Jack South is not a big fan of cold weather. Hence his name. He says it gets into his (ceramic) bones and he can not warm up. I am sympathetic. He says I can not be truly empathetic since my bones are not ceramic. Whatever.
We have had our fair share of gloomy, cloudy, cold weather so far this winter. My sister in law and I have been hibernating with craft projects and good books on these days (more about the books tomorrow). Jack has been too lethargic and gloomy on these days to even consider crafts or books, even though I assure him this would help him warm up (he just goes back to muttering about how I don't have ceramic bones).
What does Jack do on these days?
One day I found him here.
Another day I found him back in the bedroom on a heating pad sharing the cats blanket.
Yesterday morning was a typical Sunday morning; I was busy in the kitchen getting breakfast ready and lunch in the crockpot, getting myself ready and getting to church on time. I asked Mr. Marvelous to please go take care of the outdoor animals. He came back in as I was finishing and I did my usual litany of "Is everyone alright?" Yes, he assured me that all the chickens were fine (we lost one Saturday morning). "How is George?" I asked, "Is she pulling fur yet?" Yes, she had and there seemed to be babies too!
Rabbits prefer ~ and need ~ to be left alone after giving birth (and we were cutting it close to get to church on time), so we headed out the door and left her alone.
After coming home and having lunch, I went out with the camera.
That's George on the right. Doesn't she look smug?
Notice how far she is parked from the kindling box. That is to divert the interest of potential predators away from her babies.
Wooly Bugger over on the left looks a little confused!
She makes a little hole in the straw, lines it with fur, puts the babies in, and then covers them up with the rest of the fur.
That tiny little pink blob in the middle is one of the babies.
I'll get out there today when it warms up a little and do a count and make sure everyone is alright. I think she had about 8. I hope she did not have more than 10; she is not able to care for more than that and we don't have another doe who could foster the extras right now (which means me trying to bottle feed if there are more than 10).
Isn't my new t-shirt pretty? I'll be doing something with it every day for the next several days. This is a t-shirt that my friend Amanda had made. Amanda leaves today for a 9 hour flight, followed by an 8 hour lay-over, before getting on another plane for another 9 hour flight to India. Amanda is a vibrant child of God. She loves Jesus with every fiber of her being. Life has not been easy for Amanda, but she has allowed God to turn her sorrows into joy. Instead of using hardship as an excuse to be half a person, she has become a lady of grace who uses every opportunity to share how the Gospel has changed her life. I admire her joy and her passion for Jesus; it is inspiring!
So for the next several days, this shirt will remind me to pray for Amanda and the team going to India. Those women in India will NEVER be the same after they meet her. For that matter, India may never be the same!
Here are a few more I would like to share with you from Zechariah:
Who keeps His eyes openZechariah 12:4 God will strike the enemies of His people blind, but God Himself will keep His eyes open to His people.
A fountain to cleanse them (His people)from sin and uncleanness Zechariah 13:1
And finally, from Zechariah 14:5
I find such hope and comfort in those two short words. Will come. God, who is faithful to keep all His promises, after the time of destruction and devastation will come. Read the rest of chapter 14 sometime today.
What has Jack been up to lately (besides enjoying the back porch)?
Jack is my biggest helper on linen change day. Linen change day has been challenging in the past. The three cats seem to think that this activity was created particularly and especially for their benefit.
After all, the bed belongs to them.
When the time comes to change the linens, their attitude is, "Oh goody! Mommy wants to PLAY!"
This one in particular is offended by having to get down off the bed.
Putting sheets back on the bed before the cats jump up and get tangled in them is the next part of the challenge.
Sorry ~ no pictures of that battle.
I'm too frustrated to grab the camera at that point.
Managing to get the comforter on top of the sheets also has its difficulties
"I think it is fine like this, Mom"
"I said it is fine!"
Jack is my new weapon in this battle.
She seems somewhat intimidated by him here, doesn't she?
At least enough for her to stay on the floor and let me finish.
Mr. Marvelous, being Marvelous, turned the area under the back porch
into another porch.
He screened in both the upper and the lower back porches.
I like my back porches.
I get a lot of use out of my upstairs porch.
It is my summer kitchen.
It is my space to sit in my rocker
Sometimes it is where I do the routine household paperwork
like menu planning and budgeting
Sometimes it is where I work on crafts
No matter what the activity, I always love the view.
A year or two ago Mr. Marvelous talked about putting plastic up over the porch. His reasoning was to create a warm space in the winter. We could grow plants on the porch if it were covered. We could grow things ALL YEAR!
My response was always and adamantly
I was absolutely NOT willing to give up the view. Not see the deer? Or the turkeys? Or watch the hawks soaring over the trees? I don't think so!
In the fall of this past year, I started thinking about my rosemary plants. I keep losing them to cold weather. I thought about my parsley. I thought about being able to grow lettuce through the winter. There is a window in my kitchen that looks out onto the back porch. Wouldn't it be nice if Mr. Marvelous could do just a little build out and turn that into a kind of bay window with shelves, cover it with plastic and make it a miniature greenhouse? Doesn't that sound like a perfect idea to you? Me too. So I suggested it to Mr. Marvelous. The response was laughter. Not exactly what I was looking for.
He explained that it was not practical either work-wise or financially. I kept thinking about it. I could not let go of the idea. Finally I gave in.
"Well if you can not build that window, perhaps we should cover the porch with plastic this year?"
To say he was shocked would be an understatement.
I assured him that I was serious and before I could change my mind he got busy. In one afternoon, he and Junior managed to cover both the upstairs and the downstairs. It was a little different, but I adjusted.
(Well of course Jack helped!)
He added two hinged plastic coated windows that could swing open on extra-warm days to vent it. We didn't figure we would need those much before early spring. We were wrong.
It has been a bit gloomy and cold the past few weeks. There has been a lot of rain and clouds and not much sunshine. Yet even on the cloudy, gloomy days, the temperature on that back porch stays at least a good 10 degrees warmer than outside, and usually a full 20 degrees warmer.
When the sun shines, here is what happens.
This was the outside temperature one sunny morning last week:
That's cold by Alabama standards
This was the temperature at the same time on my lovely back porch:
Mr. Marvelous received a text telling him just how marvelous he is.