Thursday, December 30, 2010

Blue skies, Smiling at Me!

Finally, a day when the skies were that lovely shade of Delphiniums, dotted with sunlit clouds and conducive to a trip outside to fill the bird  feeders  and take a little tour around the garden.

In the absence of a snowy coverlet to keep the roses protected and warm(ish) #3 son had kindly offered some straw to give them a somewhat scratchy eiderdown, but still a place to snuggle when the wind blows cold.  While I poked around the frozen ground, moving leaves into more strategic places, I heard the gentle growl of the ancient tractor, and then the full roar as it declared itself ready for anything required of it.

Charles had tended it gently, warming up the pipes with loving attention and at the exact and most propitious moment had applied the ether that caused it to spring to life, shaking its fenders and causing its tires to tremble.  No camera to record how triumphantly they came around the corner of the house, the driver standing as if with a whip; the forks extended upwards;  along the driveway and down the lane they went, bent on their mission. A Roman Charioteer, enthusiastically urging his horse(power) to even greater effort!

I shook my head and went back into the house to continued with my plan to take the next small portion of Christmas decorations down, doing it in tiny increments so that I couldn't be accused of being Scroogelike.  They really are lovely, but we have enough decorations for a five bedroom house, and sometimes it gets a little overwhelming.

I had just finished when I heard the tractor returning, - the driver looking somewhat cold in the raw west wind, but bearing on the forks a lovely slab of golden straw.

It was on with my coat and a toque, - Charles lent me his gloves and I was soon busy spreading a protective layer of mulch around each resting rosebush.  Really a fall chore, but better late than never and hopefully the layers of straw will shield them from the nasty January winds.

Thank you Sid, - I will sleep well tonight as the temperature drops and the snow avoids the valley bottom.

We came in, had some lunch and a little nap, then off to town to buy some birthday gifts.

All of you wonderful birthday people know who you are, and we send you much love.
Remember, you are all the results of April romances....think Spring!
While you celebrate a Happy New Year...

Monday, December 27, 2010

ABC Wednesday

The letter this week is the mysterious  X

X is the 'place that marks the spot' on any Treasure Map that happens to come into your possession.

As well as Mr. Bean, Treasure Maps are used by anyone who wants to
remind themselves where they dug and buried that dang treasure

Like Pirates

and Old Prospectors

and  Dogs,

 - although I understand they have no place to carry treasure maps marked with an X and so they carry the secret of the Treasure around in their noses........

For other takes on the Letter X visit here at ABC Wednesday, with thanks to Mrs. Nesbitt
 and her happy and helpful crew.

Hoping you all find the Treasures you are hunting for in the Grand New Year.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Rose   Jean Wilmhurst

Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love Divine;
Love was born at Christmas,
Stars and Angels gave the sign.

Christina Rossetti

I guess that's what Christmas is all about, - Love and Joy and Peace and Hope, and so we send our greetings and best wishes that all these
wonderful things are with you this Christmas time;
and in the year that follows.

Hildred and Charles

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

ABC Wednesday

The letter this week is W

And W is for 'Winsome'

winsome adj

charming, winning, engaging  a winsome smile
[OLD ENGLISH]  wynsum, ffrom wynn (joy) related to Old High German wunnia German wonne + sum (some)
winsomely  adv
winsomeness n

So here are a few 'winsome' smiles

A parody on Winston Cigarettes

although what is sweet and innocent and charming here is not apparent

Here is the Winsome Rose, and below a daylily called the  Winsome Lady, both quite enchanting

Robbie Burns wrote a poem in praise of his Wife, who was a Winsome Wee thing....

My Wife's a Winsome Wee Thing

She is a winsome wee thing
She is a handsome wee thing
She is a bonnie wee thing
This sweet wee wife o' mine.

I never saw a fairer,
I never lo'ed a dearer,
And next my heart I'll wear her.
For fear my jewel tine.

She is a winsome wee thing,
She is a handsome wee thing.
She is a bonnie wee thing.
This sweet wee wife o' mine.

