Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Blue Moon?

Not really. It's only the method of time-keeping invented by man that causes two moons to appear in one month. La Luna keeps to her own schedule of approximately 28 days, and cares nothing for the artificial schedule created by man.

Although, if you are near a recent large volcanic eruption during a full moon, she can appear to be blue in color due to the volcanic ash in the air.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Few of My Favorites

This little cardboard house is my most cherished Christmas ornament. It's worth nothing monetarily, but to me it's priceless. It belonged to my grandmother on my mother's side. When I hang it on the tree I think of all the other hands that have touched it; my grandmother's hands, all of my aunt's hands, my mother's hands and my sister's hands. They have all moved on, except for my sister, but I keep them near me with things like this.

The golden-colored bell was my first ever present...and, at the time it was given, I wasn't even aware of it as I was only one day old. Granny Edwards, not a blood relation but a wonderful woman who was called 'Granny' by all who knew her, gave a set of four bells to my mother the day after I was born, and told her that they were for me because "this child will love Christmas and it will love her back." The set contained 2 golden and two deep pink bells. I still have all of them, although they are faded and worn.
The red and white beaded ornament next to the bell was made by my sister about 20 years ago. She made one for me in every color imaginable.

My husband and I bought these darling little mice in 1992. We've bought a dated ornament each Christmas since we've been married. We should have 34, but the cats ate the one dated '1977' so we only have 33.

The ornament on the right is the second oldest ornament that I have. My mother and dad bought it for their first Christmas together in 1927.

Since my husband's favorite holiday is Halloween I bought this Christopher Radko ornament for him. No, really I did. Just because there's a little red haired witch with an adorable black cat on the pumpkin had nothing to do with it. ;)

My husband made dozens of these 'candles' for our tree in 1998. He used doweling then drilled a tiny hole for the piece of pipe cleaner. To make it look like wax has dripped down the candle he dripped a really thick gesso down the sides after he painted them with the same gesso.

And this sparkly reindeer is the newest member of our Christmas decorations. When I saw them (I bought 6) I just couldn't resist!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

On a Cold and Frosty Morning...

It's so good to come back into the warmth of my cottage! It was 22 degrees Fahrenheit when I went outside this morning to put out food and water for the feral cats and the birds. I always make a fire and put the tea kettle on to boil before I go out.
That way, when I step back inside, I'm greeted by the cheery crack and pop of logs in the living room fireplace, the welcoming sound of water boiling in the tea kettle, and, soon, a hot mug of Earl Grey tea with milk added. Ahhhhh...
Of course, I only hear the sound of the water boiling if the tea kettle hasn't switched off. I had to switch to an electric kettle that shuts off automatically a couple of years ago because I'd go outside, get distracted by something, and forget I had water boiling for tea on the stove. I burned up three tea kettles!

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Queen of Christmas

She is suspended by the wreath all through the day, staying so still you could be fooled into thinking she's just a figurine. Why, she even hovers by a wire to add to the illusion!

But, at night, when the lights are out and we've gone to bed, I could swear I hear the the sound of tiny wings and feel a disturbance in the air as something flits by. I quickly open my eyes but I've never seen anything except a sort of twinkling shimmer up by the rafters of the bedroom or sometimes a trail of something that might be Faerie dust disappearing around the corner of the hallway.

The cats certainly thunder around during the night more madly than usual when the Queen of Christmas comes to visit. I suspect she teases them, but doesn't let them get too close. Although her timing might have been just a teeny bit off the other night. I heard Shadow yelp so I got up to see if he was all right. I saw the distinct impression of a tiny candy cane on top of his head and he was covered in sparkling Faerie dust! And now, when he passes underneath her in the daytime, he seems a little nervous and keeps a watchful eye on her.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I'm Done - Finally!

I finally finished the decorating and baking this afternoon (Dec. 23). I have more pictures to post, but I'll have to do it after Christmas day.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter Soltice

This is a picture I took last December on the Winter Soltice/Yule but it seems to personify, for me anyway, this day.

