Winter on the Farm


It’s a whole other season when you’re the resident writer on a farm.

When the busyness of our crazy September-October selling season draws to a close, my life takes an abrupt turn, kind of like those country roads with the “Sharp Curve Ahead” signs.

Quick turns can be the lights or sorrows of life.


Come the first of November I trade my farm boots (most days) for a writing hat (not really, I’m inside, so I don’t wear a hat, sillies! But you get the gist.) 🙂 And holiday Grandma and Mom hat… and grandmother to track runners and basketball players and soccer cuties hat.  And honestly, it’s so much fun to go back to the other normal. You guys know what I mean, it’s like the end of summer vacation, how you’re just ready for some sort of schedule again.

I’ve learned to never schedule a deadline in December. I work all year, in the middle of the night, but after a couple of early career December deadlines, I realized two things:

  1. A lot of publishing kind of shuts down in December so everything takes longer, therefor why rush????
  2. I want my Christmas prep, my Advent season, to be focused on faith and family and if I have a deadline looming, I have to juggle a really important plate that can’t be dropped…. and I learned years ago to keep Christmas as simple and faith-filled as I could, so freeing up my schedule for just writing and blogging that month is plenty!

This way I don’t have to fret over changed schedules, flu outbreaks, kids that need watching, Grandmas that need help, (those older Grandmas, the “Gee-Gees” in a family) because that’s how it happens, right?  We did our Gingerbread House day in early January because everyone got sick on Christmas vacation! Oh, those germs!!!

A Gingerbread Village!!!!! With a train!!!


Gluing the houses together with frosting… So important!

And a darling girl with an artistic flare!

So we got that done in January…. and then there was this:




Needless to say, neither the car nor the deer came out of this well.

So the car went off to salvage land, the deer went to wherever deer go and Farmer Dave walked away from  it, so all is well!

A fun, at the farm birthday party for a five-year-old cutie, and a cute rainbow cookie cake!

Kitchen success with Jambalaya recipe… Available over at Yankee-Belle Cafe, a cooking and lifestyle blog with some great authors.

And then total Kitchen Fail with a new cheesecake recipe!

Look at this…. SIGH….. Little Lena was helping, and I think we seriously over-mixed the cheese mixture because this is a mess!!!!

BUT OUR DINOSAUR FOSSILS CAME OUT GREAT! Lena and I are working on a dino-themed preschool unit, and the “fossils” were a lot of fun.

And know those snow pics I love to share????????

Farm boys in the January rain!!!!!! Pouring rain…. but like 60 degrees, so where did that come from?

But throughout all of this I’ve been busily writing. I finished editing “Finding Peace in Wishing Bridge” and that will be released from Amazon (Kindle and paperback) on March 2nd!


And I got a mystery proposal approved, so that’s next on my agenda, to finish that mystery and get it polished this winter…


And then there’s this!!!! I just got copies of my 2nd Golden Grove book (and I forgot to pick a winner from last month’s post, totally my fault, so I’m going to pick three winners from that post… and they are:

  1.  Teresa!

     2.   Rosie!

     3.  Alice Haney

AND…. two winners of the April book, Golden Grove 2, “Learning to Trust”!!!

And this is mailing week, so if you get your addresses to me, I’m sending everything on my list out this coming week, so I can check those boxes off for now!  My email is!


 A second beautiful love story set in Central Washington state, a place I absolutely love!

So there you go. That’s how my January’s gone. All the aspects of normal crazy that we call life, but so many blessings, too.

So how has your January been?

Tell me below and I’ll put your names in for one of the “Learning to Trust” copies!


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50 thoughts on “Winter on the Farm”

    • Kim, it’s been a soft winter for sure… my old doctor used to say these are the winters where germs go wild. Not cold enough to kill them, not cold enough to keep folks at home. There’s some old-fashioned sense to that. He was a great primary care/family doctor and had the kindest heart.

      We were expecting a winter storm overnight.


      Less than an inch.


      And honestly, it’s been so crazy muddy that the farm looks SAD!!!

  1. Beginning of January was still full of Christmas sickness, so it was miserable. Somehow, I managed to help middle buy a car in time for returning to college, thereby saving an additional cost of airfare. By the end of the month,everything was going much better.

    • Denise, I hear you! Same here… but then son-in-law got the flu last week and that might start a whole new round of something. It’s been a year where we go day by day, but I’m glad you’re seeing light at the end of the tunnel. The good thing is we’re adaptable! We’ve got this!!!

