So I postponed going out to feed the animals as long as possible, and stayed inside playing with the camera.
I was also feeling lazy, so I didn't put a lot of energy into my experimenting...
... I just took pictures of Joe's little "fishing" Christmas tree that was sitting a couple feet away on the dining room windowsill.
After taking about 50 photos, trying camera different settings, I actually got a few that I like.
After completely losing track of time, and rushing out to the barn to feed the animals because it was getting "late" (which is a relative term for us... the sun still wasn't entirely up yet!), I hurried back to the house and even had time for a few more pictures, a cup of hot chocolate, and an eggnog taffy before either of the kids rolled out of bed and came stampeding down the stairs.
It's probably good they got up when they did... otherwise, I might have sat around eating taffy and playing with the camera all morning...