Thursday, January 20, 2022

There's Just a Little More Magic in Some Days Than Others...

{Angel with Scandinavian Woven Heart}

Those kind of days are rare; but like anything rare, they seem mercurial and vanish quickly leaving the person experiencing them doubting their existence in the first place.

Despite my misgivings about this new year (being 2020-too and all), I have been blessed to have had several of these most magical days in this first month of this new year....

While seeing an eagle is not uncommon here (especially at the lake as we have a nest in the tree outside the front door), one does not always see two together (I believe the adult inhabitants of our nest)...keeping each other warm...on a frozen lake...during a storm....

Then, one late afternoon/early evening after returning to Nod, I looked out my front window and saw something that seemed out of sorts.

I initially dismissed it thinking it just a strange agglomeration of snow from the most recent snowfall - one that would be there in the same place the next time I glanced out until the sun found it.

But as I continued to look out, I realized what I was looking at.
{Pay no mind to those strange glowing eye things in the trees behind him...}

He stayed until the sun set and the gloaming began.  His wondrous white stood out against the darkness.

And he was were his antlers.  (I eventually dug through several closets and came up with a pair of binoculars...unfortunately, you can't take photos with binoculars and his magnificent rack is lost in the photos.)

I have heard there is a "pocket" of albino deer in these parts and have seen them on others' trails cams and photos, but had never ever seen one in person. Now I have.
Legend has it that one who sees a white stag will have good luck (and woe be to anyone who harms one).

 I guess there are perks to living in Nod after all.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Marly's Minestrone & Other Stuff

I am still holed up at the lake. 
The snows have stopped so I will need to take my leave while the leaving permits.

But it is cold...wretched, burn-your-nose, make-your-eyes-water, skin-sticking, cold.

So I believe I will wait this patch out and hope for a warm-up. Just thinking of loading and packing makes my teeth chatter.  I only hope it doesn't get colder yet and those "feel like" temps become the actual temps...'cuz you know what will happen to the "feel-like" temps then.

To me, cold weather and soup go together like dandelions and daydreams (and, where I live, there is much more of the former than the latter). So soup it is. 
As a disclaimer here, I am a bit of a soup snob.  My mom made the best soups in my world.  So while I LOVE soup, I expect 2 things from them:  (1) That they be homemade; and (2) that they be good...really good.
(Throw in a hunk of good homemade crusty bread and you will have a pal for life.)

I decided to finally try Marly's (Samplers-and-Santas) "Upstate Minestrone" soup.
For some reason, I have never been a huge fan of minestrones but, oh my heck....this.minnestrone.I.LOVE!!!

An unassuming tomato and beef base, complimented by hearty Italian sausage, zucchini, cabbage, and beans, quickly and effortlessly secured it a spot in my top 5 of soups.  Added bonus:  It reheats wonderfully and, like many soups, gets better with each reheating.

You really need to try it if you're a soup person.  You can find Marly's recipe here:

It's hard to believe I have been here 2 weeks (??) already.  Time seems to evaporate here.  I did bring my hooking project along with the thought of, if not finishing it, getting close to finishing it.
But I haven't even put it on my rug frame.
This is where I left off:

{"Simple Santa" by Therese Shick.  Sorry for the wonky photo but it is laying on the top of a curved trunk and I was too lazy to move it.}

I did start a new stitch:
{"Noel Sampler" by Brenda Gervais - With Thy Needle & Thread}

It was a gift from my sister-in-law and I am joining her in a "stitch-along."  Those participating stitch on this design from the 25th of each month until the month's end.  Those participating started already on December 25th (it's a Christmas sampler...get it??), but since I did not get the gift until after the new year (and since I stitch like I do most everything...slowly...) I decided I was entitled to "catch up" out of synch.

And, of course, I'm reading.

I am not certain what drew me to this book as it is not the genre to which I would typically be drawn.  I guess it goes to show how eclectic my taste can be.
It is the, unfortunately, true story of the Galvin family - a seemingly "all American" family with 12 children.  However, over time, 6 of the 12 children are diagnosed with schizophrenia.  The story interweaves the family drama and struggles (and, trust me, there IS drama and there ARE struggles) with the medical field's quest to unravel the how's and why's of the disease in the hopes of developing an effective treatment, if not cure.
I am nearing the end, though, so another reason I need to leave.

