I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bluebirds of Happiness and Hope


Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words, And never stops at all, ....
~ Emily Dickinson~ 1891

This is for my friends and family....,
Listen to your inner voice and hope for new beginnings.
Be well and of good spirit and always look at the beauty around you.
I wish you health, I wish you peace
I wish you quiet, sunfilled days.

Happy New Year!
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Monday, December 29, 2008

Disgruntled Goats: the after Christmas bummers

"Hi Bart! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, baby."...., no answer. Farmlady laughs and says, "What's the matter, sweetie, didn't Santa bring you everything you wanted?".... No answer...

"Hey Brownie, what's the matter with Bart? He seems upset about something, but he won't tell me what's wrong."
"I don't know, farmlady. He's not talking to us either."
"Well, I can't imagine what this is all about. The prospector cleaned out your house and put new straw down. He spent all last week spreading gravel on the ground outside the door, here, so you wouldn't have to walk in mud when it rains. What do you suppose has got him all upset?"
"I just don't know. Maybe he's tired of the cold weather."
" I think you guys are kind of spoiled. Some goats have to live where it snows in the winter..., and they don't have a nice house to go into when the weather is awful. Some goats just have a lean-to and have to huddle together against the elements."
"What are elements?"
"Wind. rain..., snow. You haven't even seen snow yet."
"Oh..., well I still don't know why it has to be so cold."
"You are such summer goats. I just love this weather. This isn't even that cold, really."
"Sure, when you live in that big warm place, over there. Why don't you let us come in there once in a while?"
"Because you're farm animals and you're not potty trained, Brownie. No one lets goats and chichens come into their houses."
There is a long silence while Brownie thinks about what has just been said. Bart walks over to the fence and Brownie says...,
"Bart, I think we have just been insulted."
"I'm not insulting you, Brownie. I love you guys. I just think you forget that you're goats. Don't be offended. Just go find a place in the sun and relax. Just chill out." Farmlady pats them both on the head.
"Chill out? Odd choice of words. What do you think Bart? They want us to eat more grass in the pasture. They decided to stop the good grain because the "goatlady" said it would cause something called STONES..., and now Farmlady calls us spoiled. I think we need a meeting. I think we need a... , what did I hear about...., a union. Things are getting out of control. BART? Don't you think we need a union?"
Bart looks at me, then he looks at Brownie. Then, (and I have this documented in the photo above), he stuck out his tongue and said something under his breath. I didn't hear it but I think Brownie did. What do you suppose Bart said? Got any ideas? I don't know what's going on with them. Maybe they really are "Summer" goats. Maybe they have S.A.D. and need more sunlight. Maybe they're just going through their "teens". I don't know. Whatever it is, I wish they would snap out of it. I may have to give them an extra treat and take them for a walk. I'm such an enabler. I just want them to be happy.
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Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Lovely Christmas Day


The rain stopped, the sun came through and, even without snow, it was a wonderful holiday.

The Bambinos were like two little tornados until after supper. Then the eyelids started going south and with one last smile....,

Little bean finally took a nap. It was a very good day but sometimes you just need to take a breather from a long day of Santa and brother's ..., and being two.
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Friday, December 26, 2008

Frosted Leaves



"Nature has undoubtedly mastered the art of winter gardening and even the most experienced gardener can learn from the unrestrained beauty around them."- Vincent A. Simeone
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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Do I have a treat for you....


This is the beautiful home of my friend "J" and her husband. I asked her if it was all right to take some photos of their house and do a post on my blog of her home at Christmas. She said "Sure". So here it is...., as a Merry Christmas treat.
"J" has lived in this old victorian house for at least 20 years. Well, they were doing the B&B on the weekends up here before they moved here; so I'm not sure exactly how many years they have actually been here full time.
About 15 yr's ago the prospector and I were looking for a place to sleep on one of our gold hunting treks to the foothills. It was late in the afternoon, the motels were full and we were very tired from a day of digging and panning. When we saw this beautiful house with a Bed and Breakfast sign out in front, we decided to stop and ask if they had a room. The two people that greeted us were outside cleaning the lovely grounds and when they saw us they must have thought we were crazy...., dirty clothes and all, but they were very nice and offered us an upstairs room with a bath on the same floor. This was one of the most gorgeous old homes I had ever seen. Lots of antiques and a garden that just made you want to find a place and sit a while.
We talked, relaxed( oh!, and cleaned up) and slept well. "J" made us a delicious breakfast in the morning that rivaled the most famous B&B's we had ever visited (I still have all the recipes). Thirteen years ago we finally moved up here and the friendship has continued since the first day we dragged our dirty bodies up their steps.

After all these years I still love walking into this home, especially at Christmas. It's a holiday "gift" all by itself. "J" has a knack for decorating and at Christmas she pulls out all the stops. She could be on the christmas home tour in our county. The whole house is a treat for the eyes.
Remember the Wordless Wednesday post I did last week? Those kittens, Kansas and Twister, live in "J"s house too. They are her kittens and I just had to show you more photos of them trying to be "good little kittys" when the whole house is a cat's delight of things to play with.
Thanks "J". You've always been a good friend. I love you. Merry Christmas.

Please click on photos to see them "close up".
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Monday, December 22, 2008

A brief visit; Sister Sanctuary


This is the Mokelumne River in Winter. It's one of California's wild and scenic rivers. It is so beautiful it can be overwhelming, especially in the early evening as the sun sets. The foothills become quiet and the spirit of the river shows itself in the ripples and reflections of the clear water.


