Sunday, February 4, 2018

Passing the Winter Days

Winter certainly can seem to drag on, and last endlessly.  I've found that to combat the endless weariness of gray days that I need to get outside regardless of the weather.  Rain, snow or shine, I've been getting out every day to enjoy the overlooked beauties of winter.  We've had a few days of sunshine, but mostly clouds and rain.  However, that hasn't stopped us from getting outside.  I really think that is the key to beating the winter doldrums, is just getting outside whether the weather is friendly or not.

One Friday afternoon, a friend and I decided to ski up a local mountain road.  The road had been groomed and while it was pretty much uphill, the grade wasn't too difficult for us, and we stopped plenty of times to laugh and catch our breath. 

We came to this lookout and enjoyed the view of the mountains on our skies. 

I didn't bring Riley because my friend brought her dog, and we didn't want to have to keep up with two dogs on an unfamiliar trail.  Copper was a great companion and stayed close with us as we skied.  

A view through the trees of distant mountains.

The scariest part of all was skiing down the road. Our cross country skies were like greased lightening going down the hill.  Doing the "pizza" all the way down was more of a workout than going up!  But we both made it in one piece, and we had some great laughs along the way! 

Riley has learned to get very excited when she seems me getting on my skies.  That means more adventure for her! But at the end of a ski, she gets tired too, and we both stopped to rest in this picture, lol! 
As we skied on the tree farm, I noted that the slash pile that had burned dangerously out of control this past fall was still smoking, and this after all the rain and snow we've had!  I hope the loggers bulldoze this pile once spring arrives, as it is still smoking in the dead of winter. 

There have been a few days of sunshine in January, and when they do come, you get outside to enjoy and soak up that precious sunshine!

I know there are some of  you who dislike winter immensely, but there is just something
about these snow-laden trees, with the freshly fallen snow in the thick of the forest that
if I could take you with me, I think you'd change your mind :) 

These three love getting out in the woods with us.  My husband comes along when he can to snowshoe with me. 

We decided to try a little outdoor cooking too!  My husband got the dutch oven set up, and I added the chicken, potatoes and carrots to the pot.  He took care of cooking it, and did a fine job! 

Here you can see the chicken cooking happily away, out in the snow! 

It was quite fun to cook outside in the snow.  

The chicken was cooked perfectly with a hint of smokiness, crispy and tender.  

Served up on our tin pie plates, there was delight in every bite!

We've had a fair amount of fog this winter, but none more so than on this day when it hung quite low to the ground,
giving the world a rather mysterious appearance. 

And then there have been days with bright sunshine too, and when those days come,
I just want to spend the entire day outside!
I've cross-country skied as often as I could, because our snow is melting fast. 
It has become a ritual that I walk in the morning, and ski in the afternoon, weather permitting. 

Loving those bright warm rays of sunshine and the blue shadows. 
On our walks, often our neighbors' horses come to the fence to greet us as we walk by. 

Such sweet girls they are!
Eye see you... 

This is a panorama shot of the afternoon skies one evening as I walked. 

The heavens declaring the glory of the Lord!

Down at the river, the lonely park bench beckoned to me as the evening
shadows lengthened and darkness settled in softly. 
Such wonder in the skies!  I never, ever tire of the color palette offered up with winter sunsets!
To behold such glory in the skies, sometimes it makes my heart ache with the immense beauty of it all. 

And so the winter days are passing by us, slipping away like pearls on a strand... and spring is beckoning in the shadows with whispering anticipation as the days lengthen.  Our snow is melting, and I am sad, because I love the delights of winter so. 

I feel sadness at the end of every season 
for missing what was, 
but then I feel joy, 
for what will come in the next season.  

And so, that is just as life is for us too. 

There are seasons of our life, 
they never last forever, 
and there are joys and sorrows with each one, 
but none last forever... 
the clock keeps ticking away.  

The day is done
The sun has set
Yet light still tints the sky
My heart stands still
in reverance
For God is passing by.
~ Ruth Alla Wager ~

Psalms 36:5-10

 Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; 
and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.
Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; 
thy judgments are a great deep: 

O Lord, thou preservest man and beast.
 How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! 
therefore the children of men 
put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.

 They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; 
and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.
For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.

 O continue thy lovingkindness unto them that know thee; 
and thy righteousness to the upright in heart.

