Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Deep Snow Hikes and Bright Skies

We've been doing a lot of hikes out in our forest, and let me tell you, in knee to hip-high snow, it is hard work!  We love getting this kind of exercise, and taking Riley with us has been quite a romp. She gets to run on top of the snow while we slog along, one step at a time!

We've talked about buying a pair of cross-country skies, and maybe someday we will.  But for now, we try to take a trail carved out with our snowmobile, or find trails that snowmobiles have been on or make our own path by slogging it out... which is far better exercise than you'll find in any gym!

This January, it has all been about the skies! Morning and evening, there have been glorious sunrises and sunsets that brighten up the otherwise dreary skies.

Occasionally the sun has put forth a half-hearted effort to brighten the skies, and for even that, we are thankful.

We visited a state forest park and the sun did us a favor and came out and shed its warmth on us while we walked around with little Riley.

We now can't imagine our lives without this sweet little girl, she brings fun to every moment of the day!

The trail leads from this park back into the mountains.  We enjoyed walking in the path the snowmobiles had made.

Riley LOVES the snow.  It is so fun to see her scamper around as she plays.

She only sits still long enough to catch her breath, and then she's off to the races again.

A rare quiet moment captured by the camera!

Love the views the river affords us here.

Little one all tuckered out on the ride home...

Is there anything cuter than sleeping puppies (and babies too!) 

Later in the day, the gray skies lightened up as the sun began to set.

The views from the sky transformed the entire landscape into a wonderland of glorious light.

We took a little walk down the road to see the skies better.  As you can see, we aren't sure who is walking who... little Riley thinks she needs to hold Annie's leash!

Purple and pinks dancing together in glorious unison.

In between watching the show in the skies, there was quite the entertainment as we walked...

Annie was NOT impressed with the entertainment at all.  In fact, it makes me wonder how I will walk with Annie and Miss Riley! Our daughter walked with this and helped me corral Riley so we could walk, lol!

But when the skies did this... we all stopped and just gazed upwards!

My daughter, who is an artist, and loves to paint land and skyscapes wants to paint this.... I encouraged to please do it!  I would love an oil painting of this scene hanging on my wall!

Glory in the skies...

Riley didn't see what all the fuss was about... she found something in the street to play with, and her little heart was content to romp while we sky-gazed at the light in the skies above, making me think of this verse:

Every good gift 
and every perfect gift 
is from above, 
and cometh down from the Father of lights, 
with whom is no variableness, 
neither shadow of turning.  
James 1:17

Samuel Longfellow wrote: 
Into all our lives, in many simple, familiar homely ways, 
God infuses this element of joy from the surprises of life, 
which unexpectedly brighten our days, 
and fill our eyes with light.  

With hearts full of light and joy from the gifts given from our Father of lights, we walked home to enjoy some fresh homemade garden-fresh pumpkin pie with a lovely topping of whipped cream... the perfect ending to a wonderful day :)

Friday, January 27, 2017

What was life like before.... Riley?

Indeed, what was life like before the little fur ball of cuteness arrived?  Well, I can tell you this... having a little puppy in the house is a lot like having a baby in the house, and our lives have certainly completely changed.  Everything is now all about the puppy... Where is she? What is she chewing on now? Does she need to go potty? Uh oh, she has my socks!  How did Riley get into the cat food?   Where did Riley go? ... and on and on it goes!

All of a sudden, my living room has been turned into a whirlwind of activity with all her toys scattered on the floor, and every step you take could be hazardous with a little fur ball wanting to chew on your feet as you walk.

Like one friend commented on an earlier post... at least with babies you can put a diaper on them... puppies, not so much!  And so she requires constant supervision and paying attention to cues as to when she needs to potty.  She actually has had very few accidents, but that is because we have learned to be vigilant about making sure she gets out!

And so my husband and I feel like grand-doggy parents now, taking care of the sweet little ball of fur while son is working or at school.  I've found myself getting terribly attached to her despite my initial assertions to my son that "it is your dog and I will just be helping out."  Because we are spending so much time together, Riley and I have bonded, and I really am loving this precious little addition to our family.

