2016 Goals


Our backyard

We’re baaaaaaaaack!

So apparently we’ve been through some sort of Space-time Continuum here on the farm. Like seriously, what day is it?

It seems like only yesterday I was 8 months pregnant and reminiscing to the slow pace our lives once were in 2015. Fast-forward 5 months and holy.crap. Things have gotten very interesting at Canadian Acres.

After such a long absence, I started to get subtle (and some not-so-subtle) reminders that people missed the blog. But as so much has happened in these last few months, I honestly didn’t really know where to begin. So I’ve decided to start where I meant to last January, which is to review the goals we set for 2016, plus give you a short review on how our lives have been over the past few months. Sound good? Good, because I don’t have any time to argue with you. Shit’s gotten real, and the one thing I do not have time for is extra time. Also, some days I have trouble finding time to get pants on. But that’s besides the point.

When Clay and I sat down together to map out our 2016 goals on a quiet, non-hectic day in December, we wanted to keep things short and simple since we knew our lives would certainly change once our new son entered the picture. You know, make sure we didn’t over extend our expectations because we couldn’t possibly get it all done with a baby. Hahahahahahaha. Anyway, our list promptly grew and grew and although we’ve almost murdered each other a few times, we’re actually figuring out how to make it all work. Mostly. We’ve definitely had to readjust our level of expectations, especially the day-to-day. And we’ve definitely had a steep learning curve. And we’ve definitely felt absolutely nutso and insane and cried for an hour over an egg we dropped on the way back from the chicken coop while carrying the baby. Well maybe that last one was just me. But mostly, mostly, we’re very much making it work 🙂

So…. here’s the list and a review on what’s been accomplished thus far:

  • Birth and bring home a happy and healthy baby boy:
    • Success!! On February 24, 2016 our son Bowman Tuchodi Peck was born. I went into the hospital on my birthday, the 23rd, for a routine check-up and never left. He was two weeks early and delivered by C-section as I had pre-eclampsia (which is *SPOILER* how Sybil dies in Downton Abbey which didn’t freak me out at all!!!) We were the parents with the car-seat still in the box at the hospital. It was scary and real and crazy and amazing. And then we came home and never slept again. But I’m happy to report that he is the greatest baby on the planet and by far the most handsome human being I have ever laid my eyes on. We just took him on his first camping/Hot Springs adventure and it was awesome.


      My heart

  • Wild Horses: capture and bring at least one wild horse from across the river to the house (I literally wrote that down on our list… boy was I naive)
    • So, funny story. On February 21, my father-in-law went across the river and through the woods to feed our wild horses. He found a few lingering in our corrals set-up and decided to catch them. So three days before our son was born, 10 wild horses showed up at the house. This is my life people. I was obviously thrilled and very very slow at getting down to see them. We were officially in the business of horses. The corrals held up, though we added one extra rail around the top and after that, more horses just kept showing up. We’ve had anywhere between 10-35 horses on the property since, had one major branding, one horse cutting, four babies born and too many stud fights to count. I will write more in depth on this in a later blog. I guess you could call this goal accomplished.

      First day on the farm

      1-baby 2

      First baby born this spring


      Timber’s brand TT


      First branding on the farm – 24 horses


      Thor, our wedding present stud finally, FINALLY got some time with the ladies… they were impressed I think. He chased them around the fields for days like this and we laughed and laughed

  • Finish hanging the gates in the corrals: Done
  • Chickens: Keep them happy and add a few to the flock
    • For the most part we’ve kept this up. We’ve lost a few to predators this year, but they are a free-range flock so I suppose that’s bound to happen. There has been some talk of perhaps getting a Livestock Guardian Dog in the future (and goats!!) so we will have to see how that turns out. But the chickens live great lives and always keep us entertained.

      New baby on the farm


      Clay built me double doors in the coop which I love! I also set some Welsummer eggs (that I did not have luck with) but the ladies kept hatching their own so we had baby chicks this spring

  • Finish fire-pit area:
    • This was a two-year project for us as we collected all of the sandstone by hand off of the property. We have some pretty amazing date nights around here. Clay spent a good portion of a week getting everything measured out, some weed barrier laid down and the stone all placed in sand. It turned out spectacularly. I spent most of this time trying to figure out how to do farm chores with a 2 month old.

