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"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

Two Days from Spring

While most people in the country (state?) are thinking SPRING, we are still very much in winter. We're still in the single digits to teens at night . . . although the days are getting up to the low 30s. And, that sun is so warm that there are melting drips even when the mercury stays below freezing. We've been getting a little snow yesterday, last night, and this morning - everything's coated and very wintery looking.

The loggers cleared out of their site across from the end of our driveway yesterday and moved
just a mile or two down the road to their new cut. On their way home, they snuck in and left the pie plate in Tom's workshop. "The pie plate," you ask? You betcha! I made the dear, sweet loggers an apple pie last week and left it for them because . . . .

Tom was in Orlando for a Microsoft convention/meeting/thingie last week. But, with him gone and me still not supposed to lift anything heavy, how was the wood furnace going to get filled? (I was planning on doing it myself, anyway, thank you very much!) Well, much to my chagrin, Tom asked the loggers if they would mind doing it each morning. He would pay them, of course. And, of course, they, in turn, refused the very suggestion of payment! So, the upshot is that my "wood elves" (okay, I'm sure loggers wouldn't appreciate being referred to as elves, but you get the idea) tiptoed in under the cover of dark each morning (remember, they rise-and-shine at 3:15 AM!) . . . parking up on the driveway and walking down so as not to wake the dogs and then, in turn, me with the sound of their truck engine . . . and STOKED the fire. I mean, they put so much wood in there I didn't even need to feed it in the evenings! What sweet, wonderful men. And, hence the apple pie, paper plates, and plastic forks I left out in the garage for them one night to find in the AM. It was - quite literally - the LEAST I could do!

Road restrictions go into effect on Thursday . . . meaning that the loggers (or anyone with heavy loads) can't drive on the roads for a minimum of 8 weeks during spring thaw. When the ban is removed, it's usually road by road with the more major (relatively speaking!) ones first. So, it's at this time of year that all the logs cut during the winter are hauled to the ends of the roads that the bans will remain on longest . . . like our little 4-mile road leading out to the main road. I took this photo last week (each log is 8' long), and there is even more wood now. The end of our road definitely looks like a massive lumber staging area (which, I guess, it has become)!

For those of you wondering, I think I'm finally starting to make some forward progress in the post-surgery recovery department. I felt like last Thursday was my "turn-around" day (last Friday was 4 weeks). And, until Sunday afternoon, I hadn't had to take a pain pill in 4 days (and I haven't had to take one since) - a major coup! Although, even though I feel like I'm somewhat getting back to a "normal" schedule, it's still one step forward and 2 steps back in the sense that I get pooped out and my tummy gets sore and swollen VERY easily. But, it's still progress!

Now, absolutely no segue here, but . . . .

Do you remember "Heloise's Hints" in Good Housekeeping? (Or am I dating myself?) Anyway, here is my version of that: Chicken Mama's 'Tips from a Modern-Day Old-Fashioned Housewife'. I discovered this wonderful "trick" this winter. If there's a (fairly quiet) job that you particularly dislike or that takes a long, boring time (think doing the dishes or ironing), get thee to the library and check out a book on tape/CD! It's AMAZING how a good book turns those jobs into something you LOOK FORWARD TO! As I was ripping through the Harry Potter books-on-tape this winter, I would try to actually arrange my day around doing the dishes . . . just so I could listen! It's great for when you're holed up in the kitchen making dinner, too . . . as long as the mixer or sautéing veggies don't drown out the sound! :)

After just barely 6 months of cohabitation, Miss Kitty and Annie Blue have f-i-n-a-l-l-y gotten to the point of "play fighting". Mind you, Annie Blue's been attempting this for ages, but she was always - and very quickly - "shut down" by the Madam of the House. But now, just in this last week or two, we've seen them batting each other and APPEARING to have fun . . . although I did have to admonish Miss Kitty to "be careful of Annie Blue's eyes!" one day as the claws did seem rather precisely poised for a blow. ;)

Speaking of cats, Tom saw our first "big cat" on his way to work yesterday morning . . . just down on the main road after he turned onto it. It was too far away to tell if it was a bobcat or lynx. But, either way . . . pretty cool!

Here are a couple of cute Annie Blue pictures. In the first, we had some bedding & padding stacked by the front door ready to go out to the trapper cabin, and Annie Blue thought the rolled padding made the most PURRFECT hideout! Then, now that the house has been warming and the half-dead flies have been waking up (ugh!), one of her new favorite spots is atop the file folders on my desk . . . avidly watching as they drunkenly buzz around the light of my desk lamp.

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