Welcoming Winter

Finally! We have snow…and lots of it! I think we have had more snow in the last four days than we did all last winter.

 

 

snowy porch light

snowy porch light

 

I love the look of snow. The crisp whiteness that makes everything look clean and pure. The way animal tracks show up so perfectly. Most of all I love the look of snow heavy on tree branches. The crisp white against the greens and browns of the trees. I could reflect on this for hours. The temperature is cold but wonderfully fresh and the air feels cleaner for some reason. There is a certain scent to snow that is so incredible. You may think I sound a bit nutty, but seriously, breathe deep the next time the snow falls (if you are in an area that receives snow) and smell for yourself. Lovely…ahhhh…

 

I have to admit though that I am not a winter sport kind of gal. I don’t like having cold fingers, toes or nose for any length of time. The thought of skiing gracefully downhill is appealing, than I remember that I am a total klutz. I think I am better suited to sitting by the fire in the chalet. I love the thrill of tobogganing, though. Bumping and flying down a hill at top speed totally out of control! I always find myself screaming and laughing until I cry. I instantly turn into a kid again. Not much skill needed. Just strong legs and stamina to get myself back up the hill repeatedly. Note to Self: get my butt out to the sledding hill. I usually end up as a giant snowball at least once, but it is so worth it. This would make a great Girls’ Night activity. I must put the word out. Sledding, then wine and snacks…who’s in?

 

It has been snowing beautiful, fluffy snowflakes all day. I went out into my backyard to look at the trees and quickly found my jeans soaking wet and heavy. I stayed out for only a few minutes to fill my lungs with the wonderfully crisp air and listen to the stillness that winter always brings.

 

snow pressed up against the door

snow pressed up against the door

 

 

 

 

snow accumulated on the outdoor chandelier

snow accumulated on the outdoor chandelier

snow-covered tree

snow-covered tree

” Nature looks dead in winter because her life is gathered into her heart. She
withers the plant down to the root that she may grow it up again fairer and
stronger. She calls her family together within her inmost home to prepare them
for being scattered abroad upon the face of the earth.” ~Hugh Macmillan,
“Rejuvenescence,” The Ministry of Nature, 1871

 

 

Advertisements

A Few of My Favorite Things

I am going to veer off my Festive Mode momentarily and jot down a few of my favorite things. It seems appropriate to this time of year.

A Few of My Favorite Things:

wonderful hiking terrain - escarpment

wonderful hiking terrain – escarpment

– without a doubt, at the top of my list are my children. That goes without saying, though.

– unsolicited hugs from my children. There is nothing like the hug of your own child that is infused with love, trust, and adoration to make you realize how much you impact another Being.

– laughing a good, deep laugh right from the belly. Laughter is so rejuvenating.

– standing with my face to the gentle breeze, closing my eyes and just feeling the sensation of the wind on my face and in my hair.

– a cold, refreshing beer on a hot summer day. Or a sumptuous glass of red wine while sitting by the fireplace on a cold winter’s night.

– the smell of fresh-cut grass.

– aloo gobi. The thought makes my mouth water….mmm…

– great tunes cranked up loud!

– the plant world. Truly fascinating.

– Brussels sprouts

– water. Fresh, clean water

– baking

– Get Clean products. The ONLY cleaners I allow to enter my home because they are safe and work like nobody’s business (check them out via the link to Live Love Be Green at the right side of this blog).

– my phenomenal family and friends. I love that we have a mutual respect for each other’s individuality. There is no need for us all to be clones of each other!

– Glorious coffee. You make my morning.

– muscles. No explanation necessary. (I felt it necessary to add this)

– the different terrain in the area I reside. Rocky escarpment, lakes, forests, vineyards and orchards, to bustling city. I love the contrast and the unique beauty of each.

– the Christmas and holiday season

Of course, there are many other things I could add to my list because this world offers so much bounty. However, I must stop somewhere! These are just a few of the things that make each and every day a bit brighter in my world. No, I don’t consume aloo gobi every day but honestly, I could.  I reserve the cold beer to occasional consumption which allows me to enjoy it even more when I do have it. I try to amalgamate most of these things into my every day.

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

“It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.”  – Charles  Spurgeon

‘Tis the Season

I must admit that the Holidays turn me into a child again. The baking – oh, the baking! The decorating. The time spent with friends and family. A reason to wear sequins and bling at any time of the day or night. The way the stars in the sky seem to sparkle just a little bit brighter when the night air is cold and crisp.