      Working on the fire pit

      1-finished fire pit


  • Cabin: Clean-up for summer guests, install septic tank
    • The cabin is nice and clean for guests and now sleeps six. We have a propane stove and fridge and a large bear rug covering one wall. The septic tank remains on the to-do list for this summer.
  • Garden:
    • Get whatever we can planted with a newborn
      • So far we’ve planted flowers in all of the house beds, a small kitchen garden in the hugelkultur bed Clay built for me last summer, 100-ft of potatoes, 150-ft of onions, 36 asparagus crowns, 75 strawberry roots. beer hops and numerous amounts of veggies in containers on the porch. I still have some planting to do, but I call all of that a win.

        Clay and our friend Liz prepping the garden


        My wonderful helper planting asapragus

    • Kill as much grass as possible
      • Last year we really struggled with the amount of grass that came up in the garden. This year we are focusing on killing the grass bastards with lots of black plastic, sheet mulching and wood chips. The struggle continues.
    • Focus on one guild of the food forest at a time
      • This years goal is to plant one large guild under one fruit tree of the food forest and see how that goes. I have plants and plans, but we’ll see how time factors in over the summer.
  • Honey Bees:
    • I have always fancied myself a bee charmer (I’ve never been stung) and it’s been a dream of mine to be an apiarist some day, even if it just means I can say that word more often. This year, we received a beehive as a gift and we will be taking a bee course as soon as the weather cooperates. We were scheduled for May 28th, but then it snowed so… welcome to the North.


      My legit bee keeping set-up

  • Install clothesline: fingers crossed for this summer.
  • Continue landscaping: y’know, in our spare time.
  • Install deck railing: since we will soon have a mobile baby and our house is less than baby-proofed.

Whelp, I think that’s it. See, were are totally sane and within reasonable expectations… The real test has been how to keep the baby safe, warm and alive during all of these things and so far, so good. Sleep is overrated (NOT) and we’ve only had one “oops-we-fell-asleep-and-left-the-chicken-door-open-so-a-fox-massacred-a-few-in-the-night” incidents.



We left the dog’s 2016 goals to them this year, which basically consists of not getting attacked by wolves. Once again, so far, so good.



Practicing our tummy time!



Wyatt vs the Wolves

*disclaimer: graphic images

Total "Peter and the Wolf" soundtrack moment... I'm expecting Scut Farcus to show up at any moment

A lone wolf caught on our game cam last May

Yesterday morning, one of my biggest farm fears was realized.

I was awoken with a call from the front door, “Katy, get up, something’s happened to Wyatt.”

Clay had gone out to start his truck for work and found Wyatt at the end of the driveway, stumbling and bleeding. Help Dad look on his face. His eyes were glazed over, he was shaking violently, had a large gash on his shoulder and puncture type wound on his back/neck area. I looked him over, noted he wasn’t actively bleeding although there was blood, quickly wrapped him in a towel and my husband rushed him to the vet clinic in town, 20 minutes away. At first we couldn’t figure out what had happened. Was it a neighbor dog fight? (no… Wyatt would have won that). Did he get down to his number one arch nemeses, the horses? Coyotes? What had happened to my old man as he did his morning business? He had only been outside for 15-20 minutes.

After calling the vet clinic to give the heads up, I bundled up, grabbed my .243 and headed out to follow Wyatt’s blood trail to get a better idea on what might have happened. I followed it to the near by woods, lost it and decided to head to the corrals to see if he had taken any paths leading to the horses. Sake, our cat, decided to accompany me on this short walk and I was grateful for it. Something just didn’t feel right.

I received a text from Clay saying that Wyatt was in surgery getting stitched up and the vet stated it was an attack, multiple assailants. In that very moment, I was surrounded by the sound. The undeniable sound of a wolf howl. Multiple wolf howls – two above me and one below. I took one look at Sake and we booked it for home. I texted back with alarm “Could it have been wolves?”

“Definitely coyotes,” was the reply I received. “My Conservation Officer (CO) buddy said that if it was wolves, he wouldn’t have come back.”

After ensuring the chickens were safe and that Maynard was by my side, I heard it again. A lone howl this time, calling, calling. It was coming from our upper field. I sat and listened on the back deck for 5 minutes or so.

I called our CO friend immediately.

