"Why are you making me sit here in the snow without any underwear on?" I am telepathic, and those were Blu's exact words. Anything for a photo op. That is the price he pays for being the top dog here at our farm. Membership does, however, have its benefits: my father and mother gifted Blu with this handsome coat recently. He has been wearing it every time I let him outside to take care of business or just for a romp in the snow. At first he had to get used to it, but after he tried it a few times when icy rain was pelting him or below freezing temperatures were plaguing him, he started asking me to put it on him before goes outside. Of course, when my husband gets home from work in the afternoon, Blu acts like only a girly-dog would wear a coat to go outside. But he and I know the truth, and I know that come morning when he has to brave the cold first thing after getting up, he will hesitate and wait until I put his coat on him before venturing forth. I love watching him run around in the snow. His body movements are fluid and graceful when he gets out there in the wide open spaces running free, galloping here and there, pouncing on anything he can find that he imagines to be interesting. With his vivid imagination that means he has something to pounce on about every five feet or so. We went out driving this past Sunday to catch some of the local snow scenes. I love the apple trees in the professional orchards; they are beautiful and interesting to behold during any season. They are particularly beautiful when wearing cloaks of snow, reaching upward in a posture reflective of their strength of character. Even now, they are preparing themselves for new growth, spring blossoms, green leaves, and abundant fruit that will cause some of their limbs to nearly reach the ground. By autumn some of the fruit from these very trees might become dried apples or apple preserves on the shelves in my kitchen, or on their way in gift boxes to my family next holiday season. Our drive was very pretty, but the temperature was already rising within that one hour while we were out, and by the time we were headed back home snow was falling in big wet plops from the branches of every tree in sight. By Tuesday our temperature was up around fifty degrees and all of the snow disappeared. When I awoke the next morning, it was cold and everything was white again. This procession of winter weather is interesting to experience, and most days it is quite lovely. It is surprising how much my body has adjusted from the warm year round temperatures of Los Angeles to the autumn and winter in Western New York over the course of just over one year. Last year I routinely wore long johns under sweat pants under jeans, and three layers of t-shirts and sweaters, plus a warm puffy coat, two scarves, a hat and gloves every time I went anywhere. This year I am comfortable with or without the long johns, no layer of sweats, and only one sweater over a long sleeved t-shirt. Plus, I can go out without a hat or gloves on most occasions. Funny how readily our bodies can adjust to big changes so easily. I must say though, I am very thankful I had the foresight to knit this pretty wrap for myself (I call it my "Vineyard Wrap" because the pattern stitch brings to mind the wild grape vines growing on our farm). It is made of five skeins of Montera yarn (50/50 llama and wool mix) ... lusciously warm and cuddly. I love the way it drapes to me, sort of hugging itself against my shoulders and arms, adding just the right amount of extra warmth when and where I need it. My favorite thing is to curl up on the little sofa in our bedroom with a good book, snuggled up in my Vineyard Wrap, with Blu cuddling at my feet and a cup of coffee or tea at hand. Oh, the comforts of home! We three are looking forward to a beautifully wintry weekend on the farm: me, my husband, and our dog named Blu. Wishing you and yours a fine one as well, I am ... ~firefly P.S. I am going to be making my Chip Chip (bittersweet chocolate / butterscotch chips) ... cookies for my husband and son for Valentine's Day. The recipe is on my site, and free, if you are interested. I must say, they are totally scrumptious!