Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year!

Sorry for the silence over the last week. As you can imagine, we've had a festive and busy time.

We particularly enjoyed having Older Daughter home for Christmas. It was nice to hear the piano again.

I took the girls to see the new Star Wars film in Coeur d'Alene. The first showing they hoped to see was sold out, so we had to wait for the next one.

Older Daughter had specially ordered this T-shirt and was disappointed when no one noticed the irony.

Too soon, it was time to drop Older Daughter at the airport for her trip back to New Jersey. Because of the uncertain weather we've been having (snow!), and because her flight left at 6 am (which would have necessitated leaving the house around 2 am), she and I got a motel room in Spokane near the airport. From there, we woke up at 3:45 am and I got her to the airport in plenty of time. Tough to say goodbye.

This has been an amazingly white Christmas. Snow everywhere.

We still have geese flying overhead.

The sun has been rare lately, so when it broke through just at sunset a couple days ago (while Don was driving), I snapped a few shots.

This morning -- New Year's Eve -- dawned clear and bright, with frozen fog at ground level. The temperature has turned bitterly cold -- 5F this morning, projected 2F tomorrow morning bringing in the New Year.

Hoarfrost was everywhere, turning the tiniest branches into rows of diamonds.

With the cold temperatures, the sunshine was welcome.

In the barn this afternoon, I noticed this well-disguised hen snuggled in some hay.

She watched me suspiciously as I worked.

After a few minutes, she started cackling and walking across the snow back to the chicken coop.

Sure enough...

This was the view of the bull pen fence through the slats of the feed bins from inside the barn. I liked the way the sun highlighted the fence.

As the last sun set for 2015, I watched the alpenglow.

I wish everyone a healthy, happy, prosperous, and blessed New Year!

Saturday, December 26, 2015


For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. -- Isaiah 9:6

Merry post-Christmas to everyone! I hope everyone's day was blessed and peaceful. Here's what Christmas was like in the Lewis household.

Don and I finally got around to wrapping gifts. I always think they look so pretty under the tree.

On Christmas Eve, we have a strange, silly tradition of having a junk-food feast. This is a congregation of every type of nutritionally-useless culinary rubbish we never, ever buy during the rest of the year. Long story short: After Thanksgiving many years ago, Don commented about what a pity it is I work so hard and make such a nice meal for Thanksgiving, only to repeat the same work load over Christmas. Somehow one thing led to another (aided and abetted by two eager children, no doubt) and before we knew it, we had started a tradition of having nothing but junk food for three days (Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day) in which no one has to ask permission to eat potato chips for breakfast -- and I go on a kitchen strike. By the end of this, everyone's begging for broccoli.

Here Lydia cozies up before the wood cookstove with bags of treats piled behind her (as well as accouterments for some kitchen renovation Don's been doing).

The feast. Not shown are packages of salami, sliced roast beef, and pastrami for sandwiches, as well as store-bought croissants and sourdough bread.

Mid-day, Don requested my absence while he brought in a mysterious package. So Older Daughter and I took Lydia for a walk in the snow. Where the road dips down and the wind doesn't blow as hard, we saw heavy snow on all the tree limbs, making the scenery look like something out of a Jan Brett book.

We saw this little tree bent almost double under the weight of the snow.

So Older Daughter took the tip...

...shook off what snow she could...

...and let it spring up again.

It looked a little happier after that.

Lydia spent a lot of time investigating tracks and odors.

Still a winter wonderland around here.

When I returned to the house, a large package had mysteriously appeared under the tree, with my name on it.

Christmas Eve is our big day of celebration. Our friends Dallas and Susie always join us for opening gifts. These fine neighbors have been with us for every Christmas Eve since we moved to Idaho, and it wouldn't be the same without them. Here Lydia sits attentively in front of Susie, hoping for a clumsy moment.

In an effort to hurry our leisured visiting, the girls teamed up to give us "puppy dog eyes."

Here's Don's father's Bible opened to Luke 2. He always reads the Christmas story out loud before we open gifts.

I didn't get any photos while we opened gifts, since the lighting was dark and the flash was too glaring.

Don gave me something I've wanted for years: a worm composter. Is there another woman in America who asked for a worm composter for Christmas? Can't wait to set it up!

I gave Don a Leatherman tread bracelet.

The girls received lots of books (no surprise).

Older Daughter also got some book pillows.

Since we weren't able to get into the city much for shopping, we also gave Younger Daughter a "coupon" for some parrot toys, and for some aquarium fish.

On Christmas Eve and Christmas day, we always feed the livestock extra well, because legend has it animals are granted the gift of speech at Christmas and will gossip about us. Can't have any bad news spreading to the neighbors!

Christmas morning the girls have stockings and one unwrapped present each. (We couldn't find the stockings, so we tucked their goodies in their elf hats.)

Younger Daughter received a "book bag" -- a carrying case shaped like a book.

Older Daughter received a digital picture frame pre-loaded with many family pictures from throughout the years. We figured since she's so far away from home, she might enjoy seeing photos on a frequent basis (plus she can show her nanny family the cows and chickens she grew up with, LOL).

The pleasant chaos of Christmas morning.

Christmas day included some wood splitting chores.

In the afternoon, some neighbors came by to visit and we had a couple hours of lively conversation along with sparkling cider and wine. One of the neighbors brought a festive coffee cake.

Altogether a lovely, peaceful Christmas. We thank God for the gift of His son.