Once again, it was unlikely it was a wolf attack because lets face it, what dog makes it out alive. But he did mention it was weird that I thought I was hearing a wolf as he didn’t believe in coincidences. He called his father (a retired CO) to come out and told me he’d be on his way later. At least we could start to piece the puzzle together.

Meanwhile, Clay starts sending photos of Wyatt and his injuries. Something had picked him up by the back of the neck and torn all of the skin away from the muscle…The vet said he was very lucky to be alive. I knew that coyotes aren’t large enough to pick up Wyatt like that, I mean he is a tank. But it couldn’t be wolves. He wouldn’t have gotten away, right?


Jugular puncture wounds, back of neck


He had two drains placed on his upper back, they criss cross one another


The third drain and retreat puncture wounds


His back got the worst of it… good thing he’s pure muscle and super top heavy

Three drains, 10 wounds and 20+ stitches later, Wyatt came home and started to fully come out of the sedation. He was afraid and disoriented, but wagged his tail any chance he could. The retired CO arrived and said he had found two pairs of fresh wolf tracks above the house. He took a look at Wyatt’s wounds, looked at me very seriously and asked where I had lost the blood trail. I walked him out to the spot, and he immediately found what I had missed – a blood covered bush that lead through barbed wire up a path trailed with blood. Not very far from the house at all. He set off and I went inside.

He came back, quickly. It was a wolf attack. He found a fresh kill site not more than 100 yards from our house, at least three different sets of wolf tracks and he had followed their pursuit and attack on Wyatt. How he made it home, alive, we do not know. It kept being repeated – he is very lucky to be alive.

So, we assume Wyatt was on his morning rounds and went to check out the new smells and the raven party, only to find some not very nice creatures on the other side.

The retired CO spent the rest of the day tracking on the property, I ended up seeing one grey wolf cross our upper field, but we didn’t have much luck catching the buggers. Wyatt was in a lot of pain and really freaked out, but was starting to come out of shock. Our CO friend showed up at the house and he and Clay were ready to hunt. Following the blood trail to the kill site is the second eeriest moment of that day for me, the first, y’know, that whole being surrounded by wolves thing. Still sends shivers down my spine.


Wyatt’s journey home


The kill site, a mule deer


Yep, that’s our house from the kill site…

Although they staked out the kill site, no wolves returned. Clay set up the game cam and we got to witness the coyotes and ravens clean up the site. More fresh wolf tracks today to go along with the howling I heard throughout the night, but still no actual sightings close enough for a shot. Wyatt had a terrible night, I think part pain, part trauma, but we got through it. Nothing like sleeping on the floor holding your dogs paw just to let him know you’re there and that he is safe. He’s a hero in my book… thank god he found them first. I can’t imagine if I’d been doing chores and stumbled across them unarmed or if I had to go look for him and found a bigger mess than I was prepared to tangle with…. he came home, he came to warn us. My heart breaks for him, but am I am so so happy that he came home. How? We will never know, but he definitely earned his “bad ass farm dog” award. He didn’t give up, he didn’t submit, he didn’t lay down, he has two bad hips and a bad knee and still ran like hell… He won’t be winning any beauty contests any time soon, but that’s just fine with me. He has also once again lived up to his Wyatt Earp namesake, the baddest doggy in the west. I guess that makes Maynard your huckleberry…


I took Maynard up to the site this morning to take some photos and check the game cam. He smelled out his brothers trail immediately and led me the entire way through it


One of the smaller wolf tracks on site


Nothing left but the carcass and bones after the coyotes and the ravens got to it


It seems so small

Today is a new day. Wyatt is alive and we are on the hunt. For those of you who may feel sorry for the wolves and think it is not right that we kill them, please remember that the safety of myself and my family is at stake. I refuse to walk around my property being afraid of the big bad wolf. I will not constantly look over my shoulder, or worry that one of the dogs, chickens, horses could be killed at any moment because wolves are in our territory. We share this land, but we must stake claim to what is our safety zone. I’ve run across countless kills on my hikes/walks/skis and never once felt in danger as they were not 100 yards away from my house. I have no problem staking claim on our homestead and defending my brave dog, frankly it would be stupid not to. He lived to tell the tale for a reason. The night is dark and full of terrors, but Mama’s got her .243 and she’s not ashamed to use it.


