Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Gentle Snowfall Makes Everything Beautiful!

Living in the north, where we do, around the first of November you begin to anticipate the first snowfall within the first week or so of November.  This year has been different.  Instead of getting snow, we have mostly had really cold weather, or rain, but little to no lasting snow.

This Saturday though, all that changed!  We finally had some snow begin to fall, and you can guess who was the most excited about it ...

Yes, Annie-girl was thrilled to see the snow falling.  Well... we were just a little excited too!

We got into our pickup and headed out to our property for a short hike as the snow had just begun to fall.

Annie couldn't wait to get out of the pickup, and begin our hike through the woods.

There was a calm stillness in the woods as we hiked along with the snow falling gently around us. We hiked for about 30 minutes or so until the snow really began to fall heavy around us, and we headed back home to spend the rest of the afternoon looking at the snow as it fell while the kids had their first snowball fight of the season.

The next morning, the sunrise showcased the glistening snow as the precious few rays of sunshine graced the sky.

The sun didn't stay out for long, and the clouds continued to overhang the beauty of the snowfall.

Annie romping in the snow with our daughter.

Lots of energy and excitement!

After the snowplows had been through, we headed out for another drive.

As the roads had been plowed and sanded, we decided to head farther north.

We happened to get behind a snow plow as he carefully did his best to remove any snow and ice off the roadways.

We drove to one of our favorite little spots to explore.  As we drove into the little park area, I spotted something large rushing out of the bushes.  It was a baby moose and was gone before my camera could be put into action!

The river flowed happily along as its banks were covered in a beautiful layer of snow.

The sun was hidden behind many clouds, yet even still, the scene was breathtaking to behold.

The amount of snow on the trees meant that continuous "slides" of snow would fall off the branches as we walked through the woods, and even though it wasn't snowing, it felt like it was.

As we walked through the park, we again caught a distant glimpse of baby moose.  We stopped and realized that Momma Moose was nowhere in sight, and that made us nervous.  We did not want to get between Momma and baby.  So, we turned around and went back to the river and then left the park. While we would love to see Momma and baby together, it would only be if we could see them from the safety of our vehicle, and so we decided to leave them alone in their snow-lovely haven.

As the sun began to set, I captured some beautiful photos of the snow draped trees.

The weight of the snow was too much for this poor little tree.

Pine trees look most beautiful when covered with snow!

Perfectly lovely, aren't they!

Snow lacing the pine trees was simply beautiful.

It was a lovely drive, as we soaked up the beauty that the snowfall had created.  What a beautiful world we live in!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Some Recent Hikes

A few days ago I was able to get in a hike with my good friend SL, and her dog, Cheetah.  

Always enjoy the views of the mountains from her property as we hike.

Annie was excited to be on the hike, and we could hardly contain her.  She was so anxious to smell everything along the trail!

Annie and Cheetah are both wonderful friends and enjoy sniffing all the smells on the trail together.

As we were hiking along, we say lots of coyote "poo" that was very fresh.  In fact, my friend told me that she had seen a pack of coyotes in her yard earlier in the morning.  As we hiked along, the dogs became increasingly alert and finally at one point, we were able to see what they were seeing.  We spotted a couple of coyotes a long way off on top of a ridge.  The two of them were just standing watching us.  They were quite big, and looked like full grown dogs, perhaps even bigger than Annie.  It was hard to tell at that distance.  I was going to try to get a picture of them, but realized it would be in vain, because they blended in so well with the terrain, and were so far off that I would not be able to get a decent picture.  At any rate, we stood with the dogs and hollered at them.  Finally they meandered off in a different direction than we were headed.  We did not see them again, but it certainly was a neat experience to see them.

The trail we were on was mushy and soft as we have been having above-freezing temperatures.

We think the coyotes were probably not too far off from us at various points in our hike, as the dogs would stop and with their ears up just stare off into the trees.  We never saw them again, but no doubt the dogs did.

We came upon this moss covered tree, and it was incredible to see how the moss had completely covered the entire tree.  I have never seen this before.  Usually the moss will grown in one or two small areas, but this tree was entirely covered in moss.

