Saturday, January 15, 2022

Millie and I Take to a Snowy Trail...

 


Day 329 (or Day 1,644 if one should count the day last Feb. 15 when, with cold sodden feet, we turned around before having reached the summit of our hilltop, as my son insists I should do.)



Millie was silly and cut all kinds of capers in the snow.



As though she had never seen snow before.


Surely there's something hiding underneath.



It was definitely a monochrome kind of day.  There seemed to be only two colors ~ black and white~ if those really are colors at all.



The farther we walked the harder the snow fell.  The Cannon I had brought along was getting wetter with each step.



Even the water had no color today.



The snow was not as deep near the pond.  Wasn't it somewhere back in Junior High that we learned about bodies of water and their effects on climate?



The snow was flying when we walked the meadow trails.  I was wearing two pairs of wool socks, and it was here that the outer pair decided to eat up the inner pair.  I limped on.  I wondered if Millie's feet were getting cold.



Of course, the old cow puncher was putting out hay for the cattle.  To see them following after the tractor always makes me think of "The Pied Piper."  I wonder if kids today even know that old tale.



The cattle had trampled the snow here on this part of the trail, having taken refuge from the snow in the woods.


Dot paused just long enough for a picture before going on to the hay.


The Shanty looked snug in its blanket of snow, so we didn't go in today.  Millie loves going in and hanging out with me when I potter about there.  





And, of course, there's the "Most Photographed Tree" again, all dressed up for a winter's shoot.  She (I call it a she, but I think it is a boy tree for it has never produced fruit.) wears all colors well in all the seasons, but I think I like her best in white.  The snow was fairly flying by now, so it was not the most becoming of her pictures.  




Saturday, January 8, 2022

A Shepherd's Hut...

 


Riding shotgun, as we often say when one of us goes along to "get the gates," is a job that often falls on my shoulders.  It is during these times that I get most of the pictures that end up being selected for winners in our annual Photo of the Year contest.  This one will be hard to beat. 

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The first week of my Winter Hibernation has ended.  I have seen no one except one old Cow Puncher, which I might add is one of my greatest joys.   The mail carrier has been here a couple of times, but even he was gone before I had the pleasure of speaking to him.  I am not lonely.  

 Every day I have focused on being more creative and artistic in everything I do - the way I  dress and style my hair, the way I set the table and arrange the dishes in the cupboards, and even in the way I hang out the clothes to dry.    

This week, I finished reading the Thomas Hardy classic, Far From the Madding Crowd.  It was rather slow reading for me because I often had to go back and reread complete sentences or paragraphs in order to grasp the whole meaning, but I really loved this book. Mr. Hardy surely has a way with words!  I took notes, as usual, and jotted down passages that I liked, then copied them in one of the little notebooks.  I even made a couple of rough sketches.


The sky was clear - remarkably clear - and the twinkling of all the stars seemed to be but throbs of one body, timed by a common pulse.  The north Star was directly in the wind's eye, and since evening the Bear had swung round it outwardly to the east, till he was now at a right angle with the meridian.  - Thomas Hardy

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 But, silly me!  Why should I try to draw and paint a picture of what Mr. Hardy's words can paint thousands of times better?  Or, that I might see oh-so-beautifully on a wonderful clear evening by simply tipping my head and looking upward into the heavens. 

I almost threw the drawings into the trash, but then there was the shepherd's hut - such a solitary and lonely looking little abode that seemed to be setting right at heaven's door.- and I couldn't do it.   I can imagine Gabriel there playing his flute.  Take a peak here at this YouTube video.  This melts my heart!




I have managed to sew some every day, both by machine and by hand which I enjoy so much.  Millie and I have walked the big bad hill every day, and the hubby hasn't yet had to hang out the laundry.  If you happen to be flying overhead and see someone dressed in bright plaids walking beside her ever so faithful and beautiful Millie, it might be me. 

I have a new book to read.  How sweet it is to have friends looking out for me, keeping me inspired and supplied with reading materials.  I know I am going to enjoy this one.  These books make me appreciate Millie even more than I already did.  The wolves are her cousins, you know!







Thanks for stopping by.  Take care!

Mary


P.S. Don't forget to follow the link above to watch the clip of Far From the Madding Crowd.  You aren't alive if you don't love this one.


