The snow is flying, the wind is bitter cold and the warnings and dangers of the cold temps are everywhere!  I have to keep reminding myself that we are living in the Ozarks and not northern Wisconsin.  I hear they are actually thinking about closing schools up north because the temps are dipping down into –52 wind chill, however I’m sure their roads are clear though.

Chores tend to be more interesting and done more quickly in this cold weather.  Waterers have to be brought in to thaw, bunnies get extra hay to bed down in and the outside cats get to sleep inside by the wood stove.

We’ve enjoyed several bowls of popcorn that has been popped on the stovetop while the fire crackles and the snow blows in thick billows across the lane.  Homemade cocoa mix received at Christmas is also a yummy blessing!

Some days we find that the postal service has brought us bright, colorful seed catalogs so we can dream, plan and chart our spring garden.  One of our favorite things to do is to exchange heirloom seeds with other gardeners.  Gardeners are a fascinating bunch of people who keep seeds that have been passed down through the generations and are willing to share a few with others in exchange for some of your treasured seeds.  We’ve made great friends along the way too.  The latest we’ve gotten are onion seeds that are said to get up to seven pounds!  Can you imagine?  Who knows if we’ll have any success with that, but it will be fun to try.

I hope everyone got to try some new recipes for Christmas and that you were able to enjoy your family being together.  This Christmas was very bittersweet.  My dear father has been battling leukemia for several months and the past few weeks have been especially hard.  We actually spent Christmas day in the hospital with him and even though he was very disappointed to not be at home, we were very touched at the giving of others for the patients who were not able to be at home on Christmas.  It was a special day for us, one we will never forget.  Friends came to visit bringing some yummy homemade cookies and great conversation.  One of the nurses and her family came into the room pushing a cart heavily loaded with fancy cupcakes, cookies and cocoa for each of the patients on the cancer ward.  A mother, who had lost her 20 year old son to cancer, came in with several cans of popcorn and fuzzy blankets for each patient to choose from in memory of her son.

Our daughter had brought her fiddle to the hospital to play some waltzes for her Grandpa and the nursing staff came to life.  One of the nurses, direct from Ireland even jigged a bit.  Then she was asked to play for the other patients so she played Christmas carols down the halls for all of the patients to hear.  It is hard to put into words how meaningful that was to those patients, but even more so to her, to see how much it meant to them.  Yes, it was truly a memorable Christmas.

Have a blessed week and be sure to bundle up!