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

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone.

This is the quiet after the storm of Christmas visiting and visitors. Can you hear it? Can you hear the sound of silence? I DO!
One week ago I was eating Cioppino on Christmas Eve.
The Prospector made it. It was sooo good. I can't begin to tell you how good it was... and all I had to do was slice some bread.

Christmas morning we opened presents from Santa, Carl and Cutter. I packed my bags for a two day visit to my sister's to see the family and spread good cheer...that would be presents, a homemade peach trifle and Adult Chocolate Milk (Look it up if you don't know what Adult Chocolate Milk is. You're missing one of life's pleasures if you don't.). The Prospector stayed home with the dogs and the chickens but it was OK with him. It's how we live here. It's how we deal with family that doesn't live down the street or around the corner from us. 

It was a wonderful Christmas day. The house was decorated with Sis's gorgeous holiday loveliness.
Dinner was delicious.
I forgot to take pictures of the dinner... Yes, I was eating the food, not photographing it...
but take my word for it.
It was GOOD.

After dinner we opened some presents. One of mine was a bag of Nonni's cookies... what else.
There were important conversations.
between young and old, about religion and politics...
And funny stories... laughter...
and good coffee.

The Beans found more gifts to open and the alien forces appeared.
Being able to see at night and behind them at the same time.
Amazing little space people from the future... with Camo shirts and a vast knowledge of electronic equipment.
Four handed monsters with computer skills. Scary!
Where did my grandchildren go and where did these alien beings come from?

Everyone relaxed...
That was the kind of Christmas Day it was.

I know this smile.  It's beautiful isn't it?
This is my lovely daughter in law relaxing and enjoying the day... knowing she has the rest of the year off and that Noni is driving back up to the mountain with her little Alien beings for a few days. It's that contented smile of a busy mom who won't know what to do with four or five days of doing anything she wants to do.

On Friday, I packed myself up, picked up the Beans. Off we drove... over the Delta, across the big Central Valley of California, up into the Foothills and up a steep, dirt road... to spend a long weekend with Carl, Cutter and the chickens, in the little farmhouse on the mountain.

Will Noni and the Prospector survive... Stay tuned.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas everyone

May Peace be your gift at Christmas
  and your blessing all year through!  ~Author Unknown

I send you sunshine sparkling through the oak trees...

A piece of bark, a small lacy lichen,
  and some  ferns tucked inbetween.
And love on Christmas Eve.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sky Songs

One night last week as the sun was setting...
The clouds started to catch fire. I couldn't turn away. I stood there, mute and insignificant. I was waiting for a song to start, or a harp, or trumpets... Yes, it was that beautiful. 
Then a bird started singing a plainsong somewhere close by.
 A sweet and quiet sound as if it was purring, but with a melody.
Do you suppose it knew how beautiful the sky was? 
Do you think that the song was it's reply? 
Kind of a "Thank you."?
 The song was short... only one small refrain. 
Then it stopped.
And, as the world went dark,
  I was reminded that we do need
 to celebrate what's right with the world
 and that nature is always there to give us examples
if we watch for them... and listen.



Monday, December 16, 2013

A friend comes to the rescue and more about the weather

This is what December 16th looks like in Northern California.
The sun is shining. It's about 79 degrees right now and no clouds in sight. They are no flies flying around, so I can keep the screen door open and let the dogs come and go as they please. Carl likes to kind of guard the doorway and run out when he hears a strange noise.
Cutter is confused. He's a little timid about the door being open.
"What the...? Who left the door open?" 
He is waiting for Carl to make a move and then he will go out with Carl. He always defers to Carl unless he had to use the "outhouse" or hears a deer outside the fence. Then he takes the initiative.
Aren't Corgi paws the cutest little feet you ever saw? He wouldn't have been a show dog because of those feet. They are splayed and turned out. Not an AKC accepted trait... but we love them this way. He's our sweet little fluffy butt, rescued from an Oregon farm. We love those feet.

So the weather is getting warmer again and I recently (with my constant complaining about "No snow... boo hoo!!")  got some sympathy from my friend in Montana. She sent me some of her wonderful photos in my birthday card.
This one is my favorite.
These are the others.
Beautiful snow photos of the northwestern part of Montana. I live vicariously through these kinds of shots because it's looking like we are going to have a  "Southern Living magazine" Christmas here and I want SNOW.
I took a picture of the Christmas lights the other night, just before dark. Then I ran it through my Picasa program and made it look like it was snowing.
Pretty good huh?... for a snowy winter's eve...
This is what it really looked like.
You can manipulate any photo these days.

