It had been really cold here a week or so ago (at least really cold for Western Oregon). Our thermometer was at 8 degrees, and it was 9.5 degrees in town. We fared pretty well, although part way through we did end up turning on our propane back up heater to keep the temperature comfy at night. It was a real luxury but really not absolutely necessary. It was a real chore keeping the animals watered though. I would haul buckets of warm water out first thing in the morning and a little while later they would be iced over. Our shallow duck pond was solid ice, so the kids had a blast "ice skating" and playing hockey.
During this time our good friend Myron came for a visit. We had a great couple of days making plum wine and soap; while playing music, hanging out with the kids, and just catching up. He is studying herbal medicine so he spent some time gathering poplar buds to make a pain relieving salve and red cedar leaves for it's anti-fungal properties. He also has a lot of experience gardening and working on the land; so it was great to have him wander around and give us feedback and ideas. He makes a great moisturizing bar which you can check out here.
We made it through the cold spell, Brian had his winter concert at his school, and our daughter danced in the Nutcracker, so now we have two weeks to visit with family and get a lot of work done. Brian is working on tiling and plastering drywall, while I am focusing on the interior lime plaster. In the warmer months we spend so much time working on the land, so now is our time to really work on the house.
Today is the Winter Solstice, the beginning of winter and the shortest day of the year. Today was especially cold and wet, with the sun setting just after four o'clock. A great day to be inside by a fire and enjoying the Christmas tree. So happy Solstice everyone!