Winter Work-Out

Hubby and Lili are still sick, although both are beginning to show signs of improvement and because we were running low on several things, I really needed to make a trip to the grocery store.  I decided hubby and Lili could stay home while Naomi and I headed out into our winter wonderland, but unfortunately, the snow and ice we got a couple of days ago was still sitting in my driveway and I wasn’t going anywhere unless I shoveled it out of the way.  So I bundled up and headed out with shovel in hand.

Our driveway is longer than most driveways in town. The majority go straight from the street to the garage which is somewhere between 20-25 ft on average. Our house is “L” shaped so our driveway is set off to the side and after about 20 ft it curves toward the garage and runs another 20 ft.   About double the size of most and we shovel by hand.  No snow blower.  No truck with a snow plow.


The entrance to our driveway was especially difficult to dig thru since the snow plow had made several trips in front of our house, burying us under several more inches of snow.  Of course there was ice on top of those additional inches, so I had to use a metal spade to break thru all the ice and snow before I could scoop it out.  Then I shoveled the entire length of our driveway and about 7 feet across and now we can easily enter and exit.  And because I did all that work, I’m counting snow shoveling as part of my workout today. It’s activity I typically don’t do (although it feels like I’ve done a lot of it this winter). Shoveling snow burns a significant amount of calories. It’s gets the heart pumping and is a great form of resistance training. When you add a layer of ice on top of snow, it’s an even more strenuous work-out.

Thanks to the snow and ice, I got in a good work-out.  I also did 20 minutes of yoga first thing this morning.   A great winter work-out and a nice start to my February challenge!!!

Dehydrating on a Snowy Day

As I was turning off lights before heading to bed last night, I peeked outside only to discover that is was snowing once again. Already, the ground was covered in white and the wind was blowing so I knew the roads probably weren’t going to be in great shape this morning.

As I had predicted, all the schools in the area were closed. Not because of the snow, but because the 2-3″ of snow we got was now being tossed into big drifts from the strong winds. These same winds also brought along wind chill factors that were well below 0 and weather advisories warning every one of the cold temperatures and providing safety information on the importance of not staying outside for extended periods of time.

Hubby got up and began getting ready for work, but I convinced him to consider the fact that the roads might not be that safe.   He took my advice and worked from home instead.

Since we were avoiding any trips out into the cold, it seemed like a good time for a project.  So hubby took a mid-morning break and began peeling apples.  He then sliced them, soaked them, and had the girls put some cinnamon sugar on a few.

Pay no attention to the partially painted wall. I was testing paint color by using up the excess paint from another room I had painted. I have decided I don’t like that color on that wall.

While they were working, they talked about how nice it will be to one day have apples from our own apple trees.  I concur!

He also peeled, sliced and soaked bananas, placed on the fruit on trays and placed the trays into the dehydrator.

For the rest of the morning into the afternoon, I listened to the hum of the dehydrator.

This was hubby’s first time dehydrating fruit and like most things, it’s a learning process.  But finally, the moment of truth . . . . the taste test.

Before dinner the bananas had all been eaten and I’m not sure how many of the apple slices, if any, are left from the girls after dinner snack.  Therefore, I would have to say it was a success and a nice way to spend a cold and snowy afternoon.


Snowy Thoughts

The snow is coming down. It’s not coming down vertically as light fluffy flakes, but instead millions of tiny snow flakes are blowing horizontally across the yard.


Every once in a while a stronger gust of wind sending even more flakes blowing off the roof of the house, spiraling down to the ground. Drifts of snow forming across the yard.  Our fire pit slowly being buried in white.



According to the forecast, we have several more hours of snow yet to fall.  A total of 6″ – 8″ inches expected, with winds becoming stronger and temperatures continuing to drop as the day goes on.

Our dogs don’t seem to mind the snow at all.

Snowy face Zoey
Snowy face Zoey (Keeshond)


Jagger (Papillon) and Jada (Keeshond)
Jagger (Papillon) and Jada (Keeshond)


As I have been watching the winter storm today, my mind has been wandering to what our life on the homestead might be like in weather like this and I realize just how unprepared I am.  No insulated overalls, coat, or gloves for working in weather like this.  No insulated work boots either.  I do have a couple of pair of really thick, warm wool socks.  I suppose I could start a new farm fashion trend with my Vera Wang wool coat and Ugg boots, but somehow they just don’t ooze ‘farm life.’

