see over my right shoulder.
Come to think of it, none of what my mother told me about Christmas turned out to be true. But that's another story.
When my older sister and I were wee ones, my parents longed for an opportunity to sleep in on a Sunday. So my mother would set out craft projects on the coffee table before she went to bed on Saturday, and then we would keep ourselves busy creating until Mom and Dad got up on Sunday.
The project I remember better than any was the clothespin angels. It was so simple: glue together a red triangle for the dress, a pink circle on the front of one point as the face, a half paper doily on the back for wings, and a silver or gold circle behind the pink circle for the halo. I don't remember what we did for hair, but we always had yarn and pipe cleaners around.
The magic of the craft came in the decorating. Glitter. Sequins. Crayons, colored pencils, markers. Our house was craft supply heaven, and our imaginations knew no limits. Mom had assembled one sample. The rest was up to us.
Do angels have buttons? Ours did. Or do they wear stripes or plaid? Maybe one angel's dress had a scalloped hem, accentuated with a piece of rick-rack. Our angels smiled. Or had round, singing mouths. Some sported rouge.
Once the glue dried, each angel was stuck to a clothespin and attached to the tree. As the days of Christmas wore on in the dry heat of the early '60s, the glue would crack and pieces of the angels fell to the floor. Only a few angels endured the season to be packed up with the heartier ornaments and brought out again the next year.
But we remembered how to make them, year after year. Later, in my adult life, I took Polaroid photos of all of my colleagues, cut their heads out and created clothespin angels with their faces. It was a spectacular tree. Even Oskar was on that tree.
But my best clothespin angel memories come from that first year, working quietly next to my sister while Mom and Dad slept in.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Saturday, December 17, 2011
I did manage to put some lights on the front fence, along with a wreath.
That's all nice, but I was still lagging on spirit. So I told Ulani "let's get in the car and see what other people are doing for Christmas lights!" Always game for a road trip, Ulani jumped right in and off we went.
We drove on. My friend Charley had featured a different sort of display on his blog, Vector Charley, and I wanted to see it myself.
Coming around a bend in a dark country road, I saw tail lights ahead. A number of them, actually, and I knew I'd found it.
There are about two acres of lights. Honestly. I don't know if this family puts on such a show every year, or if this is something new. Maybe a reader can shed some light on that? (Ugh, sorry for the pun!)
Seeing this display took me back to my childhood, when our family would pile into the station wagon after dinner and drive around to see the lights. Dad would have scouted out some major set-ups on his way home from work, so we often went beyond our own neighborhood to see the latest and greatest. For years my favorite lights were on a huge pine tree. The family had it covered in lights, and the lights would change colors, slowly blending from green to blue to red to gold.
After driving around for an hour or so, we'd get back home and have hot chocolate with marshmallows floating in it, then go to bed and dream of all the wonders of Christmas.
Well, my spirit's not back to 100%, but I'd say it's rising! And we have something else to celebrate now -- this is the 300th post on Life at Busy Solitude Farm! 300 posts in three years! I'd never have anticipated reaching this milestone!
I hope that your Christmas spirit (no matter what your religion, you're allowed to have some) is warm and cheery this year. And my wish for all of us this holiday season is for...
Saturday, December 10, 2011
What fun it was to drive through the countryside before sunrise chasing the eclipse! I only wish we were a bit further west today, so that we could have seen the full eclipse.
Friday, November 25, 2011
Last year a number of people asked if they could buy a copy of my calendar, so this year I have ordered a limited number of extras, now available for $20 (which includes postage).
The cover is a bit misleading as it's the only black and white photo in the calendar! Here are a few samples of the inside.
Each month has a different view of the Busy Solitude Barn. In deference to my aging eyes, I made the dates super large this year -- you can look up from your desk and actually see what the date is without squinting!
If you enjoy the rural life, I think you would enjoy having one of these calendars on your wall.
Monday, November 21, 2011
I am really hoping that since the appearance genetics seem to be coming from the mother (the only roosters right now are white) perhaps her sex will, too!
Sunday, November 6, 2011
You've already guessed the end of the story!
So I hurriedly got the isolation pen enclosed (I'd taken some of the wire down so that all the birds had free range through that space. I really did not expect a chick!). Brought water and a separate feeder. Added fresh straw to the box.
And then caused the hen one final injustice, when I reached under her and grabbed out her baby. Oh the uproar! The violation! The alarm! As soon as I could get a word in, I said "for goodness sake, you're going too!" and I grabbed the hen and raced her and her baby into their new suite.
If this chick breaks my bad luck chain and turns out to be a girl, I think I'll call her Faith!
Friday, November 4, 2011
Just before 7 this morning, Orion in all his glory over the barn. See the three little stars lined up? That's his belt. The bright star below the belt is one corner of his, uh, skirt. The bright star above the belt is one of his shoulders. Here's a map:
You can't see all the stars that make up Orion. The camera didn't capture them all, though the sky was so clear and crisp this morning that I could see them!
I hope this means that the stars are aligned for us!
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
My princess, Ulani, had to be boarded for two nights a few weeks ago when I went to a conference out of town. I decided to have them groom her and give her a bath. Such luxury! Since Ulani is 8 years old and has never been professionally groomed, I told the groomer that it was not necessary for anyone to get stressed, and if it was easier, she could cut Ulani's coat. But I specifically asked her NOT to cut her "fall" (aka "bangs"). Specifically.
This was Ulani a week before boarding:
And this was the evening she came home:
I don't despair.
I've not a care.
It's just hair.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
And then I began creating two "pumpkin" pies for my book group meeting this evening. My favorite is made from roast butternut squash, which I did yesterday. This morning I baked crusts, adding a half cup of toasted, crushed pecans to the dough. Then I mixed up the custard and now they're baking away.
That's what staycation is all about!