  2. January wasn’t so kind here. I got the flu and then gave it to my husband. I am still dealing with the after effects of it. Then this week I was hit by a bad case of vertigo. And, I won’t even get into the family drama that we have been dealing with.

    • Janine, I am so sorry about family drama. That’s draining, isn’t it? And sorry about the flu. It seems the flu shot missed targeting one of the ones hitting folks, so that’s tough. I’m glad you’re better, but yes, it can simply tire you out for a while. Hang in there. Praying for your full return to strength.

  3. My January was spent getting my checked(new glasses), my 3 month check up with Dr, etc. Lots of needed rain in January!

  4. We are shoveling snow, lots of it. Playing in it too. Baking lots of cookies for the grandkids. Having friends over for meals. Going on walks around the frozen lakes. Reading lots of books. Feeding the birds. Just a typical January.

    • Kathy, how fun! And yeah, the kids love playing in snow here. They’ve even spent time out in the cold mud (!!!!!!!) because they yearn to be outdoors. And our play area sits a little low, so even with a bank of wood chips, it’s SOGGY…. I love the sound of your January. It sounds bucolic!!!!

    • Susan, ditto! We had to have some underground electrical work done across the back of the driveway over to the donkey shed… And we got snow! snow! snow! in November, so everything got put on hold afterwords and now there’s this strip of MUD…. and some of the dirt/driveway material is still piled. So it’s a mess. Dave did what he could, but once it got too muddy/snowy/rainy, there was no fixing it and the part we have to do by hand just has to wait.

      Aren’t the pics fun?????

      We are so very normal!

  5. Our January was wet and cold and several of my family was sick for the first two weeks. Hopefully, a better February!

    • Teresa, JINX!!!!!! The mud is ridiculous…. the driveway is a sea of mud, work we had done in November wasn’t able to be finished off so that’s in a flux, and the poor donkeys area is awash. A little cold would be a good thing!

  6. Hi Ruthy! How has my January gone? There’s no snow and entirely too much rain for me lol. And my son moved to Florida, 10 1/2 hours away, to be with his fiance. (The GPS says 10 1/2 hours, but when you actually drive it, it takes like 16 hours. What’s up with that??) They got engaged over Christmas. So excited for them, but so missing my son! I’m planning a nice long weekend of just reading! It’s either that or driving down again to get another hug from my son…

  7. Why do GERMS have to come EVERY SINGLE YEAR at Christmas time? With 10 grand-darlings, someone ALWAYS gets sick, and it should be their happy time. Unfortunately, it’s country wide, eh?

    But making gingerbread houses in January is a great way to compromise!

    Love, love the blog, Ruthie!

    • Pam, it’s that way here, too… it seems inevitable, doesn’t it? And yet we muster on, and we’ve learned to become most creative about dates… 🙂 And celebrating as we can. I think the older we get the more we realize that it’s not when we celebrate or by the calendar… but who we celebrate and with whom!

  8. Mostly January was warmer then usual with a lot of rain and February so far has been rain but colder. Its raining today again. We are pretty much living in swamp land but I guess rain is better then snow.

    • Ah, I hear you!

      I prefer the snow just so the kids aren’t stuck inside, but I know what you mean. No one has to shovel rain! And the Swamp Land… YES!!!!! Our swamp land (literally a small marsh/wetlands adjacent to the house on one side) is home to so many critters. Spring peepers are my favorite, those little tree frogs that like things just so. Every spring I wait to hear them… and then I’m always a little sad when they go quiet and the big frogs start chirping because it means another season passed…. and their joyous song just makes me happy every April and May!

  9. Hello from Western Washington State! January was a bit of a wet one, but I don’t mind, because I love the rainy weather. I still maintain that it does not rain here as much as people think it does! Seems “the sickness” was going around, and I spent four days down for the count in the beginning of the month. I was grateful for it, though. Retail is always busiest and crazy during Christmas. As much as I didn’t want to be sick, I can look on the bright side and be grateful for forced rest.
    Looking forward to the book! 🙂

    • Heather, I love your state! I’ve had so much fun setting Westerns there. It’s beautiful, it’s farm and ranch-friendly, it’s a real mix of people (especially in Grant County) and the differences between coastal Washington and Central Washington are pretty amazing. Kind of like NYC and the rest of New York State. But that makes for great story-telling! Glad you’re feeling better!

  10. January was up and down for me… getting back to the normal routine after the holidays, got sick, got better, now I’m starting to feel like I’m on top of things again.

