Christmas at the farm

Every year our family spends Christmas Eve in South Dakota. My mom grew up on a dairy farm outside of Sioux Falls, which for her meant hard work–but for me, it meant family vacations building forts in the woods and getting lost in corn fields.

My grandmother passed a number of years ago, and since then the family has struggled deciding to what degree to keep up the farm. Every time I return, it is with some uncertainty as to which buildings will still be standing. So this year I grabbed the camera and tromped about in the snow, my fingers turning red as I snapped a few shots.

I’m fascinated by these old buildings. Mom, it seems, has countless stories about milking the cows and caring for weak runt piglets, of taming feral cats and doing work in the fields with her father. She famously tells about the two vacations of her childhood: first, to visit her sick uncle out west; and second, to attend his funeral a year later. This hard lifestyle, she claims, is in part why her father died before his time.

As the farm stood silent this Christmas, I thought about all the years it buzzed with activity: cows to be milked, food to be made, chores to be done. A day like any other, with the exception that at its end, a family gathered around a warm table and a fragrant tree, and spoke deep midwinter blessings to one another.

See more pictures of the farm on Flickr.

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seeing projects through a new lens

my parents gave me a new lens for my camera this christmas (yay for early christmas presents!). it came in the mail yesterday, so I snapped a few shots of my knitting and my cat (because what else do I ever write about on this blog? oh wait, food.)

our friend ala is visiting from out of town, and she’s been reinspiring my love for knitting! these yellow socks i was working on all the way back during B’s and my trip to europe. that’s a year and a half ago, folks. sometimes my penchant for starting new projects approaches lunacy.

but nevertheless, i have also started a new project (even a couple more which aren’t pictured here!): cabled alpaca mittens!

hmm. Lu doesn’t seem to mind that I knit more projects than I can finish. I think I like her perspective on the world: take naps, eat well, snuggle. in other words, do what makes you happy.


and the gift goes kablooie

B and I thought we were being really cute a few weeks ago when we gave our friend this great birthday present. Our friend Val was turning 30, you see, which is about time a person needs to start bringing home the bacon.

so B had like, this fabulous idea. “let’s infuse BOURBON with BACON!” he said. a perfect gift for a friend we love to party with, and also a friend who will shortly, no doubt, begin bringing home bacon like it’s nobody’s business. (she being a future doctor and everything.)

so we got down to business. all one needs to do to infuse bacon into said bourbon is fry bacon, pour bacon fat into a bowl, let it cool, pour said fat into a (poreless) container with the bourbon, let it sit for a while (say 4-6 hours?), stick in the freezer until the fat hardens, remove fat, strain bourbon. that was easy enough. plus, we combined our mad bourbon-infusing skills with my endless lust for crafting and projects, and you get pretty things like what you’re witnessing now.

BUT.

but, there was a problem.

we gave the bourbon to val. all was lovely, and well-received. and then later that night, after she and her hubby brought the bottle home, it exploded.

that’s right, it exploded. as in: KABLOOIE!

what a sad gift.

but at least we got something out of it:

bacon-walnut broccoli rabe. yum.

sorry, val. happy birthday.