under the magic blanket

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These seed packets jumped into my shopping cart the other day.  I’ve been reading the seed catalogs and dreaming about what I will plant in the garden this year.  Ah spring, I’m looking forward to welcoming you.

Right now, though, it is very cold out and we are under a blanket of snow.  Our pipes are frozen and it is a wee bit cold in the house.

Don’t you agree that there is something so special about the first snow of the season?  We had ours on Saturday.  Everything is covered in a sparkly blanket,  surely magic is responsible for all that glitter.  Right?

In chicken land – ain’t nobody happy.

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There was a chicken convention inside the covered run.

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Sweet Pea stood high up on the ledge speaking to the audience.  She declared that snow should be outlawed.

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They all agreed.

The other girls inside the hen-house said they were not under any circumstances going out in that white stuff.  It was way too scary!

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Boo went inside and mingled with the girls for a bit.

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I’ve been concerned for my feathered friends, these temperatures are so low.  This morning I made warm oatmeal with apples, blueberries, tomatoes a bit of left-over pasta and yogurt.  It warms their crops and that is a good thing.

The peas came out of their house for a little while.

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Papaya came out first and then, Mango and eventually Coconut.  They loved the sun shining on their bodies.  Hated the snow on their feet.

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They did a stroll around the house, checked on all the hens and then headed back to their house for warmth.

Boo and I took a short walk, he wanted to smell all the footprints he came across and roll endlessly in the snow, making dog angels.  I wanted to take a few photos.  But that didn’t last too long, my feet were freezing.  So I snapped a few and headed back in to the warmth.

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Bear prints

I thought our Virginia Black Bears hibernate all winter, I recently heard in a news article, that in fact, they do not.  Especially the young.

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Deer tracks

There were surprisingly few wildlife tracks in the snow.  Even they say it is too cold to be out.

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This fancy store-bought birdhouse was given to me. The side panel opens to plexiglass so you can view the birds inside.  Never a bird has lived in it.  Wasp, however, believe it is grand.

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This house and all the others that Father Cottage has built are always occupied.

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This house sitting on the picnic bench was placed there temporarily until I figured out where I wanted it.  It sat there all summer, and it too remained occupied.  So I left it there.

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Sunday supper we filled our bellies with warm beans and country ham, that had simmered in the crock pot all day.  I made jalapeno cornbread that was a disappointment, the peppers didn’t have much heat, nonetheless, they were gobbled up and enjoyed.

That was our weekend, under a blanket of magic.

I hope your weekend was lovely.

Thank you for being here today.

xo kim

four

Here we go again.

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Obviously, the company that supplies the oil which we burn in our furnace is involved in the conspiracy to keep spring away.

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Last week was all hustle and bustle.  We had company coming, and I had cleaning and cooking to do.  You know the kind of cleaning that you put off doing until you are expecting visitors, and then you panic.

 Yeah, that kind of cleaning.

I didn’t find even a minute for sewing,  jewelry making or any kind of creative endeavors.

Today, we are turning it down a notch,  Mr. Cottage and I are enjoying a snow day together.

Mr. Cottage is the breakfast chef in our house.  This morning he made us Irish waffles.

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Bisquick brand gluten-free waffles, which the chef adds a splash of vanilla and a dash of cinnamon, and this morning a drop of green food coloring for fun.

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The snow feels welcome after a weekend filled with high winds, and low humidity.  Amazingly with all the snow, and ice we have had, our area was issued a fire warning.  We heard sirens all weekend, fire trucks blaring past, and the forestry bulldozers rumbled down the road.  It has been about 17 years since Mr. Cottage worked for the Virginia Department of Forestry, yet when one of the employees drive by they still throw up a hand or toot a hello honk.   We are saddened there have been so many fires around us, and thankful for those on the job.

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I hope you have the luck of  the Irish on your side on this St. Patrick’s Day!

I’ve had a dream for as long as I can remember, of  someday going to Ireland.

Four days until the calendar says spring!

See you later, Bye!

Kim

challenge

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First obstacle is making it through the never-ending winter.

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Trying to find beauty in everyday objects.

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The fur babies are feeling very challenged by all the winter weather and they are keeping an eye on the calendar for spring to arrive.  I’m pretty sure it is just around the corner.  The snow is quickly melting with the warm temps we had yesterday and are expected to have today.

 It was suggested by my health care team, that I try a gluten-free diet.

 I wearily dived into this challenge by purchasing these items.

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All the cool weather and snow, ice and freezing rain has me craving comfort food.

The first thing I made, was baked macaroni and cheese.  I love this simple easy recipe, from Trisha Yearwood.

Recipe.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese from Trisha Yearwood

Baked Macaroni and Cheese from Trisha Yearwood

 I used the Heartland fusilli, and yes the pasta did taste like corn bread; as mentioned in the article below.  I happen to like corn bread, so I didn’t find it to be awful – just different.

I found this review of  gluten-free pasta from Cooks Illustrated  – after I purchased my pasta.

If you have positive experience with gluten-free products that you care to share with me, please do.

In the craft department,  I’ve been challenging myself to learn new techniques.   I’m having a blast making a mess, and stumbling along in my world of creativity.

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What is challenging you these days?

See you later, Bye!

Kim

Ms. Yearwood is coming to dinner

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sunflowers on my kitchen window sill

After draining the tomato cans of their contents for the following recipe, I plop in some sunshine from my sweetie.

So maybe she isn’t coming in person, but her Black Bean Lasagna is.

From Trisha Yearwood’s  first cookbook.

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 She has an updated healthier version, which is made with tofu and cashew nuts in place of the ricotta – since I am allergic to cashew nuts, I had to stick with the original version.

Recipe:

While the lasagna cooks I head out for some winter white photos.

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Mr. Cottage shovels paths in the snow so that the fur babies can get around.

We had about 10 inches – in some places more with the drifting and all.  Then rain set in for a while and flattened the fluffy.

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Shoveling the driveway.

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Grape arbor looking back toward the cottage and the studio.

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Quiet snow surrounds the studio.

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The brilliant blue of the wine bottle glows.

I like the sparse rose bushes against the stark whiteness of the snow.

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A few rose hips remain.

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Yucca poking through.

The pond is ice and snow-covered and still.

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A view of Coral Cottage from the back side of the pond.  On grey days like this, our cheerfully painted  little cottage makes my heart very happy.

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We are expecting a few more inches of snow tonight.

The lasagna was warm and yummy on this cold snowy night.

Courtesy The Food Channel

Photo Courtesy Ms. Yearwood

See you later,

Bye!

Kim

craft table

My craft table view

a very messy craft station

a very messy craft station

Wonder how this scary mess could turn into something productive?

We had snow again, during the night.  Today is a good day to stay in and work on a few projects, including cleaning up this mess.

Window view

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Cheerful – a bright red cardinal against the snow.

See you later,

Bye!

Kim