Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Rosy Cheek Reducer

With Winter and the colder weather, my little guy's cheeks get dry and a bit chapped. It doesn't help that he's teething and drooling a lot either! So I made a very simple lotion to rub on his cheeks to keep them moisturized and to protect them from chapping. I call it the Rosy Cheek Reducer and I cleaned out an old glue stick container to keep it in (works perfectly! Like a giant chapstick!)

Rosy Cheek Reducer

1tbsp of shredded beeswax
2tbsp olive oil
2 drops of vitamin E oil

Melt your beeswax into the olive oil in a double boiler (a glass pyrex measuring cup in a pot of boiling water works really well). Once all the beeswax has melted, remove from the heat and add a few drops of vitamine E oil. Stir well and pour the mixture into a cleaned out glue stick container or other container. My baby has sensitive skin, so I didn't add any essential oils to scent this mix, but you can add a couple of drops if you want. Allow the salve to harden completely in the container. To use it, twist up the bottom (like a chapstick) and rub on those rosy cheeks!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Straw Plaiting

On that wonderful show, Victorian Farm, historian Ruth Goodman learns the old art of straw plaiting. Women would weave the straw left over from their wheat harvest into long plaits and then sew them into hats. Naturally when I saw this, I wanted to try it! However, there is one little problem. The wheat that is grown around here has been bred to grow short, meaning that there is short straw, not great for plaiting. While we do have a project in mind for next Summer to grow some heritage wheat, I couldn't wait that long to try plaiting. So I started thinking of what I could use to substitute...

 Wild grasses! Perfect. So I harvested some yesterday, soaked them in the tub for a couple of hours and got to work. I used this website to show me how to make a 7 strand flat plait for hat making.
 My plait is a little messy, but I am learning. I wonder how this grass compares to straw... I plaited over 40 inches last night and then started to sew them together to form the crown of my hat.
Just 14 more yards to go! My fingers are a bit sore, so I think I'll take a little break, but not too long. This is an addicting craft! When it is dry, then I can cut off the ends that pop out (that's where you add a new straw). I hope I get a hat out of this attempt!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Snowfall Warning

What do you do during a snowfall warning? Make your hot chocolate centre and then enjoy it!

 And enjoy the view of the cozy chicken coop!

Happy Thanksgiving!

...To my American friends. I always want to celebrate American Thanksgiving because I could always use another turkey dinner!
I hope you are having a lovely time with family and friends today.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Winter Storms

The wind howled and whistled around the house all day yesterday. Even though it was warm enough in the house, the sound of that fierce wind blowing gives you a chill. After the ladies who came over for craft night left, the snow really picked up. Do you know how it gets really light out at night when it is snowing hard? The light seems to be trapped in the falling snowflakes, illuminating the sky. This morning there was almost a foot of new snow on the ground. We woke while it was still dark, the sky was clear, and I could see one bright star through my curtains. I love the sound of the snowplow on the roads as we lie in our warm beds under our quilts. It is much too cold out this morning to go for a walk with my little boy, so we will play inside instead.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Calf

This weekend at the craft fair we got Kesten the book "The New Baby Calf" illustrated by Barbara Reid. I love the illustrations in that book! And I thought I would share with you this picture in Aunty Dorothy's collection.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Boys

Chickens in Winter

What a fun busy weekend we have been having! Yesterday we went to the Christmas craft fair and then we had a bunch of people over last night for a potluck. Today we are going to take it easy and relax!

So, I thought I would update you on my chickens. With Winter here, the chickens have been set up to handle the cold months. One of the things I do in the Winter is cover the run with clear plastic. This keeps the loads and loads of snow from covering the ground in the run, as the chickens are not keen to play in the snow. In fact, if any snow gets on the ramp leading out of the coop, they won't come down! I also cover the ground in a thick layer of alfalfa. The chickens love to dig in it, looking for the scratch I throw them, and they love to eat bits of the alfalfa. I add more fresh stuff as the Winter progresses, giving them a nice, dry run. We feed them our table scraps as treats, and they compost it really well, giving us great organic material for our garden come Spring.

In this picture, you can see an extension cord. Our days are very short in our Northern Winter, with only about 7 or so hours of daylight around December. This means I have to supplement the chickens' light, to keep them laying eggs. So I have an LED light on a timer that comes on at dusk and shuts off after the set amount of time. Last Winter, I kept the light inside the coop, but this year, I have decided to put the light in the run. The chickens seem to be enjoying this extra time to muck about the run, scratching, eating, and drinking and then they head off the bed around 9pm (before the light shuts off). Such amusing animals! I like using an LED light because it really cuts down on the electricity we use.
 The inside of the coop is insulated and I have a deep layer of sawdust on the bottom. I keep replenishing the sawdust as the Winter goes on, making a nice deep bed and keeping it fresh. The deep litter method keeps the chickens warmer in the Winter and gives us lots of great material to use in our garden in the Spring.
The chickens don't like the heat lamp on, unless it is very very cold, around -30c or colder! The breeds I have are very cold hardy and don't even seem to notice the cold!
For the chickens' water, I bought a magnetic oil pan heater for a car (fairly pricey at $75) and I stick it to their metal bucket-style waterer and leave it on pretty much all Winter. This keep the water thawed until it hits colder than -20c. Then I find I have to thaw the water inside under warm water once a day (more if it gets REALLY cold).
 So once Winter hits and the coop has been set up for the cold months, there is really no extra daily work with the Chickens. I just have to be quick to get those eggs once they are laid, as they will freeze and crack in the cold weather.

