Friday, January 16, 2015


Trigger Warning for pet/animal illness, disability, death, grief, trauma, and loss.

Beatrice enjoying her lettuce

Pre-Raphaelite with guinea pig. #daughter #cavy #guineapig

just eating

We had to say goodbye to our beloved guinea pig,  Beatrice, yesterday, a little less than a year after having to say goodbye to her companion Annabelle, which seems wholly unfair. Beatrice was middle-aged and reasonably healthy until this month, when she began showing signs of weight loss and UTI symptoms. By Monday this week, she began to refuse food and water and so we packed her up and drove her the two hours to our caring and skilled guinea pig vet. There, they discovered she had several bladder stones, one larger than a pea, near the end of her urethra, and the vet was, miraculously, able to flush them out. The procedure went well, Beatrice recovered from the anesthetic normally, and we went home with her. And still, she would not eat or drink unless we force fed her, which we did. Worse, she was not eliminating. Back to the vet we rushed yesterday morning, and our vet kept her for the day and medicated her for pain and attempted to rehydrate her and get more food in her, but it was clear by 5pm that Beatrice was fading. We all knew her prognosis wasn't good, but there was a sliver of hope that with enough fluids and nutrition, she might begin to rally. Unfortunately, that was not the case, and she was in distress. Having prepared Olivia and Adam for this probable outcome, as we did regarding Annabelle, they had said their goodbyes and given hugs and kisses before we left. And with everyone in agreement via text messages filled with sad emojis and many hearts, Alex and I held Beatrice one last time, rocking her and whispering our love to her, just as we did with Annabelle.

Beatrice, you were a funny, adorable, fluffy, goofy, and bossy guinea pig and we adored you so. We will miss you.

Oh you know, just watching the Olympics.

this is how I find them sleeping this morning #guineapigs #cavy

Beatrice needed a break from all her busy-bossing around. #guineapig #cavy

I mean, c'mon with the cute.

Beatrice says hello

Friday, December 26, 2014

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things : Yuletide : Day Twelve

cheerful home

family will be arriving soon

sweetest gift

art by Phoebe Wahl

our family room at Yule

Boxing Day sun

the book was a gift

cozy family room

festive family room

solstice tree

Boxing Day kitchen

Aunt Carol

Aunt Jane


This was one of those days when it was a true pleasure to wake up with the sun, as there was actual golden sun gleaming through the trees and in through our windows, which was most welcome after a long stretch of gray days. With family arriving at noon, we got busy in the kitchen preparing the ham, potato leek soup, more Yule bread and filling cookie boxes for family to take home with them. With everything ready ahead of time, I grabbed my camera because the sunlight was so beautiful, and I went around snapping the house, singing carols and fluffing pillows, as needed. Doing so, I was gratified to see our treasures, amassed over two decades (and longer if you count the things from both my and Alex's childhoods), that help us mark the season, looking so sweet and lovely through my camera lens. The painting by my mother, the glove finger puppets from my childhood, the snowflakes our children cut (three to a window), my new Santa and Reindeer, our basket of Yule books that keeps being added to, the paperwhites in the American pottery, and the hundreds of special ornaments that adorn our tree. Later, it was family, gathered in the kitchen, and then at the table, and eventually around the tree to exchange gifts. These are a few of my favorite things. This our Yuletide, may we always keep it well.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

On Not Hurrying: Yuletide : Day Eleven

Yule morning


New and old cards. Some of those cards date to 1860. #yule #yuletide

early morning

We've just opened stockings in the kitchen where Alex's Yule bread is rising.

Smss Smss Smss! #yule #yuletide

Today started out both early and gray. We had our usual chores of feeding the chickens and ducks, guinea pigs and cats, and Alex started his Yule bread dough rising. We woke to some the mildest weather in weeks, and it's been so gray this entire month, so we were looking forward to the sun that was meant to show up in the afternoon. The kettle boiled and three of us sat to have cups of dark tea while carols played, and one of us slept in just a bit longer. Soon, all of us were together, eggs were scrambled, more tea was poured, and someone said we should do stockings. Oh, yes, of course, stockings! Then we sat at the kitchen table, opening our stocking gifts and drinking more tea, and we loved one another. Alex checked his dough, punched it down, and some of us went to brush teeth and properly dress for the day. Not one of us hurried.

cowl by Olivia for Adam

cowl by Olivia for Alex

The Claudia ornament @oliviaelemental made us. #guineapig #handmade #yule #yuletide


trying to read in German

The not hurrying turns out to be our favorite part of Yule and Santa Day in particular. There's no need to end the day by 9am, and we all relish the postponement of opening the gifts, wrapped so charmingly. The anticipation is sweet, and we wanted to savor it. Late morning, however, we all made our way to our tree, settled into our seats, and passed each other gifts. Olivia, as she did last year, had made us all something personal; hand-knit cowls for Alex and Adam in colors that bring out their eyes, and a darling felted portrait pin of a Speckled Sussex hen for me. For the family, to go with our felt Beatrice and Annabelle ornaments she made last year, she gave us a Claudia. Now we have a trio of guinea pigs to hang on our tree. Adam made us laugh with his attempts at reading German in the booklet that came with his new wood carving set. Olivia was so pleased with her wireless speaker, music lover that she is. Alex received his usual mixture of geekery and the practical, and this year it was Terry Pratchett and chainsaw gear. And then there was me, also as usual (I think my husband delights in finding the gift that will make me cry), sobbing over the gorgeous hand painted box with the soft sculpture Santa and Reindeer inside, made by our friend, Phoebe Wahl, and even more sobbing when Alex read her note, aloud. I adore her art and even more, the way she captures the magic that I so love about Yuletide in her so many of her works. These pieces will forever be a whimsical and charming part of our Yuletide tradition.

huge surprise from Alex

By noon, the sun was streaming in and we were down to the last box, which was long and narrow and leaned against the wall. It was for both Adam and Olivia.

it's a big box

opening one end


xc skis

Adam with his new skis

We gave the kids cross-country skis, knowing they will be put to good use here on the farm. Of course, we will need snow. This day has turned bright and sunny, and oh so green, outside. Since we had quite a bit of snow in November, we weren't very disappointed not having a white Yuletide, and I'm quite certain snow will return.

There's no hurry, after all. Not this on this day, when everything feels good and magical and precious. Blessed Yule!


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