I took this early this morning while I was out filling the bird feeders. It had just started to snow, tiny snowflakes so fine it was as though the sky was sifting them before letting them fall. The texture of the bark with the frosting of snow caught my eye.
It's been snowing all day here, but there are only about three inches on the ground. It takes a long time for this type of snow to build up; even up at the top of the ski runs they're only supposed to get eight or nine inches of powder. I'm hoping the weather forecasters are wrong, and I'll wake up to several feet of snow!
"There is no end of wonders and mysteries: fireflies and music boxes, the stars that outnumber all the grains of sand on all the beaches of the world, pinhead eggs that become caterpillars that dissolve into genetic soup from which arise butterflies, that some hearts are dark and others full of light." Dean Koontz
I would add, from my own list of wonders: Sun lighting fires deep within ice.
Cold sunlight. My husband found a 100 year old water pump years ago and made a sort of fountain from it. The water flowing from it freezes nearly every year, but I've never seen it freeze with "arms" sticking out. The wind was blowing very hard, so I'm guessing maybe the water was freezing as the wind was blowing it. Maybe that's not it, though, because they're sticking out at different angles. Wind and water magic!
What caught my attention when I looked out the window, and made me rush outside to take photos, was the way the setting sun was lighting up part of the ice. This section is about two feet tall.
By the time I got back into the house, I was feeling like I was about to turn into a human icicle! Because, of course, I rushed out without my jacket.
Snow! This is a photo of a place in Twin Peaks that rents little cabins to vacationers. They're always decorated so cutely at Christmas, I always try to drive over to take some photos. These are from 2008, back when we used to get 'real' snow.
The one below is from this year. They've added a second story, and the decorations are cute, but...
I spent today just relaxing, drinking tea, reading, and talking on the phone to friends in faraway places. Bliss! OK, I also ate too many cookies and pieces of fudge, but that was bliss, too.
(I just noticed that there is a bluish-purple ... something ... behind some of the berries in the pitcher. What could have made that? I didn't use the flash, and I didn't notice anything like that when I took the photo a few minutes ago and I don't see anything like that right now. Weird).
I've been wanting a Mark Roberts fairy for so long. Today, I got one! This Sugar and Spice Stocking Hanger Fairy was my Christmas present from my husband. I have a shelf in the kitchen where Kringle (that's what I named him) will live during the Christmas season. I'm going to use the hook to hold a teacup instead of a stocking.
A better look at his kind face.
And his apron.
And his cute little elf shoes.
We had a lovely Christmas...I hope yours was lovely, too. (Please excuse the paper on the floor, the cats like to play with it after we've unwrapped presents. I thought I'd picked up most of it, but apparently they had some hidden).
It's cold and very windy here in these mountains, but inside our cottage it's warm and filled with the scent of baking cookies. Yes, I'm just now getting around to baking the cookies! Last night we went out looking at Christmas lights; I'll post some photos later. Tonight, after our Christmas Eve dinner, my husband and I will go for our annual Christmas Eve walk through the forest. We scatter all sorts of nuts and seeds for the birds, mice, skunks, raccoons and other animals. Mrs. Coyote always gets several very large, thick steaks that we leave a little ways from her den, and I always leave a large pile of shelled hazelnuts and pecans outside of Mrs. Rose's den...she just adores them.
On our way back to our Christmas-filled cottage, we always sit down for a while on a large, comfortable rock and just listen to the wind (which hopefully won't be quite as wild as it is right now) and look up at the black, black sky filled with thousands of brilliantly sparkling, icy points of light.
When we get back from our walk through the silent, star-lit forest, we'll have hot chocolate and cookies in front of the fire. The cats, both our inside family and our outside family of feral cats, will have their usual warm, before-bed-meal along with some special treats for Christmas Eve.
Every time I look at the snowman on the table I smile. He just has that sort of face.
Rita is more intrigued by the candle. Yes, my cats get on the table. I don't let them in the kitchen because, thank goodness, it has a door that closes! But, a good scrubbing, and a clean tablecloth or placemat take care of any germs before we sit down to eat a meal, so I don't really worry about them getting on the table. After thirty six years of this, the poor table is pretty scratched. I don't worry about that either. Each scratch, every gouge, is a reminder of beloved pets who are no longer with us.
The shortest day, longest night of the year. After today, the Northern Hemisphere days will become, little by little, longer, lighter. But this excerpt from "The Solstice Wreath" by Sandra Michaelson Brown expresses a bit of how I feel about what humans are doing to our earth and what so many humans have allowed their spirits to become:
"A vital light is missing from the world, by which I mean
that ephemeral gold that spins the seen and unseen worlds together.
In my life I don't expect to see a springtime swelling
of the shriveled nuts so many spirits have become. What's to be done?
This is the winter solstice of an age,
although the season's worst is yet to come.
What's delicate and true has come undone:
Is the only fitting answer
a pure and focused rage?"
"Are you nuts, Mom? You want me to move so you can put presents under here? Think about that for a minute...all that paper that feels so good to our paws, shiny ribbons beckoning...sitting here for four days and nights. You really think we could resist that for more than 10 minutes? Make that one minute for Lucy. Now, you still want me to move?"
