We went on our annual Christmas Tree hunt this morning. It was -24c. We were bundled up so warm that only our eyeballs and some cheek were exposed. But that was still too cold for the kids. After five minutes we took them back to the car and I was left to find a tree by myself. I ended up cutting down the first Douglas fir I could find and lugged it back to the car. The thing was very heavy and my arm is still sore from dragging it. And man, is it an ugly tree! But in those kinds of temperatures, you can't be too choosy. The tree has no branches at all in the back and the star on top sits lower down than the top branches. Of course we could trim those a bit, but I like the eccentric look of our tree. I think this one may even be uglier than the crooked S-shaped tree we got our first Christmas here.
Saturday, November 29, 2014
Winter has finally set in. After weeks and weeks of waiting-waking each morning to look out in the hopes of seeing a transformed, white world and finding only dirt and frost- winter is here. November 24th is too late for our first real snow, the animals of the forest have suffered for it. The snowshoe hare, betrayed by its already white fur, stood out against the brown earth. The camouflage so cleverly meant to protect it in winter is now the cause of its death. The grouse found no comfort in deep insulating snow tunnels when the temperatures plummeted at the beginning of the month. And the voles, who would normally feast in shrouded safety under a blanket of snow have been left exposed to the predators of the woods.
But all that is forgotten now. We finally did wake up to find a world transformed. It snowed and snowed and snowed. And then it froze. Hard. And a storm blew in. The howling and whistling wind sent snow in a flurry around our house. The windows are covered in ice and the chickens are half-buried in a snow drift. The whirly-birds in our attic are screeching an un-earthly tune. Day and night, they scream out some sort of exotic music which clashes with the low and warm melody of our happy house. The sound of wind howling down our chimney makes me feel cold and sets my nerves on edge. The wood floors of our living room are icy and a draft blows in around the door. We tack blankets around the cracks in an effort to keep out the cold.
The wind has stopped now, but the temperature is still around -20c. I went out to the woods today, to feel alive. Bundled in layers, I didn't feel cold at all, except for a nip on my cheeks. The woods are silent, but the signs of activity and life are left stamped on the ground. The snowshoe hares have rebounded from their unfortunate winter start. Their tracks are abundant, creating highways through the dense brush. No sign of moose yet, but a few deer have passed through the trails. I see no animals on my walk, but I am sure they see me. I get the impression that the animals are watching me, inches from the trail, waiting to burst out the moment I am out of sight. The odd times that I have caught an animal off-guard are so thrilling- those times are one of the reasons that I keep going back to the woods.
When I reluctantly leave after a couple of hours in the forest, I step back into my warm house, cheeks glowing, hair wet from melting frost, and an incurable smile. I love winter.
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
I'm finally done all my Christmas Crafting for the kids. Here is what I made Kesten:
I made him a puzzle using the dust jacket from one of his favourite books. I glued the image onto a thin piece of plywood and cut it out using a scroll saw. I sewed a little a bag to hold the pieces.
Friday, November 21, 2014
I am almost done all of my homemade Christmas presents for the kids! I wanted to show you a couple of things that I made for Cedar.
This is her fox doll. I sewed some overalls and a button-up shirt for her, and knit a sweater.
The second outfit is a little dress with a peter pan collar.
I also knit a little shawl/sontag for the fox.
Sunday, November 9, 2014
There is only a short window of opportunity in which my children won't be disappointed by homemade presents and I plan on taking full advantage of it. I am in my crafting glory right now, working on different presents for the little ones. Here's a few pictures of my latest project:
I made them a little felt activity book. I had fun designing it and sewing it up!
Also on the crafting agenda:
* a fox doll for Cedar sewn from felt
* a wooden puzzle for Kesten using the dust jacket image of one of his favourite books
* a sewn sensory bag (full of rice or lentils and objects to find) for Cedar
I also have to make our yearly wood-burned ornament for the Christmas tree. I've made one every year since we got married and this will be our eighth one.
I'll post pictures of the projects as they are finished.
Sunday, November 2, 2014
Bohemian Waxwings have been visiting the shrubs out front of the house. Plumping up on berries before winter comes.