“I’m your huckleberry”


Everything is pretty swollen, but draining well


The criss-crossed drains




It’s going to be a long road ahead…


Happy to be here with Mama… I think he just might make it

Keep you dogs safe and your guns close folks, homesteading is not for the faint of heart.

And wolves… we’re coming for you. I hope Wyatt got a chunk or two for himself.

Now, if I could only get the Peter and the Wolf soundtrack out of my head when I am walking the property, that would be great.

Thanks to all who sent prayers, concerns and well wishes – Wyatt knows he is very loved.



Fall on the Farm 2014 – A week in photos

Last September brought sunshine and warm temperatures. This September brings an early, gorgeous fall full of surprises. We’ve had snow, sun, wind and an amazing display of color. Hunting season is upon us and we are hoping to harvest an elk and some deer for the freezer. Our evening walks have turned into hunts as we are lucky to have over a thousand acres to explore. Clay packs his gun, and I pack my camera.


Clay practicing for hunting season


Maynard free ranging with the littles… he’s grown an appetite for chicken scratch



The boys playing on the banks of the Peace River


Back channel off of the Peace




My old man keeping pace on a hike


First canoe trip with the whole family. Boys did great!


Maynard LOVES to swim and has been practicing very hard to look like a normal dog whilst doing it


I got some new babies. Two turken eggers (like my Gerty) and four frizzles


Glorious day on the Peace River


Fall foliage on the farm


Maynard matches the fall decor perfectly


Hunting for elk on our evening walk


Our rogue canola field


Maynard hard at work


Evening on the farm


Fall has proven to be just as busy as our summer season as we begin to put the farm to bed for the winter. There is much cleaning, mulching, harvesting, preserving and playing to be had. What a wonderful life to live.

Wishing you a beautiful and busy fall season.


Game Cam Whodunnit

A few weeks back Clay checked on our furthest game cam, about 1/2 mile down from our house. As he approached, he realized that something was wrong, it was facing a different angle. Upon further inspection it appeared as if someone had vandalized our camera! But how, oh how could we figure out this mystery?


This guy seems legit…


Not so sure about this one…


Our first baby on the cam!


Oh my goodness, those spots…


Wait a minute….


Hey, stop that!


Oh so you’re the culprit…


Returning to the scene of the crime to check on your handiwork I suppose?


Well, now you’re just doing victory laps…


Oh yeah, it’s never the moose

Now to figure out how to fix the broken strap holder… damn bears.


The Month of May

Hello all,

My oh my, how time flies when you are working working working having fun! The month of May has been full of sunshine, laughter and hard work. Summer is off to a wonderful start and we are busier than ever.

The Peace River Valley, view from the bottom quarter section near our game cam

The Peace River Valley, view from the bottom quarter section near our game cam

The chickens finally (FINALLY!) moved out of the house and are loving their new coop. They aren’t 100% sure on how and when to get in and out to enjoy their outdoor run, but we are working on it. Once they do get outside, they are happy and so funny to watch. Group dust bathing is my favorite activity. I finished painting the exterior and am working on some final touches before I post photos (alas, my work never seems to be done). One thing I’ve learned is that when you finish one project, there are 10+ more added to the list.

Our first group outing

Our first group outing

Dirty Gerty selfie on moving day

Dirty Gerty selfie on moving day

Maynard helping Mom paint the chicken coop

Maynard helping Mom paint the chicken coop

My father-in-law Timber finished the fencing for the horses a few weeks ago and literally the day after it was done, horses started to arrive at Canadian Acres. I guess it is true, if you build it, they will come. Clay’s Aunt and Uncle graciously let us borrow two riding horses as they needed some miles put on them. Their names are Ranger and Rover and they are such dolls. Maynard just loves to give them kisses. Clay and I went riding one rainy evening and explored the property on horseback… what an amazing feeling to actually do something you’ve dreamed of since the beginning. A few days later, some friends dropped off their horses to stay for the summer, and a few days after that, our new range stud showed up with Timber’s new horse… I’m in horse heaven!


Ranger on the left, Rover on the right… such hams 🙂

Kisses for Ranger Photo credit: Tyler Chamberlin

Kisses for Ranger
Photo credit: Tyler Chamberlin


Timber’s new horse… Not sure on his name but he is GORGEOUS!


