January 30th

Wednesday, January 30th, 2019

While it’s easy to complain about the weather, yesterday morning I found a positive when I looked out our back window and saw many of these beautiful wind-drawn waves in the snow – Nature’s Calligraphy!

That being said, like many of you, I’m thankful to be coming out of this cold snap in one piece. With our chickens and horses at home, it’s been quite the week for everyone making sure waters are thawed, food plentiful, and housing as warm as possible.

After having to hang a heat lamp in the coop yesterday as an additional heat source for the girls, I lost quite a bit of sleep overnight getting up every hour checking our coop thermometer reading worrying about those darn girls. 

And being the safety shark I am, I was paranoid about the risk of fire with that heat lamp. Luckily all was fine, and the coop stayed a balmy 7 degrees overnight which was over thirty degrees warmer than outside.

We’re almost out of it – keep staying warm, friends! We’ll be seeing thirty degrees in 48 hours!

January 29th

Tuesday, January 29th, 2019

If you’re in Minnesota, I don’t have to tell you that it’s cold out.

Even if you’re totally unplugged from social media, the news, the newspaper, and other human beings, if you walk outside the air will punch you in the face.

Air temperatures vary throughout the state today, but here at our house it’s been holding steady at about ten below zero with windchills near negative twenty.


The kicker? Tomorrow is supposed to be worse. By double. -24F air temps with -50F wind chills.

So pour yourself a cup of coffee and hide under a blanket all day (like I’m doing – haha!), there’s nothing else for you to do. Especially since most schools are closed and many people are working from home (sorry if you aren’t one of those fortunate souls!).

For our chickens sake I have been so excited that our winter has been so mild, but their hardiness is going to be put to the test over the next couple days. I’ve talked about this in previous blog posts, but we did end up putting a small radiant heater in the coop about a month ago and it has given me such a great piece of mind.

Especially with the forecast this week; we woke up to temperatures outside of -10F, but inside the coop it was 3F. Not overly warm for us, but with the girls being out of the wind it’s enough to take the edge off for them.

We did end up sealing up the back of our coop so the girls can’t go outside, which meant moving their feeder and a small bowl of water into the coop, but it’s been working out so far. If you can believe it, they still gave us FIVE eggs today, so they can’t be doing too bad.

Hang in there, everybody! Take care of your kiddos and critters and be smart. We’ll be seeing a thaw on Saturday if we all make it there. 🙂


January 28th

Monday, January 28th, 2019

I’m always disappointed when it snows at night.

While it’s beautiful to wake up to a fresh blanket of snow and clear skies, I love watching it snow and accumulate.

I’m always excited when it snows, but then after it’s done I remember that I have to shovel. Then it’s not as exciting.

Luckily, my super duper husband drove up home from work right when I made it out front to shovel. Handy! 🙂

January 27th

Sunday, January 27th, 2019

Well, it’s starting to feel like January.

Dangerous below zero temperatures are moving in this week (a high of -10?! Gross!), and possibly 5-6” of snow is moving our way tonight. When they’re talking about frostbite in five minutes, you know it’s serious.

It was bound to happen sometime, but I’m never really ready for the frigid cold. Especially when you have outdoor animals – in and out of the house constantly monitoring everybody to make sure they’re all drinking water like they should (which means breaking or thawing ice in frozen tanks), as well as making sure they’re staying dry and as comfortable as possible. Praying that all of their instincts are on point to keep them safe – I can’t help them with that one.

Anyway, even if the weatherman wouldn’t have told me snow was coming, I would’ve known.

The pheasants we’re out before the sun was fully up this morning and stayed out for most of the day. Then the deer came through out into the open around lunchtime (during daylight) looking to feed before the weather changed. A herd of six stick around for most of the afternoon (four of the six pictured here).

Nature is amazing that way.

January 26th

Saturday, January 26th, 2019

I never said I was a food photographer, so  stick with me and my subpar iPhone dinner photo.

Paul and I were really proud of this dinner though, even if my picture doesn’t do it justice.

It’s always fun to cook together, especially something new. Tonight was Jalepeno popper sliders with homemade buns! The buns felt like a double win because I had never made these buns before, and I used the dough hook on my stand mixer for the first time with this recipe.

The best part? Leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

January 24th

Thursday, January 24th, 2019

This is pretty different from anything I’ve ever posted before, but it’s real life and I technically took the screen shot so in my book it counts.

Plus I didn’t take any other photo today, so you’re stuck with this one. 😉

I currently have about five different external hard drives full of documents and photos that date back through college. It’s a mess trying to find what I’m looking for, so I took the plunge this week and purchased a new hard drive so I can consolidate and organize all of my files.


This was on my screen for three hours today as it transferred files from only 2017 alone! I still have all of 2018 which is just as many, in addition to all of my college projects and Spinners.