One member of the family who is decidedly VERY unhappy with the new little 'fur'ricane, is our dear Mr. Simba.  All his attempts to convince Riley he doesn't want to play, even with claws and growls, does not deter her in the least.  Riley is convinced Simba is her long lost brother.  And Simba is quite convinced the little fur ball is just trouble and needs to go!

But when you look at a face like this... how can you not fall in love!?

And sweet puppy kisses are almost as sweet as fat baby cheeks!

Little Riley has integrated herself into every part of our home, including our walks in the woods.  Oh how she loves to walk with my husband and I.

I don't think cuteness could get any cuter!

We took a drive out to the lake, and were amazed to see it nearly frozen over. I don't remember in recent years ever seeing it do that.

Riley played in the snow as we walked around the little park area.

And every so often she would sit down to catch her breath, and I captured a few sweet poses.

Her collar is a bit large, it is meant to grow with her, but this face, oh my goodness, she melts our hearts!

I suppose I am turning into the classic grand-doggy parent with all these pictures, and I hope you don't mind... but I just can't resist the cutest little faces she has.

Yes, our lives have completely changed with the addition of little Miss Riley to our home, including the dogs.  Annie has become like a mother to Riley, worrying about her, and making sure Roger doesn't get too rough with her.  Roger, like a big bad brother alternates between wanting to play with Riley, and then getting frustrated when he is ready to sleep and she isn't.

Below is a video I shot of the three of them having fun in the snow.

Riley has certainly brought a lot of furry joy into our lives, and I must confess, I was not too excited about having a little puppy to help care for, but now, I can't imagine life otherwise.

On a little different note... we finally got around to collecting our pictures from our game cameras, and we found this picture that has us a bit puzzled.

We have only gotten pictures of deer on these cameras, and this was the first unusual animal to show up on the camera.  Because of the poor quality of the picture, we cannot quite figure out what it is.  It is walking on the trail that the deer always take. We also cannot decide if the animal is walking towards or away from the camera... you be the judge!

This is a zoomed-in, cropped version of the above picture, and still, we can't say for sure what it was. We did find a large mound of poo close to where the picture was taken that does not appear to be coyote or dog, as it is larger than both, with lots of hair in it.  So, we are wondering if it may have been a wolf passing through.  I thought I would see what your opinions are on the matter :)  We have considered it being a dog, but honestly, know of no dog in our area this color or build, unless of course he was just passing through.  So, it could be either, we shall probably never know, but it is a curious matter to ponder, indeed!

Our weather here has been overcast, dreary and rather warm, with our snow melting more and more every day.  We still have a significant amount of snow, and more is expected to arrive next week, but with the lengthening days, I know that winter is winding itself down.  So, we are enjoying the life of Riley, melting snow, warmer temperatures, and cozy winter days as the end of January nears.

How has your January been?

Monday, January 23, 2017

January's Patchwork

There has been a little bit of "this-n-that" going on lately, and I'll just share a few pictures with you of our January's patchwork...

I was the lucky recipient of a generous giveaway by the lovely Barbara who blogs at Small Moments. When the lovingly wrapped package arrived, the glorious aroma of dried lavender tucked into the package just added to the joy of opening the package full of gorgeous quilting fabric, and an assortment of ribbons and lace, accompanied by a sweet card from Barbara.  This package made its way across the ocean from England, and was a lovely delight to receive.  Thank you Barbara, I plan to get busy soon with a project I have in mind for the fabrics.  :)

A little winter boredom taking place... Mr. Simba thought it would be fun to tear up some paper for a little excitement.

My six baby chicks that my husband and I rescued back in December are growing so fast, and already I have integrated them with the rest of my flock. Can you believe I now have 30 chickens (28 hens, and 2 roosters)? I can hardly believe it myself.  I can tell you that when I got into having chickens, I had no idea I would one day own so many... they have a way of multiplying! And I love and have each one named too!

