Monday, January 26, 2015

weekending - farmville

winter wonderland :: the view from migraine-land :: morning tea :: the stairs :: the study :: 
the kids' zone at the community library :: the bakery :: the GreenFront :: 
antiquing :: Ruffner ceiling :: heading home

One of Julian's friends from undergrad invited him down to give a talk at Longwood University. Since it was on a Friday, we took the opportunity to make a long weekend of it and enjoy ourselves. We stayed at the Longwood B&B. Originally the Alumni House at Longwood, it is now operated as a B&B on the edge of campus to host visitors like ourselves. It was a delightful place and the inn director, Lorrie Watson, was wonderful. 

After our 5 1/2 hour trip, I was down for the count Friday night with a migraine. It was terrible timing, but I will admit that being at the B&B in my time of distress felt so very Jane-gone-to-Pemberly-in-the-rain , which I didn't mind one bit. While Julian gave his talk and enjoyed a bit of a reunion with his friend, I toured around Farmville and had a great time looking through books, sipping tea, and browsing antiques and furniture. What's not to love? 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Yarn along - knitty things

Me: Oh, knitty things! Where have you been?! 
Yarn: In the bottom of the basket in which you shoved all manner of quilty things on top of me. 
Me: I know. I'm so sorry. Forgive me?
Yarn: I'll think about it.
Me: {shame}

So here's to finishing up my honey hat. Once again, I have acquired a whole new ball of yarn when all I need is about 30 yards. Ugh. The irony. 

I'm doing a bit of traveling this weekend and between some time in the car and my sister-in-law's stash of needles (#3 double points) I hope to have this puppy all done by the time we are back in WV. 

As far as reading is concerned... books and I aren't getting along well these past few weeks. Since the last time I posted for Yarn Along, I have been ticking off some classics that went unread in my {apparently mis-spent} youth. I've read Little Women, My Journey to the New World and Like the Willow Tree (both Dear America books), and The Great Gatsby.  I started to read both Walden and Middlemarch, without making it far in either. In Middlemarch, I made it to the end of chapter nine, at which point it was already evidence that there would be no happily ever after, and if there was, I'd have to wait about 71 more chapters for it to be revealed. I enjoyed Walden in theory, but Thoreau wouldn't stop bad-mouthing farmers and country-folk, so I didn't make it very far in that one either. I may, however, try again in another season of life. 

On my to-read list are the following: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Love in a Time of Cholera, and something by Willa Cather. I'm taking recommendations...

Joining Ginny @ Simple Things

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Found: birdhouse

the thaw :: two canvasbacks (L) one redhead (R) ::
 three redheads (L) one female canvasback (M) one greater scaup (R) ::
 geese :: sycamore :: birdhouse :: air dry 

We went out this morning looking for birds. We are up to 48 species for the new year, and we added the Common Goldeneye, Greater Scaup and Northern Shoveler to our list. In addition to this excitement, I found a washed up birdhouse by the power plant. This spot is notorious for flotsam and jetsam. I honestly do not know where it all comes from! Last year at this same spot, Julian and I saw 17 basketballs float down the river within ten minutes from one another at this spot. I reached down and grabbed the house still covered with ice and soggy from its trip.

I love it! It is like it was meant for us to find it. I was last at this spot yesterday at 11am, so it had only recently washed up. One more thing to stow away while I wait for spring!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Kitchen Notes

chocolate toffee muddy buddies :: strawberry rugelach :: banana breads :: 
chocolate chip muffins and tea :: scotch eggs :: black bean hummus

I'm sure that, if you've gotten this far down in the post, you're thinking what I'm thinking - quick, someone bring out the veggies before we all just keel over. That's why I made the black bean hummus. Too little, too late?

The good news is that most of these photos are from the past two weeks and we are both happy to be back to a more normal kitchen routine. Fruits, veggies and WATER (instead of nog, cider, cocoa and all those scrummy things) have made their way back into our daily dosing. In fact. I had to consciously decide NOT to bake this evening because we don't need the calories, we don't need the mess and have you seen the price of butter lately!?!

What's going on in your kitchen? All good things full of New Year's resolve and the like, I hope. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Moving on

Today was the first day of the last semester of Julian's being a student. While he hasn't been a "student" in the true sense of the word, it is still a milestone. It is hard to believe that we are almost to the end of this 5-yr journey. It is not the least bit uncomfortable to know that in the next six months we will likely have a completely new life though we have no idea where or what it will look like. It is overwhelming just thinking of all that needs to be done between now and June... and knowing that June will come whether we get things done or not. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

This moment - swans

{this moment} A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. 
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.

Joining Soulemama.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Grandma's House

Centerpoint Covered Bridge :: the creek :: a recipe from Myrna :: Buddy, the spoiled 
Ohio Star :: almost done :: pumpkin pie :: puzzling with Uncle Phil and Julian

We made a day trip to Grandma's house on Monday. It was nice. We were supposed to have bad weather overnight, but no snow came which made for much easier travel. The point of our trip was to follow up on a promise that I would help paint a barn quilt star for Grandma's barn. My aunt Coleen has always wanted one, and my uncle Phil painted Grandma's old barn (and repaired the door that his bulls tore off!) special for the occasion.

On the way across the state, we stopped and saw the Centerpoint covered bridge, one of only three remaining covered bridges in West Virginia that we have not seen. In other news, we came home with two hand-me-down cat puzzles (we are a puzzling' family, in case you can't tell), a box of Swiss Miss cocoa, a framed quilted star from my great grandmother's sewing basket, and a few yeast rolls. Not a bad haul for our labors.

About that recipe - this was a recipe Grandma and aunt Lois said was really great. It is a seven layer bar-type thing. As Grandma didn't feel the need to write down the instructions, I'll tell you it goes something like this:

Preheat your oven to 350F. In the bottom of a 9x13, melt the butter, press the graham crackers in the bottom, using the butter as glue (Lois says she has used GF rolled oats in place of the graham with good results). Dump all the other ingredients on top, presumably in five more layers. Bake for 25-28 minutes. Allow to cool completely (and/or chill) before cutting into 36 + pieces.

Thursday, January 1, 2015


Well, we didn't party very hard, unless you consider making some pastries and watching some Barcelona World Race coverage "partying hard." We did that.

We might not be very good at watching the ball drop but we are much better at watching birds. The eBird checklists reset at the beginning of each year, so this is the one day of the year that seeing a pigeon is just as exciting as seeing a bald eagle.

We started the year off right with a 6:30am wake up call. Into the car went a picnic basket filled with smoked salmon, crackers, cheese, pastries and caramels, a thermos full of hot cider and our binoculars. Last year, we set a goal of 20 species on Jan. 1 and this year, we didn't come home until we had reached the same number. The wind was terrible, but the sun shone brilliantly.

No pheasant or horned lark for us on this outing, but you can't see them all on the first day of the year, right?

Happy New Year! I resolve to make no resolutions and not suffer any disappointment by not fulfilling them! May the coming year be filled to overflowing with goodness for us all.