Merry Christmas!!

Hope your day is cozy and full of warm feelings.

Photo Dec 24, 7 57 08 AM

  1. CJ Armstrong says:

    Is that one guy foot I see there? Where’s the other one?
    Happy Christmas to you all!

  2. Sharon D. says:


    I hope that you and your family have a very Blessed Christmas!!!

    Would those be ‘Mistletoes”? 🙂


  3. Terry Steinmetz says:

    Megan, may you and your family have a great Christmas celebration!

  4. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Hehehe! Christmas feet waiting for a visit from Santa decked out in red polish and Dad in the mix!

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Sugar Plums

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,


Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.

You know the verse.

But, can you tell me …

what, exactly, is a sugar plum?

My first thought:


Photo by Kristen Taylor via Wikimedia Commons

Fresh, juicy, and sugar-sweet—much like the ones that grow at my farm.

But history says that my vision of a sugar plum is not accurate, at least not in terms of Clement Moore’s famous poem.

Continue reading

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I never really thought about what a real sugar plum was , but they were indeed little works of sugar art. Wow, the details and the perfection! No wonder children dreamed about getting one of these perfect candies at Christmas. To actually receive one must have been quite exciting. Those ideas from the Huffington Post would make me very happy to receive on Christmas or anytime. The delicious things that people come up with using basic ingredients never ceases to amaze me! Tasha Tudor talks about “clear candies” for children’s stockings in her Christmas books. Apparently in the 1920s-1930s, there were places that created candies made of colored sugar blown into perfect toy forms that resembled hand blown glass. They could be hung on the tree on Christmas eve for the children or placed in their stockings from Santa. Have you ever heard of these or know more?

  2. Terry Steinmetz says:

    Wow! I’d love to sen an original sugar plum! I bet they were beautiful as well as delicious. I made a plum filled kringle this year for a dessert. Everyone raved about it!

  3. hi Winnie,
    You are in luck! Here, in Lancaster County PA, they still make those clear toys of stained glass colored sugar! they are made in antique candy molds and usually are animal shapes. Like a frog riding on an old fashioned high wheel bicycle. Or cats, dogs, turkeys, cows, horses and so on. Little Trains and such.They are little works of art and I always buy as many as I can in December for gifts. When I was a child they were made of barley sugar. I adore them. I would suck on mine all Christmas day. When I give them as gifts people cry with their old memories of happiness.

    Another old fashioned candy that is hard to find is ” cut rock” which is made and looks like Venetian glass beads. Another tiny work of art in sugar. Little scenes like Xmas trees and strawberries and such are imbedded inside each which is about 1/2 inch long

    Haven’t seen real sugar plums in America, but they sell them in Germany in the KrissKindleMarts in December.

  4. Antigone says:

    I researched sugar plums a few years ago, what I found was that a “proper British” sugar plum was finely chopped, dried fruits, brandy, nuts and honey and spices, rolled into a ball resembling a plum and coated in sugar so the sparkled. Made them last year and they were AMAZING!

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  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Are these vintage wooden bowling pins forming the hat base?

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And the cattle are lowing …

Here’s what my days are about. Momma “Sweetheart” nurses baby Charlie while Auntie Sally O’Mally sleeps nearby. Etta Jane and her baby, Eliza Belle, snooze out of view. Maizy and Miss Daisy are in the barn asleep. Otis, Yore, Brie, and Beau Vine snuggle in another barn. Milky Way and Samson in yet another shelter.

When Charlie isn’t tucked under momma, he and his older sibling, Eliza Belle, run like the wind. Run! Eliza Belle kicks up her heels sideways (too cute), and Charlie leaps likes a deer through the snow. I mean, he LEAPS. Bounds. I’ve never seen a calf leap like he does. It I weren’t trying to get my cow book done, I’d move in with my lovely cows. “Hay guys, is there room at the inn? Your beds look so cozy.”

Meanwhile, down at the farm … peace on earth.



  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I have always heard that cows are great mamas to their calves. Your herd sounds happy indeed! And your new book?? I can’t wait!! The delicious preview this summer of your parmesan cheese has this Farmgirl cheering you on. I can’t wait to have my own copy and pour over the pages and stories. It will be a fantastic addition to my collection of books written by you!

  2. So great to hear how well baby Charlie is and also Eliza Belle. I have been worried about Little Charlie. Calves are so sweet and I’m so happy to see that you keep the babies with their mothers. Cows are the greatest mothers. Arund here “modern farms” take the calves right away from the mothers and feed them “formula” not even their own mother’s milk. and put them in “calf houses” that look like igloos, where they cry for weeks. Glad these are contented cows. Remember the first stable, Merry Christmas to all.