There is very little snow here on the ground today. The sky hangs low and dark gray, seeming to balance on the tops of the Ponderosa Pines. There is a chill wind blowing from the north, telling me that it may bring snow by tomorrow night. I have kept a fire going in all my fireplaces all day long.

Early this morning, I brought in branches of holly and twined in some ivy. I left the pines, firs and Western Red Cedars (which are the only kind of cedar tree that grows in these mountains) alone, as they don't recover as easily from pruning. ESPECIALLY THE CEDARS; cut a frond or branch from a cedar tree and it will never put out new growth to replace what you have taken.

In this day of bleak mid-winter, may you have friends and family near, lots of good things to eat and drink, and firelight, whether logs or candles, against the dark. And, of course, lots of Yuletide blessings.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Oh NO...Gremlins!

They've struck again. Notice how only a few of the lights, in the middle of the strand, are lighted. All the rest are not. So my poor husband had to take the whole strand out of the garland and replace it. Gremlins cause grumbling...

even among the toy animals! Miss Paulina Purrmeeze is complaining that a mean old gremlin came by and knocked a large snowflake onto her ear. I'll bet I know who that particular 'gremlin' was...

Lars Olaf says, "Hmmpf. I have NO idea what you're talking about."
Uh huh. Sure.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hurry, Please...

I'm lonely. Aren't you done decorating yet?

At least, that's what I think Miss Ruby is saying. (I'm surprised her lower lip isn't quivering).

I'm so behind in my decorating. My husband lost the top to our old tree (how, I don't know) so I had to order a new one on the internet. Their stock was backordered, and I've been playing catch-up every since. I plan (and you know what they say about plans) on finishing the decorating tomorrow and doing the baking and candy making on Thursday and Friday.

Ever notice how time seems to go into warp drive right around the beginning of November? Or does it do that just to me?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Wonderful Weather

This is what it was doing all day here.  60 mph wind gusts and heavy snow.  According to the weather forecast, it's supposed to continue for the next six days!  Whoo hoooooooo! We need it desperately. I didn't get much Christmas decorating done today because I was kept busy trudging from feeder to feeder. The birds and animals seem to have bottomless pits for tummies during the first really big storm of the season.
I'm sorry this picture is so blurry. I didn't want to take my camera out from underneath the shelter of the porch because this snow is so wet and heavy. I just couldn't get it to focus through the screen on the porch. I have a Canon DSLR but it's heavy and sometimes my hands just won't co-operate so I have to use my Canon digital. Anyway, the bird down on the baffle is a Wilson's Warbler and the two birds up on the feeder ledge are Purple Finches. I don't know why they call them 'purple' because they've always looked more red to me. Well, the males do. The females are various shades of buff and brown. Maybe the person who named them was a bit color blind. Gosh...I hope it's not me, given what I do for a living!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

New Header

The photo was taken by my husband last year. I like the way some of the lights are blurred; it looks so magical. That time of evening, when the sky isn't completely black yet, but a beautiful, glowing, ethereal blue is a magical time to me anyway, even without snow and trees with colored lights on them.

I'd better post this quickly; the lights are dimming every now and then, and the winds are howling. We're supposed to get snow for the next seven days. I'm sure glad we have a generator!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Chickadee Attitude

Chickadees are so cute, and they're one of my favorite birds, but they can be so frustrating to photograph.

I had been trying to get a photo of this little person for about 15 minutes. I think she finally just got tired of me following her with my camera and decided to pose. Look at her face: Doesn't she look like she's thinking "Okay, just take your darn photo and then leave me alone!"?

At least this experience was better than the one I had a few weeks ago. I thought maybe if I used my telephoto lens and a tripod I could get some good close ups of Chickadees at the feeder. What I got were a lot of photos of 'the amazing invisible bird,' which is what I call those photos where the bird flies off just as the shutter trips. And to add insult to injury, when I lifted my head up from the camera there was a Chickadee perched on the end of my lens!
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