Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Seeing Out the Old Year

It's hard to believe, but today is the last day of 2013.  My, what a year it has been!  Between the usual adventures around the Farmlette, and a surgery over the summer, and new chickens and new rabbits and all sorts of growing things come and gone and put up in jar after jar in the organized pantry....whew!

Tonight I'll be indulging in my usual tradtion:  a quiet evening dinner with friends (weather permitting) followed by reading a good book well into the night.  And then, around midnight, I'll write down my wishes for the coming year and head outside to set them alight and release them into the cosmos.  The dogs will snuffle around in the snow and cold night, and then we'll head indoors to bank the fire and go to bed.  It's a quiet tradition, and one I enjoy immensely.

What will I wish for?  Well, telling would make them not come true, wouldn't it?  So I'll keep my wishes to myself, and if they happen, I'll be sure to reveal them here...one adventure at a time!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Hearty Winter Fare

I love this PBS series, and the accompanying blog (www.kitchenvignettes.blogspot.com) with its gorgeous photography and luscious recipes.  This little video shows a deceptively simple and incredibly delicious meat pie--I made it for my Christmas Eve supper, and it was wonderful.  Delicious, hearty, and flavored with unusual spices...I may need to make another one, as it is the perfect cold weather meat pie for dinner.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Great Ideas

In addition to organizing seeds and such this week, I've been indulging in a little garden-reading.  It's funny how I collect these books, and then they live on my book shelves for a time until I have a few minutes to read them...Luckily, when I do get a chance to read them, I find a whole wealth of useful information.

Take, for example, this book.  Geared to urban gardens, it nevertheless has great ideas for those of us with small backyards who want to make use of every square inch of available growing space.  Already I've gotten ideas for DIY self-watering containers that will actually work to grow food, tricks and tools to lengthen the growing season, and some ideas on growing things in partnership to encourage pest- and disease-resistance naturally.  Even if you have lots of room to grow your garden in, these hints can be great when applied to, say, the kitchen garden or small herb bed that you've always wanted but haven't had time to carve out of the larger space.

Check out your local library to see if they carry a copy of this resource, or go to Chelsea Green Publishers (www.chelseagreen.com) to order your own!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Time is Approaching

Ah, remember this from last year?  In a few weeks, my seed starting station will be looking like this once again.  I can hardly wait, all thatt green-ness, happy growing things, the smell of damp dirt, getting a light tan from the lights...that's right, it may be the depths of winter but it is nearly time to start some seeds for the spring garden.  In fact, it is time to start some onions (they take quite a long time to grow) and perhaps some other long-day plants.

I have another week off from work (one of the benefits of working on school year schedules), so I plan to organize my seeds, arrange the time table for planting/seed starting, and figure out what supplies I need for this year's garden.  I definitely need some more peat pellets--I'm going for the 500 count box this time, so that I will have enough for a couple of years (I hope!)--and perhaps some little pots to plant into, as the seedlings grow and need more root space.  I suppose a foray into the car hut is in order, to rummage around in there and see what I have.  I know I have some little plastic pots somewhere, it's just a matter of finding them again.

I'm also going to be continuing the organizing of the Seed Library.  I have several hundred seed packs, all sorted roughly but now needing a finer sort and a bit of tidying up.  And then there's preparing for the Seed Swaps coming up in a couple weeks' time--I need to figure out what I have to trade, and what I am "shopping" for if I get lucky and find a fellow gardener with seeds to swap.

And of course, there's my seed order to figure out.  So many seed catalogs, so many options...and so little space to plant them all in!  But never fear, I have a plan for that dilemma as well.  Sort of.  Maybe.  It's in the works.  It involves some basic construction skills, which are not my strong suit, but I'm thinking I can pull it off.


Friday, December 27, 2013

A Little Reading Material

I have such wonderful friends who know me so well.  Take, for example, this gift I received over the holidays: a DVD of Mother Earth News magazine issues from 1972 through 2012.  Holy macaroni.  I am so excited to delve into it over this break!  I doubt I'll get too far (maybe I'll hit 1975?) before I have to head back to the work world, but I'm going to have a great time curled up with a pot of tea and issue after issue of one of my favorite publications to page through.

Note: If you wanted to get your own copy, head over to www.motherearthnews.com and buy one with your Christmas money! 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Peace on the Farmlette

It was a snowy Christmas day here on the Farmlette.

Hints of color peeked through the snowflakes...

But the garden was definitely sleeping, dreaming of spring.

Even the hoop house was covered in a layer of white.

Inside the Bunny Barn, all was well--holiday treats abounded!

"What, it's Christmas?  Pass me another apple, then!"

Icicles dripped and grew all day.