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Goin’ Green

How about a Christmas tree that’s roughly four feet tall, perfectly symmetrical, and very much alive? In late September, my local nursery puts their trees on clearance, so that’s when I usually adopt my soon-to-be Christmas tree for around $60. Some years there’s another local endeavor selling live trees for $125 but not this year.

My feelings are identical to the way I felt when my parents let me pick out a puppy or choose from a litter of kittens. This one! Its roots are securely tucked into a root ball covered in burlap. Each year, I bring a tree home and carefully and routinely water it until I can get it planted, usually in March sometime.

Grown and out the door, my farm is home to a couple dozen trees I’ve fallen for over the years. Some of them are now HUGE! Thought to protect homes from evil, it’s no surprise we want them indoors with us. Outside greenery, brought inside, is the centerpiece of our holiday season.

The worship of trees goes back to the time of the earliest Pantheists. (Pantheism is the worship of nature.) Integrated into our holiday customs are early Christian and Jewish practices, Roman traditions, medieval pagan rituals, and Victorian nostalgia. Germans introduced Americans to the Christmas tree (tannenbaum), but they weren’t the first to believe that evergreen trees represented eternal life because of their perennial green color during winter. Ancient homes were decorated with boughs and the tops of trees turned upside down to entice the spirit of nature inside for prosperity and good health.

Cut, faux, or alive—what’s your centerpiece this year? Having tried them all, I can make a convincing argument for all three. For every Christmas tree cut, two are planted. With over a million acres set aside to grow Christmas trees, one acre provides the daily oxygen requirement for some 18 people, but there’s just something sad to me about that lifeless hulk slowly turning brown out the back door. And I can’t for the life of me envision Pan, the god of woods, fields, and flocks, coming into my home to play his flute for my faux tree, even if it is an “eternal” tree.


Check out, a Portland, Oregon-based company that’s been in business for over 20 years delivering full-size Christmas trees and then planting them at schools, churches, and parks after Christmas.

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Wow, what a magnificent beauty you are hanging ornaments on! Here in Florida, indigenous Southern Red Cedars are popular Christmas trees. When we lived in our first home which had a large back yard facing fields for agriculture crops, we bought live trees and then planted them around the property. 34 years later, they are huge and still forming part of the landscape. I love to see them every time I pass by the old place. Here in town, there is neither enough sun or space to buy live trees so we have opted for Frazier firs grown on farms in North Carolina. I love the smell of evergreen in my home this time of year!

  2. Sharon D. says:

    I love going for a drive to the mountains and choosing the perfect tree with a thermos of cocoa in tow. But, this year we just have a faux tree. I do want to take the atv with my honey into the cedar and juniper grove and glean some branches with juniper berries to tuck in the bare spots on the tree and to decorate the rest of our home with. I just love fresh evergeens 🙂

  3. There are two ancient 3 story high hollies in a small town nearby and every year I have permission to cut as many berry filled branches as I wish. They are beyond beautiful and I put big bunches in buckets ,delivering more branches to all my friends. Despite several acres of woods at my farmette, not a single one is a “Christmas Tree” type. And only 2 very small hollies are growing here.

    The local Pennsylvania “Dutch” here in Lancaster country, often use the cedars that border fields as their Christmas trees, since these are considered ” junk” trees. The thrifty ” Dutch” also save the dried out dead Christmas tree after the holidays and recycle it by covering the bare branches in cotton and mica ” snow” to use the following years. It is also a ” Dutch ” custom to hang a live tree upside down usually on the porch, for good luck and always to have a bird’s nest in it. They also decorate their trees with large pretzels as they represent praying hands.

    I have 2 indoor cats, Duke and Earl, who love to eat pine needles, ( which sadly make them sick ) ,so I can’t have a real tree indoors.

  4. Terry Steinmetz says:

    Your tree looks like some of the “wild” ones hubby & I planted 20 years ago. We collected most of them from the side of our road before the power company came to clear them away. They start out at 2′-3′ but are now almost 40′. We built a windrow to help keep the soil on the open acreage & the blustery southern winds off Lake Michigan a little calmer. As I walk on our property, I love to see these trees blowin’ in the wind. I wish that hubby & I didn’t have tree allergies so I could once again bring greenery indoors. Alas, we just enjoy it through our windows & on our walks. And no more getting stuffy noses, running eyes & coughs!

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Advent Calendar Idea

Maybe you’ll be getting a new deck of cards this year in your Christmas stocking. If so, here’s an idea for what to do with your old deck. I made this scrapbook-inspired advent calendar last year from an old deck of cards.