Sweet Shazam


Our first ride on the property… one of those moments when I realize that I am right where I should be 🙂

Apparently, so is Wyatt. He’s been trampled only once (the very first meeting), but comes close to it almost daily. He’s also learned a new trick called rolling-in-fresh-horse-poop-so-Mom-can-bath-me-with-the-hose-daily. This new habit is in battle for “best things Wyatt does” with finding random animal parts to chew on. Oh what fun to be had. Life as a farm dog is pretty tough.

Horse poop? I don't know, I'm not sure what you're asking....

Horse poop? I don’t know about any horse poop. I’m not sure what you’re asking Mom….

Oh look, Wyatt found a stick. Wait a minute...

Oh look, Wyatt found a stick. Wait a minute…

The new range stud is so adorable and sweet I’m not sure I can keep him “wild” enough until he has to go to his new job with the wild horses across the river. He’s only a yearling, so he has some time to grow into it. He came without a name and I’m pretty sure he’s a Thor. What do you think? He’s a Percheron Fjord cross and has lovely coloring and markings. Did I mention I’m in love?

Clay meeting Thor for the first time - love the stripe down his back

Clay meeting Thor for the first time – love the stripe down his back

Beautiful markings

Beautiful boy

Yesterday I finally took a moment (in between building my hugelkultur flower bed and finishing painting the power shed…what can I say, I’m an excellent multitasker) to hike down to our game cam and grab the photos. It’s been un-checked for about a month and I was anxious to see what summer would bring to our game highway. Apparently, a lot of things! Lots of elk and deer, a moose, a coyote, a dirt biker (hmmmm… they must have missed our blatant No Trespassing signs), a porcupine and a gorgeous but wily looking wolf. What a very busy month it has been.

Elk, elk everywhere!

Elk, elk everywhere!

Young moose

Young moose

Total "Peter and the Wolf" soundtrack moment... I'm expecting Scut Farcus to show up at any moment

Total “Peter and the Wolf” soundtrack moment… I’m expecting Scut Farcus to show up at any moment

Today is cold and rainy/snowy so we are taking some time to organize our indoor lives since that seems to get ignored when the weather is nice. I am excited to get some plants planted and work on the landscaping as we have company coming at the end of the month. Looks like life won’t be slowing down any time soon – proof that the homesteading life fits us just right.

Here’s hoping your summers are all off to a busy and beautiful start, and if you get a chance, lounge in the sun for me!


With rain brings double rainbows :)

It’s been a double rainbow kind of month

Are we having fun yet?

Things have been a little busy around these parts. We got home from vacation and all hell broke loose. Apparently the lack of snow brings the over abundance of farm work to be done.


Y’know, just a typical Friday night

The chickens are growing fast and will be 8 weeks (8 weeks!!) this coming Wednesday. Yesterday I awoke to my very first “crow” attempt which had the dogs in a tizzy – a sure sign that the freaking chickens need to get out of my house. They are adorable, yes. But messy and stinky and loud. The dogs think they are the greatest things and wait with their noses below the door on a regular basis. We have been working on Dog Chicken Relations every day, so I am hopeful that we may have a few Livestock Guard Dog’s on our hands after all not have to deal with a massacre right off the bat.


Millie is getting in some nice cheek fluff


Maynard is practicing his manners


I am assuming that Dick (on the left) is the culprit of the “crow” attempt

Clay and I have been putting our full attention into getting the chicken coop finished. We’ve taken some trees out and moved the sea can, stripped the interior of all the shop aluminum, sanded the floor, cut the window hole, cut the chicken door, power washed the inside, framed the partition and landscaped and measured the chicken yard. Phew. And we still have approximately 43 things left to do.


Moving the sea can with the cat


In the beginning…


Cleared out


“Everybody’s working for the weekend….”


So first time with a chainsaw and I get to landscape willows… not an easy task and the photos make it look like you are chainsawing nothing.

During our spare time we have been peeling a great number of logs that will eventually be the corrals for the wild horses. I say eventually because we are averaging about 5 per day between the two of us and there are 500 logs. So here’s to a celebration party in approximately 100 days! Log peeling is not easy work. But by god, I better have the best upper arm strength in the county by the time we’re finished…Am I sounding country enough yet?


