Cute Shoes/Cold Toes

DSC_0253I’ve been looking longingly at my cute shoes for several days.

It seems like it’s been months that I’ve been wearing my warm shoes to church.  You know the kind -  the black ones that allow warm socks.

To be honest – these shoes did look cute in November. They were actually appreciated in December and January.

But it’s the end of February now.

And I’m over them. And winter. And snow. And wind chill factors.

Since we had a slight spring-like thaw during the week that melted much of our snow  – I caved yesterday.

I wore my cute little flats to church – they ones that you do not wear with warm socks.  I actually wore no socks.

My husband’s eyebrows went up as I put my coat on. He might have even smiled at my gasp when the cold north wind touched the tender bare skin on my feet.

He kindly pointed out that the air temp was a balmy 20 degrees as he turned the heat on high and redirected it to the floor vents of the van.

He took one last look at my footwear and said, “Sure hope we don’t have car trouble and have to walk five miles with this wind chill.”

I smiled back – but thought to myself,  “Me too!” Because I currently couldn’t feel my toes.

They thawed slightly during church and the potluck meal that followed – but were like ice by the time we drove the thirty miles home.

I found my thickest, warmest winter socks and a comfy grandma quilt and spent the rest of the afternoon warming up with several cups of hot tea.

And today it is snowing.

Good-bye cute little flats.

We’ll try again when spring decides to stay.

Now That’s a Crazy Idea

You will never guess what I did Sunday afternoon.

It wasn’t your typical Ground Hog Day activity.

While the rest of the country was preparing for Super Bowl parties – my husband and I planted bulbs.

Yes bulbs. As in spring flowers.

spring bulbs

Yes, the ground is frozen.

Yes, there was 4 inches of snow on top.

And yes, I realize that this is an activity that most real gardeners took care of last fall. But I’m not a real gardener. I’m a real wife and mom who likes to pretend to garden and sometimes has to fly by the seat of her pants.

We had every good intention last fall. We extended the flower bed and laid out a new one. We got several bags of top soil at a rock bottom clearance price. We even bought almost 400 super cheap bulbs on clearance.

But life happened and we just never got the top soil out of the bags and in the beds. So the bulbs never made it out of their bags.

Finally – the boys just filled both bare beds with the leaf mulch they bagged up just as the snow started to fly.

My 400 bulbs were not planted.

And the top soil was still in bags – now frozen solid.

But just when it seemed like all was lost for this season – my amazing husband had a plan.

What if we raked the mulch back to expose the frozen bare ground? Then we could lay the bulbs out on the ground, put the frozen bags of top soil on top of them, and push the mulch over it all.

What a crazy idea?!

So we did it.

spring flowers

We planted 400 bulbs in less than 45 minutes – and that included pushing the wheelbarrows of frozen top soil through the snow from the machine shed to the flower beds.

We cut the plastic off the bricks of frozen dirt and laid them out like a puzzle.

And boom! We were done!

But will it work?

Time will tell.

But it does my heart happy to know that I planted a little hope for spring even as the snow is flying.

And we might have given the neighbors something to talk about. Again.

Photos by Anne Burgess and  Pam Brophy.

Something’s Wrong with this Picture…

Something’s wrong with this picture….

1

Easter is two weeks away and we have another snow storm in the forecast for this weekend.

My Easter decorations look out of place with my snowmen.

Easter’s too early.

Spring is too late.

And winter doesn’t want to let go.

Sigh.

So much for an Easter bonnet – we might as well wear our stocking caps.

This may be a year when we wear long johns under our Easter dresses and have Easter egg hunts in snow boots.

Feels more like we should be putting up a Christmas tree and singing Silent Night then having sunrise services and singing Christ the Lord is Risen Today.

But you know – it’s not all bad. We are finally getting some much needed moisture.

And when spring finally does appear, we’ll appreciate it that much more. Right?

And in the meantime – don’t put that snow shovel away just yet.

Saturday Date Night

It was a Facebook post Saturday morning that started the adventure.

Some friends are building a home in northern Missouri and had discovered a little country church nearby. They were having a Sweetheart Dinner that night – would we like to come?

Lured by the thoughts of prime rib with all the fixings, followed by an evening of gospel music – it was an easy sell.

Jan and I drove the winding country roads of southern Iowa into the alphabetical maze of back roads the makes up northern Missouri as the sun was setting over beautiful snow covered fields.

It was so peaceful.

We found the church nestled in the hills surrounded by rolling pastures, just as it had been for the last 150 years.

This faithful congregation had been serving up a free prime rib meal and gospel music to the community every February for more than a decade.

They greeted us warmly – wayfaring strangers that we were. The conversation was lively. The company fun.

And the food! Oh my! The food was abundant, delicious, and homemade – a hunk of prime rib that covered half my plate, potatoes, salad, crescent rolls, green beans and bacon, and a table full of desserts.

Then the music began.

It was nothing professional – just some friends who played really well. A man on the banjo with his eighty something year old momma on the bass and his buddy on the guitar.

Joking. Laughing. Strumming. Singing.

It was comfortable – like being invited into someone’s living room for some music.

Gospel songs. Mountain melodies. Old Hymns.

The melodies rang out of the old church on the frosty February night.

And we were a part of it.

When the music ended – we reluctantly said our good-byes and started the 45 minute drive home, navigating those same winding roads under the light of  full moon.

The snow sparkled as we held hands, the music still ringing in our ears.

And my heart smiled.

Off the Beaten Path

What a blessing to have a little more daylight at the end of every day!

Now there’s enough sunshine to enjoy a walk in the late afternoon when my husband gets home from work.

Ice, Snow, Fun 017At first we followed the trails in the pasture, sticking to the known, the usual, the predictable.

But then yesterday -  in a spur of the moment decision – we veered off the path and walked right across the ice on the pond.

You know – it’s rather freeing to stand in the middle of a frozen pond and look back at the shore.

It’s a totally new perspective.

We  continued on our walk, but this time – enjoying that taste of freedom – we left the trail and took off cross-country through the woods.

We followed deer trails and scared up bunnies as we zig-zagged around low branches.

We jumped over the ravine, discovered bobcat tracks, and watched several deer running in the distance.

Amazingly, we were just a few yards from our regular trail – but everything looked different.

New.

Unexpected.

Yes, that’s the word. Unexpected.

After weeks of routine -  cleaning, school, laundry, meals, groceries – it was wonderful to find something unexpected.

The trails had become predictable. We had followed them so often we know what was around every corner.

It was time to take another route, to see things from a different angle.

To feel alive again.

Creative.

Refreshed.

We just needed to step off the beaten path.