In the spirit of upcycle and on a mission to make an advent calendar, I rummaged through my craft boxes, finding spare scraps, odd buttons, random thread and lace, and numbers, and then scrounged some holidayish-looking items. Using a fabulous vintage frame I’d been saving and an old deck of cards, I started cutting and pasting, the old-fashioned way. The cards have special meaning because my grandpa, now gone, gave me this deck many years ago after teaching me card tricks. Casino issue, the whole set had been punched with a hole upon its professional retirement, perfect for this project.

Most of my advent calendar is upcycled, but I did use a new alphabet stamp set and pad for some of the numbers and a dear friend lent me her Cricut machine that cuts paper into all kinds of shapes and sizes. Even the styrofoam backing is a scrap I snagged from the ‘shipping warehouse’ side of our farm.

When I showed my mother the finished project, she asked how on earth I burned all the edges of the paper and cards so evenly. Here’s a handy tip: rub the edges of your paper with a brown stamp pad, and it instantly looks rustic, aged, and even a bit burned in places.

Underneath each card is a smaller card with a note that is a 24-day treasure hunt for my children. Every year, I come up with things like, “Where on earth might your dollies be?” And then, underneath their sleeping dollies, sugar-plum lollipops await them or the promise of an extra-long bedtime story.


This year we’re having fun with the Elf on the Shelf. Anyone else doing that?


  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    This is just the cutest idea! I love the colorful result and the extra additions from your craft box. Advent calendars are always so much fun when you are a child!

  2. Sharon D. says:

    Megan, this is such a wonderful idea! If I had children I would definitely be incorporating this into our family time. I bet the girls are loving every moment of this 🙂
    Ahhhh memories of that elf on a shelf in our home growing up. My brothers and I would be so excited to see where the elf was lurking 🙂 Have a wonderful day!

  3. Anita K. says:

    I confess that the elf sort of creeps me out, and I enjoy seeing the funny posts on facebook of him doing naughty things!

  4. Karlyne says:

    I have so many grubby old cards that I hope I’m getting new ones! Great idea!

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shopping for groceries

Wouldn’t you love to be shopping for groceries when …


  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    This just gave me chills and brought tears to my eyes it was so beautiful! How lucky these shoppers were to receive such a treat!

  2. CJ Armstrong says:

    Love it!
    Enjoyed something similiar to this in a mall in Phoenix one year. Just makes my day!

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  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Sandbakkel tins! I am lucky to have some of my husband’s Nana. They make the prettiest cookies and are so easy!

  2. Sharon D. says:

    I love these ornaments and am actually going to be making some today 🙂

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And a little more holiday shopping…

Look what I found at our local coop, in our very own Glamping fabric!


Alicia at Pink Sweetie is busy making some adorable hair gizmos, snappy pouches, and magnets. She has a great selection on her Etsy store. Happy shopping!

P.S. Can you believe I get to live the background of this photo every day?? I was on my way to the farm with snappy pouch in hand so I thought I might as well enjoy the view and the sun for moment and snap a photo of my snappy for you.

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    How cute is that?? What a clever idea for your adorable glamping fabric too! Yes, you are indeed very lucky to live where that landscape is your back yard. The rest of us just live vicariously through the beautify photos you post here on the blog!

  2. Terry Steinmetz says:

    I love my snappy pouch that my quilting instructor made for me a year ago. Now I’ll have to make one of my glamping material! The beauty you see out your landscape is beautiful. I love mine as well! We have 40 acres, 18 of which are fields and 22 that is wooded. I am constantly wandering & looking at all the beauty. But thanks for sharing yours!

  3. CJ Armstrong says:

    Hey, I recognize that! TOO cute!
    I, too, live in some of the most beautiful country there is with my own view of the San Juan Range of the Colorado Rocky Mountains!

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Reinventing the Snow Shovel

This winter, try an eco-friendly snow thrower called the Sno Wovel. Recognized by Co-op America and National Green Pages for its positive, pollution-free environmental standards, it was also chosen Time Magazine’s “best invention.” The wheeled snow shovel design clears away snow three times faster than shoveling, and greatly reduces the physical strain of shoveling and the related risks of back and heart injuries. No fuel, fumes, or deafening noise to harm the environment or the operator.


If you know how to use a seesaw, then you can Wovel. The Wovel works on the principle of leverage. “Give me but one firm spot in which to stand,” Archimedes declared 2,200 years ago,” and I will move the earth.” The Wovel gives you the power of leverage to safely move more snow in less time with greater ease then ever before.

Watch a variety of videos of the Sno Wovel in action here.

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Very cool device! With no snow here, I cannot imagine how efficient this would really be to use, but it looks like it would be must have if you live where it snows!

  2. Terry Steinmetz says:

    I’ve seen this in action & it moves snow efficiently & helps those using it from straining.

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