Unloading some of the many logs


Sometimes we get helpers… sometimes


Wyatt seems really impressed


My badass Alaska ax on a freshly peeled log

Our hopes are to have the chicken coop finished by this weekend (please, god) so we can lounge about for the rest of the summer work our asses off on something else. Apologies for the straight iPhone photos, it seems I won’t have time to properly edit a photo until winter (instagram editing counts, right? (I can see my photographer friends rolling their eyes from here (triple parentheses!!)))

Ah, farm life. Are you having fun yet?

Off to paint the chicken coop and receive our riding horses… have a fabulous Friday!


Feeding the Wild Bunch

Yesterday, Clay and I headed out into the clear cold day to feed our wild horses. My father-in-law feeds them every Sunday throughout the winter to help supplement their natural grazing. This would be Clay and I’s first time over there without him, and we were pretty excited about it.  We were loaded high with 8 bales of hay, 2 bags of oats and a 1 salt block. Now I was eager to go initially as a) I love the horses and b) it was supposed to be at least 20 degrees (according to the lying cheating weather app on my phone) but as we closed in on our destination after 3 hours in the truck, the temp hadn’t gotten above 3 degrees. Seriously! It’s almost freaking April! I mean, come on Mother Nature, can’t we be reasonable. I always get testy with her this time of year. Ah, the joys of being a northern girl. At least I dressed for the occasion in a very fashionable three layer ensemble.

We were a little worried we wouldn’t see any horses as per their typical range activity, but sure enough, early on the road we spotted a group of three – a stud, a mare and a new baby! Oh my goodness, my favorite thing. Days old and as tiny as can be. We drove to a pullout and opened some oats. It amazes me how quickly they correlate us with glorious tasty oats. The stud was a gorgeous boy and I think Clay may have his eye on him for a possible ridding horse. He keeps warning me to “not get too attached” to the littles as it is early in the season and there were plenty of wolf tracks to be found. But alas, it’s just a reality of having a wild herd and the circle of life (enter Elton John music here), and I feel fine with getting attached and taking lots of photos as I feel they have the right to be oohed and ahhed over, to be documented in our herd history even if it’s for a short time.


Handsome stud


New little


Clay the oats man

After plenty of oats and a goodbye, we headed down the road to our actual hay drop-off spots (clearly marked on the map for us by Father-in-law). The first few stops we were alone, save a woodpecker and some squirrels. But this is beautiful country, albeit cold, and there is a soul soothing sense in the quiet wilderness of it all. This was my first time actually moving hay and my god, why do they make them so heavy? Seriously, 1400 lbs?? I mean, wow, that’s a lot of awkward pushing and rolling. I was happy to help though and Clay is so fun to watch in his role. He just loves it.

As we approached our final set of corrals, we were content in finding at least three of the herd and anxious to see more. Much to our delight, 17 more were waiting for us and their goodies to be delivered like a line at a buffet. Even more delightful was that we had found the second herd group we hadn’t seen the last time! They are beautiful!


The herd happy for some hay


Clay enjoying the view





A favorite mare in the middle

Clay got out and started pouring oats as I walked around and  climbed on top of bales to start taking photos, attempting to document as many as I could (WAY easier said than done since they kept following me around thinking I was the lady with the oats). Adorable little buggers. We counted 16 adults and one teeny tiny brand new baby. Again, my favorite. We identified the stud as a beautiful bay instead of the pale face palomino we first thought. He was in fine form and being quite the show-off. Our three preferred mares all seem pregnant so we are very excited to see the new babies to come.


Another favorite mare


Love this mare! I call her Katniss because I think her mark looks like a mocking jay


Favorite mare




love love love


Feeding time for littles too


Those eyes



Feisty bay stud


These two are some of my favs based on their wild hair and sweet, curious dispositions



Okay, okay… last baby pic

We dumped the bales and just took a moment to watch and interact with them all. I love how they are so expressive and each have such differing personalities. I’m already having personal preference for some. The young ones are very curious and I’m always drawn to the ones with kind, gently eyes. Clay was attempting to feed them hay out of his hand, but maybe it’s too early for that. He didn’t have any takers. But they really don’t seem to mind having us there, as long as we have oats.

As we headed back for home, we ran into the first three and stopped to give them some leftover hay from the trailer which they seemed happy for. With that, we settled in for the long drive home. Although it was a cold day, it was a gorgeous one and held with it so many miracles and so much hope, I think I can wear more layers for a bit longer. Plus, we saw swans on our way back, so maybe spring isn’t too far away after all.