Oh, and the dogs have a new rug. My friend sent this with her photos.
We had it in the house for a while but I've since put it in the RV. I don't want Carl to get any ideas.
You crack me up, "D". Thanks... and for the photos. They are sooo beautiful.







Sunday, December 15, 2013

Magic Snow

Sometimes when life isn't fair and happiness disappears before your eyes. It's time to take action.
You go to WalMart and you BUY some SNOW.

Now, after all the REAL white stuff melted with the "nice" weather, I decided on a plan of action.
This little can of "Santa" snow is the answer to my dreams of a White Christmas.
I don't know what's in it and I don't really care.
I will use it on a little "Charlie Brown" tree on the front porch.
This can of bliss was only $1.50 and worth every penny.
Now I have snow again...
 And it's beautiful.
Until the freezing weather comes with the rain and nature decides to lower her snow levels again...
Until the ground sparkles with glitter...

I'm the captain of my own ship, the keeper of the dream.
I can play this game too.
Now, I'm in charge.
I have SNOW.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Oh Christmas tree... oh Christmas trees

We finished hanging the outside lights today. I helped the Prospector curve a PVC pipe over the iron gate that is the entrance to our front yard. Then we wrapped the pipe with garlands of green and added some Christmas lights, from the house, over the gate to the end of the fence. It is so pretty tonight, looking out there and seeing the lights outlining the fence. So very Christmas.
I've spent a couple of days decorating the house. There are three trees this year. All small but different.

The first one is near the piano. It was going to have a cowboy theme but I haven't found too much to fill it yet. So far I've hung our son's old handmade ornaments from their school days on it.
They are old and have been repaired many times.
I love these ornaments. They are filled with memories.
This tree is also were the animals live. The little dogs and cats with wings ( in honor of pets that are no longer with us), the glass pine cones and cowboy bells and anything that makes us think of country living...
The assorted deer and antelope...
I set the four foot tree on the folding metal chair that I painted chartreuse last year and covered the seat with an old tablecloth that was my Mom's. The boxes are empty. I store the ornaments in them the rest of the year.
"Carl? You are not to touch any of the Christmas things. I know that you will chew any sock if it's left laying around, but all of this is off limits. Do you hear me?"
 "CARL??"
His ears were listening but his body was not moving.
Then he slowly turned around.
He looked at me.
I repeated, "Did you hear me, Carl?"

"YES! I hear you. I just can't make any promises."
He gave me his best "How could you blame me for all those socks." look and then walked away. 


The second tree is a 3 footer. It's on the chest in front of the porch window.
This tree holds a few gourd ornaments that I've made and small collector ornaments that I have collected over the years. The paper mache deer was a thrift store find that had an ugly, faded crape paper flower on it. I took it off and make a rosette for it. The deer was $.50 and my labor was free.
The P. Schifferl ornaments that I've collected over the years are in and under the little tree.
 I love these little carved ornaments. Most are very small and hang on the tree... but this one, with Santa riding an owl, sits below the tree waiting for Christmas Eve. He's ready for his big flight.
 It's one of my favorites. I like the idea of a huge bird flying Santa around the world with his bag of toys.

The third "tree" was inspired by my sister. She cuts manzanita branches when she's here, takes them home, sprays them with different colors and hangs them over her kitchen window. Black for Halloween, white for Christmas and sometimes just natural with leaves that she makes with old pages of a book or sheet music.
So while she found some pieces to take home, I cut some branches and made a "tree" for the buffet.

This was so much fun. I used my mom's old brass bowl and filled it with foil and paper to hold the branches in place.You can also use rocks to hold the branches steady as well.
I'm not finished with this yet but when I am, it will hold all the felted and paper ornaments that I've made or have been given to me. 
I made this one out of vellum paper, an old thrift store, wood ornament, plastic sparkle pieces from the Dollar store and some lichen from the oak trees.  There are also some sea shells attached that I found at the ocean. Added some glitter and old ribbon too.  These small ornaments make great additions to the top of a gift box.
And any wonderful things that I find on my hikes, like this nest, below, that I haven't had time to find a name for. It was kept in a bottle for a few days when I first brought it inside, just in case there was still something hibernating in it. There wasn't. I would have died if thousands of baby spiders had crawled out of it in the warmth of the house.

There are memories of my trip to Germany, last year, hanging here and some photos of the snow, in Montana, that my friend sent me for my birthday. She doesn't have "glitter" where she lives. She has lots and lots of snow. It's beautiful.
The little heart ornament from Munich reminds me of all the snow we saw there and how lovely the city looked from my hotel window on my birthday last year. I was sick. I came home sick. But Munich was beautiful in the snow.
I will show you more as I add things to the decorations. It's fun to change the living room into Christmas. I honor the tradition and love the whole, wonderful season.