Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It's All Relative

All these gorgeous leaves are gone now. Winter, even though it won't officially arrive until December 21st, is holding us firmly in its ice gloved hand.
These two Band Tailed Pigeons weren't bothered by the small amount of snow (4 or 5 inches instead of the foot of snow the weather people had predicted) we received last week. What was bothering them was the lack of peanuts on the feeding tray. The look they're giving me most definitely says, "WELL? What are you waiting for? Get those peanuts out here NOW!"
The temperatures have been unseasonably cold, with highs for the past several days only reaching the low 20's Fahrenheit (-6 to -3 Celsius) and low temperatures dropping to as low as 4 degrees below zero (-20 Celsius). Add 30 mile an hour winds to those temperatures and that equals BRRRRRRR!
This morning when I opened the door to go battle the ice on the animals' water bowls I was pleasantly surprised by how warm it felt. I went back inside and opened a few windows to let the fresh air into the house and happened to glance at the thermometer on my way outside again.
The temperature was 39 degrees Fahrenheit (3 Celsius).
I guess it's all relative...

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Table

This is what the table looked like yesterday (Thanksgiving).
For once, I remembered to take some pictures before we sat down
to eat our feast. Usually I'm rushing around so much I forget, but this
year we were only four; my husband, my sister, my friend Kathleen, and myself.   Different, but nice nonetheless...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Keeping Memories

This is the roasting pan that belonged to my grandmother, then my mother and now me. It is incredibly heavy, and even though the outside enameling has a few chips here and there, it still works great. It is the pan that roasts our Thanksgiving and Christmas turkeys every year. It's certainly not the most valuable thing they left me, but it is one of the most treasured because it holds so many memories. Just think of the tales it could tell if it could speak. The kitchens, full of various female relatives helping with the cooking, children underfoot, and the roasting pan sitting there listening to everything that was said. Oh, my.

Every time I lift it to put it in the oven I think of my grandmother, using it to roast a turkey in a wood burning stove as a young married woman, later using, as she described them, "one of them newfangled gas things that might could blow us to Kingdom Come any minute," and my mother, who cooked with stoves pretty similar to the ones of today.

I have several serious health issues, but when I lift that pan, which usually has a 25 pound turkey in it, it seems light. I wonder if that is because... just maybe...my grandma and mama are right there lifting it with me?

I like to think so.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chasing the Colors

I took this photo around the first of November. I just cannot get enough of Autumn's colors when they're showing off in the late afternoon, or early morning sun. The light is so fleeting, and shooting locations are so numerous, that I spend as much time as I can, over a space of several weeks, chasing the colors down the mountain.

Autumn first appears the last week of September or the first week of October in and around Big Bear, starting at the 7,500 foot altitude.

The Big Bear Valley doesn't have a lot of indigenous trees that turn really bright colors, since mostly pines grow at that altitude. Most trees that do show color, like the ones in the photo above, have been planted and maintained by residents and businesses.

By mid-November I finish up down around Lake Silverwood, at an altitude of a little over 3,000 feet, which doesn't have a lot of trees or plants that are colorful either, and not many pines or cedars. (There used to be a lot of Douglas Firs and Western Red Cedars, but they burned in the devastating 2003 fires). However, there is still beauty to be captured in the sere, faded grasses and seed heads, along with the occasional oak tree.

I feel so lucky to be able to prolong Autumn by following her down through the altitude changes. By doing that, I'm able to see her colors for almost 6 weeks!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday Sunsets - A World Away

Photo taken November 10, 2010, near Redlands, CA

Well, actually this is only a 45 minute drive from the mountains that I live in, but in terms of climate, vegetation, pollution, terrain, crime and a vast difference in population numbers, it may as well be a world away! Every time I drive down from the mountains, it makes me aware of what a lovely, fragile little bubble we who are fortunate enough to live up here inhabit.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Switching Seasons

We've been getting torrents of rain, sleet, hail, and snow all last night and all day today. Hooray! Fire season is OVER! But, just to be on the safe side, I'm knocking on wood anyway. With Climate Change unchecked, and unlikely to be so, who knows what the weather will do?

We're supposed to get nearly a foot of snow tomorrow - or did the weather man say Sunday? I just saw the report a little over an hour ago, you'd think I could remember! Oh, well. I'm not going to be too hard on myself because I've spent the last hour trudging back and forth from the cottage to the storage/potting shed. Husband and I have been bringing in Christmas decorations. Usually I leave the autumn things up until after Thanksgiving in the dining room and kitchen and just get the living room decorated for Christmas, but this year H said he didn't feel like doing it in two shifts, so...

