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.


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!


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.


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.  

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

It Was Quite a Party...


How can it be that this glorious month is almost over?  The colors of fall have been sensational from its beginning to its end.  It really has been quite a party.    

 The going along woodland' trails is a noisy affair these days as layers of leaves rustle beneath our feet.   Why, any critter for miles around undoubtedly knows when Millie and I go tramping up and down these old leaf-covered hillsides.  And, there's no way to know what might lay beneath all those leaves, rock or stick that might trip one up, so I lift my feet high and stick to the well-worn cattle trails.  

And, what a month for beautiful sunsets it has been.  My camera was filled with them, so that I had trouble choosing my favorites.

I have been jokingly telling my family that I will be hibernating for six-weeks after Christmas ~ a kind of Sabbatical I have been calling it.  I looked that word up and found a definition that suited my use of the word.  

Sabbatical ~ (1)A period of time during which someone does not work at his or her regular job and is able to rest, travel, do research, etc.  (2) A break or change from a normal routine.

Yes, that is exactly what I have in mind ~ just doing what to heck I please for six long weeks.

If you are familiar with The J. Peterman Company's catalog, you will know that there are some catchy little narratives describing the clothing and other items that are sold by the company.  The one below caught my eye.  

An 18th-century stone manor house.  Somewhere in Ireland.  For an entire month.  You promised yourself someday you'd do it.  Someday is now.  You did it.  It's yours.  Your own green fields.  Your own horses.  Your own bedroom windows looking down on the crashing seas.  Your own peat-burning fireplace.  Your own ancient Land Rover (which even occasionally works).  Your own live-in cook (with a few ideas of her own).

Ha! Ha!  Now how about that for a sabbatical?  (Of course, J. Peterman thinks one should take along their English Hunting Jacket.  100 per cent Shetland tweed from a 183-year old mill in northern England.  Price $298.

This was the view from my window late this morning.  It will do me just fine.  Besides, the thoughts of crashing seas frighten me. (Note those blue, blue skies.  It was another gorgeous day!  And 75 degrees!)

If you would care to take a look, Maggie Rose is modeling her new dress over at Linnie Butts & Company.  Just click on the old sewing machine at the top of the page.

Friday, November 12, 2021

Celebrating the Leaf...


"Every leaf looks like it is celebrating."  That's a quote taken from one of my young students back in the day.  I never forgot it.  

There comes a day when one knows that the time is right for Celebrating the Leaf.  Yesterday was the day.  It was definitely not a day to stay inside, lingering in some dark corner while there was a wild riot of color exploding all over the great outdoors.  So out the door we flew ~ Millie and Me ~ and this is what we found.  

I was proudest of the shot of the oh-so-gorgeous red-tailed hawk.  If I had taken my time and not been so careless, I think I could have gotten another of him in flight.  But, I now know where he is hunting, so I will go back another day.

We gathered soggy leaves from streams of water to roll into bundles for eco-printed cloth like we have done in previous years.   

Down by the creek, we found some very nice black walnuts that had already fallen to the ground.  I am needing some dye, and perhaps some ink, for projects I have in mind.