Winter’s Beauty

Last week Texas was hit with very unusual weather cold and snowy weather. Many lost their power, which means they had no heat. Because they live in a (usually) warmer climate, people in the south don’t own warm clothes or have alternate sources of heat. My Texan friend told me that her town’s water pipes frozen and burst so they also had no water for a while. She showed me photos of empty grocery store shelves and she said that the gas stations had no gas because delivery trucks couldn’t get to the town to restock. My heart ached for the state and I prayed a lot for them.

In Michigan, our temperatures also dipped down–to around 0 (F), give or take a few degrees. However, cold wintry weather is normal in the North. We have warm clothes, backup heating sources in case the power goes out, snow plows to keep the roads cleared, people are used to driving in wintry conditions, and we have extra food in case a bad snowstorm hits and we can’t get out.

FYI: Southern people tend to brag a bit about their “perfect’ weather, while Northern people tend to brag about our toughness and resiliency. I do think our harsher winters make us better prepared to handle emergencies–at least, as far as the weather is concerned.

We have had a mild winter with not much snow–at least, not in our area. We haven’t been hit by many snowstorms this year. Mostly we get an inch of new snow here and a couple inches there. The snow measuring stick I made indicates that we now have about a foot of snow on the ground. Warmish days have melted the snow and prevented it from accumulating to higher levels.

I really like winter. Snow beautifies a landscape. Snow has a variety of interesting characteristics. I believe the Alaskan Inuits (Eskimos) have many different words to describe the different characteristics of snow. Some snow is fluffy and light, some is wet and heavy. Some fall in fluffy flakes, some in small ones. When the temperature gets down to the single digits, snow squeaks when we walk on it, which makes me feel even colder. Last week when I walked down the hill to get our mail from the mailbox, the snow was smooth; it reminded me of the fondant that bakers put on cakes. I like the interesting shadows the sun makes on the snow. I am especially mesmerized when the sun makes the snow sparkle like glitter like it did yesterday. It makes the world look magical.

Rodent tracks ending where an owl snatched it for dinner.

The snow allows me to observe the interesting tracks of animals. I can see the paths of deer or turkeys that wander across our property. I can see where rodents scampered and then disappeared into their holes. Occasionally I spot the tracks of a raccoon or possum who visited our birdfeeders. When I went out to do my chores one morning in early February, I saw the tracks of a rodent entering our garden. The tracks ended with an imprint of a large bird–which I suspect was an owl–that had snatched it for its dinner. I would really like to get a book to help me identify tracks of unfamiliar animals.

This winter I have been watching video tutorials to learn how to do Tunisian crochet, which is a form of crocheting that I had been completely unaware of into recently. It seems to me to be a sort of combination between crocheting and knitting.

Hannah Joy wearing her new sweater

I took a break from my Tunisian crochet lessons to design a dog sweater for Hannah Joy. I completed it, but my next step is to make a sweater for my out-of-state friend’s dog. It’s one thing to hold up the sweater at various stages to my dog to see if it fits her, and quite another to make a sweater using only measurements. Once I get the basic pattern worked out, I will use it with different designs. I would like to eventually sell the sweaters and/or my pattern on my website.

My “practice” Tunisian crochet project

While I wait for my friend to send me her dog’s measurements, I have returned to my Tunisian lessons. The instructor usually teaches a specific technique in one video, and in the next video provides a project to make using that technique. I have learned how to change colors and now I am working on a project that helps me practice changing colors. The project is a gingham baby blanket. I didn’t want to make a baby blanket so I am making a gingham scarf instead. I think it is very pretty.

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The forest on a moonlit night

I have a friend who wants to develop a “guided painting” video course. I believe this involves working step by step through a project, similar to the Tunisian crochet projects I do with my video instructor. My friend asked me to be her “practice student.” I don’t have an artistic bone in my body–at least, not when it comes to painting–but she says I can do it and I’m willing to try. She asked me to choose a project to make from many pictures on her Pinterest page. I chose this painting because it is exactly how our forest looks on a moonlit night. The full moon is so bright on those nights that the trees have shadows.

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