I'm glad I collected a lot of colorful leaves before this storm came in, and I still have some real pumpkins and gourds which I rescued from him just before he put them in the trash. At least I can make a harvest-themed centerpiece for the table. And I have the autumn dinnerware...oh, no. I hope he didn't swap it out for the Christmas china!

Ahhh...caught him just in time!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Faeries Friday - Fleur

In the warm months, Fleur lives high up in the Dogwood tree outside my studio. Obviously, this photo was taken in the summer. Several days ago, I moved all of the Faeries that were outside into my studio for the winter...except for Fleur. I forgot about her! She's pretty ticked at me, and who could blame her?

My husband is also ticked; it's starting to rain here and I remembered that I hadn't brought her in when I was looking for a picture to post for 'Faeries Friday.' He just spent 15 minutes out in the rain, in the dark, high up on a ladder rescuing Fleur. I can't blame him for being ticked at me, either; but I have a feeling he'll get over it far faster than Fleur will, thanks to the mug of hot tea, a plate of fresh baked cookies and lavish gratitude and praise.

None of these things would work with Fleur, although I did apologize profusely as I was drying her off. So I expect there will be Faerie mischief going on in my studio for several weeks. Because, even though they seem to be little statues, everyone who knows anything about Faeries know they come to life when we're not looking!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Good Idea? Bad Idea?

I found this picture on a magazine web site (I think maybe it was Country Living). Cute idea, huh? Although I don't think the birds would think so, since they're used to having water in their birdbaths! Maybe they'd let me borrow just one to put next to the doorway on Thanksgiving. They have eleven others to drink from, plus the creek...

If there are no postings from me after Thanksgiving, you'll know they took offence to me 'stealing' one of their birdbaths and decided to behave like the birds in the famous Hitchcock movie. Ha. Like they'd kill their source of peanuts and suet cakes. They wouldn't...would they???

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I never tire of just sitting and watching how the sun illuminates and changes the look of the forest as it moves across the sky. In all seasons, the shifting, changing light can make me see familiar things in a brand new way, but I think this effect might be at its most spectacular in autumn. This tree is bare now, the leaves strewn carelessly here and there by the wind. But I think she knows that, after a brief sleep, her glory will return in the spring when she is covered in hundreds of creamy pearl white blossoms, then the emerald leaves of summer and then, once again, the ephemeral citrine, peridot, topaz and ruby jewels of autumn.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Delicious Autumn

"Delicious Autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking successive autumns." George Eliot

I took this on a foggy-day walk through the woods. We've had so many foggy, even rainy, days this autumn.  I'm hoping this weather is just a preview of a wet, snowy winter!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Little Gifts

I found these artfully arranged by the side of the path while walking to my studio this morning. Little gifts like this from Mother Nature always brighten my day!

It felt so good to get back into my studio. I've been driving up and down the 'hill' (mountain) to Redlands for the past several days to take my sister to various appointments. It's a lovely town, full of old Victorian houses and charming Craftsmen bungalows, but it's 45 miles (one way) from my home. I used think nothing of making the 90 mile round trip five days a week for work, and then getting a couple hours of painting done when I got home, but that was back when I was in my twenties. Several decades do make a difference in one's stamina. (And not for the better, either, darn it). That's a little 'gift' that I could do without!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Light and Shadow

I love the drama that late afternoon sunlight can create. Every once in a while I'm lucky enough to catch it with my camera. At least I hope I captured it; I've been sorting through the hundreds of photos I've taken during the last week or so and my eyes feel like they're crossing!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday Sunsets - Autumn Gold

Well, not really autumn, as it was taken in August of last year. But I've noticed that Gaia likes to tuck little bits of other seasons into the current season. To me, these are little bits of everyday magic, gifts from Gaia to those of us who are paying attention.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Goodbye October

I always hate to see October leave. It's such a magical month and, for me, this one was more magical than others have been recently. Why? Instead of being hot and dry like the Octobers of recent years, with the nearly overwhelming worry of forest fires, it was cool and we had quite a few days of fog and rain. It felt like an October should feel, a time of transition, of endings, instead of a continuation of summer.
And, if you're attuned to it, the magic of Samhain/Halloween can be felt growing all through October.
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