We enjoyed bright and sunny meanderings on snowy days.
The short days of winter brought long shadows in the late afternoon.
Snow storms came with ferocity, dumping sticky, dense snow.
It's a wonder the little thing can find anything to eat in this weather. Sly like a fox, I suppose.
There's a car under there.
Every morning I spotted these turkeys scavenging for morsels.
Ah, then the sun finally shone.
The morning glow over Mt. Ascutney.
A quiet sunset at day's end.
Then there was this foggy morning.
February ended sadly. This was their last walk; our darling Blaze passed away the following morning in Joe's arms.
Early March warmed up a bit.
And the snow on our hills started to melt.
It was perfect sugaring weather, and sugarhouses all over the region were billowing their sweet steam.
Boy, did it!
Little Ada enjoyed the view from her perch in the living room.
It's a big job and Ada watched every bit of it.
I visited another college campus for work and was delighted to find the sugaring buckets there, too.
Pretty Mt. Ascutney, our "neighborhood" mountain.
This was a great April Fool's prank, or so we wished. Yes, April 1st brought mounds of snow!
It melted quickly, thankfully.
This is the best sight after so many months of winter. It makes me bubble over!
The sun shone and the pond began to melt.
And the daffodils bloomed!
...and bloomed and bloomed...
The trees began to leaf and the birds were happy.
Look at the array of colors of those new buds on the distant trees.
Our home enjoys this adornment, too.
you're a contender to be my favorite Vermont month.
The blue sky shone brilliantly.
Mt. Ascutney on a pretty Spring day.
The lilacs began to bud while the tender leaves continued to reveal their colorful evidence of immaturity.
Spring shadows make me happy.
And then there's the blooming trees!
The colors are remarkable.
Enjoying the view at the pond.
These colors scream Spring and I love it.
The apple blossoms...
And the lilacs...
And more apple blossoms...
Would you believe with all those blooms on the apple tree, it did not produce one apple this year?! The smaller one to the left did, but not that big one.
Yes, I do love May.
June came with rain and more blooms. Here's my office building nestled against the massive rhododendron shrub (as seen through my rain-dripped windshield).
Just beginning to open...
Ah, there they are, as seen through my office window.
And the irises...
...we have fields of irises in blue, yellow and white. So lovely!
As the grass in the fields grow taller, so do the wild flowers. We see buttercups in abundance.
Just another pretty summer day.
June brings peonies, too. One of my favorite summer flowers.
They create summertime ambiance on winter's wood stove.
And while I'm out snipping the long peony stems from under the window, the furry kids are curious what I'm up to.
The grapes begin to appear. Hard to believe those tiny nodules will be plump, juicy grapes in a couple of months.
The blueberries are growing and still need about a month more to ripen.
Sometimes the sky grows dark and heavy summer rains roll in.
We enjoyed many hikes on warm summer days and were always delighted by surprise vistas peeking through the trees of the forest.
Summertime means berry picking!
And cherry picking!
And farm-animal photo ops! AND, look who has come to spend a glorious month with us!
Summer fun with the kids has, for the last couple of years, included target practice.
They're getting good!
Then, there's always hours of imaginative play outdoors.
And we have a constant stream of blooming flowers... now it's the day lily's turn.
And black-eyed susans can always be found in the fields at gramma and grandpa's house.
This little beauty loves all things green and growing, particularly flowers.
Her handsome brother is happy to join her in flower selection for an indoor vase.
A wild-flower bouquet almost ready to bring indoors, but wait, she spots something else. (And isn't that profile darling?)
We always find the coolest things in nature when we go hiking!
It wouldn't be summertime at gramma and grandpa's house if the kids didn't help grandpa mow the grass. They both love it and have learned to do it on their own.
We meandered this creek for miles.
We didn't intend to, but ended up getting good and wet. Oh well, it cooled us off.
One of the highlights this month was getting to see these little fledglings mature and eventually leave the nest. We, including the kids, literally did get to see them, one by one, over a period of a couple of days, fly off not to return, leaving us simultaneously happy and sad.
Oooh, we can head out to the blueberry bushes for a mid-play snack!
Then, there are always inside activities when the weather doesn't cooperate. Our little artist contemplates her next move.
Harvesting the abundance! My beautiful girl shucked (I forget how many) fresh, non-gmo, bushels of corn for canning.
We enjoyed plenty of lazy evenings in the hammock. On this particular occassion, Aria and gramma were watching a YouTube video of Doris Day singing I Love You a Bushel and a Peck, and learning the lyrics. Such sweetness.