The World's wrack we share o't.
The warstle and the care o't.
Wi' her I'll blythly bear it.
And think my lot divine.
Robert Burns  1759-1796

and in conclusion

a winsome President

For more takes on the letter W wind your way over to ABC Wednesday
and see what Mrs. Nesbitt and her crew have
so kindly offered.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Frosty Friday

Well, it was late in the evening when the frosty mists crept up from the river bottom and began to cover the valley and the hills.

On Saturday the silver rime brought beauty to each leaf and flower and branch it touched.....

A troop of Quail came to dine in such an exquisite fairyland.

and a sharp shinned hawk arrived to admire the artistry - I think that was his purpose, - the little birds didn't seem too alarmed at his presence

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Socks

Here are the results of my enthusiastic resolve to make socks for
all the men in my life

Less, of course, the four pair I gave away for birthday presents,
and the two pair that I mailed the other day before I remembered to take a picture.

So I am one pair short of my planned thirteen, and I might catch up after Christmas
and I might not!!!!

Perhaps I will make toques, or scarves for next year,
or perhaps I will indulge myself and take on a challenging project
that will hold my interest and my attention.  I have a wonderful pattern for a complicated blanket
that you can make in various sizes that really appeals to me....

Handknit Socks are so lovely on the feet, but they do get to be a bit much of the same thing
all the time! When you are making them......

Tomorrow I am going to make shortbread tarts to go
with the Lemon Curd that was today's loving project in the kitchen.

Ah Christmas - what happy memories you evoke, and what opportunities
to do the things that delight one!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

ABC Wednesday

The letter for this week is the Veritable V


During the Second World War Bournemouth was a disbursing centre for Airmen who had just arrived in the UK, and these three Airman, school chums from the Okanagan, all with the same desire - to one day be VETERANS, met by chance while stationed there awaiting posting.

They agreed that if they made it through the war they would all meet for a celebration drink in the Royal Canadian Legion in Penticton on July 1st, Canada Day.  It was a harrowing experience.  The one on the left was a Tail Gunner and the only one left alive when the plane he was in crashed into a mountain top.  The one in the middle went to the Continent and kept fighter planes flying for the allies, in the thick of it. The one on the right became a Lancaster Pilot in 170 Squadron,  and lost both his brothers after D Day.  But they all returned home, - and now they were VETERANS.

Well, time passed, and the years flew by, - they all got married and had families.  They saw each other intermittently, and although they never forgot their vow to meet again in the Legion, it just didn't happen until a retired school teacher who is writing a book of veterans' stories, got them all together and brought the Tail Gunner and the Communications and Radar fellow to our place (the home of the Pilot) for lunch last Friday.

What a fine time they had, - a lifetime of memories, and all three of them still the same handsome fellows they were sixty-six years ago, - but now with the addition of canes, which really makes them quite debonair.

Best Visitors we've had in a long while.

For more interesting V's click here to visit ABC Wednesday

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Early in the morning, and sleep eludes me.  I toss and turn a bit, wondering what life is all about, but then I think about the snow that fell yesterday, making the whole world sweet and white.  We watched the poplar tree that stands between us and the big house,  festooned with starlings that rose into the snowy air like a curtain, then fell to the ground - a shower of dark pennies; only to feed a little and rise again into the branches.  Were they singing paeans to the snow or just reveling in the pure whiteness of the world.

I rise and peer into the darkness of the early morning to see if the snow has lingered through the night.  The lane is level and smooth and white, but the steps are bare and I foresee by noon the garden will once again have thrown off its protective counterpane.

The coffee has perked;  the cat has left me to resume her sleep;  I hear the house begin to stir and the day begins....... I miss the little dog, who sometimes comes to me as I sleep and makes the night hours poignant.

Monday, December 06, 2010

ABC Wednesday
The letter this week is U
....which stands for Ungulate

An Ungulate is any hoofed animal, - a hoof being an enlarged toenail.

Why hooves?

Hooves are usually broad and flexible, and the animal can walk and dig even in thick snow.  Because the animal walks and runs on its toes the rest of the foot extends up into the leg, making the leg particularly long and increasing the swiftness of their stride. The ungulate we are going to consider today lives in the cold arctic tundra, is capable of surviving in extremely cold weather and in places where food is not plentiful.  They eat plants and lichens and are the only deer that can be domesticated.

