January 4, 2011

Keeping Good Company

 Yesterday was our first day back at work since we got home on Dec. 22. While it was hard to leave, once we got away from the house, it was kind of nice to be back at work. There's always a sense of mystery, the not knowing where your going next and what you might see, that keeps things interesting and kind of exciting out here.

Our week and a half at home was jam packed full! But even with all that we did, we still had a laid back, low key Christmas this year, which was actually kind of nice. We didn't get snow, but instead we had heavy fog all Christmas Eve and most of Christmas day morning. Freezing fog creates some amazing works of art with the simplest things. I didn't venture far from the house, but even the branches of the cottonwood by the front porch were pretty to look at.
For Christmas, we were at the ranch. It was just me, Malcolm, and his Dad. His sisters spent Christmas with other people this year, and his Mom had to be in Georgia helping her parents who are going through a difficult time with their health. We missed them being there with us. And just being the three of us, things were kind of...well not just "kind of" but really laid back. We didn't have a tree up and decorated, but I did bring a candle and greenery for the table and that was the extent of our Christmas decorating. And we didnt' have the Christmas feast that leaves you feeling ill, but I did fix us a pretty tasty down-sized version. Still, even without all the traditional trimmings, it was nice in its own way, and we enjoyed the visiting and having one on one time with Malcolm's dad.

Back home, we stayed busy doing errands, chores, and projects. More on that in another post later on. But between all those, I enjoyed my Christmas vacation company...who were very cold!
At first there weren't a lot of friends coming to my feeders, but a post-Christmas arctic blast and a day and a half of snow fixed that!
It wasn't long after the snow started falling that more company showed up!
And at our house, with this type of company, the policy is "the more the merrier!"
According to my bird book, doves don't winter in my part of the state. But this guy isn't the first dove we've had around this winter. And when we were home in November, there were several that frequented our yard. Apparently they didn't get the memo that they are supposed to go elsewhere for a few months, but I don't mind at all.

We even had a yellow-shafted Northern Flicker stop in for a few minutes.
I threw a New Years party for my friends, mixing bird seed, raisins, peanut butter, and some crumbled up left over waffles. Everyone thought it was the best show in the neighborhood, and we had quite a crowd for most of the day.
These friends of mine give me so much to enjoy, everything about them, right down to their toes.

Of course, no party is complete without its party crashers, some more welcome than others. It never fails that just as I fill the feeders or put out some extra special goody, the Pinon Jays show up in a flock that seems to number well over 100. Very frustrating!

Malcolm and the girls took turns shooing them off. Ella does love to chase birds!

The other party crashers were more welcome, though they do a pretty good job of cleaning us out too! They actually dropped in before the storm, and before the bulk of the birds showed up, so I was happy for the company and someone who appreciated my efforts at keeping the feeders full.
The doe and her two fawns stayed quite a while. The buck came with them, but apparently he must have heard about some better servings at another place, because he left after only a brief stay.
As for the girls, they spent the majority of their stay at home parked here...
...and with temps below zero, or close to it, who can blame them! As long as they were happy, that's all that matters. And nothing makes Paris happier than a nice warm fire in her stove, except maybe my lap in close proximity to the nice warm fire in her stove.

Unfortunately it wasn't all fun and games for them either. They had to endure this on Sunday afternoon.
But considering they'd avoided it since late October, I didn't feel too badly for them. And they sure do smell and look better now! Besides, they had a nice place to dry off at.
Heat has a way of turning my dogs into zombies. Its almost like they are drugged.

New Years Eve it was just me and Malcolm and the girls. We were all in bed by 10:00pm, big party animals that we are. We were busy with a project all day long, and nearly forgot it was the eve of a new year. Same happened on New Years day! I did manage to get us a good dinner fixed up. For the first time in several years we were home on New Years, and so I cooked up a southern tradition.
If your from certain parts of the south, you know you have to eat collard greens and black eyed peas on New Years day! Like I said, we've missed out on it for a couple years now, so I told Macolm we had to eat double the usual amount to make up for it. The more you eat, the better luck and more money you get in the year ahead! (We'll see what happens. I feel pretty blessed, but more blessing and more money will never by turned down in my house!)

Along with the greens and peas, I fixed up a pot of one of my favorite childhood foods, my Gran'ma's Chicken and Dumplins (Chicken n Pastry if your from North Carolina, which my Mom's family is). Thanks Gran'ma for the directions. It wasn't quite as good as yours, but it was a darn close second and I enjoyed every bite, even the left overs!
I've been working on catching up on every one's blog posts! What a job! I missed so much! If I haven't gotten to you yet, just give me some time. I'm working on it. And I'll be back to share some of my projects in a day or so. Hope you all had a great start to 2011!


Lisa said...

I always enjoy reading your posts! Great pictures of your New Year's Visitors and I wish I could have been there for one of my favorite dish Dumplins!

small farm girl said...

I just love the pics of the girls. They look like they LOVE the stove. We used to have a chahuahua that would lay UNDER the stove. Sometimes she would get so hot that she would stagger when she came out from under it. I'm glad your back on the road so that we can read your blog.

Meagan said...

YUM! I LOVE LOVE LOVE chicken and dumplins and NO BODY does it quite like our Grandma! MMMMMmmmm.... My alltime fav is her chicken salad AND chicken and dumplins! I am drooling... right now. I am glad y'all got to be home and I am glad you spend time with Malcom's dad on Christmas too! LOVE YOU and MISS YOU!

Shirley said...

Ha! Love the accusing look on the wet dog's face! You weren't her favorite person then! But a perfect chance to bath them with the fire all cozy to dry them off. Glad you had some relaxing down time, and best of luck to you this year.