The weather is so beautiful right now. We've had day after day of sunshine and unusually warm temperatures. I don't know how long it will last (it is only March, after all), but I'm enjoying it very much while it does. Everything is starting to bloom now, including the plum trees and the volunteer lilac that popped up in our front yard a couple of years ago. It seems to be putting on a lot of new growth this year, which makes me happy because I loooove lilacs. I hope there will finally be enough to bring a small bouquet inside. The chicks are growing like crazy. They're still very sweet and adorable, but I'll admit that I'm looking forward to their new life in the coop just a little bit...
I'm feeling better now, for the most part. The past few weeks have been really hard around here. I'm still coughing a little and feeling slightly run-down, but I'm trying to get extra rest when I can and I think I'll be fine soon. This illness really knocked me out, though; I feel like I dropped out of society for a week and a half.
The Bear continued the exterior painting we started in early February and he's now finished with it all! We're really happy with the way it turned out. The cream trim looks fresh and clean. I'm especially excited about the courtyard, since we refinished the double front doors last fall. I can hardly believe this is my house. It's been good to make some improvements over the past few months. We needed to do them and it's just nice to have things spruced up, you know? The last step will be a new storm door for our bedroom, where we have a door leading out to the backyard. We had an older wooden screen door that really needs replacing. We're going with a better aluminum door with full-view glass and a retractable screen. It will be sturdier and will better protect the wood-and-glass door underneath. I'd been wanting to do this for years, but you know how that goes. I'm just glad we're finally doing it.
I've baked twice in the past few days. On Sunday, I made two loaves of Irish soda bread (you can see my recipe here), to eat with our customary St. Patrick's Day dinner (a bit early). I roast a chicken and potatoes and boil wedges of green cabbage. I used to make corned beef but nobody really likes it. One time, a person from Ireland told me people would be more likely to eat roast chicken there anyway, so I switched. I don't know if that's true, or if she was just trying to help me feel better about disliking corned beef, but it made my life a lot easier. This morning, I baked an apple pie in honor of Pi Day. I try to make something pie-like every year. When I'm feeling ambitious, I make a chicken pot pie or a quiche, as well as dessert. Today, I only felt up to dessert. There are pi-related math problems planned for this afternoon's homeschool. We try to keep things nerdily fun around here, oh, yes we do.
Thank you for joining in with my Winter Project Link Parties these past few months. I'm so glad people are interested in playing along. I hope it helped you feel motivated as the winter progressed and that you had the chance to give and receive some encouragement. I'm happy to know that there is already interest for next year! I would be happy to host the parties again. I will try to gauge interest again at the end of this summer, probably.
While I was sick, I came across a couple of things on the internet that I wanted to share, just because I liked them. One is a sound recording, from YouTube, of the Beach Boys performing "God Only Knows," which I've listened to over and over again. The title calls it "a capella," but it isn't, really. The local recording-science enthusiast tells me it's actually an isolated vocal track, meaning it's what the singers are hearing in their headphones as they perform. Either way, it's beautiful, and in my experience, spine-tingling.
Also, I love to browse a blog called Vintage Everyday, which features old photos of all different kinds of subjects, from period fashion to urban scenes to advertising art. They had a post with old-time ice cream vendors a few weeks ago, including a donkey-driven cart from New Mexico which really captured my imagination. It might not even be all that old; there's a phone number on the cart awning. But how did they keep ice cream cold in a cart like this? They must have carried blocks of ice inside the compartment on the cart. I wonder if it was lined with cork. I really need to research this. For me, ice cream - including historical ice cream - is serious business.