So. Had a wonderful white Christmas (sorry to all you Easterners – but I guess you all had enough last year to hold you over this year at least?!), and I began to ponder about 2016 – as you do. This is what I came up with…

My 2016 resolutions:


smiling kitten


smiling goose


smiling puppies

4. LAUGH AT SELF (don’t take things too serious, life is too short)

laughing panda


smile sheep


laughing horse

A lot of you may dismiss this as being too simple and common place – WRONG!

Stop what you are doing right now and think back to this past year. This will only take a moment or two, as most of us cannot remember what we did yesterday (yep – happens to us all!). Can you remember any time you laughed so hard you had tears coming out? How about partying with friends and laughing so hard you had to run to the bathroom (been there, done that way too many times! Hee hee). If you don’t remember doing it this last year, something major is wrong in your life!

smile dog-full teeth

How about sharing a huge – teeth showing- smile/grin at a total stranger? Maybe at a checkout line at a store, or passing through the door of a quick stop place? What about a simple “hi” to someone you do not know – with a polite smile of course? Did you do any of these? Do you remember doing any of these? If not, you are missing out on something Colossal!!

  •  It does NOT cost you anything.
  • It doesn’t hurt to do it (no, really it doesn’t hurt to smile – ok, ok, if you have been a grumpy Gus, you may be a bit rusty and the laugh lines might be a bit stiff and creaky, but it really won’t hurt! HONEST!!).
  • Anyone and everyone can do it.
  • Guaranteed to make your day a bit nicer – oh, and someone else’s too.

smiling baby pig





Nope, it’s not a dragon.  However, one would be welcome here- LOL.

Nope it’s not a unicorn, but around here it is just as rare to see.

It is the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (No – it’s not a strange creation in Looney Toons, it is real) was my gift this time!

yellow-bellied woodpecker-male.png  yellow-bellied woodpecker-female

I know some (ok most) of you are laughing at my minor miracle, however, you need to realize that it is the simple little things in life I treasure the most!  Relaxing in the living room, knitting up a pair of Christmas Bronco socks for my sister, I happened to look up and out the window and there they were!  Not just one but 3 – 1 male and 2 females.  I love sneaking a peeks at the trees out front while I knit.

We have a new huge picture window right smack dab in the middle of the east wall which faces the front yard.  There is a sad pine tree that managed to survive the fire and it has a bird feeder hanging in it, which is usually loaded with sparrows (not the cute Johnny Depp/Jack Sparrow kind).  Next to the large picture window, to the north, is a smaller window.  This one gives me a great view of a tree that has not been doing well (the Elm’s in this territory fall apart at the wave of a hand, so the winds we have had are beating the snot out of them), it is very old but is still hanging in there.  This time of year there are no leaves on it which aided in my great view of the new visitors.

We see Blue Jays every winter.  Chickadees, and the occasional Downey Woodpecker.  But these 3 were brand new.  I/we have been here 15+ years now, and they have never graced us with their presence until now.  Just before the fire, Red-Headed Woodpeckers showed up.  I thought they were extinct – but obviously not.  They are still around – yeah!  I now have an ear-to-ear smile while I am telling you this story.


Chickadee Flicker

I love birds and bird watching.  It is a simple way for me to feel great joy.  Unfortunately, I am usually without camera when I spot them.  I even have a couple of binoculars placed in certain spots in the house to get a better view at the woods fields.  However, I never fail to miss a good photo shoot – darn it!!??!!  So, until I become a better photographer (I am trying friends -wish me luck!), I will continue to be a spectator in their wonderful world of flight and color.  I also pledge to continue to feed the birds, and hope you will too!  (P.S. A lot of them help me to destroy the bad bugs in the gardens and yards – BONUS – WOOO HOOO!!)


I hate shopping! There, I admitted it. If I can’t get to the store by 5 a.m., I don’t want to go. The reason is simple enough – rude angry people. Not just the customers, but the store employees too. When you go really, really early; you usually find a lot fewer people and most of them will smile (part of this may be that we know we are all idiots getting up extra early just to get to the store). However, this time of year is the worst.

Well, I was completely taken aback yesterday at the mega store (yes it is one of the big chain stores). I couldn’t go until after 10 a.m. because I had to pick up my meds, so I just waited to take care of the whole dreaded thing at one time. My visit started with the normal long wait at the Pharmacy, but while I was standing there I was actually joking with the clerk – AND SHE WAS LAUGHING WITH ME!!??

Then, I turned to continue my store assault – defenses up – but there was this guy – also laughing with us. I smiled and cautiously skated around him since I believed him to be not of sound mind. Joining in a humorous moment at a store – don’t be ridiculous!

I proceeded with fear into the children toy area. My safety mechanism’s on full alert owing to the fact that this is just before Christmas. Once again I was taken aback, other customers in the area were responding to my “hi with a smile” back – with the same! I was beginning to feel like I was in a strange episode of The Twilight Zone (for you younger readers – Google it, worth checking into the videos/stories).

twilight zone

(Click on the pic and it will take you to my fav episode – the night of the meek)

Then the most bizarre of all. I was looking for replacement ink cartridges in the electronics department, and an employee approached me with a smile and said “Can I help you find something?” Okay now I was really getting scared – someone actually appeared out of nowhere to help me – I didn’t have to go hunt them down?? I explained to her what I was looking for and the shelf where it is supposed to be was empty, to which she replied, “I think we may have gotten some in, wait here for a moment please and I will look in the back.” I just stood there looking at her in disbelief. I may have shaken my head in agreement but, in all truth, I don’t remember.

dont panic

NOW WAIT A MINUTE – I’m in a large chain store. It is just before Christmas. I am in one of the worst departments of this store during this time of year. And an employee just appeared out of nowhere, requested to help me, and is even going to check the back room stock? I’VE BEEN ABDUCTED BY ALIENS – I KNEW IT WAS GONNA HAPPEN SOME DAY!!! Eeeekkk!!