But not tonight....not tonight.

Stay safe and warm...and thank you for your companionship during my "purdah."

Saturday, January 1, 2022

A New Year

In between the storms this past week, I bundled Snowdog, herded the cats and headed to my quiet place.

I wasn't here to hear the lake make ice this year.
I missed her other-worldly moans as she surrendered to winter's bitter caress.

She could not wait for me.

She is asleep now, her secrets safe as dreams

The snows have since stopped; it was brutal cold that saw the new year in.

I wish you all a new year ahead filled blessings, joys, magic, and miracles...and a measure of good madness.

(Is it just me or do you hesitate calling the new year "2022"?  It scares the dickens out of me as it sounds like "2020 too" ya know?)


Saturday, December 25, 2021

Merry Christmas to You

Time again slipped through my hands and here it is Christmas night.
I had such good intentions but, as Augusten Burroughs said, "I, myself, am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions."

So, in lieu of the posts I intended to do this month, you get this one.
Just a few random photos around the house this holiday season.

{The entry way cupboard}

{A close-up of one of the old Kentucky Bourbon pulp papier mache snowmen snowpeeps that hang out on the entryway cupboard above}

{"Jailhouse" cabinet in the dining room}

{My (humble compared to Lauren's) collection of saltglaze Santas - sorry for the poor photo; it is very difficult to photograph them where they are displayed}

{The saltglaze Santas hang out on the butter churn behind my kitchen sink}


My wish for you this Christmas is for peace - peace within your heart and within your soul as that is where I firmly believe all peace truly must first begin.

I hope your Christmas was filled with unending joy that will last not just a day but a season.

Merry, Merry, Christmas my friends.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Christmas Molds

I know I have shared (much of) my Christmas before...
and I have showed (many of) my molds before...
But, I don't think I've done (just) Christmas molds before.
So, why not?
(Blame it on the Reese's peanut butter cups left over from Halloween I was eating..)

I promise the post will be short and sweet (sorry) as for all the chocolate molds I have, I don't have particularly many Christmas ones.  I started collecting chocolate molds long before they were a "thing" and, therefore, still (somewhat) affordable, but, even then, the holiday - and especially Christmas - molds were very spendy.
(In fact, I have so few I am "supplementing" this post with some non-chocolate molds....)


This first mold is a Santa and sleigh "gang" mold by Eppelsheimer. They are called "gang" molds because they are capable of molding several of the same design simultaneously and are connected together like a chain gang.  (Ok, I made that last part up, but it makes sense, no?) 
Eppelsheimer was the largest manufacturer of chocolate (and ice cream) molds in the United States from 1880 - 1947.

You can see the details of the individual bars in this close up:

Another, newer, unmarked, Santa gang mold.

Below are several individual chocolate molds depicting Father Christmas, Santa, Saint Nicholas, etc. - some marked, some not, all old.  The fellow on the far right is Zwarte Piet or "Black Pete" who is Saint Nicholas's companion or helper in the Netherlands.

This mold (hanging above my cook top) is a cake or pudding mold:

This fellow is technically not a mold at all (but don't tell him).  He's actually a nutcracker (literally and virtually).  He was made by the Godinger Silver Co. and is vintage, but not "old."

A Nordic Ware cake mold:

A tree "gang" mold (lower center of the photo in front of the snowfella - sorry, this is an old photo and wasn't taken for the mold.) (I'm not certain but I am thinking it was used for small/individual cakes?)

And lastly, a very old reindeer cookie mold:


It's a mold thing.  What can I say?

Carry on with your merry!

Friday, December 17, 2021

The View From Where I Sit

I started this post the day before yesterday and this was, indeed, my view looking out as I wrote to you.
 We no longer have a Christmas tree inside (long story), but we have usually had a tree put up outside bedecked in simple white lights...and the snows in Nod, well, they do the rest.  
It was not my intention to have the tree outdoors this year either (another similarly long story), but things were inadvertently not canceled and there it is...or was...until the night before last. 
Then came the Winds of Nod....and it is now no longer.