Uh, no, Malcolm. What was I thinking? I guess I just got a little delusional there for a moment...
...That my front walkway looked like this right now! The candy canes, whose tops are just visible above the snow, are four feet high. There was two and a half to three feet of snow on the ground when I took this in December of 2008. Right now there's no snow, and it doesn't look like we'll get any snow (or rain) by Christmas. Oh, well...
In the studio, anyway. Of course, it's always decorated for Christmas/Winter in the studio, so it's always done. Notice I'm not showing you my work area. That's because it's a mess...like it usually is. I think the last time it was absolutely pristine like this:
was in 2012, which is when this photo was taken. I had to clean it really well because that was the year I participated in "Where Bloggers Create" blog party. (You can see the whole post by scrolling to the bottom of the page. The buttons for the blog parties that I participated in are all there).
"The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?" J. B. Priestly
We got a dusting of snow day/night before yesterday. It's gone now, but the weather people are predicting a little more for this Wednesday. I wonder if we'll ever have a real snowstorm (three or four feet over a couple of days) again. We used to get those kind of storms three or four times a winter, in between snowfalls of just a couple of inches. I miss them.
This storm really kept its promises! We got over six inches of rain, which made the creek very happy. If the storms will keep coming like this, soon those rocks will be under water and the lakes will fill back up. This was a typical Southern California storm: Howling gale force winds and rain coming down in buckets in a very short period of time.
Sadly, in some areas where there were fires in the previous five years, there were mudslides and some homes were damaged. Thankfully, no one was hurt.
It's snowing here now. :) :) :) It's supposed to snow lightly all night, but I don't know if it will last through tomorrow since it's supposed to be partly sunny with a high of 40 F. If I get up early enough, I'll try to get some photos.
Five hundred feet up the mountain in Big Bear, six inches of fresh powder fell, which is great for the ski resort and the merchants of Big Bear. We mountain folk depend on tourists and skiers to keep our economy healthy. These past three years of drought have made our economy pretty unhealthy and, more importantly to me, the forest is really suffering from the dry conditions. So, here's hoping that we get lots more rain and snow this winter!
(Added at11:05 p.m. - I was just watching the news. There was a tornado in
South Los Angeles!!! Not a big one, thank goodness, but it did some damage. Too weird...)
I took this in the spring of 2013. Last spring, things looked just as dry. The storm that's in Northern California right now is supposed to travel down here by early Friday morning. The weather people are predicting snow levels down to the 6,000 foot level in Southern California but I'm betting it will be a lot higher, like around 9,000 feet and up, because this storm is coming from Hawaii. The weather people call it "The Pineapple Express" when the storms come from this direction, and I can't ever remember low snow levels with these storms. But...I sure hope they're right on the amount of rain that's supposed to fall. They're saying up to eight inches. The lakes, which are shrinking incredibly fast, could really use it.
The more I stared at this photo, the more things I saw in it. Faces, birds, pearls, eyes, lace, faeries...
When the water in the bird bath gets frozen on top, sometimes I can lift it out like a giant plate, sometimes it comes out in pieces. Either way, I drop them on the ground on top of the layer of pine needles and leaves and wait for the sunlight to be at the angle I want, then I take the photo. And then I stare and stare at the photos after I've uploaded them to my computer. Uber-lame, I know...I just can't help myself!
On the road to Christmas. I've got the garland and the mantle done...
A closer look at the mantle decorations. The little houses in the wreath belonged to my grandmother and are over 100 years old, while the ornament at the bottom of the wreath belonged to my mother. I don't put them on the tree anymore because the young cats are just too good at climbing the tree and getting to the ornaments. I'll have to use the same unbreakable plastic ornaments that I bought last year again this year on the tree, but I sure miss all my glass ornaments that I've collected since I was a child. Maybe next year...
The Christmas Faery is zipping around, teasing the cats. The cats keep begging her to sprinkle them with some Faery Dust so they can fly, but all she does is bop them lightly on their heads with her candy cane...thank goodness! Can you imagine? Flying cats...nothing would be safe!
Not even close. I couldn't get a photo of tonight's full moon because it's still cloudy here (no more rain though, rats). This is a photo I took in August of 2013, and the moon isn't full in this photo. But, I did like juxtaposition of the moon (eternal) and the jet (modern, transitory). Also, the sun is setting behind me, but you can only tell that by looking at the photo below.
Decorating is proceeding very slowly. I wanted to be done by Thanksgiving - ha ha ha ha ha! That didn't happen. Sigh...I'm going to have to be stern with myself and get busy. I've got the garland up around the living room and it's decorated, but that's about the only thing that's done. The tree has the lights on it, but not one ornament yet, unless you count the cats zipping up and down and around in it. Not a card addressed, not a cookie baked, not a present wrapped. But...I am done with the Christmas shopping!
