Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Another snowday

They had warned us last night, from 8 am this morning we would be under a winterstorm warning.
These days we are taking that type of news with a grain of salt. Every big snowstorm you probably read about in the newspaper or saw on the news, totally missed our little spot in Pennsylvania.

It was clear that even my sons school thought this way. When we woke up at 6 am it was already snowing, but no phone call yet.

Things work a bit different here than we were used to in the Netherlands. Unless the weather was really extreme, you were supposed to show up at school, one way or the other.
Here we live in an area with hills (Jack calls them mountains), a lot of backroads and most kids take the school bus. Just like my son. And the school doesn't take any risks on the transport of the kids.
But before we got into our clothes, tv already announced closure of all schools in the York Northern school district and 10 minutes later the school called.
So that is snow day # 2. And yes, you guessed it, they will have to make up for it, probably at the beginning at their summer vacation.
During the day it honestly didn't look too bad, as you can see on the picture I took this afternoon. We may get more tonight, but I hope it won't be enough for another snow day.
But the trees in our backyard are already bending under their heavy load.

On another note, the picture on top may well have been one of the last pictures for a long time from my beloved D80. Since a few days it has shutter problems and I am fearing that soon it will need more than just a little shake to start working again. It is bad timing, the new camera won't be her for at least another month and I am not looking forward to that many weeks without my favorite camera.
The first time it had problems Jack told me I acted like someone who had stopped smoking.
It won't be that bad this time, I promise.
Because this time I have a few other things I need to focus on besides photography.

I need to study!
Tomorrow I have an appointment with our doctor to fill out the DL 180 form.
The form that will show that I am physically in good enough shape to drive a car. Yep, you are reading it right.
Moms, keep your children inside!
Because one of these days I will have to take my test to get a learners permit! Meaning I will be allowed to be on the road, with someone next to me, but still…

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Where the wild things are

 Do you remember the pictures from last year? The two snowstorms, with snow so high that our dogs would disappear in it?
Well, in spite of all the news you may have read on snowstorms  on the east coast of the US, Airports closed and so on, we hardly got any snow.
The air had been so dry, any snowflake that might have considered coming this way was killed of by the dry, cold air. And so we just were cold over here, very cold.
So cold, I had to get myself a new coat, my first down coat. Ugly, but warm enough to stay comfortable when walking the dogs.

But, in the beginning of this week we finally got a decent snow cover.
And with the snow came the wild things…

When we put out our bird feeders last year, we attracted quite a lot of little birds and so this year a few big birds decided that we had provided them with the perfect fast food place.
In the beginning it did worry me, thinking they would kill off all the little birds in the area, but all they trees in our garden provide for enough shelter in times of need.
Also, the little ones seem to have a pretty decent warning system and at times there isn't a small bird to be seen.
Those are the times we start looking out for the big ones and we have spotted several different ones already.
And when they are close enough, I sometimes get lucky.
In general they are young birds.
The one you see here is a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk.

The young ones seem to be less fearful than the older birds that I haven't gotten a chance to photograph yet. They take off the moment they see me open the door.

But this young Cooper Hawk let me come pretty close and gave me a very dirty look.

To be honest, it made me feel a bit uncomfortable. We have seen several of these predators up close now and I know to respect those razor sharp claws and the sharp bills.
But after giving me ' the look'  it decided to find another tree, less close to that weird looking human with a huge eye in front of her face.

And to give you an idea why these guys are hanging around here, this is what they are looking for!

A little Bluebird

One of our squirrels

A Cedar Waxwing
Or maybe even a Mocking bird that visits our deck.

But until now we haven't seen any of the big ones being lucky. And as long as the little ones seem to get away in time, we will enjoy the beauty of the big wild things.

Hope you enjoyed them also.


Saturday, January 1, 2011


And a very happy, healthy New Year to everyone!

We're home again after a week in the Netherlands.
It was wonderful to see my parents and other family and to celebrate x-mas together.
Unlike here, there was plenty of snow and slippery roads, so we couldn't travel around too much, but that was fine. The place my parents live is beautiful and full of history and nature, so we did a nice walk every day and just enjoyed the sights and company.
And then there is the food, stoofpeertjes and rollade, stamppot boerenkool met rookworst, zuurkool met spek en Hema worst and best of all, kibbeling. Yes, I enjoyed that for sure.

In a way it was strange to go back without having my own house to go back to. 5 years ago my parents moved also, so I never lived in their house either. On the other hand, at the end of the week I was ready to go back home, to Jack, the doggies and my son.
Yep, I guess I feel at home here.

Any plans I might have had on bringing stuff back were undermined by my Dad who promised my son hagelslag. Little did I know than that that would end up being 6 kilo's of the stuff.
LOL, that is 10 x 600 gram boxes.
Add some cheese to that and the suitcases were full.

Although, at the airport I found myself a bag of these:
Salmiak kogels, love those. And since neither Jack or my son likes them, I can eat myself sick if I want to without feeling guilty over not sharing.

Also, I decided against bringing the mix for oliebollen for this year, didn't really feel like getting of the plane and start baking right away, so we skipped this year. But for next year I'll be ordering on line so we'll have some. I did kind of miss having them.

Yesterday morning we did our gift exchange under the christmas tree and I think every one was really happy with their gifts.
Unfortunately we could watch our christmas movie last night. The brand new DVD decided not to play.
Which was a bummer, but with some neighbors over we still had a great time. At midnight we stepped out on the porch to watch the beautiful fireworks the town organized. Love how we can see it really well without having to leave the house. And it is far away enough not to upset the dogs.

All in all, we started the new year really good and today isn't any different. We're enjoying a relaxed, lazy day. Tonight I will make Sauerkraut and pork, a tradition for Jack on New Year's Day, just slightly adjusted to our taste, we'll eat it the Dutch way, as a stamppot.

Again, Happy New Year, lets make it a good one!