There’s a chill in the air

Woke up to a temperature of -16 F outside and 56f in. Brrr. Cold enough to form ice on the inside of the windows. (This happens quite a bit, not sure if it’s the window or heat’s fault).


It framed spring flowers’ reflection nicely. I bought a bouquet for myself and the geraniums and violets are also in bloom. It is a nice contrast to the white and gray outside, which is pretty in its own right.


I hope you caught the almost full moon on Saturday. It was gorgeous.


My fingers are crossed that the snowblower parts arrive before the next snow.


Hello Handsome

We have attracted a pair of cardinals to the feeder in addition to red squirrels, rabbits, deer, chickadees, blue jays and nut hatches. Always a welcome site in the winter.

I’m testing out my other cameras as we get ready to go to Australia. We have had about two feet of snow, which has kept me busy with the snowblower. I even cut down a few trees in the woods. One day, I used a Husqvarna chain saw in the morning and a Husqvarna sewing machine in the afternoon! Not many lumber jacks can say that.

Who doesn’t like to play in the snow

I found myself in a staycation with 2 feet of snow at home and more than 4 feet of powder in the mountains.  And I had a free pass to Whiteface!  So off I went to ski.  The day was perfect, 27 degrees, sunny, light breeze.  There may have been a few too many yahoos for my liking, due to a Canadian school holiday, but I found plenty of places to be on my own on the mountain.  Basically I am a princess and conditions have to be just right.  This was my first day downhill skiing of the season!  Before it was too cold, too crowded, too windy, too icy.


I had progressed far enough on the baby blanket I am weaving to take a break.


The cardinals look like they have been having fun at our feeders and in the snow.  The male’s vibrant red against the fresh snow is stunning. Red squirrels tunnel and burrow under the snow and jump from tree to tree.

Today I am too sore to play in the snow, the blanket is more than half way done and we are off to the opera! sort of.  We’re actually going to see a live simulcast of La Traviata. It’s the best we can do here in the mountains.

More hot water please

I must be nuts. I am heading into the woods tomorrow with Tim and friends. We ‘re staying at a back country cabin close(r) to a peak they want to climb. The cabin is 3.5 miles in, which shaves 7 miles off the round trip and breaks it up. Sounds like a great plan, right. Well look at this weather report.


High temperature of -2! Low of -23 f!!! We ‘re talking outhouse and haul water from the river. There ‘s purportedly a propane heater but I wonder if it will that keep up with this cold. Time will tell.

I’m prepared. I ‘m bringing hot chocolate and lots of wool; to wear and knit. I ‘m working on several fair isle hats for three young girls. Here ‘s my twisted braid beginning.


I warmed up today by cross country skiing . I saw home from a different perspective.

So warm and cozy looking. Why would I ever leave?

Ausable Chasm ice

The temperature is gradually turning warmer but ice abounds. I had heard the ice jams at Ausable Chasm were at their peak. I may have missed it by a few days, but it was still pretty spectacular. There were both frozen and flowing waterfalls.

This is the view from the road. These amazing rock formations were purchased and made private in the late 1800’s, even before the Adirondack Park was formed. It is one of the oldest “attractions” in the United States.

Can you pronounce chasm? I usually mispronounce it and our neighboring town, Schroon Lake. Think school not shroom.

My northern CSA provides international experiences

Our farm share continues all year. During the winter months, we eat food I imagine Russian peasants have always eaten – beets, cabbage, onions, carrots, potatoes, parsnips, turnips and rutabaga with some kohlrabi and celeriac tossed in.

I make borscht, stuffed cabbage, roasted vegetables, soups and stews.

This week hominy, or dried corn, was added to the share with suggestions to make tortillas. I gathered my corn and culinary lime and headed south of the border.

Lime is calcium hydroxide and is called “cal” in Mexican recipes. It softens the corn, boosting its nutritional value and helps remove the husks. Water, hominy and cal are heated and then left to soak overnight. Next the corn is ground into masa, traditionally between two stones. Since I live on an old sand quarry, I opted for my food processor.