I couldn’t move. I found I was staring at the numerous TV’s on the wall in a daze and a customer went by me, smiled and actually said “Merry Christmas!” I smiled back and returned the phrase, but I was also pinching my hand now, sure that I was dead. Ouch, nope.

The helpful employee actually came back – and with my ink and another boxed set in hand. She said she found both, and since the set I on sail this week, she thought (yep THOUGHT) I might want it instead.   I could feel tears of amazement welling up as I politely thanked her for her efforts and took the boxed deal from her hand.

I went through the rest of the store, doing my usual round of shopping and encountering more of the same…smile’s, HI’s, Merry Christmas’s , all kinds of people being polite and courteous. I even went to check out and had a little older man and women pull up in line behind me, and I did my usually “You only have a few things, please go first” – and they thanked me?!?

When I was completely done, car packed and sitting in the front seat getting ready to start the car; I pondered the last few hours (yes, it takes me from 2-4 hours to shop now – another big reason for hating it!). I started my car and proceeded to pull back, but admit that I was not completely paying attention – but another driver was. I was looking over my shoulder to the right backing up and, when I came back to the left to check, she was sitting there – patiently smiling and waving me to continue, it was safe!

smile teacup pig

I drove down the aisle to the end and paused. There were no other vehicles coming or even near me, so I took a moment to contemplate the last few hours. It was a Christmas Miracle! Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Clause. Yes, wishing on a shooting star makes your dreams come true. Yes, there are angels watching over us. And yes, people can be nice, and polite, and decent to one-another. No matter what ugliness maybe in the news, and no matter what I may have experienced in the past; this was the wondrous thing I had been wishing to see. So I send out a huge THANK YOU to the universe for restoring my faith in the human part of humanity!

Merry Christmas to all!


This is a new one on me. I am signed up with AARP-Life Reimagined (yep, I’m over 50 – eeeekkk!!! Hee hee), and I get regular emails from them…come buy this, come play this game, come take this quiz for fun…well, this recent quiz is titled: ARE YOU FAILING ENOUGH? (click here, have some fun)

REALLY?? That was my first knee-jerk reaction when I saw the title – failing enough?? ENOUGH?? They had me, I had to go take the quiz. It was quick, easy, relatively painless, and did give a polite and helpful answer at the end. Then it got me remembering.

I recalled how everyone thought we were crazy buying a farm. Looking back at it all now, I think they either thought of us as really brave or really stupid (most the latter I think). A farm – in this day and age – what were we gonna do on it AND the one we picked was out in the middle of nothing (almost)? Pretty sure they all thought we were going to fail.


The big thing they all didn’t know is something that I had learned earlier in my life – anything worth having, I’m going to have to fight to get it. The farm, like every other good thing in my life, took a huge amount of effort and struggle (still does). It wasn’t easy, but we are here! In fact, I have found that If something did happen easy, it inevitably failed and rightly so.

Are you failing enough” – made me think about my/our life here on the farm.

Farming is a never ending process of failure. Growing, crafting, baking, canning, fixing, building, creation – it is all a series of failures. The trick is knowing that all these failures are an excellent teaching apparatus.

We tried several methods of irrigation – still do – most have failed, but we learned something new on EVERY failure! We now know that we can’t have just one system, we use several depending upon the location, in or out of the greenhouse, shaded or full sun areas and, of course, the crop grown.

We both craft various things, both work in the gardens, both love to see things bloom and grow. I can knit – she hates it, but she loves the results I create. I will start to follow directions, decide that there may be another method to my madness. I get really far into it and decide it stinks. So, I rip it all out and try again – DRIVES HER CRAZY! She sees me working so hard at the creation, then suddenly, without warning, I pull out the needles and start re-balling the yarn – EEEKKK!!! At this point I usually start laughing because she thinks I have destroyed something wonderful, but I know different. I tried – it failed – so I will try again a different way.


(several of my latest creations)

She is just as bad only in a different format. She has the patience of a saint – drives me nuts! But if something needs to be done with a slow, steady and precise hand – she’s got it – hands down! A few years ago we bought several boxes of peaches from the 4-H kids and the bulk of it became peach jam. That same year she found a recipe for peach cookies. Now, being the good obsessed baker that she is, with a bit of narcissism thrown in, she had to make it her own.

She took a regular sugar cookie dough, somehow baked it into little cup shapes. When cooled, filled the cups with the peach jam, stuck 2 halves together and formed a ball. She then colored and painted them to look exactly like tiny peaches. Rolled them in sugar and to top it off, added little fondant stems – UNBELIEVABLE!

We had to taste test a couple for ourselves, but the majority went into our annual Christmas goodie boxes for friends and family. Everyone told us the same thing – “Didn’t want to eat the peach ones – Too pretty to eat – Still have it – can’t eat something so amazing.” She made them to be savored, and the shear wonder of them all came from her and her perfection obsessive passion. Now, the funny part was, not a single person asked how many time she failed, got it wrong, thought about packing the whole thing in – because that was not the point of doing them. The point was to see if she could, so – BRING ON THE FAILURE – it helps to do outstanding things!

(At times like this I really wish we hadn’t had the house fire. I had some beautiful pictures of those cookies. They looked like miniature peaches, or sparkly Christmas ornaments. About the size of an apricot, and way too pretty to eat.)