Friday, December 31, 2021

Looking Back... And Into the New Year



Here we are, Millie and Me, taking a long, last look at our old hill this year.  It was our 314th walk this morning since that oh-so-cold and snowy day last February 15 when I wrote on the calendar, "Our walking streak is broken!"  It had been 1,314 days since we had missed that daily trek.  I felt so sad when we had to turn back that day.  (My son said he thought we walked far enough to count.  He is a great supporter.)  I thought I would never count days again, but that's not like me.  I took another day off, and on the 17th I started counting again.  We now need a thousand more walks to get back where we were on that fateful day.  Will we ever get there?  Probably not, but we sure to heck are going to have fun trying. 

Here on the hill, we are all looking forward to a new year.  I plan to hibernate a bit and take life a little slower for the first six-weeks of 2022.  I want to read some and focus on a more creative year.  I asked the Hubby if he would help.  He replied, "I hope you don't expect me to hang out the wash."  :~)

 The picture below is from earlier this week when I pegged out the bed linens.  The Hubby thinks it is a great lot of work to do this, but I think it is a great lot of fun.  I love the contrast here of the leaves and the linens.  


It's always fun at year's end to look back at pictures taken over the past twelve months.  You know, as I have always heard, "A picture is worth a thousand words."  That's a good thing here for I seem to be better with pictures than with words. 

 The hubby and I have had a lot of fun looking back and have chosen a few of our favorites.  It was hard to choose a Photo of the Year, but we finally agreed on one that we thought deserved the honor.  




This Is Not Montana
Our Photo of the Year 2021




The Blizzard 2021



A Cow Puncher's Favorite




Our first day back on the trail.  Hubby made a pass through here in the tractor to pack the snow.  I still remember how hard it was to walk on those frozen tire tracks.  However, we still left some of our own tracks in the snow.   We were happy to see the sun!



The Old Homeplace
First Runner Up
We both really liked this one.



The Line Fence
We love the colors...





We walk past this little persimmon tree every day, so it gets photographed a lot.  It grows on a little peninsula that juts out into the pond.  No doubt, it is the perfect spot for the fairies that live there.  J. R. R. Tolkien would agree with that, I think.  




Mary's Favorite...


Take care, and happy new year.
I hope it's a good one.

Mary


Monday, December 27, 2021

"May you never be too grown up..."


 I feel safe to say that most of us are happy when the Jolly Old Elf is gone for another year.  He always leaves a tear or two in my eyes, a more compassionate heart, and a ton of inspiration for another year.  But, ah, just to know that there are 364 wonderful days between now and then.  (But, I am just now remembering how much fun we all had playing Bingo.  Maybe we should plan another game night somewhere in between...)



Blogging friends tear at my heart with their kindness and generosity.  And, wow, at their many talents!  I am humbled!  How I have enjoyed finding these cards in the old rusty mailbox at the end of the lane, as well as special greetings found in my computer's inbox.   



Oh, the joy of opening brightly wrapped packages to pull forth beautiful hand-sewn treasures like this wonderful, quilted piece.  I think I have looked at each meticulously placed stitch and have shaken my head in much love and admiration for the friend who hand stitched it.  I always say she is my mentor and reminds me a great deal of Tasha Tudor in her habits and talents, but not in looks. She has the philosophy of "Waste not, want not," and practices it in her everyday life.  I am quite sure she is leaving one of the smallest of small footprints on this earth.  How I admire her! 



Willa Cather once wrote, "...the irregular and intimate quality of things made entirely by the human hand."  I should like to surround myself with those things.  One of my blogging friends is a Master of It.  She makes her own soaps, weaves her own towels, makes her own hand-stamped greeting cards, and the list goes on and on.  I was fortunate enough to receive some of her soap which is just heavenly.  She really is like a sister!



The granddaughters gave me little notebooks like this one.  They know me well...better than I thought!  It kind of surprised me that they knew about them for I don't recall mentioning them.  There is a drawer full of them, so it may be that they have taken a peek at them at one time or another.  It's okay if they have for there's nothing there that I would mind them seeing.  






And, from me to me, and bought with the Hubby's money, I got these prizes from eBay.  What I am going to do with the Linda Brannock pieces, I have no idea.  Maybe just admire them, for they are quite wonderful.  I have already read some in the book and am enjoying it.  Good thing I have new books for taking notes.  (I had almost filled my last one with notes from the book about Wolves in Yellowstone.  I may never get over that one!)  