I may have been better off with two stones. I ground the masa as fine as I could then made a dough with some salt and water. Next I flattened the dough with a spatula and peeled them off the board and tossed them in the hot griddle. The flavor was perfect but they were too thick and a little soft. I tried to pass some dough through my new pasta maker but that was too cross cultural and didn’t work.

Next time…

My knitting is well under way for the year. I already knit three mittens, a hat and wove a scarf. Next is to start a quilt and weave some new placemats.

These are the thrummed mittens waiting to get felted by the wearer.


This is one of my new mittens. I made a pair last year for one of my daughter’s friends a coveted a pair for myself.


Next up is a scarf I wove with alpaca, my handspun merino and silk and a little novelty boucle alpaca and silk. Sweet.


Winter pleasures

Snow abounds and its 0 degrees F outside. It’s crisp and crackly and I almost got stuck to the hot tub again last night.

The chickadees in this video adapt well to winter. We found safflower seed is a great food for them. Great for them because the squirrels don’t seem to like it and thus don’t empty the feeders as soon as we fill them.

The birds are the epitome of cheeky buggers. They chirp and flit within a foot of me and thank me for their winter feast.

I love the color of a winter amaryllis. This was a Christmas gift and brings warmth to the room.


I made a batch of delicious pasta last night with my new, industrial strength pasta maker. The gift giver also benefits from it.


It was a perfect meal after work with a meat sauce I made on Sunday.


A walk in the woods behind my house tells it all. The quiet and beauty is revealed in winter.


Soon the January thaw will be upon us and it could become a mess.

Over the top

A cold snap has arrived and brought beautiful, crisp, clear weather. I’ve been snowshoeing or skiing every day and remember how fabulous it is to be here in the winter. Except, of course, when you wake up to a temperature of minus 17 degrees Fahrenheit outside and find your oil burner isn’t working, as we did this morning.

We called the plumber at 0800 and by 0830 we were cranking out heat again. Nice!
I’m prepared though. I finished a double layer hat – naughty and nice. While in town, I wear the Nordic side out.

But when I am among friends I can reveal the dark side.

I am getting my cross country skiing mojo back – sort of controlling downhill speeds and confident I can get up again when I’m down. OK I haven’t actually practiced but I think I can. Yesterday I went through the river valley and came upon my favorite junk in the woods – an upended, rusted old car, balanced on the side of a steep cliff.

I warmed up in the hot tub to crystal clear sky. The Milky Way was like a ribbon, there were shooting stars, it was beautiful. I almost got to enjoy it for longer than I wanted though, because after I got out of the tub and was shivering in the wind, my fingers stuck to the metal latch when I tried to secure it. Yikes!

So it is winter

It’s official. It begins December 21 here, unlike Australia, where the season begins on the first day of the month and six months later (or earlier). Happy holidays and winter solstice.
There’s a nor’easter headed our way and we may get about a foot of snow. I’m excited because I’m going to ski the old logging roads on our property. Last year I was in a cast and the year before I spent the Australian summer on Deal Island.

I was surprised to find this little guy on our basement stairs yesterday.

He rivals Punxsutawney Phil in weather folklore. It’s a Banded Woolly Bear, an arctic caterpillar, and the thickness of its middle stripe is rumored to predict winter’s severity. Thick is mild. What’s remarkable is it freezes solid during the winter. It may spend up to 14 years, freezing and defrosting, before it becomes a moth.

It may be frozen now because the temperature is finally seasonally cold and this morning I found it curled into a ball.

It produces a “cryoprotectant” to preserve its tissues after its heart stops beating and its blood freezes solid! Impressive. It has a sad life cycle though. Years as a caterpillar, freezing over the winter, and when it’s finally eaten its fill, it emerges as a moth and then only lives a few days to find its mate before it dies.

Groundhogs have it easy.