My sister came up for a short weekend visit, to gather some energy and take a breather from the Christmas madness that tends to swallow folks this time of the year.
One evening I took Sis down to the River, just before sunset. She was mesmerized by the quiet and beauty of this river.We just walked around gathering the spirit of this beautiful place.

This was the view to the West. We watched, letting the stillness wrap it's peacefulness around us, until it became too dark and cold. Together, in the rush of the holiday season, on a bridge over the river, we stood together.., looking at the quiet beauty of the natural world..., gathering strength for the rest of our lives.
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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Clowning for the Camera


"Hi Bart. What's up?"
Hello Farmlady. Is that your new camera?"
Why yes it is. I love it. Can I take some pictures of you?"
"Sure. Hey Brownie. Farmlady's got her camera. She wants to take some pictures.".....

"Hi Brownie"
"Hello Farmlady."
"How are you?"
"Well, it's been kind of cold but..., what are you doing Bart? Bart! Hey...., wow, he must have eaten too many berries on the Toyon bush."
"Oh Bart. You are being really silly."
"You have no idea, Farmlady. He's such a show-off."

......, and that's how it goes on a rainy, cold day on the farm.
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Friday, December 19, 2008

A Virtual Invitation of Christmas Spirit


Park your car or truck near the gate. It will be open. Walk into the garden and up to the porch.

Come on up the steps to our door and knock.

Please come in and stay awhile. Have some hot cider and enjoy your visit.
It's almost Christmas!
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Monday, December 15, 2008

Shoes were optional


Today is our youngest grandson's birthday. He's two years old. Yesterday I drove to his home in Elk Grove for his big birthday party. The prospector caught the cold that I had last week and couldn't come down with me. So I ventured out into the wind and rain to celebrate my little baby bean's big day.
All his friends were there and all their parents. It was a CONSTRUCTION ZONE party, with hard hats (to wear) and orange cones (for drinks). Baby Bean got more cake IN his mouth this year.( see photo ) and he held his own with all the older kids.
SHOES WERE OPTIONAL.

His older brother( The Bean) was busy with the big plans for the day. He had everything under control, with lots of help from Mommy and Daddy. There was cake and all kinds of delicious food. Mom had everything under control and the house was beautiful. Baby bean had moments of being overwhelmed and had to take a "breather" on Mom's lap, once in a while.
The Bean entertained the troops and kept up the momentum, especially in the garage, where there was a roller coaster of sorts that kids could ride down and into a waiting beanbag and foam bumper. They rode a small car and zoomed down, across the garage, and into a soft landing. All very safe and with moms and dads waiting to retrieve them, safety helmet and all. It was the highlight of the party for the children.

Baby Bean did very well and enjoyed the celebration. After the party he took a long nap. The Bean and I pretended to nap on the couch. We were in "the party zone", wrapped up in blankets and pillows, giggling about silly thinks like tickleing toes when one was suppose to be asleep. "Noni, stop. You not 'spose to do that. You 'spose to be asleep." After we "faked" a nap, we ate goldfish and jellybeans, talked about the state of politics in preschool and what color jellybean was the best.
Later I hit the road, saying goodby and explaining that I had to go home and take care of Papa so he could get well and they could come up to our place for Christmas Day. The Bean wanted me to stay overnight, but he understood and gave me a christmas bell and a candy for Papa.

It rained all the way home but the wonderful day made sunshine in my heart. Being Noni is such fun.

Happy Birthday my little Baby Bean....
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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Three December Lovelies and a Gift of Snow

Busy day ahead. The lady who sold us our goat boys is having a potluck at her ranch this afternoon. So, I thought I would do a quick post for four very good reasons. Then I need to dribble some frosting on the Banana Nut bundt cake I made this morning and do some outside chores, then take a shower. But first....
1. This is the wonderful Persimmon Pudding that my husband made me on my birthday. Yes, he did this all by himself and it was delicious.











2. The Chinese Talon tree in all it's Fall to Winter glory.















3. The grape arbor, with the sun rising behind it.









and...,SNOW.
Do you see it ?
Floating down upon my blog pages? My friend Jo, in Pennsylvania, ( jonjdsbitsandpieces.blogspot.com) felt sorry for me here in the foothills of California, below 2000 ft., where we don't get much (if any) snow. So she gave me a gift for the holidays. Now I have snow anytime I want it and I don't have to work in it, shovel it, or drive in it. I can just enjoy it. It's wonderful and I won't whine about not having any snow around here again..., maybe. Thank's Jo. You know what this meant to me.



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Friday, December 12, 2008

Waiting for..., something...


The "last roses of summer" are still blooming...,

The animals are soakin' up the sun...,

Some of the Christmas decorations are up...,

It's Dec 12 and the sun is shinning brightly. The garden is still blooming and more than half of the leaves are still clinging to the trees. It's another beautiful day in the Foothills.The weather report says a storm is going to move in over the weekend. That will be a first for us. I am beginning to think that we are going to have a very mild Winter this year when we badly need a heavy snow in the mountains and rain to fill the rivers and reservoirs.

The full moon lights up the night. (Silent night, Holy night?) It is the climate of this season many, many years ago, in a country far from here, that allowed two people to find shelter and have a baby, without snow, or wind or rain. It is the quiet before the storm of history that has produced an amazing 2000 years of belief that boggles the rational mind. I don't know what to think of all this, but I celebrate and I hope, and wish for peace in our world..., and I wait for Winter to come.
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