I took this photo through the windshield of my car as I arrived home from work. The sky is big and gray, and the grass is frozen and colorless. Imagine the sound of the ever present wind and the distant rumble of the highway. Our tiny pale house looks cold and dormant, doesn't it? Desolate?
Once I park my car, and the dog and flock of chickens and guineas come running to greet me, and the sound of the wind and the highway becomes background music to the cry of the goats and the bray of the donkey, it no longer feels desolate, but alive and hungry. Feeding the animals and the fire creates movement and energy. The recent addition of a wreath for the door, and inside holiday decor, bring the the house to life even more. Even though it's cold and gray out there, there are sparkles in here from the twinkling lights and flickering flame.
Last weekend, with lots of help from family, the Christmas tree was decorated, a wreath was made, ribbon was wound, and all my little holiday nick-knacks found homes on surfaces around the house.
Even the cactus got in the holiday spirit!
We decorated the mantel with cedar boughs. lights, and glittery pine cones, and hung the stocking with care.
My nieces and nephew get to hang the ornaments on the tree, and we always have fun looking at the school pictures of myself and my brothers on the ornaments made for our great grandmother so many years ago, which have found their way back to me.
We popped popcorn on the stove top and spent some time in the evening making cranberry and popcorn garland for the tree. My eldest niece can eat raw sour cranberries without even puckering her lips! Grandma is the best at making popcorn and cranberry garland, and can make twice as many strands as the rest of us in the same amount of time. As my youngest niece said, she must have really good hands.
The day of our holiday tree decorating party, the wind was strong, but it was fairly warm. Even though we stopped adding wood to the fire, by the time the whole family was in the small house with smoldering embers in the fire and a hot oven from baking cookies, it was uncomfortably hot for those of us with warm blood. Luckily, it was warm enough outside for the kids and I to strap on our headlamps, and hike the nature trail all the way to the climbing tree and the zip line, in the dark. My nephew brought the baseball bat and kept Wendigo close, just in case we had any scary encounters with coyotes or ghosts.
Boo! I mean - Merry Christmas!