Mr. Sal does NOT like the snow.  He comes out for a minute or two, and heads right back into the coop.  He tells me in no uncertain terms just how much he dislikes the snow.

Two dogs who love the snow.  They have "snow" much fun outside in the snow.  The best part, they don't have to run inside for a drink, they just grab a mouthful of snow and keep playing.

Miss Eleanor will come out of the coop if I lay straw down for her.  She seems to enjoy being outside the coop, digging in the straw and snow.

We have often driven by this deserted church in a local community.  I always feel so sad when I see it.  It is such a beautiful building, and it is sad to see it so deserted and neglected.  It looked particularly lovely with the snow covering its roof on this clear and gloriously cold winter day.

Another view of the deserted church.

The extreme cold we have had caused the river to almost freeze over.  I had never seen this river get this close to freezing over.  

You might think it was a lovely warm day with such bright blue skies.  But don't let that fool you.  The temps in this picture were close to 0!

We have had 2-3 weeks of below zero temperatures for most of that time.  The nicest thing about the bitter cold though was that the sun shone gloriously every day.

I put out this big block of birdseed for the turkeys.  With such bitter cold temperatures, there wasn't much for them to eat, and I've had large numbers of turkeys visiting the block.

Every morning at daybreak the turkeys begin their happy chatter, along with Sal and Pepper, my roosters.  Even when I would like to sleep in a little longer, I am compelled to get out of bed thanks to my faithful bird "alarm clocks", lol!

Two dogs with a bit of winter boredom, wrestling and rough-housing in the house where it was warm and cozy.  The dogs love the snow, but with the minus degree weather we had, they too liked to stay inside where it was warm.

Beautifully cold light.

I never, ever cease to be amazed at the glorious world that is all around me.

Lots of walks with Annie, as I bundled up like a little Eskimo to stay warm, with beautiful scenes like this to warm my heart as we walked.

One of the turkeys hanging around... turkeys, like chickens, are quite mean to each other.  See the bright red on her neck, this is where she has been pecked by other turkeys.  It happens so often, and while I hate to see it, I know there is nothing I can do to change nature's way.

A snow draped fence.

And the highlight to our January so far... the newest addition to our home.  Our son has always wanted an Australian shepherd dog.  His best friend's grandparents had a litter of sweet Australian shepherd's, and his heart was stolen by this sweet little girl.

After a long day of work on Saturday (my son works repairing logging trucks when he is not in college), he went to pick up this sweet little girl.  Meet our sweet little Riley.

Is she not the most adorable little thing you ever saw?  Oh, we are all so taken with her.

Here's the funny part.  My son has taken upon himself all responsibility for her care, except of course when he is not at college or working.  Taking care of a puppy is no small feat.  They require almost constant attention.  She is his responsibility when he is home.  And my husband and I have our first taste of feeling what granddoggy-parents feel like.  We are just sitting back, and enjoying our son taking care of all the chores that come with a sweet little puppy, and getting to enjoy the sweet moments while he takes care of all the "chores".  I love it!

And after my son gave Riley her first bath, and then needed a shower himself,  I sat in my rocking chair, wrapped Riley snugly in a warm towel, and patted and rocked and sang her to sleep after a bit of a traumatic event.  She had never experienced a bath before.  It wasn't long before she stopped crying and fell fast asleep.  Such a precious moment for both of us.

And poor Roger is just heartbroken.  Both he and Annie have required a lot of love and extra attention since Riley made her entrance.  They keep sniffing her, trying to figure out who she is.  Within a few hours, they graciously accepted her presence, and Roger keeps trying to play with her, while Annie tries to protect her from Roger's playful attempts... and so the fun continues.  But if Roger could speak, I know he would simply say "why"?... lol!

And so that is just a bit of this-n-that from our January so far.  It has started to warm up this week, and the snow is melting quickly.  Our January thaw is here and in full swing, and the days are getting longer, and warmer too.  It won't be long before it will be time to think about planting... how quickly the seasons move along.  I just try to enjoy the beautiful and glorious in each one.

How has your January been going?