  11. Love all your January experiences, Ruthy! We were busy here in Oregon just recuperating from Christmas spent in Texas with our kids and grandkids and then we turned around and went BACK to Texas 3 weeks later and enjoyed them all again because it was our granddaughter’s 8th birthday and she got baptized into our church! Such a special experience for our family!

  12. Love the pictures! Smiling grandchildren and great-grandchildren are the best. I, too, like to keep my December free of unnecessary commitments so I can enjoy the season. January seemed to fly by but I did get a start on plans for the rest of the year, which will include visits with far-away family!

    • My January has been blessed. No major illnesses, weather that is very unusual for January, and the opportunity to read some great books. It is also the shortest January on record as far as I’m concerned but I realize that time flies at my age! Thanks for the chance to win a new book.

  13. The weather has been nice by me… just the last few days had a slight cold snap… have gotten a bunch of reading in… I love the cover for Learning to Trust!

    • Colleen, it’s a beautiful cover, isn’t it? I love it, too! And that old Jet Stream makes such a difference. If it gets a bigger shove from HeatMiser down below in the Gulf Stream or Pacific, it bounces up faster and we get a soft winter… Do you love my great meteorological skills and explanations? 🙂 We’re still being told there’s a storm today, but they’ve been wrong more than they’ve been right this winter, so we’ll see.

      A great day for writing and baking!

  14. We did Christmas on December 30, to fit everyone’s schedule and then had a great family New Year’s Eve party. Our 5 year old grandsons were so excited about noisemakers and hats. We watched the NYC ball drop, Eastern Time, so we could go to bed at a normal time. It was great fun. Then my normal January began with year end bookkeeping and preparing for the farm tax reports. Here in Central Washington the winter has been cold for a couple of weeks and then warm for the next week or two. Last week it was in the 50’s and this week it is snowing with the main roads over the mountains closed part of the time. Just a typical Northwest winter.

    Ruthy, thank you for sharing your pictures and story. They made me smile on a gray day.

    • Alice, your weather there bounces like one of those kids superballs… remember those? How high they bounced and traveled?

      And those mountain roads are something, aren’t they?

      I love setting books in your state. GORGEOUS. Western enough to be called Western and to-die-for settings between gorgeous farmland and fun, small towns.

  15. Life has been busy for you. I remember farm days in the winter. The ginger village is so cool. I love the train. Did the cheesecake taste good? It looks good. Our January has been windy and cold and rainy with some snow thrown in. It has been a trial with my husbands health issues. Hopefully we are starting to see some improvement for him.

    • Lori, the cheesecake wasn’t great! It was “meh”…. So I’ll find a different recipe. I like it in glass pans because I don’t like metallic taste on my cheesecake, but this one did not react well to our overmixing or the oven or the time of day or the color of the old kitchen walls. Clearly unhappy!

      I am so sorry about hubby’s health problems. Praying for both of you, I’d love to see this cleared up.

  16. It’s was a good month, especially for our 2 grandchildren that live here. Our granddaughter is going to State on her Robotics class and our grandson (her brother ) made it to State competition for his Math, we got to listen and watch our granddaughter play her saxophone with the Honors All Region Band in Jan., it was so nice and so Awesome! This granny is so Very Proud. Thank you for sharing your lovely pictures, we also love decorating Gingerbread houses, and this past Christmas we were able to do it with our 2 now grown children and with their little families.Have a Great rest of the week. God Bless you.

    • OH MY STARS, I am celebrating these two smart and wonderful children!!!! How fun is that, Alicia??? And I got your address for “A Hopeful Harvest” from last month, thank you for sending it!

      Proud Grannies are wonderful things!

      And I can just picture all of you decorating Ginger Houses! What fun!!!!

  17. Thoroughly enjoyed reading your post! My January has been a celebration with the birth of my third grandson, Max, on January 15. I now have 3 grandsons, all of their names begin with M. Mackenzie (Mack) is 23, Maverick (Mavy) will be 2 on my birthday, February 19, and Max. I love being Nana!

    • Edwina, congratulations! How exciting and welcome to little Max! HOOT!!!!!

      And I love those names, Mack, Maverick and Max. Way fun.

      But that’s quite an age difference, there… Mack’s all grown up and finally gets cousins! That’s kind of funny!!!!

      Bless them all.

  18. January was good! My busy season ended on a great note, all of my clients got their cards and information needed, and February is off to a good start, too!