It seems like things have been so transient for me these days....Christmas trees, Christmas joy, minutes, hours, days themselves...motivation, inspiration, organized  thought.

Anyway...While I have no tree (indoor or outdoor at this point), I did manage to bring out some of my beloved decorations and have intended to do some Christmas-y posts for a while. 
But then the plan becomes as mecurial as the Spirit of Christmas Future.

No, I am not shopping; nor baking, not wrapping gifts (if one doesn't shop, there are no gifts to wrap, are there?) nor writing out cards.  And, heaven forbid, I am not cleaning, Lauren.

Yet it seems that I am paralyzed and stymied by indecision (surprises very few I am certain).  I have posted most all of my holiday decor previously over the years (and little of it changes) and while I realize there are new followers who may have not seen it before and long-time followers who don't recall each and every thing I have posted (and, if they do, they are gracious enough not to admit it or complain of its repetition), I had thought I might present it in a bit different format.  
But then the whirlwinds started - and I am not referring to the ones outside.  (Who heard of tornado watches/warnings in Nod in the middle of December??)
Should I do posts dedicated to Santas? Snowmen? Sleighs and sleds? Sleigh bells and jingle bells? Vintage Christmas?
Well, as I said: indecision set in.

So, here I am: staring at a darkness that used to be a beautifully lit tree and wonder what happened. (Not to the tree...I KNOW what happened to that.)  At the risk of letting the last week before Christmas slip through my hands, I am going to post something.  I will start with a (hopefully) brief catchup and perhaps be back tomorrow (ha!) with something more Christmas-y. you can see from the tree that is no more, we had more snow.  About 10-11" (it drifted horribly so difficult to be precise) fell last Friday into Saturday (on top of what was already on the ground).

{Under that snow are my back steps and watering cans on the steps}

Then the snows stopped and a few days later the skies turned pink (REALLY) pink - and the temperatures turned mild (REALLY mild).

Yeah, and that's when the winds raged.  
Let me tell you, one day of almost 50° mid-December really wasn't worth it.
Half the shingles on the garage were ripped off, my heavy washtub filled with frozen dirt tossed across the patio, trees snapped, metal garden stakes bent at a 45° angle, etc.
And I am thinking that pretty lit Christmas tree may just be in Vermont about now.
'Nuff said about that.

While indecision and overthinking takes up a great deal of time, I have made some progress on my (not-so-simple-for-me) Simple Santa rug.  Will it be finished before Christmas?
Ummm, no.

{"Simple Santa" design by Therese Shick}

And, for those following along on my "reads," this is what I am currently enjoying:

I posted about this author (Sarah Maine)'s debut novel, "The House Between Tides" previously and said I would be reading more of her.  I am enjoying this one very much also, although there are some incongruencies which should have been caught with careful editing (which I find distracting, but I'm picky like that) and a bit of predictability (then again, I haven't finished it yet so I may be surprised).

I hope this finds you all well and getting your merry on.

{PS...I am not sure how many of you can still hear the music on my blog.  I thought it had disappeared but someone mentioned it not too long ago. Maybe I should try to remember how to change it to Christmas?? Or maybe not.}


Sunday, December 5, 2021

Back to Back Forty

 Exactly one year ago today, I posted about a magical place just over the (very large) hill and through the woods (literally) from me: Back Forty

{If you are interested in the original post, you can find that post here.}

Although Mark and Mel have their sales several times each year, it seems (to me at least) that their Christmas sales are the most beguiling.  (And coming from me - whose first love is fall/Halloween - that is saying a lot.)

This year was no exception.... If anything, it was even more amazing than last year's.  
So, in search of my once again misplaced Christmas spirit, I chose a time that I had hoped would be less "people-y" and made the 3-minute trek over (I am in serious danger of becoming a hermit.)
Since I explained the "gist" of the shop in the original post, I will not repeat it here.  You know where to find it (👆).  
I will leave you instead with a few photos (hurriedly taken as there apparently is no longer a time when there are no people).
News of good  things, indeed, travels quickly.

{You don't know how close this table was to coming home with me...for the lake...}

Peace and out....