Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Tales and Wish Lists

Had some great news yesterday!  I received a telephone call from Jim Massey at The Country Today newspaper.  He called to let me know that the Christmas Memories Contest story that I submitted to the paper won Honorable Mention and will be published.  I was so excited by the news that I forgot to ask which upcoming issue it will be in, but that's no matter.  It will either be next week or the week after.  The name of the story is "Northwoods Christmas".   I was so surprised that anybody liked the story and I had no idea it would do so well in the contest.  Mr. Massy encouraged me to submit more writings to the paper and he said I could write.  Wow!  The first thing I thought of was tieing a ribbon around the issue of the paper that the story runs in and giving it to my Dad for a gift -- I didn't tell anyone in the family I was submitting a story.  (Have to tell Dad not to chuck it in the woodstove without reading it LOL.)  If there is an online link to the story after it is published, I'll try to post it here.

It is still really cold here.  I put down some more wood chips in the coop for the chickens who all seem to be doing all right.  The hens wait for me to bring in the warm water for them in the mornings.  I have found that it is easier to scrape down the roosts when the temps are around 20F or better.  I keep the coop door open for the chickens to go outside during the day, but they don't like going out in the snow even though I have shoveled a little area for them in front of the door for them to run on.  I toss some oats and corn for them to scratch there.  It got down to -25F the other night and I was afraid I might lose a couple of them, but it seems my idea of slightly overcrowding the coop to utilize body heat for coop warmth is working well.  I have also shoveled snow up against the coop walls and on top of the leaf bags for additional insulation.  So far so good.

Checked out the egg refrigerator after that -0F cold spell and had to throw out half the eggs because they froze.  Tom said the refrigerator isn't running right because the eggs should not have frozen, but I don't think running a frig in an unheated garage makes for good appliance running conditions.  Just makes me mentally add a commercial refrigeration unit to my monthly new moon wish list.  Do you know about making a new moon wish list?  The new moon of each month is a very good time to make wishes.  On the day of the new moon, sit down and make a short and simple wish list -- less than 10 items.  Then, stick the list on the front of the frig or somewhere you will see it regularly, and visually image yourself receiving what you wished for as the month goes on.  Draw a line through the items as you receive them and send out a blessing to anyone in need.  You might be surprised at how quickly some of those wishes get fulfilled.  Of course, you're not going to receive everything (I'm still wishing for a winning Powerball ticket LOL), but making the list is a good exercise in mentally focusing on goal achievement.

I took a sneak peak at the 2010 St. Lawrence Nursery catalog and by the time I finished penciling my wish list, the dollar amount was over $300.  Ooops!  Maybe it will be better if I make smaller purchases each month instead of all at once.  I want to add some pears -- I'm not picky here so I'll get the $64 dollar package that consists of 4 trees.  Then come more apple trees -- two Golden Russet (cider) and Honeycrisp (fresh eating and farmers market), and one Northwest Greening (great pie apple) -- $20 each tree.  I need a couple of replacement elderberry bushes ($38 for 8).  Rugosa Rose bushes are $55 for 10 bushes; same for Sumac bushes.  And lastly I'd like to try planting some Seaberry bushes ($25 at $5 each).  Last year I neglected the whole orchard area so this year I plan to get out there early and make it look good.  I would sure like to put a bee hive out there, but that will have to wait.

Well, I'm making apple dumplings for supper so have to get going, but I did want to put up a picture of Lara when she helped me make Christmas cookies (they are going fast!).  She had a good time grinding the nuts in my antique nut chopper.  She had some difficulty turning the crank because she only has limited use of one arm, and she doesn't have much strength, but she did manage to chop 1/2 cup for me, which was all I needed. 


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