The Moon Feed

Did you all see that MOON?

Last evening, roundabouts suppertime, both Bill and my friend Kim called me from the road (Bill on his way home from work, Kim running errands) to alert me to the rising full moon. And what a flurry of activity it set off in this house!

At first we couldn't see the moon at all (it rises behind our woods), so every minute or two we'd drop what we were doing - this was very much a group effort - to check the sky. Picking up on the mounting energy, Earlybird thought he'd be funny and started "crying moon" every minute or so just to get us all running. The little scamp, lol. Eventually I threatened him with no dessert if he didn't cut it out. ;)

But finally we spied that unmistakable light behind the trees ...

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I seem to always get "through-the-trees" moon shots, but by the time it hit the open sky the clouds had moved in for the night. It certainly was gorgeous though!

Tonight's another chance to see February's Snow Moon, as the moon becomes officially "full" today. No snow in the near future however - our forecast is for clear skies and SIXTY degrees!

(Yes, the windows will be open in this house today!)

Hope you all have a great day. I hope to be back later with something for Poetry Friday. 

:)


The Moon is Smiling

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Thanks to a comment from Jennifer, we took a break from the Superbowl to sneak a peek at the moon last night:

Dawn - What do you call tonight's moon? It's a crescent, but it's hanging at the bottom, like a horseshoe. My daughter says Native Americans have a special name for it but google isn't helping. Thanks! Jennifer

I had to look it up, too, Jennifer! It rang a bell, but I couldn't quite remember the significance of this shape. This site explains the "smiling crescent" quite well.

Hope this helps a bit, and dear readers, if you have any additional information on this kind of moon - please drop me a note below!

Have a great Monday, everyone ... :)


The Wolf in the Window

(File this one under, "You just never know what you're going to find when you stop by Dawn's blog," lol.)

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Last night, the bright light of the nearly-full moon caught my eye as I passed under the family room skylights. I had to look twice, because the melting snow and ice resting on the windowpane had formed what looked like - to me anyways - a wolf howling at that beautiful moon!

Bill and the boys agreed with me ... and we all thought it was rather fitting considering this month's moon is the "Full Wolf Moon."

Here it is zoomed in a bit ...

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Can you also see the "wolf in the window?"

After marveling for a moment, naturally I grabbed my camera. I heard Bookworm say under his breath, "This one's going on the blog."

Lol, they know me so well.

I hope your Tuesday will be a good one ... we're expecting a very messy storm here today. Snow, ice and rain. YUCK. I'll be keeping all commuters (especially my Bill) in my prayers today - without a doubt the roads will be quite treacherous all day.

Thanks for stopping by, my friends! I'll be back again very soon. :) 


Monday Menu & Moon Talk

Bill's off from work today for the MLK holiday, so our homeschool has the day off too. :) It's going to be bitterly cold here (21 for a high!) so we probably won't spend much time outside. I do plan to run to the grocery store for a few items (and maybe The Paper Store too - I have a gift certificate from my birthday to use), but before I head out I'll be starting a beef & vegetable soup in the crockpot. It will cook all day and we'll have it tonight with crusty bread (made in the breadmaker) and a simple tossed salad. For dessert (yes, we do always have dessert, lol!) I'll make use of the leftover raspberry sauce ~ serving it over cups of peach frozen yogurt. The raspberry-peach combination might make me think of the summer ... so, so far away. 

In nature news, aside from the bitter cold and a messy storm coming on Tuesday, we have the Full Moon rising midweek ...

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Can you guess why there's a wolf puppet on our nature shelf?

The weather chills,

 the night is long,

wolf lifts his head

in lonely song.

His notes float high,

his notes drift low,

mournful in the 

moonlight glow.

~ from When the Moon is Full: A Lunar Year by Penny Pollock

****

I hope you all have a great Monday ~ see you again very soon! :)


Dark Day ... Light Night

Here are some pictures I took yesterday afternoon as the shortest day of the year came to an end ...

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Favorite books by candlelight ...

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A bit of "sunlight" peeking through the branches ...

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The window clings on our front door ...

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The sun cake rising in the oven ...

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The boys made these solstice lanterns years ago ...

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The cottage pie ready to bake ...

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... and the Happy Winter cake, ready to serve.

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And finally, the Full "Cold" Moon shimmering in the western sky early this morning ...

Have a Wonderful Wednesday, my friends! :)


Our 'Happy Winter Tree,' Part III

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First of all, a Very Happy Winter to you all!

As you can see from my pictures, we ended up having a good bit of snow overnight, which made everyone in this household very happy. Perhaps we'll have that White Christmas after all? :)

It's so beautiful here right now as I type up this post - quiet, gray, a few flurries lingering in the air. I'm sitting in the family room, nursing my coffee and enjoying the fire. It's truly a lovely Winter's day ...

 Very early this morning, we made our final Solstice Tree decorations. Bill popped popcorn and cracked open the coconut for us before leaving for work. The popcorn will be strung with cranberries for a bird-friendly garland (I'll work on it during quiet moments through the day). The coconut was halved, drained, and drilled ~ then filled with seed, dried fruits and nuts. We also made bread stars and pretty pineapple rings to add to the tree. 

Here are the tree ornaments ready to hang:

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And now for a look around the Tree itself ...

