Saturday, February 28, 2015


The day dawns brilliantly! It's cold, but the sun is strong and spirits, at least our spirits down here, at the farmhouse, are high!

Breakfast is a delight. Daffodils are selling at $4 per huge bunch. Irresistible and such a strong statement about the inevitability of spring.


The rest of the day belongs to Snowdrop, who is visiting at the farmette.

At first, when she arrives, she takes stock, looking for the familiar.


Finding it, she pours forth the smiles.


We play the dancing moose game (what, you don't know it? it's where the Minnesotan moose discovers itself to be in Madison... Ha ha ha! So funny!)


I remember the first time I left my kids overnight. There was no texting, no email, no cell phone. You left a string of phone numbers and hoped nothing would happen between the time you were at one and the next.

Not surprisingly, barely an hour had passed since her drop off and Snowdrop's parents were texting, inquiring about her wellbeing. She was, of course, fine, but I wondered, had she been a wreck, would they have fretted? Ah, technology! It reassures, but it also can exacerbate worry. Still, on balance it offers the opportunity for a quick check-in. You can always decide not to make use of it. (By the way, typing with one finger while patting a baby's back with the other hand is ... interesting.)

After lunch, Ed takes a minute to cuddle Snowdrop. Both have an expression of delight, with a touch of terror...


I take her outside then. It's as warm as it'll get today -- upper teens, but the sun makes it an almost warm set of minutes. Though I limit the first run in the newly assembled farmhouse stroller to the mailbox and back.


In the mailbox, I find the Etsy baby quilt I ordered. Terrific turnaround! I must have searched a thousand quilts. This one was the obvious choice. For the strawberries. For the birds. For the cheepers!


Of course, you can't just keeping on going, from one thing to the next. The girl needs a break. I put on Chopin Nocturnes, and little Snowdrop adopts one of her favorite resting positions. (This is when I get the post written.)


Evening is about to set in at the farmette.  In a repeat of yesterday, deer come to dig and graze in my large flower bed.



I don't usually post this early, but hey, I'll grab my minutes of quiet time as they come. She's gurgling on my lap, content. I'm gurgling on the computer, equally content.

Friday, February 27, 2015


There is a predictability to a winter day. Unlike in the other seasons, the orbit for us is limited and our chores are what they can be, given our indoor lifestyle (especially in the absence of a good snow base).

So you wont be surprised to read the same old Friday listing of grocery shopping, cheeper feeding, bla bla bla... Same old.

And yet, for me it's all so splendid when the day is bathed in sunshine!

Breakfast comes with an exclamation mark! (Even though it's Friday, so it's rushed and, therefore, in the kitchen.)


And though it's still terribly cold outside, the cheepers find their corner of trapped sunshine and are out to greet me as I go to give them bread.


True, it is a treacherous visit these days. The snow from the barn roof melts in the sunshine and drips down, only to form a thick layer of sloping ice. How the cheepers manage to walk on this is beyond me. Ed and I cling to anything in sight to stay upright!


In the afternoon, both parents of Snowdrop have to work and so I come again to spend time with the little one. I had been reading an article in the NYTimes about a woman who traveled with her 8 month old to the south of France. The child isn't really the focus of the article (and I have so many editorial comments on it that I really can't get myself to even put a link to it -- it's probably not worth your time), but I did pick up a couple of references to the baby's fussiness before dinnertime and loud fussiness at bedtime, to say nothing of an ungodly wake up hour. I look at Snowdrop now and I contemplate if she will be a tough one to take places. (My girls were so easy to keep quiet that we could travel with them everywhere, even when they were just approaching toddlerhood.) I think not. She looks like a peaceful sort, no?


Her wake ups this afternoon? All squishy smiles!


We have some grand play times...


... and lots of lovely stretches together. She doesn't have shoulder issues yet, but it's best to think ahead!


And it all feels magical to me!

Evening. I cook dinner. I look up and notice a deer sauntering just outside.


Tomorrow Snowdrop's parents have obligations that require a Snowdrop drop off for the day and a first night ever at the farmhouse!  It's tomorrow's story, of course, but I note it now, because who knows how much time there'll be for writing. I'll post, but depending on the degree of her spiritedness, it may be a very short post!

Thursday, February 26, 2015


If you're thinking I'm about to post some fine weather news, you are so wrong! We're in the bitter cold category again and though there is relief in sight for the weekend, it's a marginal upswing -- one that keeps us well below freezing still.