  19. This winter has been crazy all over. From 71 degrees the last days of Dec., we started the year in the 40’s and low 50’s. By the 11th it was back in the 70’s and from there went down to 27 by the 20th. The rest of the month ranged from 30 to 50 degrees. Most nights were in the 20’s with a few down in the mid-teens. There was a lot of rain the middle of the month, and only a dusting of snow all month. Mid-month we spent 2 weeks in Orlando visiting family and friends. Our daughter and 8 year old granddaughter came down for 6 days to join us. We went to Sea World, Medieval Times Dinner Theater, Kennedy Space Center and 2 days at Disney (Animal Kingdom and Epcot). Both our wallets and bodies were totally drained. Luckily our daughter has a friend at Disney and we only had to buy one child’s ticket and were able to get military discounts on the others, but it was still expensive. We won’t be doing it again anytime soon. After they left we spent a day in Tarpon Springs. It is on the west coasts not far from Tampa. It was originally built up in 1887 around mineral springs (which I didn’t know) and developed and settled by Greek sponge divers. The harbor side street is lines with Greek restaurant and shops. We try to go over to enjoy a good greek meal and get treats from the bakery. We always bring home lots of baklava for the family. The month went downhill after we got home. One of my brothers called to say our youngest brother was in ICU. The cancers he has been fighting for 4 years is finally winning. Sadly, we will be heading to NY State about 65 miles south of Montreal, Canada in the not too distant future. I just hope this current storm has finished passing through and the roads aren’t too bad. We also got a call from the local VA where we volunteer. We work with the No Vet Dies Alone program and they had a terminal patient they needed someone to sit with. I do the 10 or 11pm to 7 or 8am shift and my husband does the morning or evening 4 hour shifts. I sat with him 3 nights in 5 days. With the news of my brother, this time was more difficult than usual. Anyway. January was busy and February has started out the same. No Vet Dies Alone ran into Feb. and this storm has brought flooding rains. The Red Cross called about noon and we set up and ran a shelter in a neighboring county and are scheduled to go back from 8 to 8 tomorrow. I still haven’t unpacked from our trip.
    I envy you your January. I miss not having little ones around both as family and as a children’s librarian. The grandchild closest to us is 21. The cheesecake may not be pretty, but I am sure it tasted just fine. It is the help from the little ones fixing it that is important, not what it looks like. the snow pictures look very familiar, but I do not remember heavy rain in January. My birthday is mid-January and 9 times out of 10 there was usually a blizzard or sub-zero temperatures. Your grandchildren are darling. They must be a joy to work, and play, with. Your Jambalaya picture reminded me I need to get ready for our Mardi Gras dinner some time before Lent starts. The way things are going, it might not happen. So sorry about your car. From the angle above it doesn’t look damaged enough to be totaled. I’m sure the front end is a different story. I know where the deer went when my husband hit one – our freezer.
    The cover for LEARNING TO TRUST is very nice. I read the blurb on the book. It should be good. Never underestimate the devious determination of an 8 year old. I will be looking for it.

    • Patricia, you must be coming up to the Champlain area? Clinton County?

      My first series of books was set west of that in Canton/Potsdam area, the other side of the mountains, but we drove up there two years ago to buy our mini-donkeys. Beautiful country, and my first time driving a horse trailer attached to the back of our pick-up truck was through the Adirondack mountains. There is no “quick” route from this corner of the state to that one! But we got there, got the donkeys and found ice cream and got home. SUCCESS!

      I’m so very sorry about your brother. I hate cancer. Even with all the advances, it’s clever enough to change its stripes and win too often. And bless you for your work. Patricia, I’ve never heard of that ministry, and what a beautiful thing it is. Thank you and your husband for your gift of love, faith and time. You are a blessing.

      And I do love having littles around. LOVE IT! And yes, your timing for birthday is stellar for storms. My youngest son was born mid-March. When he was little he had back-to-back birthdays canceled by storms. First the 1991 Ice Storm that rocked the Northeast and this whole area. And then a blizzard in 1992… after that we made sure we did a summer party for him because March up here is so very unpredictable, but rarely nice in any way… So we adjusted!

      Praying for a safe trip north, Patricia. God bless you all.

      • Thank you. My daughter has wanted miniature donkeys for ages. I didn’t realize there was a breeder in the Plattsburgh area. One of these days she might get one. Not sure how they would mix with llamas and sheep.

  20. I had a feeling 2020 would be a year of loss for our family, and at 6:30 am on Jan 1st we had to rush to the hospital with my mom-in-law. She is fine for now (Praise God!)…but it was a reminder to keep our knees on the ground in prayer. I also gave notice to my wonderful job, with Disney, (due mostly to health issues) so starting in March I will be “retired”. More time to read Love Inspired. Hehe. Here’s to February! I enjoy reading your books and posts. God bless you richly Ruth!

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