Of course you have already guessed, -  the most popular Ungulate of the season is the reindeer, a majestic mammal from the arctic and subarctic, some of whom have taken up with Santa Claus at the North Pole, become magical creatures and fly his sleigh through the skies on Christmas Eve, landing on rooftops to give Santa access to chimneys and other modes of entry where both good and naughty children live.

Good children are supposedly left toys, and naughty kids gets lumps of coal in their stockings, I'm told, although it never happened to me (smirk).

The Reindeer, au natural, feeding on the tundra of the north and using its strong hooves to dig up sustenance from the frozen ground.

Reindeer, beloved of Santa and with star dust sprinkled on them which enables them to
fly through the air (so I have been told).

In the poem 'A Visit from Saint Nicholas' (attributed to Clement Moore)  the poet mentions a sleigh pulled by eight reindeer.

"The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,'
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be Saint Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name.
'Now Dasher, now Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On Comet! on Cupid! on, Dunder and Blixem!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!'

Santa and his reindeer as  depicted in 1862
when this poem was first published.

I know this all to be true, as does any child of northern climes where winters are snowy and a quick trip outside on Christmas morning will still show you the mark of the reindeers'  hooves and the runners of Santa's sleigh in the snow.**

For more fanciful U's visit here at ABC Wednesday

**depending upon how early the milkman came with his horse drawn sleigh (yes, I lived that long ago!)

Thursday, December 02, 2010

The Garden in December

It was warmer today, - really quite a pleasant day.  Late in the afternoon, just as the sun was preparing to slip away, I went out to fill the bird feeders.

I took the camera to catch some of the pretty pink wisps of cloud that were floating high above, and also hugging the hill tops.

When all was replenished in the bird feeding department I strolled through the garden, trying to give cover to the most vulnerable plants, and admiring what the frost had done to the yellow roses that got caught unprepared for its chilly advances.

...and the 'grocery store' roses

as well as the Pearly Everlastings....

Here is another lovely rose, and now I really must go and finish the toe on that sock I'm knitting -still three more socks to knit and parcels to mail, and cards, and baking and shining up the house before we decorate!

But I will do it all as simply and tranquilly as possible!

Monday, November 29, 2010

ABC Wednesday
The letter for this week is T
and I would like to think that T stands for Tranquility occasionally...

A few wise words about Tranquility....

While conscience is our friend, all is at peace; however once it is offended, farewell to a tranquil mind.
Mary Wortly Montagu

All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don't.
And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity.
Robert Kennedy

Don't ask to live in tranquil times.  Literature doesn't grow there.
Rita Mae Brown

Gratitude changes the pangs of memory into a tranquil joy.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Like water which can clearly mirror the sky and the trees only so long as its surface is undisturbed,
the mind can only reflect the true image of the Self when it is tranquil and wholly relaxed.
Indra Devi

The more tranquil a man becomes the greater is his success, his influence, his power for good:  calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom.
James Allen

A few pros and cons which lead me to believe that tranquility is greatly desired in moderation,
but to be avoided at all costs if we become so calm and peaceful that we are
tranquilized to all the enthusiasms of living as embodied in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Psalm of Life.

We don't want to obliterate our 'footsteps in the sands of time' completely, now, do we!!

For more T interpretations click here to go to ABC Wednesday and enjoy!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Good News, Good News

It is the evening of June 3rd, and I pick up the phone to call my sister on a mobile phone

She talks to me from a restaurant in Edmonton where she and her oldest son are having a pre-admission supper before she undergoes major heart surgery the next day.  She is bright and positive, with plans to attend her granddaughter's wedding in three weeks or so.....

Between that evening and now she has had more medical adventures than you could shake a stick at, and I have not heard her dear voice for six months less four days, so you can imagine how my heart leapt when I went to answer the phone this afternoon and saw her name and telephone number displayed.  Home on a two hour pass from the hospital with two of her children, she sounded as bright and positive as she did six months ago, and it seemed as if all the distress and despair of the intervening time was a very bad dream.

I had to post this news, - it just seems so WOW! How Awesome!  And I am so full of gratitude........