We used the break between Christmas and New Years to take day trips and see more of our local area. Here we are hiking up to Initial Point. Natalie wanted to stay warm, bundled in blankets, so she stayed in the stroller (it was quite windy at the top).
Natalie much prefers the indoor visits, like this visit to a model train exhibit.
On another hiking trip to Deer Flat, we saw a herd of at least 18 deer (in the left of the picture below). They didn't let us get closer...
...but we walked to where they had been and examined their tracks.
Another day, we drove to the local ski resort, just to see where everything was so we knew where to go when we came up to go skiing. And to see the sun.
New Year's Eve dinner was raclette...
...and gingerbread house for dessert.
Dominik likes being pulled in a sled, but isn't ready for downhill speeds. He says he will go skiing, "when I'm five."
Another day trip, we visited a small dairy that makes cheese. Here we are learning about the cheese-making process...
...and seeing their cheese storage. Of course, we brought home quite a few varieties.
Outside, we peeked in on a calf that was just born that morning. It's protected in a warm little house since it has no fat on it.
Other calves that were a few months old were doing well outside. The owner said they actually prefer the cold to the hot summer.
We traveled to the river, where natural springs make waterfalls (and freeze beautifully in the winter).
There was a historical center at an old dairy there that the kids liked poking around in...Natalie kept warm in the sleeping bag on her stroller.
Then the vacation was over and it was time to go back to work and school.
In the field behind our house, we saw this coyote again for the second time, a few days ago. The first time we saw it was New Year's Day and it appeared to be injured. Now three weeks later, it's still alive and seems to be doing better.
Lukas built snow monuments on each side of our driveway. Next time, bigger! But they have been the last snow to melt!
A beautiful sunset.
Then it was time to ski! Lukas and Konrad are taking lessons with a homeschool group. Here's their first day and they said they liked it even more than they thought they would. Konrad in the first photo, Lukas in the second.
I celebrated my birthday exactly as I would wish...with my family!
Konrad started playing basketball this year. He's learning a lot and even scored a point at the game yesterday!
Natalie has a little static in her hair, as she stays warm at the pellet stove.
Second day of ski lessons...Lukas and Konrad can't get enough!
Down the mountain, the snow is almost gone, so Tom is back to work taking care of our plot of land. Here he's removing a tree that we've been wanting to replace for a while. Now it's gone!
The weather is supposed to be getting warmer this week, so we will see what we can do to get ready for spring planting. There is a garden to plan (not so many tomatoes this year!), garden sprinklers to put in, berry trellises to build, and that large chicken coop is still calling...we want to get another 15-20 chicks in the spring. I still think there will be more snow this year, but Tom is betting that's all we get. Either way, there is a lot to do!