Category Archives: seasonal: winter

Hunting Rabbits: A Nature Adventure Involving Shooting With A Camera

This was a fun impromptu adventure my daughter and I went on.

Following Rabbit Tracks in the snow.

After seeing rabbit prints on the road, we decided to follow them into the woods.

Following Rabbit Tracks in the snow.

The tracks meandered this way and that way and around trees.

Rabbit Hiding in the woods.

We must have startled him because that’s when we noticed the rabbit dart away.

I took a picture of the rabbit standing very still. See it hiding mid picture?

Found Rabbit after following tracks.

I was able to get closer and then closer still. I took this picture. It turned out that we were tracking an Eastern cottontail. It looked just like the picture in my field guide that I referenced when I returned home.

Rabbit prints/ tracks in the snow

A rabbit’s front paw print is about the size of a grown–up’s thumb print.

Go Ahead And Make Your Own Ice Rink: It is Easy!

learn to ice skate on your own rink

Enjoy the convenience of an ice rink in your own yard!

Learn to skate on homemade ice rink

Learn to ice skate!

I made this ice rink thanks to a rather cold spell in our area. If it’s going to be cold, we like to make the best of it!

Invite friends! I’ve collected a stash of assorted sized second- hand ice skates, knee pads, elbow pads, and helmets for my kids and their friends to use.

I wanted our rink to be small enough to be easy to set up and take down and I needed it to be made with materials I already had.

back yard Ice Skating Rink

Materials:

Salvaged 2 x 4’s, enough to go around the perimeter

Plastic (I had leftover plastic used as a moisture barrier under my house.)

Bricks or logs; used to hold the walls in place.

How to:

Find a very flat area on your property. Lay out your 2 x 4’s to make a rectangle. Size the rectangle so that it fits your plastic. Remember that the plastic needs to go up and over the 2 x 4’s. I didn’t stake the sides or even use hardware to attach the boards to each other. I just lined the boards up end to end. Then I placed the plastic over; pulling it very flat. Next I placed other scrap pieces of 2 x 4’s where ever there was a point where two boards were meeting up. I used logs to secure in place. All that was left was to add water and nature did the rest. When the weather warms up again, gather the boards and folded up the plastic and store for future fun.

If you are looking to make a big ice rink: I found this site recently and thought it had a lot of good tips.

Delicious Home-made Chicken Soup Made With Locally Raised, Free Range Chicken

bowl of chicken soup

We’ve been raising chickens for about 4 years now. They are truly charming and we love them. However, roosters can cause problems. First of all, although often very pretty, you can’t keep very many. It is suggested that you have one rooster to 25 hens. We therefore, only need to keep around one and only if we want fertilized eggs for hatching baby chicks. You don’t need a rooster at all to get eggs by the way. Fertilized and unfertilized eggs are indistinguishable in taste. Second, if you hatch out chicks (on average half are male), when they become “teenagers” they start to fight. In addition, if there aren’t enough hens, the rooster(s) can hurt the hen’s back from too much mating. This can lead to complete feather loss on their backs and even large cuts from the rooster’s claws and spurs. Third, not always but sometimes you will have an over aggressive rooster and they will attack you or worse your kids. For these reasons, we on occasion have locally raised chicken for dinner.

If you want to know that the chicken that you eat is humanly raised; raise them yourself. Our chickens have a very large area in which to range, peck, and scratch around like chickens. This area is fenced however, to keep away stray dogs or a marauding fox.Furthermore, I can make sure they have a healthy diet. So, why not enjoy chicken soup on occasion and have your own supply of superior eggs.

I always make a soup out of the leftovers and my family loves it.

cup of chicken soup
Soup:
I bake the chicken in my cast iron French oven (Dutch oven) made by Le Creuset. After the first dinner, I pick off any meat that is quick and easy to remove. Then I add enough water to cover the chicken bones. I also add a large onion (cut up in large chunks), a bay leaf or two, some fresh thyme from my garden, a few stocks of celery if I have any, and simmer it on the stove with the cover on but not completely closed for an hour or more. I then remove the carcass to anther container. If I’m making the soup right away, I scoop the droopy onion and celery out of the broth. Then I add some veggies- like chopped carrots, peas, corn… and a starch (brown rice, barley, or noodles). While that stuff is simmering on the stove in the same French oven, I pick all the meat off the bones. When the Veggies (and rice) are cooked, I add the chicken meat. I used to always shy away from dark meat but not anymore. Season with salt and pepper or leave out the salt and put in a bouillon cube instead.
I have an old fashion kind of cooking style. It’s the kind where you use up things that you have on hand, I don’t measure (well maybe when baking), and I make things to taste (shouldn’t we all?).

pot of chicken soup
I make soup like my dad; thick with lots of stuff.

Quilt-like Winter Curtain With Landscape Design: Keep The Heat Inside The House

This cool curtain will keep the heat in the house. I made it to cover sliding-glass doors. I wanted something to not only help keep out the cold but to also be pleasing: necessary during the coldest, bleakest time of the year. It’s eco-friendly because it reduces energy costs and because it was made almost entirely with repurposed fabric that I already had. I especially like this curtain because it is functional art.


How to: Tips for making one for yourself
Get a piece of fabric or a sheet to be the front. I used a black flat sheet that we weren’t using anymore. Design on paper your scene. You could make your curtain depict a pond with ducks or anything you like. Use scrap pieces of material and hand or machine sew the pieces on (appliqué). I prefer to hand sew in this case. I pieced together some vintage white sheets: the sheets were thick and very nice quality but there was a tear and some damage I needed to work around. I did not quilt through both pieces of fabric. I turned the edge under as I sewed it onto the background. When done with the front, add a back and then a boarder. The boarder fabric is the only part I bought new. I did not use any batting. Remember to leave open the ends of the top boarder for the curtain rod to go through. You will also notice that I cut the curtain in half. You may or may not have to do this.
Another option is to use a blanket or quilt that you already have and then fashion it into curtain(s). Crib sized patchwork quilts might later be used as charming winter curtains.

Make Your Own Stick Star Ornaments

How to:
Use a good pair of garden shears to cut some straight branches. From these branches, cut 5 stick pieces the same length and approximately the same diameter. Cut the first stick (whatever looks right) and use that stick to mark the length of the remaining sticks. I used sticks that were about 6 ¼ inches long and ¼ to nearly ½ inch wide. The exact size doesn’t matter as long as it appeals to your sense of proportion and all the sticks are the same length. Keep in mind; thinner sticks are easier to bend into place.

Tie two sticks together than tie another two sticks together near the end (see X and Y in photo).
Spread out the non-tied ends and overlay as in photo and tie top of star (see Z in photo).

Tie on the last stick. Play with the sticks a little; some go over, some under. Do whatever works for that star.

Party Craft
I prepared enough for my daughter’s whole class. I made bundles and tied them together with nice red yarn that was used to hang the star ornament after the star was constructed. The ball of wool yarn was used to tie all the sticks together.