The DiOrios had a family photo shoot by their talented photographer friends at a beautiful property around the corner from us.
These two are getting good at steering those wagons down the hill and remaining upright!
More indoor artwork.
Such concentration... I love the tongue!
Oh boy! It's Story Land day!!
Story Land is a fun amusement park in NH that Nic remembers visiting with his parents when he was little (and still lived in RI). He wanted to share the experience with his little ones.
Mesmerized by the flower-beauty.
Amusement parks are fun and make happy kids!
On our way to Cinderella's Castle!
Aria was delighted to meet Cinderella in person! (The lighting in there was terrible, hence the poor shot - I wasn't going to forego the opportunity to capture her glee, though.)
And, of course, stepping inside the pumpkin carriage is a must!
Wow! That was such a fun-filled day!
The LoveBugs' happy visit continued into August, to our delight.
Look at those grimy, playing-hard hands holding that delicious raspberry for inspection.
Of course, she finished the whole jar. She loves berries! I think raspberries are her favorite, though. Mine, too. Happily, we have lots of raspberry bushes.
We had more fun with the BB gun, aiming for the wheelbarrow all the way at the fence. It makes the best ping when you hit it!
Grandpa getting it ready for Aria's turn.
I love that scrunchy focus-face!
It wouldn't be summer fun without roasted hot dogs over the fire pit!
And on glorious summer mornings, it's appropriate to take breakfast out to the fort.
Then we moved our little table over to the yard under the front tree to paint rocks to place on hiking trails.
They were quite colorful!
Daddy and grandpa assembled a slip and slide out front.
That was hours of fun!
That lasted multiple days!
They never seemed to tire.
And laughed and laughed!
On their last day with us, we discovered this little orphaned bird. We hoped mama would hear her calls and come back, but she never did. After the kids left, we took her to a rescue facility, but the little one, sadly, didn't make it.
The grapes matured nicely and tasted delicious!
The wildflowers in the field continued to bloom steadily.
And the blueberries ripened for weeks on end.
I wandered down to see what was under the bridge at the end of our road. It looks summery, doesn't it?
Sights around the neighborhood...
Joe and I took a long, leisurely walk.
And thoroughly enjoyed the warm air and lovely scenery.
We encountered the geese meandering, too.
One of our favorite country roads.
The fields always get mowed in September.
And the cord wood gets delivered, giving us (Joe) plenty of time to process it.
It's apple season, and that means apple crisp. I challenge myself to peel the apples in one long strip, and am usually successful. :-)
I had to head over to the New Hampshire coast for a work conference, so made it a point to see the ocean. It had been a long time since I've seen the Atlantic.
September evenings are dreamy, and begin to show just a hint of color.
There's something about September light that is less intense than earlier in the summer.
We found time to hike to the top of the world.
And this spot of color on our road seemed to happen over night.
Leaves are beginning to turn and drop at our house, too.
And just when you think you're going to find color around every corner, you find his spot of brilliant green.
The trees in most areas are just starting to blush.
And many mornings, you see the early fog roll in.
September skies seldom disappoint.
Most nights are brilliant with color.
I discovered I enjoy bulletproof coffee (organic coffee with coconut oil and butter).
These girls brighten my days. Look at that little one stretched out over Emma's paw. It looks so big next to her.
The best part of September was the day when Aunt Sheri and Uncle Bill came to visit! We enjoyed catching up over coffee and apple crisp at our house, before heading out to see some of the sights and have lunch in Woodstock. We also stopped at our favorite apple orchard so they could take home some freshly picked Vermont apples. It was the loveliest day!
Hiking in October is both relaxing and inspiring.
Our neighbor planted those trees 40 years ago thinking he might get into the Christmas Tree business. That didn't happen, though. Now, those trees are huge.
The gold glowing through is beckoning.
Another pretty perspective of Mt. Ascutney.
Just a pretty home on a neighboring road.
Always love the covered bridges.
This is a view from my road.
This, too, a little further down.
Then, happily, mom came for a visit! The best part of October!
We saw pretty sights at St. Gaudens.
And went for beautiful hikes.
We went to the "top of the world."
We took that hike that goes right through the cow pasture.
Isn't she pretty?
Well, look at that... Mt. Ascutney!
"Aw, sweet girl!"
We also enjoyed yummy meals and cozy evenings at home, and long talks over wine while we took in the scenery out front. But then she had to go, and the days got cooler and the trees barer.