And, lastly, this little brown paper bag caught my attention when it was left here by the granddaughters.  The tag on it said, "Christmas Party Round Sack."   The paper is quite heavy and sturdy.  The back seam and the round bottom are sewn to form the bag.  One of the girls' Christmas presents was a machine for making doggie treats, so they brought some for Millie in the bag.  Of course, she loved it.  I have been calling her Millie 0-Six (0-Six was the star and the main character in The American Wolf.).  I am pretty sure she has been calling me Mary 0-Six. Yes, pretty sure!  I wonder if any of the wolves have one ear up and one ear down...



Until next time, take care and have a happy New Year.............  And, may you never be too grown up!

                                                                                              Mary







Tuesday, December 14, 2021

A Rainy Day and A Tree

 



It's a wonderful rainy day here; just what the doctor ordered.  We were delighted this morning to have puddles.  Millie and I splashed right through them and enjoyed every minute of it.  

And, just in case the rain should decide to change over to snow (which it's not going to do at 55 degrees), Santa Claus will be bringing me new Muck boots this Christmas.  They will be calf high so there shouldn't be a problem with snow going over their tops like there was last winter.  You may remember when we had our BIG snow, I had to turn around and go back home because the snow was deeper than my boots were tall.  Besides that, it was SO cold.  



We aren't doing much decorating for Christmas this year, other than for a couple of very slim Alpine trees ~ one in the front room and one in the sewing room.   


            
We have used an old set of rustic western village pieces this year, which seem to fit the alpine theme just fine.


                
I wouldn't mind living in one of these old homesteads, as long as I had a roaring warm fire when the cold winds are blowing.










Salt-glazed pottery and rustic stick houses may not seem a good match, but here on this little tree they seem to be happy together.  I bought these balls from a lady at a crafts fair many years ago. They are all hand painted with a different design.  She reminded me to be extra careful with them for they would break easily.  We have lost only one of them, but we never put them on the tree when the children and grandchildren were small.  






Wishing you all the simple joys of an old-fashioned Christmas.  Take care.

Mary



Tuesday, December 7, 2021

An Old Christmas Shepherd and a String of Sunset Planets...



Photo taken by me of the inside of a very old box that is in my possession.


One of my favorite books that I read with the kiddos in my classes was Mountain Born by Elizabeth Yates, in which Benj, the old shephard, imparted to the boy so many of life's lessons.  Lying on their backs watching over the sheep on steep hillsides at night with thousands of twinkling stars in the heavens above were times the boy wouldn't be forgetting as old Benj muttered his thoughts aloud.  "A man must have a care to what he puts in his mind, for when he's alone on a hillside and draws it out he'll want treasures to be his company, not regrets."   And, every day ended with one simple prayer, "Thank you Lord for another day."  

I created this cloth and clay figure intending it should be a Santa figure, but he's no Santa Claus.  He's a shepherd, abiding his flock.  Can't you see it too?  

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night."  Luke 2:8




Just last night, I began reading Thomas Hardy's Far From The Madding Crowd, 1874.  After the first page, I knew I was hooked on this one.  (The 2015 movie is a favorite of mine, too.)  Here it was again, the story of a shepherd watching his flocks by night.  

"Suddenly an unexpected series of sounds began to be heard in this place up against the sky.  They had a clearness which was to be found nowhere in the wind, and a sequence which was to be found nowhere in nature.  They were the notes of Farmer Oak's flute...

...Being a man not without a frequent consciousness that there was some charm in this life he led, he stood still after looking at the sky as a useful instrument, and regarded it in an appreciative spirit, as a work of art superlatively beautiful.  For a moment he seemed impressed with the speaking loneliness of the scene, or rather with the complete abstraction from all its compass of the sights and sounds of man.  Human shapes, interferences, troubles, and joys were all as if they were not, and there seemed to be on the shaded hemisphere of the globe no sentient being save himself, he could fancy them all gone round to the sunny side."  


You may be remembering at this time last year when many of us were watching the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn forming what became popularly known as the 2020 Christmas Star.  Many believe that it was such a conjunction of planets that shepherds followed on the night of Christ's birth ~ the first Christmas Star.  

For those of you who enjoy watching the sky, there's a lot going on out there this evening and through the 9th.  The Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus (which is very bright now) will be lining up just after sunset for a spectacular view.   Undoubtedly, many shepherds will be watching.