So much learning and preparation that still needs to be done for our life on the farm.  And no time like the present to start learning and preparing.


Batten Down the Hatches

2104 is ushering in lots of snow, wind and bitterly dangerously cold air.  The snow is expected to begin here in the next 1 1/2 – 3 1/2 hours and while we are only expected to get 5-8 inches here, friends to the south of us are expecting up to a foot.  Either way, once the winds kick in, it’s not going to be safe travels for anyone traveling across Central Illinois with lots of drifting snow and wind chill factors as cold as -40.  Unless there is an emergency, we are battening down the hatches and staying home.  I have several jars of soup in the fridge, a fresh loaf of bread and cornbread made as well as salad fixings.  Enough food to last us several days and the ability to heat everything if we should lose power.

We already have about 4 inches of snow on the ground and I like it.  Snow, especially a new fallen snow, is so clean and fresh.  It’s like a clean slate.  A fresh start, like a newly fallen snow.  It’s quiet.  It’s peaceful.

Of course there is also the practical part that says the snow will one day melt and seep into the soil.  My garden is thankful for the snow and so am I.

For those in the path of this storm, I hope you have no need to venture out.  Remember to take care of your animals.  Keep them warm with lots of fresh food and water.

Stay safe.  Stay warm.


Snow, Thru the Eyes of a Child

It began snowing early evening yesterday and as the sun went down, the snow continued. We watched the snow falling, sparkling in the glow of the street lights. Slowly, it began to cover everything in a blanket of white.

When we awoke this morning, we peeked outside and saw our winter wonderland. Everything covered in white. So clean. So bright. So beautiful.

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After breakfast we bundled up and headed outside. We measured the snow – 7 inches of newly fallen snow. If we had any hopes of getting out of our driveway, the shovels had to be put to work and work they did. We shoveled a path down the driveway, just wide enough to drive in and out. Then the snow building began – a tiny snowman, a snowy tunnel, and a small hill for sledding.  Things I loved doing so much as a child, my girls were now enjoying. The three of us outside for hours, creating fun in the snow.

Digging out the snow tunnel
Digging out the snow tunnel
Crawling thru the snow tunnel
Crawling thru the snow tunnel
Looking thru the snow tunnel.  No way I could crawl thru the narrow tunnel :-)
Looking thru the snow tunnel. No way I could crawl thru the narrow tunnel 🙂

The girls took turns climbing onto the inner tube in hopes of a successful run down our little snow hill.  I held onto the tube, trying to keep it from prematurely sliding down the hill without them fully in place.  Deep belly laughs from all three of us when one would slide the wrong way or fall off before reaching the end of the run.  Cheers when making it to the end of the run.  I was seeing snow thru the eyes of a child.  It wasn’t something that created more work for me.  Instead, it was something that created joy, laughter, fun, memories and a tighter bond between mother and child.

As I stood there enjoying the moment, I found myself feeling more childlike.  I forgot my true age and climbed onto the inner tube, first sliding backwards down the hill onto the driveway.  More laughter!!  Then I plopped on the tube again, sliding forward down the hill.  My legs and feet dragging along behind me.  Smiles and even more laughter.  A feeling of accomplishment that I’m not too old to enjoy those things typically enjoyed by a much younger crowd and remembering once again what it’s like to be a child.

(Sorry that there are no photos of our inner tube fun.  Although photos of me sliding down the hill would have been awesome I’m sure.)

Three hours later, we made our way indoors again with only one casualty in the snow –  Naomi’s lower lip, which she bit when hitting her chin on the hard snow covered ground trying to get on the inner tube. Some tears, a little blood, but nothing serious. Yet even a little accident wouldn’t spoil the joy, laughter, fun and memories that were created today.

Tomorrow will be another day. The temperatures getting a bit colder allowing the snow to stay around a few days. Maybe another round of snow fun simply to bring more smiles to these cute little faces.

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First Snow Excitement

The snow began around dinnertime.  There wasn’t much accumulation expected, but the girls were still excited and couldn’t wait until morning when they could go outside and enjoy the very first snow of the season.

Before breakfast, they were dressed and bundled up for some snowy fun.  Naomi was hopeful that they could create something wonderful with the snow and her enthusiasm wasn’t dampened when we explained that there really wasn’t enough snow nor was it wet enough to create a snowy masterpiece.  Instead, they both enjoyed picking up handfuls and began throwing it in the air and on each other.