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Monday, December 28, 2009

"Teach me how to crochet mommy!"

Duncan wanted knitting needles in the worst way for Christmas this year...
mainly because his sister received a large bag of wool yarn and needles from Auntie Ann.
Not being an accomplished knitter myself, I thought a crochet hook and cotton yarn might be more appropriate.

We practiced holding the yarn and crocheting simple chains on Christmas day.

There are several "blue worms" crawling around the house now... we'll try something more difficult another time!

Some Christmas Morning Shots

The Stockings Were Hung by the Chimney with Care...

...and St.Nicholas definately had been there!

perhaps excessively....

Okay, can we open some now???

Playmobile Pirates!

A tablecloth for Christmas Dinner...

A letter from Santa...explaining why there was no Christmas Kitten under the tree...but telling her he expected to meet her new kitty by next Christmas...some tears were still shed (mainly for missing Miss Marples), but we will be picking out a shelter kitten sometime in the next few months.

Lila's Birthday Gathering

Lila had a few friends over for her birthday...Three Extra girls rode the bus home...YIKES!!

Lila requested roast beast, crab rangoons and crunchy carrots for the feast. We also boiled some fingerling potatoes in shades of purple, pink and yellow. The kids thought those were cool!

Will and I had to sit at the kitchen counter, you know, the kids seats!

Opening presents....this is Lila's buddy Casey (she's a sweetie!).

They all crowded right around her while she opened her gifts. I think she felt very popular.

Lauren, Kayla and Lila

There were some outside activities to whet the appetite. We had about a foot of snow for sledding at that point before the rain came on Christmas Day.

Brunch with Pere Noel

The Portage Township Lions Club sponsored a "brunch with Santa" the Sunday prior to Christmas. Of course, the kids wanted to go, as we missed seeing Santa in Curtis at Thanksgiving. They were the first kids to show up so there were many exclamations of glee when we showed up....not for us grown-ups either. After pancakes, eggs, toast and sausage we worked our way over to the big guys lap.
Lila was quite delighted to sit on Santas Lap, even though her long legs were just about touching the floor. Santa had REAL quality presents for everyone...for many kids in our town this will be the major part of their holiday. The blue fuzzy thing is a heffalump. She loved it!

Duncan, as usual, played the shy boy with Santa. He did muster up a few words to say to the old boy and received some lego type thing and a book of mazes for his effort.

Sam...well he was completely into the whole thing and gave his usual hugs to Santa....and Santa gave him some too. He also received a lego toy and a cool book about science facts.

By Santa! See you next year!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The budding artist...

I MEANT to post this last week, but time just got away from me. This is the text from the local paper...

Three Lakes Student Wins Christmas Card Contest

Things were looking good to third grader Lila MacKinnon the week before Thanksgiving. The Three Lakes Academy student recalls, "Our art teacher told us we were going to have a card contest. And I like to draw!" The contest was sponsored by the Academy's chartering agent, Bay Mills Community College, and was open to elementary school students attending the college's many charter schools. The winning entry would be used on this year's Christmas Cards send from the college.

The students' imaginations were the only limitations on the entries produced. "I like cats, " MacKinnon confirmed, "so I thought I'd just draw what I liked...a cat by a Christmas Tree." She confesses she didn't give the project a lot of thought. "I just did it".

Her entry featured a festive scene of a Christmas kitty popping out from one of the gift boxes beneath a trimmed Christmas tree. The message "Happy Holidays" printed in banner letters across the top put the whole scene in focus.
MacKinnon lives with her parents, Will and Sherry, and brothers Sam and Duncan on South Curtis Road. Their place is home to sheep, llamas, rabbits, dogs and chickens. "Mom calls it a fiber farm."

Tuesday December 15, MacKinnon was informed that her entry was chosen as the Christmas scene on the college cards. SHe recieved samples of the finished product, including the College "letterhead", and a small cash prize.

Could there be anything else she might want for Christmas?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Winter Solstice

I came home from work Monday evening to this beautiful roaring fire...the Yule log was a huge one this year! Will lit the fire using the meager remains of last years log and the fire was lit before the sun went down. After the kids went to bed, we roasted some chestnuts and drank a bottle of Bragget (a Honey wine/beer) that a friend brought to us during the first barn raising. We stayed up late to enjoy the fire and put another small log underneath to keep it going overnight. I think Will was up around 4:30 am to put another one underneath it and when we were up at 6:15 it was still going strong and in fact made it until dawn broke! So, we expect that the sun will rise everyday here after the rest of the year! ;) Will salvaged a tiny bit of the log to start next years fire.
Busy finishing up some last minute details for the holidays at this point, and today is the Lila Wren's birthday! She has been anticipating turning 9 since January 1, and I'm sure that as the year turns she will inform us that she will be 10 this on earth did THAT happen?!? There will be some giggly girls riding home on the bus today with her and we will be having her favorite supper (roast beef and crab rangoons) with her friends and after supper we will be making the traditional ginger-bread creations. You know, give a kid a blob of gingerbread dough and let them create and decorate...some of them are pretty stunning in the end. More pics tomorrow!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Finished Barn Frame

Here she is, all ready to go. The barn frame was almost complete except for the lean to top beam, which is 2 8x8x8's and one 8x8x16...HEAVY! We needed several people to hoist that beam up.
Here they are...just about to heft the beam up...

Tom is holding this section...

Hey, is that brace in there yet?

Almost....have to move the post a bit...

Hmmm. This is out of order it appears!

Okay, it needs to come this way a bit more!

Got it!

Doug and Tom

This is Neal. You will see more of him later!

Pounding in a peg.

This is the first roof truss.

Tom anchoring one side.

Remember Neal? He carried every single roof truss across the length of the barn, walking on unsecured beams. The roof trusses were assembled on the ground.

There he goes with truss number three....of seven!

Fitting it in place.

Another one??

The Final Truss!

Now the purlins (or is that purloins?) go in.

The frame is finished. Since it is made of white pine, a bough was removed from one of it's sisters on our property and nailed to the give thanks to the trees and acknowledge their sacrifice to keep our animals and their food warm and dry.

A job well done! We couldn't have done it without our support group that day: Mark and Susan, Neal, Tom, Kristie, and Doug. We toasted the barn and the many sore muscles with Talisker single malt and a few Two-Hearted Ales. I wonder if Neal is still sore???

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas Tree

"See what a horticulturally correct tree I chose?"
Here it is all fancied up. This toook the better part of a day because two or three strands of lights decided they didn't need to work this year. Will and Lila had to run to Newberry on Sunday for more. We watched "White Christmas" and "A Christmas Story" while decorating.Of course, there had to be some dog humility involved.

Miss CeCe was not excited.Grace decided she could tolerate it since there were pats involved.Waters wanted to know what he did wrong.

Yes, Yes- I know I owe a post on finishing the barn frame. Many photos are involved and it will take some TIME from this slow dial up connection. Be patient!