Here’s the part that transports me back to childhood though. I confess that it is just a teeny bit embarrassing. I am a sucker for a really good Santa…I always get teary eyed and on the verge of crying when I am near one. Don’t ask me why. My only explanation is that I had such a memorably happy childhood that was steeped with Christmas magic. I’m sure onlookers must think I’ve gone off the deep-end but frankly, I’m not too concerned. I feel sad that they can’t feel the intensity of emotion that I am experiencing in that exact moment. This has absolutely nothing to do with reality, certainly, but the images of festivity and magic that the moment conjures up. Forgive me if this sounds utterly lame…I’m a dreamer.

“Santa is our culture’s only mythic figure truly believed in by a large percentage of the population. It’s a fact that most of the true believers are under eight years old, and that’s a pity.”   – Chris Van Allsburg

There is one aspect of this season that I wish would just evaporate into thin air though. This would be the frantic pace at which society seems to deem necessary. In this chaotic speed, people forget how to be kind and seem to transform into rudenicks (no, it’s not a real word, however it fits so I shall use it!)  I have noticed this year seems to be the worst yet for pushiness. There has been a total lack of concern for safety as well. Honestly, I have never noticed so many people running red lights while speeding. Almost every stoplight I am at I notice someone blatantly run the red. Scary. Yesterday, I stopped for a light that was red way before I got to it and was nearly rear-ended…then honked at! Seriously. I pretended not to notice when I really felt like giving the person a piece of my… festive cheer. I am certain his name must have been Dominic for he put me in mind of a Christmas donkey. Hee HAW!

I try to focus on keeping a smile in my eyes throughout the day. No frowning allowed. This keeps me feeling joyful and less stressed. I have even noticed plenty of people making a point of smiling back then keeping the smile after we have passed. I have to wonder though, do people see innocence or mischief in my smiling eyes?  I must think pure thoughts…I must think pure thoughts…

Mischief or purity?

Mischief or purity?

I am just finishing my preparation for the Holidays. Shopping is nearing completion and I only have a few more items on the list to bake. My freezer is full to overflowing, even after entertaining friends with an annual holiday party. It was heart-warming to spend the evening with friends old and new and welcome them into our home. For me, this seems to kick-start the Season. I am now in full-blown Festive Mode!

“At Christmas play and make good cheer, for Christmas comes but once a year.”   – Thomas Tusser

What is your favourite thing about the Holiday season?

Dirty Ol’ Me

The gardening season, or work season in my world, came to an abrupt ending a couple of weeks ago. If you don’t already know this about me I shall give you a bit of history as to  the work aspect of my existence.

I come from a family of non-gardeners. Those that appreciate beautiful gardens but don’t really relish digging in the dirt like I do. Like my Gemini nature alludes to, I have dual aspects to my Being. I am a bit of a “girly girl” so to speak. I love bling, shoes, and cultural outings. I also love to get dirty. Say what?! Let me rephrase that…I like to put on my work boots, work up a sweat, seem to often have disheveled hair and dirt caked on me somewhere. That’s during the working seasons of spring, summer and fall. Now that winter is here I have morphed once again into purity itself (snicker, snicker). Ok, I am at least not covered in dirt at some point during the day.

I am a Horticulture Technician, or so my college diploma tells me. I have worked in many different areas of horticulture including landscaping, gardening (yes they are very different specialties), florists, greenhouses (both ornamental and agricultural), retail, integrated pest management and (shudder) chemicals.

When I started my college courses eons ago, I was asked constantly if that meant I was a gardener. For some reason this used to irritate me to distraction. I would nearly snap people’s heads clean off! My, how my world has changed! I now love telling people that I am a gardener. Things seem to have come full circle for me. I attribute it to the fact that I am now truly comfortable with Me. I no longer feel the need to impress anyone but just be myself. I really, REALLY love being a professional gardener. There,  I said it.

What it really boils down to is that I have found, or maybe we found each other, an amazing group of strong, powerful women that welcomed me into their “family” like no other people I have ever worked with have. The company is run by one of THE most spectacular women that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I love her charisma and zest for life…and good food.  Sure, I’ve always got along with most of my co-workers over the years but nothing like the way this group has bonded. We all look after one another. Don’t mess with us…seriously. We are all well-educated women that are conditioned to succeed in a feminine, no-fuss way. If there was such a thing as roller derby gardening we would be beside the definition in the dictionary.

I think I may be getting off track slightly.

Anyway, over the last few weeks off work for the season I have missed my friends/co-workers greatly…until last night. It was Christmas Party night! Woot-woot! It was great to be with them all again (minus one whom we wished had been there). Laughing at the past season’s shenanigans and catching up with one another. I feel refreshed.