But, let's not neglect to recognize the joy inherent in a sunny day!


Yes, you could say there's relief in sunshine. But, too, for me, relief comes from my early morning trudge to the clinic to get the much anticipated, much needed cortisone shot in the old shoulder that has been frozen since sometime in September and that has become so uncomfortable, that I've been  up now three nights in a row, incapable of finding a good position for it. To say nothing of the horror of discovering that Snowdrop likes this and only this shoulder for her dancing nap.

What a relief!

Breakfast is, therefore, even more chipper than usual.


The sun streams through the window, the orchids are exuberant!


And the afternoon? It belongs to Snowdrop. Her parents have much to accomplish today and so her mom hands her sleepy countenance over to me...


...and out they go. Snowdrop wakes up and looks me straight in the eye, as if to ask -- what do you have in store for me today, grandma?


We roll out a quilt and set to it!


Yes, of course, as always, Snowdrop has her serious, pensive moments...


But the grins are not far behind.


She is such trusting spirit!

(You want me to do what? push my hand up? okay...)

May she always know how many loving hands there are, reaching out to help her navigate the tough world out there!

My shoulder relaxed, my heart full, I return home, where we confront the selling of the '93 Escort. (Can you believe that it actually makes me sad to see it go?) Ed has cleaned it up, I take better pics of it. Buyers (like me!) are drawn to the bright and beautiful and the old red girl is made to look as beautiful as she can get.


We immediately get calls on it.

And by the light of the moon, she sells. For $700. I could have held out for more -- there was a line of interested buyers -- but I liked the first couple who came for her. And, it is a huge relief to have this car buying/selling stuff behind us.

Thanks, old girl -- you never once let me down.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

still winter

It is what it is. Dull, dreary, cold. Even colder tonight. And snowing. Lightly, to irritate the snow lovers among us, because it's not enough to look nice or feel good under a pair of skis.

On the upside, we had a stunning (if mostly cloudy) sunrise!


And it happened at 6:38. That is almost an hour later than at the end of December, when I recall watching it break the horizon at 7:29. So much more daylight now, even if today it is rather a gloomy kind of daylight.

You wont notice streaks of sunlight streaming onto our breakfast table.


And it isn't the kind of day I would consider taking little Snowdrop out for another little stroll. We played today in her home, monkeying around. Well, maybe I was the goofy one.  She just gave me that quintessential Snowdrop stare that asks -- why is the world so confusing and what is my grandmother doing?


Oh, Snowdrop!


On balance, it was such a fine day! I cannot neglect a quick mention of driving home in the snow. Lily has her winter tires on and though Ed scoffs at this wheel change from one season to the next, I have to say, I felt like I was really gripping the road. Psychological, I'm sure, but so what? Is there a difference between happiness based on delusion and happiness based on reality?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

first run

We are promised a reprieve: one day of seasonal temperatures. We may even hit the freezing point, that's how warm it will be. But just today, mind you! It's as if we're challenged: use it! See what you can do with this gifted day!

Initially, I'm dubious. It seems gloomy outside. There are snowflakes, dancing, taunting, biting your cheeks. And yet, the cheepers are raring to go. (Perhaps an empty feeding dish triggered their "seek food!" mechanism. Oops!)


Ed and I take it more slowly. A leisurely breakfast...


... followed by some needed adjustments to the ad on Craigslist describing the Ford Escort (wrong phone number posted. Ooops!).

Then, I get ready for little Snowdrop's Tuesday visit.

She is playful.


She is funny.


 She is contemplative. (Cow is contemplative too.)


She is still so tiny (Though Ed says: she is so much more with it!).


Me, I am extremely excited (this is what being a grandma does to you), because the temporary upswing in temperatures (29F by early afternoon!) tells me that this is the day to take Snowdrop for a stroll around the farmette.

She is suspicious. Snowsuit? What is this?? But she quiets down and takes in the amazing touch of cool air and, for just a few minutes, the warmth of a winter sun on her face.

I introduce her to the hens -- the girls come out to see what the fuss is all about...


Seeing that there is no lemon cake to be had, they move on. And Snowdrop? Well, it's almost too good for her! Within a scant minute, she closes her eyes and dreams beautiful winter dreams...


