Like a Snowball

Oh joy! We gained 3 minutes and 29 seconds of daylight today over yesterday. I love it when the daylight-gain really starts rolling, like a snowball rolling downhill – a little faster with each passing day.

Daylight today was a whopping 6 hours and 9 seconds, with dawn at 10:02 am and dusk at 4:12 pm.

This wonderful increase in daylight started the day after Winter Solstice (which has the shortest day of the year, with a measly 5 hours and 27:44 seconds of total daylight where I live).

Back on December 21st; our daylight – dawn to dusk – was from 10:13 am to 3:41 pm, for a net LOSS of −0:06 seconds over the day before. Yes! I begrudge each and every second lost.

The following day, on December 22, the ball crested the hill and started rolling the other direction. We here in Alaska celebrated our daylight gain of +0.06 seconds! Yes, it was a tiny gain, but hey! We were finally at least beginning the heady roll towards summer, and gaining momentum each day!

At that point we were only gaining a few extra seconds each day, but with each additional day, the number of seconds gained, and then minutes gained, increases.

As a random reference; on New Year’s Day, our daylight gain had increased to 2 minutes and 4 seconds over the day before. It may have been freezing cold and blowing snow outside, but that was still a win in my book!

By the end of February, we’ll be gaining 5 minutes and 44 seconds of daylight every single day, and this rollicking rate will continue until April 8th, at which point, the rapid gains in daylight start to slow (just a little at first) until the ball finally comes to relative rest on Summer Solstice.

But we won’t talk about that now. Right now, we’re riding the snowball down the hill, whooping and hollering as we look forward to sunnier and sunnier days to come!


Post Christmas Thoughts

Some years, the little things make all the difference.

I KNOW there’s something in there for me!

Rhonda’s childlike wonder, glee and mischief as soon as we brought out the first few Christmas decorations effortlessly put smiles on our faces.

The pups have both been joyful presences in our lives this season. Ronni has been the typical wide-eyed 4-year-old, believing in Santa Claus (in her own doggy way) and doing her best to sneak into the wrapped gifts and stockings.

Her nose is unrelenting in sniffing out anything edible – especially if it’s not meant for her.

Baxter is the patient older brother, more mellow but not above grabbing a bow off the floor and running into his kennel to shred it. He rolls his eyes at his little sister’s antics, and is bored by my attempts at Christmas photo shots.

Hey, I’m napping here …

Ronni seems to recognize the changes in the living room and is jazzed by the shiny lights and brightly wrapped boxes … or is it just that there’s an x-pen up, meaning there must be something on the other side of it we don’t want her getting into?

I know you’ll laugh when I say Rhonda seems to be speaking clearly as her soft little “Woo woo woo’s” tells me, “Mom, is it Christmas yet? Moooom! Can we tear up just one present early?”

I think this one’s for me …

Whether naughty or nice, Ronni and Baxter are a bright light in my life.

I did finally get a Christmas picture … sort of. ❤️

Speaking of life … and dogs; this year, I started building my Christmas spirit a couple of months early by planning a special gift.

Of course, for me, that usually means spinning and knitting. For this gift, I pulled out some yarn I’ve been saving with a great deal of care for years.

I’d told Jerry a long time ago that I would make him a hat using fur from his hero dog, Libby. This year, it was time to make good on that promise.

LGD Libby, and Jerry; finally reunited after Jer’s TBI and long hospitalization.

I had to dig deep in my fiber stash to find the single skein of white Libby fur that I had spun and then plied with dark brown wool, and the cream and gold Abby/Falki yarn also spun several years ago. Two small skeins of very special memories.

Deciding these two small skeins weren’t quite enough for a hat, and honestly, thinking it needed more wool worked in to add strength and elasticity to the hat, I chose two shades of Shetland sheep’s wool – a chocolate brown and a light tan, and spun up a skein of each.

Now I had enough yarn. What to do with it?

OK, the goal was to make a SPECIAL hat for Jerry for Christmas out of hand-spun yarn – including this special doggy yarn. I’m the first to admit that much as I love to spin, I am at best a mediocre knitter. I’m also a really slow knitter.

So, a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, I pulled out the big guns. I called my dear friend, Ruth, who is one of the best knitters I know. Help!!

Fortunately, Ruth loves my hand spun yarn, so we made a deal. In exchange for a couple of skeins of colorful hand spun yarn for her, she agreed to take my Shetland and doggy yarn and knit this special hat for me (for Jer)..

The paw-print pattern was Ruth’s creation, too. I could never have come up with anything so perfect!

The hat was by far Jer’s favorite Christmas gift this year. Maybe best ever. Made with love.

This December Morning

The wiggling of two warm bodies burrowing one after the other from the drafty opening they had created at the head of the bed to finding toasty warm spots alongside my PJ clad body barely twigged my awareness.

It was 7:30 am and I hadn’t noticed or felt them leave the bed earlier. But I guess they had both wanted an early morning potty break, because what DID get my groggy attention was an ice cold nose and pair of chilly feet that found a bare patch of skin near my waist.

I remain in awe of the weens unerring ability to find bare skin. How do they manage this when I am wearing flannel pants and a t-shirt? Maybe if I tucked the t-shirt in? Hmm … not gonna happen. Comfort first – I’ll take my chances.

All right, already! My cocoon of warm blankets invaded, I’m now awake. It’s time for coffee.

Of course, now that I want to get up, Baxter and Ronni are once again sound asleep. Warm as a couple of bugs in their rugs.

Baxter’s cold nose is still in contact with my waist, but the rest of him is in a tight, heat-retaining ball. Rhonda is right above him, stretched out full length so her tail is in Baxter’s face, her long, lithe body glued to the warmth of mine and her nose nestled against my neck. Gee, I hate to disturb them.

I got up anyway, which did NOT impress Ronni. I was her warm spot.

Deal with it, young lady.

As I poured my coffee, perusing the darkness outside the window, I found myself looking east and wishing there was even a tinge of light on the horizon.

And then I realized what day was getting ready to dawn. Today (well, this evening) is WINTER SOLSTICE! My mood lifted immediately!

Yes, it’s still dark out. Of course it is – today is literally the darkest and shortest day of the year!

I snuggled back on (not in) the bed with my coffee, pushing the kids over and pulling out my knitting. On this shortest day, I will celebrate by enjoying the late-coming sunrise.

As first light touched the mountains across the valley, I toasted the sight with my coffee mug, knowing that tomorrow’s dawn will come six seconds earlier!

We Are FREE!

This may hold the record for the shortest blog entry I’ve written to date, but I didn’t want to leave you in suspense.

Jerry’s friend, Sean, brought his big, 4WD SUV over after work last night. They combined tow ropes to span the distance from where Sean had to stop (or get stuck himself) and the truck, and between shoveling, tugging and more shoveling (lots of back-breaking shoveling) – they were able to free the plow truck!

Jer was out plowing again at first light this morning and was able to at least complete clearing the driveway and parking area. Big win! I apologize for the poor lighting in the photos, but it was just past dawn (9:30 am).

There is still a ton of snow to move, but it’s a beautiful sunny day, a whopping 3F outside and there is no new snow in the forecast for about a week.

Now, if I can just find someone who can come over and shovel off “Roada”…

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