I am a firm believer that we come into contact with those that we are meant to learn from. Those that have an impact on us and vice-versa. This amazing group of ladies has reminded me  about not only how hard work is greatly therapeutic but that human compassion is a wonderful thing. There is something to be said about the sisterhood of women. Strong, supportive women encouraging each other is an incredible gift shared the world over.

There is a whole lot more to me and “what I do”…but that’s another story, as they say. I will share that at another time.

The night came to an end all too quickly, but have no fear…we still have some Holiday partying in the not-so-distant future!

“A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.” – Coco Chanel.

Clearing the Cobwebs

creek

In my last blog post, I mentioned heading out for a walk to clear the cobwebs before getting busy with my holiday baking. Along the way I stopped often to enjoy my surroundings, the fabulous weather, and to take a few photos. Join me on my walk, won’t you?

The water in the creek was very clear. It was wonderful to just stand on the bridge and watch  the water as it gently made its way through the rocks.

burr

There is something so incredible about burrs. They are nature’s little hitchhiker. Most of us were first introduced to them as children when they were stuck in our hair and clothes. Although I have spent countless hours plucking them from my children’s and my own clothes I still find them fascinating. The natural world is so full of wondrous specimens.

pear tree

There are a grouping of old gnarly pear trees along my route. I am always drawn to these trees. They have so much character. Over the last few years a few of them have died off and been removed by city workers. This is one of the few left standing. I stood under this tree for a few minutes to enjoy the visual contrast between the rough, dark texture of the bark against the velvety blue sky as the clouds drifted past.

path

Occasionally while I am walking I tear my eyes from the plant-life around me long enough to look up ahead to where my feet are leading me.

up we go

Almost to the top of the hill! There was a refreshing breeze here that made my hair dance around me. Such a great feeling to have the wind in my hair – so rejuvenating.

looking ahead

I love the way the sun was creating pockets of warmth…the temptation makes me step a bit quicker.

fallen tree

The cycle of Life always amazes me.

oddity

Surprisingly, I have never noticed this particular tree before.

dry docks

I had no set destination in mind. The warm, fresh air was so welcoming I wasn’t ready to turn for home yet. So I kept walking…and walking…and walking. I stopped for a few minutes to check out the happenings at the dry docks.

Canadian Coast Guard at the dry docks

At the moment there is a Canadian Coast Guard ship docked here.

canal and reservoir

On this day the reservoir beside the canal is full. During the summer months it was as dry as a bone. The sun was shining so bright that I couldn’t see to take this pic. I was squinting like crazy at this exact moment while a man walking his dog stood behind me watching while I took pictures. No idea why but, oh well.

anchor

While leaning on the fence, I noticed the anchors built into the design. A nice touch, in my opinion.

the road ahead

With the sun beating brightly down, warming my Soul and my face, I head for home.

” Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” 

– John Lubbock

Baking for the Soul

I must admit, I am highly unorganized this year. By now I am usually finished my holiday baking and appetizer-making and have everything carefully portioned in my freezer. I prefer to be prepared so that I am less stressed once the entertaining approaches.  I am far behind this year but I am not worried though as I seem to stay calm and focused under pressure. I started making my baking and cooking  list and checking it twice last week. I knocked one appetizer prep off the list then and it is nicely nestled in its chilly home…temporarily. Yesterday “THE BAKING” began. That is said in a booming, echoey voice by the way. My house is smelling super-scrumptious at the moment. Cinnamon and chocolate scents waft throughout each room and envelope you as you walk in the front door. Yum.

 

As my friends and family know, I love to bake so now that I have started I find it hard to stop. I even woke up a few times during the night last night thinking that perhaps if I was really quiet, I could knock something else off my list. Then my rational brain took the helm and it told me to get back to sleep. Thank you rational brain.

 

This morning the temperature feels rather balmy at 16 degrees fahrenheit (or 61 degrees celsius if you prefer). I am having a hard time refocusing. I feel the need to get outside! There is rain in the forecast for this afternoon and the temperature is supposed to drop dramatically so I think I will take this time to go for a walk to breathe in some fresh air and regroup. This comfortable temperature is – or should be – an oddity here in Canada at this time of year. At least in southern Ontario. December, in my mind, should bring snowflakes, ice skating and winter jackets…not hoodies. I love this time of year when the snow flies and Jack Frost leaves designs on the windows each morning. I guess I’ll just have to bake in spring-like temperatures with the windows open so my neighbours can be tempted by the fragrances of the holidays!

 

 

 

“Food for the body is not enough. There must be food for the soul.”  – Dorothy Day