Annie couldn't understand why I was stopping to take pictures of a moss-covered tree, when there were more exciting things to sniff out, lol!  She was quite impatient with me as I attempted to get a picture of the tree.

Cheetah is allowed to freely roam around because she comes back on command.  Annie, on the other hand, once she has a certain smell on her nose, will not come back when called. We still have to work with her on her attitude.  She doesn't understand why Cheetah gets to roam around and she doesn't.  Lol!

I was really intrigued with the moss covered tree, but Annie was quite frustrated with me, and kept tugging.  I think this picture is a little fuzzy because Annie was anxious to get on with the hike!

We finished up this hike with a lovely visit in my friend's home.  I enjoyed a nice cup of hot tea while she had her protein shake, and we shared with each other the many things the Lord was doing in each of our lives.  We always have such sweet fellowship together!

A few days later, I took Annie for another hike through the woods just by our house.  I let her off the leash with some hesitation. I am trying to train her to be obedient and return when called.  She comes back 98% of the time, but I know that if a deer happens to be on the trail with us, that 2% of the time she is not going to return.  However, since we were just right by our house, I let her off the leash for a few minutes to work with her.

It has been very mild here this December with no snow. It will lightly freeze at night, and thaw during the day.  So the hiking through the trails is very mushy, slow going.

Lots of mud puddles to avoid!

My favorite part of this trail is where the trees form an archway over the trail.  It is so peaceful and beautiful to walk through here.

Annie back on the leash - and none too happy about it!

I am always wishing that dogs could speak our language - oh the things they would be able to tell us!

It was a lovely hike, as always.  We are blessed to live in such a beautiful area where such beauty lies all around us! When hiking, the presence of the Lord is always around me, as I enjoy the beauty that He created for us to enjoy, and it is always a joy to know that we can enjoy His incredible creation.  It is my prayer that the Lord bless YOU today, as you look at the world around you and give Him thanks for His many blessings!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Blessings

At this time of year, it is wonderful to enjoy the many blessings that this season brings us, and one of those is celebrating the birth of our Savior and Lord together with family and friends.  Our family began the day with sharing small gifts with each other, after praising the Lord together for his many blessings on our lives throughout the year.

Our daughter, an incredibly talented artist, painted a breathtaking picture to give us.

She started painting the picture just a few days ago, and we were very amazed by the beautiful mountain scene she painted with a rustic log cabin and rushing waterfall set against the backdrop of mountains.  What an amazing gift it was for us!

Soon it was time for our Christmas dinner with our family and friends. Here is a peek of a few of the dishes we enjoyed...

Homemade rolls made with freshly ground flour from my grain mill!  I haven't had a chance to post about my new grain mill yet, but plan to soon! At any rate, these rolls were pretty amazing, and very easy to make as well.

Homemade pumpkin pie all the way - (I cut up the pumpkin, cooked, pureed it, and made the homemade pie crust using lard with my mother's tested and true recipe).  Pumpkin pie is always the favorite at our house!

Green bean casserole -  a turkey dinner just isn't complete without a green bean casserole!

Or a sweet potato casserole!  This actually is a mix of sweet potato and pumpkin, as I had some extra pumpkin puree left over.  I just mixed the two together with yummy results!

Corn bread dressing brought by one of our friends....

Huge pot of creamed potatoes.

Our friends brought their dogs, and the dogs were beside themselves with all the bits of treats that they received throughout the meal!

Shiloh claimed Annie's bed.

Annie claimed it back.  They're friends like that.

A picture of the table centerpiece.  To the right, you can see a mason jar that I filled with some greenery, and paraffin oil, added a wick, with a hole in the lid.  This added the perfect touch to the table decor.

And once the turkey was deboned, the carcass and bones were put back into the pot, covered with water, and will be slow simmered for about 24 hours to get some lovely bone broth.  I will make turkey soup with the leftover meat and broth.

Those are just a few glimpses of our day together as we celebrated the birth of our Lord, with the best present of all being His presence!