Even as clouds often obscure the sunlight for a short time, and seasons come and seasons go... we realize that nothing lasts forever, or is eternal, except for our souls and the One who created us.  How grateful I am to know that the eternal destination of my soul is with the One who created this world in all its majesty.  It is a comfort and a joy to walk through the seasons of life with that hope! 

Look up, up into the skies, and see the mercy of the Lord that is in the heavens, 
and his faithfulness that reaches unto the clouds.

And so... to live life to its fullest, look up to the skies... there is your answer, the heavenlies declare the glory of the Lord, and with each sunrise and sunset full of the majestic array of colors, we can keep our eyes focused on the light, and there can be joy in each moment, for each season of our life.  :) 

Saturday, January 20, 2018

An Old Fashioned Sleigh Ride

While visiting with my neighbor's mother recently, she shared with  me that she had never been on a sleigh ride.  One is never too old or young to enjoy a sleigh ride, so we picked a day on the calendar that we and several other friends could go, and made plans to enjoy an old fashioned sleigh ride up in the mountains.

What we didn't realize when we planned the sleigh ride
was just how perfect the weather was going to be!  For days we have had nothing but cloud cover. 
And for days after our sleigh ride, more cloud cover and lots of rain. 
But the day that we had chosen to take the sleigh ride
dawned bright, gorgeous, and beautiful!

The sleigh rides are held at a local horse ranch that operates year round. 
Their specialty during the winter months are their sleigh rides that they offer. 
They also have log cabins that can be rented and
horseback riding during the summer months. 
The lodge has a beautiful dining area where several times a  year they have meals
catered to the public along with a live band. It is a delightful venue
to just sit and look out the windows,
or cozy up to the fireplace. 
Fresh flowers in vintage mason jars adorned the "cowgirl" bathroom.

Delightful log cabin style architecture is golden, warm and cozy. 

One could choose to sit outside, but I'm sure this is for the more balmy months of the year. 
Such a lovely view through the hand painted frosty windows. 

Various wild creatures were mounted on the walls, all of which had been hunted on the ranch property. 

After our arrival and check-in, we wandered around the lodge enjoying the lovely ambience of the lodge.

  Soon we were summoned outside and given a wool blanket to stay warm under as we began our ride in the icy sunshine.  Our two horses, Jack and Julie, we were told, were a mix of Belgian and Persian.  Julie was expecting a foal in the spring.  Jack and Julie were perfectly still as we mounted the sleigh. 
The bright blue skies were a delight to see, and we were thrilled to be outside on such a gorgeous day. 

Jack and Julie were patiently waiting for me to stop taking pictures, ha! 

A picture of the sleigh just before we boarded. 

This border collie appeared as if he wanted to follow us on the sleigh ride,
 but must have changed his mind, and decided to watch us instead. 

Soon everyone was boarded, and our wool blankets gathered warmly around us,
and it was time for the sleigh ride to begin. 
The beauty of the forest enveloped us in its embrace as we listened to the singing jingle bells of the horses,
and the rhythmic clip-clop of their feet.  

The quiet forest around us echoed with the sounds of our voices raised in praise to the Lord. 

How did a 30 minute ride pass so quickly! Before we knew it, we were rounding the corner,
and the horses picked up speed when the barn was in sight. 

A view of the lodge

One of the cabins on the property available to rent in the summer months. 

One of fields on the property. 

One of the many barns on the property. 
As we left the ranch, our bellies were in favor of a visit to a local restaurant.  On our drive down the mountain,
we saw this beautiful barn with a barn quilt on it. 
Such a lovely barn quilt, makes me want to have a red barn
so I can hang a barn quilt on it!

A wonderful way to finish up our exciting day was with sandwich and soup at a local restaurant. 

Enjoy this little video I made of some of the clips taken on our sleigh ride together. 

Indeed this sleigh ride was a highlight to our winter here, to get out on such a beautiful day and just enjoy the company of other precious ladies and soak up the serene beauty of the forest to the tune of jingle bells and clip-clops!  It was such a blessing from the Lord that we were given such a remarkable day to do this, because the rest of the week has been overcast, cloudy and rainy.  Isn't the Lord good!  We stand amazed at how He blesses us in ways we didn't even ask!  My neighbor's mother can't stop talking about how much fun she had, and we were all so thankful that we were able to have this day of fellowship together.  :)