I love seeing the warm glow coming from the coop at night, with the chickens happily scratching about. It has been so much fun having chickens and well worth it for the eggs and compost they give us!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sunrise, Sunset

I started the morning off like this:

And after going for a walk with my baby, we took care of the chickens and found the pansies were still trying to make a go of it:
 And the kale is still edible, despite many cold days, cold nights, snow falls and thaws. These are some hardy plants, I tell ya!
 While the boy napped, I enjoyed a hot chocolate with marshmallows and a candy cane, because it is just that time of year!
 And then we ended the daylight hours with this beautiful sunset:

So, I made one project with those willows I gathered. I needed a little basket to hold all of Kesten's stuff that was accumulating on the bedside table. I think it probably took about 3-4 hours to make, including gathering the willows. Why go out and buy a basket when you can make one for free! (This is the attitude I have with so many things. Unfortunately, there are many things I never get around to making, so we do without for years.)

And that's it for now! Tomorrow I will update you on the chickens and their Winter-time arrangement!

The Gang

I love this photo. I feel like I'm in on the joke, hanging out with the gang.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Hudson's Bay Coat

My Aunty Dorothy (who was actually my step Great Grandma but thought "Great Grandma"sounded too old) was a very fashionable woman. When she passed away, her sister gave me a bunch of her old photos. This is a picture of her sister, Edna, in a Hudson's Bay Coat. I love looking through these old photos, they give me a wonderful glimpse into her life and into this era. I've just scanned a bunch of these photos and I will be sharing them over the next little while. Enjoy!


This is a picture I found of my mom's mom, among the old pictures that belonged to my Great Grandma. Wasn't she beautiful? I wish I had gotten to meet her.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Gathering Willow

Today we went out to gather willow and Red Osier Dogwood for weaving baskets and other projects. It was a nice, warm day and the woods were very still and quiet. The little boy napped while I clambered through the bushes, cutting branches. It was much easier this time, with only a few inches of snow on the ground. Last year when I harvested willow I was pregnant and climbing through nearly waist deep snow. It was a sweaty affair. This year we got to enjoy the sound of the bubbling creek and the crows calling. We got a pretty good amount this time, but I was having a hard time finding nice straight branches. Stayed tuned for the projects that will come...

(This is me last year)

Good Morning

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Winter Wonderland

This morning the little boy and I went out for our first ski. We did 3 laps of the park, even though the weather was getting too warm to ski. It was fun and I look forward to many more skiing days! We ended the day with a beautiful show of Northern Lights.

You may have noticed a change to my blog? My wonderful sister, who has an incredible eye for design, has given the ol' blog a facelift. I love it! What do you think? Have I mentioned before how much I LOVE gingham! It is a bit of an obsession, ever since I was a little girl...

Monday, November 12, 2012

Gingersnaps and Snowy Walks

What a busy weekend we have had! We made a trip into Prince George on Saturday to buy all those things that have been adding up that we can't buy in our small town. And then we have been doing some home renos- ripping down all the wallpaper Boos scratched up and re-painting those walls, plus we replaced two light fixtures in the living room. It looks so much warmer in here now. I love it! I'll show you pictures later. In between the renos, I baked some gingersnaps and we took a walk to the lake and saw some swans simming. They overwinter here in the river, but since the lake is not yet frozen, they ventured over for a swim and a meal. It looks like a juvenile swan was with them- the Ugly Duckling!

Friday, November 9, 2012

We Remember

Sunday is Remembrance Day here in Canada. As school children, we were taught to memorize the poem, "In Flanders Fields," written by a fellow Canadian. Repeating it so often as children, we didn't really understand the meaning of it. Reading it over as an adult brings new meaning to this poignant poem. 

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
   That mark our place; and in the sky
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie
         In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
   The torch; be yours to hold it high.
   If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
         In Flanders fields.

- John McCrae

Both my Grandfathers served in WWII. A few years ago, I found my Grandpa's journal that he wrote during his time in the war. It was so special to have a little insight into his thoughts and perspective during that time. I want to scan and preserve his journal so that someday my son will be able to read it and get to know a bit about his great grandfather.

There's is a novel I like to read that really gives a new perspective on what war was like at home. "Rilla of Ingleside," by L.M. Montgomery puts a story to the history and brings to life the thoughts and feelings of people during the first world war. What a time to live through! Remembrance Day reminds us of the horrors of war in the hopes that we will never repeat such atrocities. It is a lesson that we have yet to learn.

What does this time mean for you? Do you mark it in anyway?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Anticipating Christmas

I recently discovered PicMonkey, which is so much fun for making collages! So I made another collage of pictures I've taken in anticipation of the coming holiday season. Making collages is slightly addicting...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Cozy Time

My baby got his first tooth yesterday. Four and half months and he has had two haircuts and one tooth. My little boy is growing too fast!

With his teething, he has been chewing and sucking on anything he can get his little hands on, including his little hands! Poor guy!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Apple Pies and Stormy Skies

The wind is howling and shaking our windows, and the power flickered a couple of times. Inside, apple pie warms our bellies and perfumes the air.
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