The Little Coop seems smaller and smaller, the more the snow falls.

Share, Little Ladies!  It's a big apple, after all.

"Arrook-arooo!  Merry Christmas to you!"

Snow kitties, leaping through the drifts!

"Meowy Christmas...where's my treat?"

Even the Big Ladies forgot their angst over winter to enjoy some treats.

After all, Christmas doesn't last forever...you gotta grab a big bite of it while you can!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

If you live in a city, you may already be watching this.  But, if you are like me and live in the Middle of Nowhere, you have to search this out.  I usually put it on a  loop in the background this morning, while I go around making alcoholic coffee and eggs, gifting all the animals indoor and out their various Christmas Day treats, and making the few happy greeting phone calls to friends and family before settling in with my new Christmas books and a blanket (and eventually, taking a Christmas nap).

Merry Christmas, one and all!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


By now, the kids are probably unbearably excited for tomorrow morning and Santa's arrival and all sorts of wonderful things that will happen.  The kid in each of us is excited, right, so who can blame them?  Here on the Farmlette, even the animals know that something magical is in the air.  Perhaps they may finally get to see what is in their lumpy, bumpy stockings hanging off the stairs...or maybe I will finally let them knock over the tree, as they have been pining to do!

I don't know about tree knocking, but hopefully they will all settle down and let me enjoy one final version of A Christmas Carol. 

Movie #24:  A Muppets' Christmas Carol

One more sleep until Christmas!

Monday, December 23, 2013


And for a lesser known (and lesser well liked) cousin to White Christmas, we have yet another classic film to squeeze into our holiday film line-up.

Movie #23:  Holiday Inn

Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire.  What's not to love?  Well, quite a bit, actually...the music and dancing are about all this little gem have to offer.  But it is sweet and silly and just the thing for a long winter's evening.

Sunday, December 22, 2013


Time is running right along, and soon, the big day of Christmas will be upon us.  Hopefully, you've laid in a supply of cocoa, cookies and other delights to hunker down and enjoy the time with friends and family.  I'll be settling in this evening with another favorite holiday movie of mine.

Movie #22:  White Christmas

When I lived in Anchorage, the small brew pub-movie theatre started showing this film one day during the month of December.  My friend Mindy and I would go, get a couple beers and a good pizza, and sit enthralled in all the charm of this silly holiday classic.  Oh, I do miss that tradition (and Miss Mins) very much!

Saturday, December 21, 2013


Now, what would a holiday be without something from the Muppets in the movie watching line-up?

Movie #21:  Emmett Otter's Jug Band Christmas

I just love it:  Muppets, little furry creatures, and jug band music.  Yeehaw!

Friday, December 20, 2013


By now, we've started having a little too much eggnog and, for those of us singletons, we're starting to get a little tired of the endless romantic gift commercials.  So I can really relate to trials and tribulations of romance, in all its forms.

Movie #20: Love Actually

Thursday, December 19, 2013


After that martian movie monstrosity, I think we all need a little lighthearted silliness, right?

Movie #19:  Fred Claus

I do love the final snow globe scene, with all the happy Christmas joy...yeah, I'm a sap.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Now, what holiday would be complete without a little sci-fi, bad B-Movie madness?

Oh yes, it's time this one got the acknowledgement it deserves.

Movie #18:  Santa Conquers the Martians

Oh, it's so terrible.  Really, it's awful.  You can't tear yourself away from watching it...even though you really, really want to.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


In each of us, there is a little child who remembers the magic of believing in Christmas, and Santa, and all that wondering of what if, just maybe, he really IS real? Perhaps that's why I like this movie so much.

Movie #17: The Polar Express

Of course, I do wish I would be gifted a golden ticket to ride the rails...sometimes.  Mostly, I'm happy to be home with my cocoa and snoring dogs.

Monday, December 16, 2013


Don't forget to watch this lovely film before it's too late!

Movie #16:  Mixed Nuts

Yeah, it's not the clip.  This film is just that good.  I mean, the holidays can get pretty surreal sometimes, right?  So heck, why not capture it in a little gem like this movie?

If nothing else, it'll give you some good laughter therapy.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

10 More Days!

Oh, the holiday season is fast coming to a close, so it must be time to watch another favorite from my childhood.

Movie #15: Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Of everyone in the film, I like the penguin best.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Another Classic to Watch

Now, I have already shared two of my favorite versions of A Christmas Carol.  But this one, well, if you haven't seen it in all its' classic 1951 glory, you have truly missed seeing something fine and wonderful.

Movie #14: A Christmas Carol, starring Alistair Simm

Isn't he lovely?  Such joy at his redemption--and trust me, his mean Mr. Scrooge is equally fantastic!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Getting Obscure

So, this next film may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I do get a silly little kick watching it.