And autumn storms came and knocked the power out.
November came with ominous skies and chilly days... and mostly leafless trees. If it weren't for the fact that our precious little granddaughter came into our lives in November, I'd like to have nothing to do with it. Weather and landscape-wise, it's not my favorite.
Still, there is something about those long afternoon shadows and wispy sticks against the sky.
I got out my pencils and tried my hand at drawing a cardinal, and enjoyed the exercise.
I was surprised to see how many leaves were still on these trees in our village.
And I liked this stark contrast of the bare trees against that evening sky.
No snow yet, but we sure had frosty mornings. You can just about make out the three trees at the end of our driveway (this is out the car window).
Another surprise - milkweed seeds still clinging to it's pod.
The color of the trees and grass intrigued me. It was another frosty morning and everything had a silver cast to it. (This is my off-ramp as I'm headed to work.)
Whoa. I'm sure you imagine how damp the air was! Such a dense fog.
During my week off for Thanksgiving, I did a bunch of Christmas crafting.
And enjoyed the view from the warmth of the indoors.
Some of you might recognize these.
Okay, hang on. December is a big one!
I liked the way the sun peeked over the hill.
So much that I captured it again a little further down the road.
Then the snow came.
Blanketing our fields in clean, fresh, white.
It made the drive to work quite lovely.
There were intriguing sights around every bend.
Remember this interesting barn from September when it was beginning to be adorned in orange, yellow and crimson?
We soon had a snow day, and I spent a large portion of it bird-watching.
Team meeting is every Thursday, and this particular Thursday also happened to be our Christmas Potluck.
Oh, hooray! Then Christmas break was here and look who has arrived! The DiOrios! They even helped with winter chores. It's not always deep enough to require the snowblower, but still needs to be moved.
Kingston did his part, too.
Meanwhile, our little angel made snow angels.
We went on a snowshoeing adventure to find our Christmas Tree.
Little darling... ooo, her face looks cold!
Hey! We found the one.
Ta-da! Happy day - we have found our Christmas Tree!
Seems it's gotten to be too much for Kingston.
Well, there it is. An eastern white pine.
The kids were delighted!
So was their mama!
She's getting lovingly adorned.
Nic had the honor of placing the star on top; the one they had given dad a decade previously (reminiscent of his childhood star).
I kept a couple of those newly decorated ornaments for myself.
Phew! Kids are in bed and now the work begins!
Ready to go!
Look at all those pretty packages.
Yay! Santa's been here!
She loved the outfit from gramma Cris and had to lay it out to get the full effect. Notice the basketball hoop in the corner? Keeping the tradition alive!
Oooo, looks like Kingston got something cool!
Sweet, handsome boy.
Helping gramma make something delicious for grandpa's birthday.
Frozen Aria - but sledding is just too much fun to stop!
Sledding till sunset. (Remember, this was a slip and slide in July/August!)
The big snowboarding day!
More preparations and instructions.
And there they go - Aria's first carpet ride.
Kingston was three the last time he did this!
After a few runs, they switched kids... daddy got to have Aria.
And mommy got to have Kingston.
Later, they got to have a semi-private lesson with "the best teacher."
I forget her name, but they loved her.
They each dubbed this the "best day of their life!"
We took our sledding adventures to the bigger hill out back.
Whoa, was that fun!
Joe relaxing while he watches the kids do run after run.
But he didn't hesitate to get in on the fun, too. (Neither did I! I forgot how much fun sledding is.)
Aria got a new doll set for her dollhouse and dubbed this one Aunt Mega due to her blond hair.
We shoveled the pond to do some ice skating.
Sweet Aria loves baby dolls, and is particularly taken with gramma's old Baby Go Bye Bye, circa 1968.
I was gifted a bottle of maple syrup from a co-worker that they made from the sap of their own trees. It was a hit! (Truly was delicious.)
This crazy crew took a late New Year's Eve sledding run by the light of the super moon in -15 (that's negative!) weather. They had a blast doing it - no regrets!
And that was December. Whew! what a fun-filled, energy-packed time we had.
(And Little One also loves the Raggedy Ann doll that gramma made for her mommy when she was a wee little girl.)
(And Little One also loves the Raggedy Ann doll that gramma made for her mommy when she was a wee little girl.)
Thank you 2017 for the memories.
Thank you God for blessing our family with abundant love, good health, fun times.
We wait eagerly to see what 2018 holds for us.