It will be completely worth it when it’s all said and done, but it’s trying my patience in the meantime.

The other exciting thing is that with this push for having all of my files in one place, I’m going to also sit down and narrow down new images for my website.  I’ve already wiped my website and I’m starting fresh – so please be patient with me in the interim.

I’m trying something a little radical (at least for me) with my site – I’m eliminating the online storefront and moving everything to Etsy. Their interface is so much more user friendly and honestly is so much more freeing financially to use. It also allows for reviews and a more international platform which allows for more people to find me. I’ll still have a portfolio on my website, but purchasing will happen through Etsy.

So that’s what my next few weeks will look like. Wish me luck!

January 23rd

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019

It was date night in the Weinreis house!

Paul just got home this afternoon from a trip and heads out again tomorrow, so I thought it would be fun for us to squeeze in a date night at home.

It’s always fun when we do; we dress up, light the candles, and it’s inevitable that we end up dancing in the kitchen. It’s fun to put in that extra effort every once in a while without having to go out and spend money to do it.

Quite honestly with Paul’s schedule we have to take that time when we can get it, which makes it that much more spontaneous and fun.

January 22nd

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019

Have you ever played hide and seek with a cat?

If you haven’t, you’re missing out.

KB is the queen of hide and seek, and we played it a lot this morning.

Stephanie and I are tag-teaming kitty sitting this week while Tanner and Christine are in Cancun (lucky ducks), and this morning I packed a bag to hang out over there to get some work done (kitty sitting perk: Wifi!). I intended on hanging out for a few hours, and once I had settled in and essentially ignored her for a bit, her interest was peaked – she decided I wasn’t so bad, even if I wasn’t mom or dad. Giving her her food this morning definitely helped my case. 😉

Then it was like a light switch – she brought me toys, stood on my laptop because I wasn’t giving her enough attention, snuggled, and baited me into those many games of hide and seek.

She won most of the time. I’d have a bead on her and be ready for the victory, and then I’d pounce and she’d be gone – she would already be behind me. I shouldn’t be surprised because she is a cat, but she got me every time.

January 21st

Monday, January 21st, 2019

This January has been a weird one.

Usually I’m all for snow during the winter to play in and cover the dead grass, but this winter has been different. Maybe it’s the fact that we’ve had above normal temperatures to go along with our lack of snow, but I haven’t felt nearly as cooped up this winter (at least thus far). Seeing the grass makes me feel like I could go outside and not freeze my tail off, and that’s kept my spirits high.

It may also be the chickens that bring me joy when the snow is gone. Without the snow, they cruise around our yard all day despite the temperatures. They’ve really settled in here, and I’m glad we have given them a home that they thrive in.

And sometimes you have to find inspiration and motivation in the little things, the simple things. Like chickens, if your name is Courtney.

We didn’t get much snow here today, but enough to watch and enjoy. It came down slowly and peacefully – it was my favorite kind of snowfall.


January 20th

Sunday, January 20th, 2019

Back in the saddle again! 🎶 

Made myself pick up my camera today (I’ve been feeling uninspired if you can’t tell), and I’m sooo glad I did!

If I’ve learned anything through this project, it’s that inspiration can spark anywhere.

I mean anywhere.

Where there is light, one can find inspiration. After all of the practice this project has brought me, I’m at the point now where light motivates me instead of frustrates me. I used to know what I wanted to do in my head but not know how to execute it, but now it comes much easier. I definitely don’t nail it everytime, but I walk away frustrated a lot less often than I used to.

Today the issue was the fact that my subjects refused to cooperate. Paul was a big help positioning -and then repositioning, and repositioning, and repositioning – chickens until one stood still long enough to get the shot I was looking for.

Chicken breath.

I don’t know about you, but I know all creatures breath so by nature you can see their breath when it’s cold, but I never thought about it with chickens until I saw it today.

I knew I wanted to photograph our chickens today because we’ve had a lot of people ask how they’ve been doing with the cold, and I wanted to give an update, but the breath lends perfectly to the topic.

So anyway, the chickens are doing great! We did put a small radiating heater in their coop which keeps it about 20 degrees warmer than outside the coop, so that’s helped a lot overnight. We have it hooked up to a thermocube which is set to switch on at zero degrees, so it only comes on when the girls really need it.

We had read a lot about what temperatures chickens can take, and most of what we read said they’re great down to zero, and then you have to start watching them (hence our thermocube setting).

So far in our experience that’s proven to be exactly true. On days where it’s really windy and cold (below zero) they don’t come out of their coop and huddle by the heater, but on days like today, plentiful sunshine and no wind, they were out all day ranging despite the temperature hovering around zero.

It’s remarkable in my opinion. My fingers are about to fall off and they’re napping in the sun or happily clucking as they forage. No complaints from them.

Also, who knew chickens were so beautiful?