Glenn and I are home again after a lovely, long, busy, lazy, food and present-filled Christmas holiday at Erika's and Christian's cozy (most of the time, anyway!) home on the farm. It wasn't a perfect holiday -- we cancelled on my niece and her family for Christmas dinner when Erika and I both came down with sneezy, snotty, unattractive colds -- but beyond that, we had an awfully good time!
I took a ton of photos, but still missed lots of things -- the five loaves of this bread I made and we devoured, Erika in the footie PJ's Christian gave her for Christmas, the snow flurries on Christmas Eve, the perfect thumb-print cookies Erika made for her papa, Christian mixing cement, the weird fog forming over the fields one morning -- I could go on and on. But, here are some of the photos I did manage to take to help us remember this first Christmas holiday on Freemans Ford Road.
Unfortunately, Erika and Glenn did most of the building of the nest boxes BEFORE Christmas, otherwise Glenn would be toasty warm in the insulated Carhardt overalls Christian gave him for Christmas instead of shivering (with an unbuttoned jacket.) (Please note the fingerless mitts that I knitted from yarn I spun while I was visiting Erika and Christian this summer. I brought the mitts for ME to wear but Glenn and Erika beat me to it!)
The three of us in the overalls Christian gave us. What a difference they make! Glenn and I like to repeat the adage: there is no bad weather, only bad clothes. Although I doubt there are any clothes good enough to help with the weather in Virginia in August. Only NO clothes would help there, but that isn't an option!
Bailey and Bonnie were perfect dogs as usual (except for an accident here and there when the humans were too preoccupied outside.) Bailey has really perfected his Easter Bunny pose.
Erika caught one of my favorite moments. We're in the "new room" which was added on to the farmhouse in 1935, according to Dot ("Miz") Hopkins whose husband, Dootz, was born in the house. Glenn and I dropped by to introduce ourselves to Dot and found her to be a perfectly charming Southern woman. She is so happy to have Erika and Christian as neighbors and was pleased to hear we would be joining them some time in the future.
I've always wanted to have chickens, but have always been a little afraid of birds. This little Cuckoo Maran hen is very friendly and unlike nearly all the other chickens, allows herself to be picked up without a bit of fuss. I forced myself to grab a few flapping, squawking chickens who didn't want to be picked up, too, just to be sure I could!
View of the barn and chicken coop from the orchard in back of the house. I love the sky on Freemans Ford Road. It seems to change by the minute.
Taking notes of the design of the old nest boxes in the old chicken coop.
Another of the too-many shots I took of Christian and Glenn digging post holes. Christian was very nice to let Glenn use his tractor. The temperature was in the mid-70's that day!
Decked out for Christmas.
Bailey (like Erika!) likes to snuggle.
Before the winter is over, Erika is going to need to make an extension panel for the waist of that full-body, insulated work suit and her overalss in order to cover her growing baby bump!
Besides doing a lot of pots-and-pans washing, loading and unloading the dishwasher, trying to remove tacks from the stairs and holding and retrieving tools for Glenn and Erika, I managed to stack the load of wood on the right. I also built a few successful fires in their Fisher wood stove, but had a harder time for some reason than I do here at home.
Getting ready to cut the opening in the coop for the nest boxes. Glenn really admired the work Erika, Christian, Sharlene and Frank did building the coop -- especially considering that they really didn't have all the proper tools.
Nest box installed.
Transylvanian Naked Neck ("Turken") feet.
The owner of those feet. This breed is highly prized in some European countries. I have no idea why -- they are perfectly hideous. This poor guy looks like he was put together with a bunch of spare feathers and too few of them.
Christmas morning walk. The sky was almost painfully blue!
Not the best photo of Christian climbing his deer stand.
I LOVE the overalls Christian gave me. I especially like the color.
Christian pointing out one of many deer rubs to us.
Sunrise (nearly 45 minutes later than in San Diego) through the trees looking out from the kitchen of Erika's and Christian's house.
Taking a break. (Fully insulated overalls and jackets don't do much for the figure, do they?)
After such a good visit, it was hard to leave Erika, Christian, the dogs and the chickens. But now we have the next visit to look forward to!