Wednesday, December 30, 2020

December Wraps Up a Crazy Year

 I think most of us will be happy to see 2020 in the rear view mirror, but that doesn't mean we'll see any immediate difference as the calendar changes. Still, we all wish for 2021 to be a better year. I'm hopeful that we will indeed see improvement, after all, the Covid vaccine is now available. That fact alone should help us transition into a better world. 

But here we are at home, still in our little bubble of two. It was indeed a strange holiday season, that's for sure. We did a brief Covid Christmas with our family, which consisted of opening presents outside, in the winter, in Michigan, with masks on and at a social distance, around a fire pit.  I never thought to see that kind of holiday celebration, but we had fun regardless. And at least we got to see each other in a mostly safe way. 

At home, I did decorate for the season, even though only the two of us were here to see it. The poinsettia you see below stood in for our Christmas tree this year. As for those ornaments hanging on my measuring cup rack, I placed them there because we made them together with the kids and grands last year, and didn't have a tree up where I could lovingly place them. While I was putting various Christmas decorations on my kitchen baker's rack, I realized that I had inadvertently started a small collection of Christmas teapots. As for this birdcage full of yarn, it was a whim that struck me one day. After Christmas, I'll remove the more festive colors, and leave it out on display. 

Decorating outside is my favorite though, because it feels like gardening. Most of these greens will stay up until March, although I'll remove the festive red parts. 

Outside, Robin's Nest is asleep for the winter. Early in the month, I did find these lonely blooms trying valiantly to stay alive. The snow did them in afterwards. 

We've had several snowfalls already, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I've become a winter lover, not sure exactly why. All I know is that snow covers up our normally brown and gray winter landscape, so I'm grateful for it every time it happens. Besides, it's just plain pretty! On Christmas Eve and Day, we had the most beautiful snow of all, six inches all told, and because we had nowhere to go, the timing was perfect. 

The big snowfalls we had were the type where the snow sticks to every branch, and it actually stayed in place for a long while. So I took off to Blacklick Woods Park to marvel at it. The first time it happened this winter, on December 1st, I was mesmerized by how it looked like a magical fairyland. Seriously, I was absolutely awestruck, speaking out loud to no one about it, into the cold air.

For one of the snow events, I even went walking in the woods to enjoy it. This park is new to me, and is called Walnut Woods. Wow, was it ever stunning in the snow! This was an absolutely magical adventure for me, like the day at Blacklick, only even more so. It was still snowing throughout my walk, and my goal was to find the tall pines. It was a much farther walk than I thought it would be, but glad that I did eventually get there. Finally! 


With the holidays behind us, it's hunker down time at our house. I've done extra reading, some baking, lots of cooking, and increased my crafting. The painted polka dot rock you see is my effort to add a spot of winter color where I usually have a pot of colorful summer flowers. I made the tiny crochet items as a request for doll house rugs, and as for that crazy hairy colorful blob, I made it into a small neck roll pillow to use for yoga. The yarn I used is called That 70's Yarn, and I bought it just because I grew up in the 70's. The cream colored items are boot cuffs, to dress up your favorite pair of boots, the pocket shawls are just for fun, and the serape style blanket is to hang on my blanket ladder. Finally, the gingersnaps you see are a new recipe I found after searching for a dairy free version. They turned out to be absolutely delicious, and have become my new favorite cookie. Yummy! You can find the recipe here.

The sunsets have been great lately, but they seem to always hit right in the middle of my dinner preparations. One night I did make it down to the pond in time. But if dinner calls, I simply run up to the bedroom window to take a photo. 

Thanks for stopping by my blog this month, and every month. It seems to be a fading trend, keeping a blog, so I do appreciate the support. As you know, I keep it mostly for my own records, like a kind of garden journal. Even in winter, I like to stop by and chat about life in Robin's Nest at the end of each month. You are very welcome when you come by to visit with me. It's such a virtual world, even more so during the pandemic. So hope to see you back again another time!  

Monday, November 30, 2020

November Gratitude

 Are you finding gratitude hard to come by these days? Well, you are certainly not alone. The world has been troubling for some time now, and the news is often distressing. Still, I'm finding it best not to spend too much time wallowing in anxiety about everything. It's not that I'm trying to be Suzy Sunshine while real problems exist in the world. But it's important to have distraction so we don't go sinking too far down into the mire. Here in the US, we celebrate Thanksgiving in November, and many of us spent this normally family oriented holiday at home in our own household bubble. Again, it may have been hard to find gratitude when you're used to being surrounded by loved ones. 

As for myself, I am grateful for many things, despite being separated from family and friends. I have my husband here working from home, and a warm and cozy home it is. We are healthy and strong, with many ways to keep ourselves occupied here in the nest. Of course I'm grateful for the garden, which keeps me busy, entertained, and emotionally supported throughout the year. 

November was fairly pleasant early on, and many of my favorites were still blooming for me. At this point in the garden year, the chores consist of putting the garden to bed for the winter. Faded flowers are removed, the decorative touches are put away for the winter, and bulbs are planted. Luckily the weather cooperated while I finished up. 

There were even some fall colors to enjoy at the start of the month. I made a few last visits to my favorite parks, just to see what sights were still available. 

Of course here we are at month's end, and the weather has turned more wintery. It's snowing today, and I'm thoroughly enjoying the big fat flakes coming down. I hope it sticks! We've had some pretty cold nights, and only a few bedraggled roses and snapdragons remain in bloom. I've discarded all the pumpkins, and soon I'll decorate with Christmas greens, which will remain in place until March. 

Below you see what I call frost bouquets. Whenever a big freeze threatens, I gather what ever flowers still remain, just in case they get nipped. Sometimes the frost misses the last blooms after all, but it's still nice to have bouquets indoors. And that big ole praying mantis showed up while I was making Thanksgiving dinner. I have no idea where he suddenly appeared from, and what he could find to eat at that point. He stayed for a few days, now nowhere to be seen. The single roses seen are the die hards, bedraggled, but still trying to be pretty. 

It's harder to keep a garden blog interesting in the winter, but I'll do my best. We've been in hunker down mode throughout most of the pandemic, so winter won't be much different, although there won't be any garden to distract us. Winter gardening mostly consists of planning for next year. I'll draw a few pictures of how I want things to look, make a list of purchases, and plan out my color schemes and seed purchases. And I'll work on my gratitude. This is the second year running where I write down my daily gratitude at day's end. It helps. Sometimes the gratitude is simply a cozy bowl of soup, and sometimes it's more extensive. But even in these troubling times, there's always something to be thankful for. By the way, the colorful pot you see below has been a delight all through the cold weather. I did protect it overnight a few times, and finally brought it inside to spend the winter. Hopefully it will keep me smiling throughout the long, cold winter so it can return to the outdoors next year. And please let us all hope that we find it a whole lot easier to find gratitude next year!