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It was too tricky to pierce and thread the bread stars, so we just placed them out along the railing. The coconut halves were looped around posts on either side of the tree. Bill used a handsaw to open the coconuts and a power drill to make the holes for the twine. The birds can nibble on the dried fruit, nuts or the coconut flesh itself if they so desire.

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Dried pineapple rings were tied on with bits of festive ribbon. They remind me of little suns or maybe full moons. Either symbol works here, really ~ on this day the sun begins to grow stronger, and this is the night of December's full moon.

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I really like how the gingebread folk came out. I think these treats would make nice gifts for people next year.

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Above is a donut ring, one of the pinecones, and a coconut half in the background.

Below is a heart ...

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Merry Christmas, dear little birdies and beasties! Our wish for you this year is that you keep safe and well fed. We look forward to watching you all Winter long. :)  

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Later today I'll bake a treat for MY little beasties ~ a lemony "sun" cake ~ and for supper tonight we'll enjoy a hearty cottage pie, some toasty rolls and warm spiced wine (cranberry juice for the kids). A real Welcome Winter Feast! :)

Oh! And as for last night ~ did anyone catch the lunar eclipse? Funnily enough, I was actually awake at 4 a.m. (of my own doing, not Earlybird's) but the skies were too cloudy to see anything but falling snow! But here's a very cool photo blog of the moon as it was eclipsed last night all across the world ...

Well, I hope you all have a lovely Tuesday for yourselves ~ Happy Winter, Happy Advent, and Thanks for stopping by! See you all again very soon ... :)


Our 'Happy Winter Tree,' Part II

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Well first of all, this has been quite a Monday! It started off pretty quiet, but before we knew it there were huge trucks arriving next door and loud engines starting up and oh my - trees were being felled! Like - really tall evergreen trees, literally right outside our family room windows! Then next thing we knew, the doorbell was ringing and packages were arriving and Nana stopped by and snow started falling - and this was all before noontime! 

If ever there was a week for "bustle," this is it ~ I love it!

It was also a busy morning in our kitchen as we set about making our Solstice Tree treats. Now, before I launch into the how-to's I'd like to mention that last week at our Nature Club meeting my friend Ketylina demonstrated a similar suet making project. I paid rapt attention and brought home the recipe as well as some ideas for making more projects at home.

 So here are the ingredients laid out by my stovetop. (And I apologize for the poor lighting in the next several photos - my kitchen is not very bright, unfortunately.)

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In front is the package of beef suet* I bought at the market yesterday, and just behind, from left to right, we have: mixed bird seed, rolled oats, dried cranberries, currants, chunky peanut butter, hulled sunflower seeds, cornmeal, walnuts, hazelnuts and dried pineapple rings (the pineapple is actually for something else, lol).

(Notes: The recipe I followed came from this site, thanks again to Ketylina. *If you don't see suet at the meat counter, ask your butcher; he or she may be able to package some up for you. Alternatively, you can use lard in place of the suet.)

I first chopped the suet into small chunks and set them in a heavy saucepan over medium heat:

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(Kind of gross, yes, but I tried not to think too much about it, lol.)

While the suet was melting (or rendering), I divided the "mix-ins" into one cup measurements (easier for small - and impatient - hands to deal with):

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Here's how the suet looked once it was finished rendering (and lingering chunks were strained out with a sieve):

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One pound of suet yielded about 2 cups liquid. Next, the boys had fun adding in all the mix-ins as I stirred the mixture with a strong wooden spoon ...

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I poured the concoction into a glass measuring cup for easier handling ...

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... and on the island I had some molds prepared:

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Gingerbread men, donut rings ...

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(Bookworm took a break from his work to gather pinecones for us from the yard.)

After filling the available molds we still had more left, so I pulled out some heart shaped ramekins and a Tupperware container to catch the remaining mixture:

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(Note: I placed lengths of twine in the molds before pouring in the suet mix. Theoretically, this will make it possible to hang the shapes in the tree tomorrow.)

And here's our spread!

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Into the freezer it all went ...

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Tomorrow, on the first day of Winter, we'll take the frozen treats and decorate our Solstice Tree (along with a few other goodies we'll prepare in the morning). I think the birds and squirrels will be especially grateful considering they made themselves pretty scarce during all the loud tree work today!

One more picture before I go ...

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Just in case the snow is gone by tomorrow, here's our Tree as it looked at 3 p.m. today. It sure looks and feels like Winter right about now!

And speaking of Winter, tomorrow brings not only December's Full "Cold" Moon - but a total lunar eclipse as well! (Details can be found here.) I may be up early enough to catch the tail end of it, but the trick will be remembering to look, lol!

Have a great night, everyone! See you sometime tomorrow. :)


Programming Note (& a Friday Photo)


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The Full Harvest Moon rising last night, roundabouts 7 p.m.

I took this from inside my car as I waited to get on the highway, lol. (I always have my camera within reach!) I was on my way to meet friends at Barnes & Noble for a little "coffee talk" - running a bit late, and the traffic was fierce - but oh what a lovely evening. Warm, breezy and bathed in moonlight. 

(By the way, my new beverage of choice at Starbucks is a tall steamed milk with vanilla. It's absolutely delicious, and caffeine-free!)

So, I have but a scant few minutes to post this morning, but wanted to check in and let you all know I'm working on a post about the index cards I mentioned the other day. There was lots of interest in how those little cards work. :)

In the meantime, I hope you all have a wonderful Friday! We're expecting highs in the 80s here in New England ~ a little touch of Summer in late September!