On the Purim-Pesach highway

Purim is in two days, which officially marks the beginning of my least favorite time of the year: the weeks between Purim and Pesach.

I always say that all the Pesach prep is probably meant to really help us get into the shoes of the enslaved Israelites in Egypt. It’s more than just spring cleaning, which many people around the world do. It’s practically overhauling one’s whole house. It’s getting obsessively neurotic over every crumb and every trace of leavened bread. It’s packing and unpacking dishes, cookware, and practically all the kitchenware – twice in the span of a week.

By the end of that time, I’m just left with my tongue hanging out, desperate to have my life back.

But there is a silver lining. This period is also the absolute best time of the year to acquire various roadside finds, as people are going through their houses and closets and throw away things, often in excellent condition. You know what they say – one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. A big part of our furniture consists of such timely finds that have been serving us for long years now.

While I’m generally a big fan of saving space and getting rid of stuff, sometimes you just happen to be in need of something, and then you’re actually driving by and it stares you right in the face – like for example this good-as-new bed frame we had hauled home last week. After a thorough treatment with furniture polish, I can already envision how it will shine in its intended spot. Naturally, I don’t buy furniture polish – I’m currently experimenting with a few homemade, eco-friendly versions.

Happy cleaning, everyone. Remember not to work too hard and just enjoy this beautiful time of year when the earth seems to be stirring awake.

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A cold morning

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Cold and windy outside, snug and warm inside.

Shelling peas with the help of an enthusiastic 2-year-old.

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Venturing briefly outside to gather eggs.

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By and by, some crochet – this time making something for yours truly for a change.

Happy first day of March, everyone! Stay warm and cozy.

Finally, warmer weather

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We’re finally enjoying some fine, warmer and drier weather, and I’m taking advantage of it to clear the yard, plant some seeds, and hang out with our chickens (the wooden bed frame you see in the picture is supposed to be used as part of a fence eventually).

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We’re also being spoiled by lots of beautiful, delicious colorful eggs (collected a great many more since this picture was taken).

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I made another dragonfly crochet pullover. These are so easy and fun to make that I might try another one in toddler size too.

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A beautiful rose. I love the hues. Wish I could plant a bush like that around here.

In between, I’m also getting addicted to this YouTube channel. The unique and beautiful tiny houses are so inspiring. Not sure I’d agree to live full-time in some of those, but as retreats they would be charming. Pop over to have a look if you have some spare time.

In need of fluff

Latest Mother Earth News post is up, this time talking about chick season, which is not as far as it may currently seem:

“Though it may be hard to believe, spring is coming, and chick season with it. If you have never hatched your own chicks before, you might want to give it a go this year.”

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Above: a picture of one of our broodies with her chicks from a couple of years ago.

Some would say, and rationally they would probably be right, that the owner of a little urban flock doesn’t need to hatch chicks at all. It’s time consuming and messy, there are countless hurdles a chick faces on its way to adulthood, and some of the young birds will inevitably be lost at some point.

It’s easier and more convenient to just keep 3-4 hens for eggs and buy point of lay pullets every couple of years to replace the aging flock. It would probably be cheaper in the long run, too. But nothing compares to the magic of another “surprise egg” cracking and letting out a fluffy new chick. The way the children’s eyes light up when they see it, too – it’s so beautiful every single time. ♥

So here’s to full incubators, busy broodies, and a spring and summer full of fluffy peeping chicks.

Favorite reads

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I know the rains will eventually stop and the sun will poke out. I know we will have nice weather for walking and plenty of the outdoor time and exercise we so desperately crave. I know it… But right now it feels like it will never happen. It’s rainy, cold, dreary, foggy, and so very uninviting to be out that we are forced to stay in – and staying in, around here, means reading.

My children are devourers of books, just like me, and the older ones will read pretty much anything they can lay their hands upon, but there are some books we get back to again and again for family reading. Sometimes I might even indulge in my favorite children’s classics just for myself, regardless of reading to anyone else. A quiet evening, a cup of tea, a warm and cozy blanket and any one of these priceless treasures:

1. Winnie the Pooh – always funny and comforting, compassionate and cozy.

2. Alice in Wonderland – so many famous quotes it seems we almost know it by heart.

3. Pippi Longstocking and other books by Astrid Lindgren.

4. The Railway Children by Edith Nesbitt.

5. Everything by Frances H. Burnett

6. The Narnia books – no need to elaborate.

7. Russian folk tales.

8. Harry Potter – this is something we’ve graduated to fairly recently, and my two eldest are as crazy about these books as I am.

Grab a hot drink, pick a book, and settle down for a good read with us. Stay warm and cozy!

Dragonfly crochet pullover

My first attempt at the dragonfly stitch – a raglan pullover made with Lion Brand’s Wool Ease yarn cake in the Hades colorway, using a 3mm crochet hook, but I imagine it would work up just as nicely with other types of DK yarn.

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I must say I was pleasantly surprised at how economical this yarn is. I got a whole sleeveless pullover for a 9-year-old girl out of less than one yarn cake (and used the remainder to start another in the same pattern – because, having two girls aged 11 and 9, of course when I make something for one, the other wants to have it too).

I used this diagram for the dragonfly stitch. I love diagrams, so for those who are written pattern gals, sorry! But there are also very straightforward YouTube tutorials for this cute stitch.