It's been raining since 6:30 this morning! A gentle, steady, soaking, life-giving real rain, not just a misting or a few minutes of hard rain that never soaks into the ground. It's still raining as I write this at nearly 11:00 p.m. In addition to the sound of the rain (oh, is there any sound more beautiful?) I can hear the joyous laughter of water in the creek as it flows down to the lake! That's a sound I haven't heard in nearly two very long years. Amazingly, for a California mountain rainstorm, there is no wind, so the feral kitties who won't get into their houses with the others, but insist in sleeping on the blanket-padded chairs on the porches, are staying warm and dry. I'm going to fall asleep to the sound of the rain and the creek, and I think I will sleep well tonight, something else that I haven't done in a long time.
It's raining lightly right now - oh, such a beautiful sound - and the weather people predict that we're to get three to four inches of rain on Wednesday! No snow, which isn't good news for the ski resorts, but this is enough rain (I hope) to put an end to fire weather...at least for a little while, anyway...
The cats were conspiring with the ladder to try and kill me, so I decided to take a short break from decorating and go for a walk outside in the forest...where there are bears, mountain lions, coyotes, slippery patches of ice, and giant pine cones that could, and do, fall at any time. Even so, the forest is safer for me than my cottage when the cats are conspiring! Thankfully, it usually doesn't take them long to remember who feeds them and the conspiracies come to an end.
I took the above photo on December 22, 2009. There had been a snow much like the one we just had a few days ago and, while I was out walking, the late afternoon sunlight on the holly leaf caught my eye first, then I noticed the patch of ice crystals on the leaf slowly turning back into fluid water. When I talk about magic being all around us, this is the kind of magic I'm referring to...nature's magic, so full of wonder and always there, if we pay attention.
"November comes and November goes,
With the last red berries and the first white snows.
With night coming early and dawn coming late,
And ice in the bucket and frost by the gate.
The fires burn and the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest until next Spring." Clyde Watson, from "Father Fox's Penny Rhymes"
A few days ago we had our first snow. It was just a dusting, melting quickly and then turning to rain. We got one and a quarter inches of rain! But today? Today it's back to climate change insanity. It's cold, but very dry, with high winds and extremely low humidity. That puts us at high risk for wildfires, so all of Southern California is under a Red Flag Warning.
During the rain/snow storm I checked the humidity levels: Even though it was pouring down rain in buckets, the humidity was only 82 percent! Apparently, when it's been so dry for so long, it takes an extended period of wet weather to bring the humidity up to 100 percent.
I'm still putting up Christmas decorations, trying like mad to get it all done before Thanksgiving. Well, except for the dining room; I leave the autumn things up in there until after Thanksgiving dinner is over. It just feels strange to me to eat Thanksgiving food from Christmas plates in a room that's decorated for Christmas. I'll try and post some pictures of how the decorating is coming along tomorrow...if I haven't fallen off the ladder! It seems like the older I get, the higher and more wobbly the ladder is, even though the ladder hasn't changed...
The Christmas season began in my cottage. My husband and I started putting out the first of too many decorations. Every year we say we'll start getting rid of some things...and every year we never do, unless they're actually worn beyond recognition or broken. Even then, we have a hard time because Christmas things hold so many memories, especially of loved ones who are no longer with us.
Most things aren't in the places they'll "live" in for the Christmas season yet, including the things in the photo. We set stuff out, then sort it out while the cats run around saying hello to everything. What fun!
"The grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never dried all at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls." John Muir, from "John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir"
And some other Wildings, big and little, who kindly share their forest with me:
"To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded." Ralph Waldo Emerson
A Young Steller's Jay
Common to high altitude forests all over the west
The photos and text on these pages, unless otherwise indicated, are my sole property. They may not be reproduced in any manner for private or commercial use without my consent.
Our task must be to free ourselves...by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. ~~ Albert Einstein
June Is Adopt a Cat Month
But, there are always strays who need a loving home - so don't shop, ADOPT! Click the photo for helpful tips on adopting.
If they breathe, they live. If they live, they feel. If they feel, they love. If they love, they are aware. If they are aware, they have a soul. ~ Williams
I love cats because I enjoy my home and, little by little, they become its visible soul ~ Jean Cocteau (That's Malcolm O'Mewy on the chair)
Feed the Hungry
I think we are bound to, and by, Nature. We may want to deny this connection and try to believe we control the external world, but every time there's a snowstorm or drought we know our fate is tied to the world around us. ~~ Alice Hoffman
What I'm Reading Now:
Give a Child a Book
Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors and the most patient of teachers.
Charles W. Eliot
A person who collects or is fond of books. Also, a person who immediately feels safe, happy, even euphoric, when holding a favorite book.
Care for a cuppa?
Where there is tea there is hope - Pinero
Boulder Bay, Big Bear Lake
Click to visit Big Bear
Lake Gregory, Crestline
Click to visit Crestline
Click to visit Lake Arrowhead
A Favorite Quote
"I don't want life to imitate art; I want life to BE art." Carrie Fisher
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. ~ John Muir, from "The California Mountains"
I'm three-quarters Native American (Oglala Sioux and Cherokee), and one-quarter Northern Italian. I live in a little cottage with my furry "children" in a beautiful mountain forest where we enjoy daily visits from the little wild creatures. I love animals (you probably guessed), books, photography, tall trees, clear lakes, rain, snow, tea, the moon, and creating all kinds of art.