As for the car? We had a buyer with a good negotiated price and in the end he never showed up. Ed had cleaned up the old dear and he encourages me to admire his handiwork.

You want to take a last look? 
I can mind Snowdrop.
No, really. I feel nostalgia toward that car...
Do you want to keep the heart shaped light? (The car came with a throbbing red heart plugged into the cigarette holder socket. It's garish and fitting for the car's humble history of cruising the meaner streets of our cities)
Yes, thank you.

The old girl will sell. Though not today. Not on the day where my attentions are so focused on sunshine, Snowdrop, and spring. Well, the anticipation of spring.

Monday, February 23, 2015

spring cleaning

There is much to be discarded again: more books, worn clothing, the car.

I'm done with looking for a new old car -- it's time to sell the old old car. I bought it 4.5 years ago -- to tide me over until I decided what I should be driving in the next decade. I paid $600 for it and Ed made a few adjustments so that it not only was a drivable old wreck, but a somewhat loveable old wreck.

Still, it's been standing in the courtyard, waiting for a thaw (I drove it into icy snow). And waiting for us to muster up enthusiasm for selling it.

Today, though the temps remained ridiculously (and I mean ridiculously!) low, the sun is brilliant and our overall enthusiasm for any project is on the high side.

After breakfast...


... we take out the shovels and dig out the poor dear. If you look at it from the side, you might think -- hey, it's not so bad! But of course, the back and front tell a different story.


Still, we disclose all known issues (notably absent from the list is starting troubles, as the little devil starts beautifully every time) and put up the ad on Craigslist. Ed's convinced it's worth at least $850. Of course, the worth of a car is whatever someone will pay for it. I'll let you know what happens.

Because at around noon the sun creates a sweet corner of warmth between the sheep shed and the barn, the cheepers brave the arctic air and venture out. They are especially excited when I scatter bits of lemon cake for them. Just a small slice, but I do like to believe that we share all treats with those who live on the farmette.

(the girls, out for a walk)

Then it's time to visit little Snowdrop.

Like so many who were Oscar driven last night, Snowdrop behaves like the party had lasted a tad too long: her energy ebbs and flows.

As I look now at my handful of photos, I notice an animal theme:

little S-8.jpg

little S-8-2.jpg

little S-17.jpg

Life can be very wild when you are just seven weeks old!

Sunday, February 22, 2015


The entire day for me revolves around the Oscars. Not because I am excited by the show in the way, say, baseball fans would be excited by the last game of the World Series, but because I've always watched the Oscars and always took note of all nominated films.  Even as I am a complete Hollywood dimwit. I should add that this year, I am especially thrilled to see Poland receive so many nominations. But today, my Oscar enthusiasm stems from the fact that my daughter and little Snowdrop will be farmhouse guests for the evening (the dad must stay home and work). And so I have to get ready.

It is a cold, cold day. Are you tired of these words here, on Ocean? Me too!

But, there is that magical sunshine...


... and after I do my usual farmhouse wipe-down, I suggest we open up the sun room and eat breakfast there, as if in defiance of the cold outside (and braving the under-heated room on this morning).


Next: a visit with the cheepers, who, too, are gloriously enthusiastic about the sun, defying the 10F thermometer reading!


And then I settle in to bake. What? No sugar??

Out we go to the store. Ed comes comes with me because I want us also to go to one of those rock bottom car wash places to get the salt off of Lily. It's bad enough that the old girl has rust spots -- I mustn't hasten her aging by letting the thick spray of salt remain on her sleek body! Ed is taking his old Hyundai and we'll be splitting a 15 minute spray time between the two cars at a do it yourself place: soap, rinse and wax, all for $5. (You get a little wet in the deal, but so what!)


 Get underneath the car! -- Ed reminds me.


Home again. And now come the cooking preparations.

First, the cake -- a simple lemon kugelhopf.


And a tomato risotto (with grilled shrimp for those who love shrimp) -- a daughter favorite and, as she reminds me, the last thing she ate prior to giving birth to Snowdrop.

The tiny little one is at her best tonight. We were prepared for the usual baby fuss, but it never came. She rests, she plays, she laughs.




A cold night, a perfectly gorgeous night, a special night. Full of the most beautiful smiles. And yes, the Polish film Ida won best Foreign Film. Snowdrop didn't quite get the fuss I made over that announcement. After all, these were her first Academy Awards.