Movie #13:  The Christmas List

Yeah, I know.  It's super cheesy with extra cheese on top.  I can't seem to help it--cheesy holiday movies make me happy.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Only 13 More Days!

Which means, it is finally time to watch this particular gem of a holiday film!

Movie #12: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Yay, Rudolph! I just love the old stop motion films, they make me feel so nostalgic...I remember watching them on the big TV shaped like a table with push buttons and dials and foil on the rabbit ear antenna.

Man, I'm old.  I think if anyone under the age of 25 read that, they must think I'm an old granny.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Don't Get Scrooged

Oh, how I love Bill Murray.  Really.  I love him.  Ever since What About Bob...anyhoo, because of my love affair with The Billster, I simply must watch this particular take on the classic Dickens tale, oh, at least once a week during the holidays.

Movie #11:  Scrooged

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Touch of Halloween

Now, I am not a huge Tim Burton fan, but this little feature makes its way into my holiday rotation with fair frequency.  (I even played it once as part of a Halloween installation!)

Movie #10:  The Nightmare Before Christmas

Oh, poor misguided Jack.  Good thing Santa saves the day in the end!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Happiness is a Warm Puppy, Charlie Brown.

Or perhaps, a small, sad little Christmas twig?

Movie #9:  A Charlie Brown Christmas

I love this little film, from beginning to end.  It wouldn't be Christmas without watching it, at least once!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Ghost Tales

There are so many versions of this story in film and stage, but this is one of the best, I believe.

Movie #8: A Christmas Carol, starring Patrick Stewart

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Holidays Are...Odd?

Sometimes, family is a blessing.  Sometimes, family is a curse.  Sometimes, family is just...strange.

Movie #7:  National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Friday, December 6, 2013

Miracles and Movies

Now, some critics say this one long commercial for Macy's.  And yes, they would be right.  But, isn't it a lovely dream that perhaps, someday, retailers of giant proportions might be seized by the holiday spirit and find a little Christmas charity in their hearts?

Until then, this tale of a funny old man who takes New York solely by his charm will keep the holiday season a little brighter for me.

Movie #6:  Miracle on 34th Street

Thursday, December 5, 2013

21 Days and Counting

Movie #5:  Little Women

Now, technically, this is not a Christmas movie.  But the idea of family coming together to celebrate life's joys is central to Little Women, and Christmas is essential as part of that celebration.  I love watching this movie, particularly on a snowy December day surrounded by cats and knitting something useful, like Marmee always is.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

One for the Kiddies

Movie #4:  Dr. Suess' The Grinch

This is one of my most favorite holiday "kid" films, ever.

Whoo hoo!  Carve that rare roast beast.  Christmas is coming!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Day 23: A Classic

I'm not sure how anyone could not like this film.  Well, perhaps if they have a heart of stone like Mr. Potter?

Movie #3:  It's A Wonderful Life

I think I'm going to track down my copy of Tom Sawyer and give it a read over this holiday season, for Clarence's sake.

Monday, December 2, 2013

24 Days Left

And what is on your list this year?  If it's anything like poor Ralphie's request, you may be in for disappointment.

Movie #2:  A Christmas Story

So, funny story about this film.  The year it came out, my family packed into the old truck with topper on the back and drove from New Hampshire (where we lived) to Orlando, Florida to spend Christmas at Disney World.  The weather was terrible, cold and miserable, and after a day of hauling four kids around DW, my parents wanted nothing more than for us to be quiet, be in bed, and then fall asleep early themselves.  My older brother Bill and I, being "mature" tweens, would wait until we heard our parents start snoring and our younger brothers fell asleep, and then we'd sneak out onto the balcony off our hotel room.  It looked out across the dank back parking lot, a seedy fence, and into a deserted drive-in movie theater.  Because it was so cold, there were hardly any cars there--so all the retro speakers were playing tinnily into the night.  We'd catch both showings of A Christmas Story, every night for a week.  By the end of it, we could quote entire sections of dialogue to each other and laugh like maniacs (my parents had no idea what we were talking about).  Of course, now my mom likely knows how naughty we were, but it was the best part of that whole vacation for me, those moments out on the freezing balcony wrapped in a polyester hotel blanket with my big brother.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Twenty Five Days?

Oh yes, the Christmas season is upon us!  I try to have fun with it, which includes a nightly ritual of watching a silly/sappy/ridiculously fun holiday movie.

And so, here's the Chicken Lady's 25 Days of Holiday Films! (Fanfare, please.)

Movie #1:  ELF

Oh, how I love this movie.  One year, I watched it every. single. day.  It brings me such joy...