Tuesday, December 28, 2010

On the 4th day of Christmas

And so, Dovey and I have returned to the farm after a very fast Christmas holiday at our city house with Jerome and Mya. The girls totally enjoyed being together again. So many darn cute photo ops, but they've learned the sounds of the camera coming on and zooming in. I have to sneak up on them or risk a great shot getting blurred. Ha! try sneaking up on 2 cats, not so easy. Even so, here are a few sweet ones I managed.

The perturbed look in Mya's eyes in this first one is directed at me for disturbing their privacy. Dovey's inner eyelids are showing.
Here Mya is demonstrating how far she's come in trusting Jerome, and loving him right back, don't you think?

Though each cat spends the night on the bed of the human they live with, while Jerome and I shared our city bed the girls rarely joined us, preferring to snuggle up with each other.

And then there was the novelty of having trees in the house.
Here's Mya in front of the city tree. Anne and Jerome surprised me with it on Skype the night she spent with her dad before continuing her drive to Ohio. It smelled lovely and was just the right size. They put on lights and a few ornaments and left the rest of the decorating for my visit. I was sitting on the floor on Christmas morning trying to get a few shots of the cats with the presents. Mya looks like a cardboard cutout standing in front of the tree!

And here's Dovey sitting on the back of Anne's antique sofa in front of the farmhouse tree.

Before the first measureable snow here, Anne and I picked out this sweet little tree across the road on our "license to farm" property. It was growing in a tight cluster of several trees so it was a good choice for harvesting. The night before she left for her visit to Ohio she and I trudged through the knee deep snow with shovels and a tree saw and carried it home. Its trunk is so narrow it needed braces in order to stand up in the tree stand I bought at Dent, Bent and Beyond in Coon Valley. It was pure delight choosing and bringing in a tree from our own property, a joy I hope to repeat every year for the rest of my life.

Our holiday was filled with family. I have 6 brothers and sisters and all of them have children of their own. My eldest sister is a very young great grandmother and all four generations were at the Christmas eve dinner and gift exchange. We squeezed into her son's tiny duplex, had more food than anyone should eat in one sitting, and tried to visit among the chaos. It was snowing heavily by the time we left, roads bad, traffic heavy. Music on the car radio.
Christmas day Jerome and I shoveled snow and shared our gifts with each other quietly, enjoying the company of the cats. Just past noon we left for dinner with Jerome's family and were amazed when his brother and sister-in-law from Arizona arrived as a surprise to us all. There are new babies born and expected, new spouses joined and engaged. The family is growing! Coming home we drove into lake effect snow showers as we got nearer to home. The next day we shoveled and snowblowed our own sidewalks and driveways, and then those of several of our neighbors. We were joined by the retired fire chief down the block and soon we had our entire end of the street cleared. Lovely.
This was, however, the very first Christmas since my children were born that Jerome and I were not with either one of our kids. We had seen Phil Christmas eve for too brief a visit and we did Skype Anne and Matthias a few times, but that isn't quite like having them safely snug under your roof to greet in the morning. Life is ever evolving.

I arrived back at the farm yesterday late in the day to find that my snowblowing angel had cleared our driveway while I was gone. What a blessing. Fortunately, while I was shoveling today I spotted him leaving his drive across the road and gave him a huge wave. We had several inches of snow while I was gone. You can see that Eloise is now truly up to her neck.

I managed to shovel just a path from the garage to the back porch stairs yesterday so I could unload the car. Today I cleared the front brick walk, and all three porches. What a glorious day. First we had heavy fog and what I thought was frozen fog. But as the air changed and I could actually see out the windows clearly I discovered something new, the phenomenon known as hoar frost.  When  the sky cleared the scene was unbelievable.

Since moving to the driftless region of Wisconsin, I have seen frozen fog several times. It disappears the moment it's touched by the sun. This is something quite different and it lasted for several hours after the sun chased the clouds away.
There are new beauties to discover every day. In fact, some within the house as well. I was gone from Monday to Monday but in that time my houseplants did some amazing things.

The paper whites grew!
The orchids added length to their flower stalks.

And the lipstick plant flower buds swelled.

I had set the house heat at 59 degrees while I was gone. I guess these plants at least didn't mind. They all needed a good drink though when I got back.

Well, Anne arrives tomorrow and Jerome will be drive up on Thursday for a few days to celebrate the new year. And as the old year comes to a close I will once again be thinking on those things I had hoped to accomplish and did and those I did not. But those are thoughts for another day.


  1. I saw hoar frost on my drive back to the farm today, too. It's so magical and beautiful. The name makes me think of a witch (a kind of snow queen) breathing on everything and enchanting it all with her ice crystal breath, but as I was gassing up my car I made the mental connection of hoar being like the word hoary, referring to a hairiness. I looked up the word in the dictionary just now and found that it's really an adjective meaning grey or white, especially when describing hair. And hoary when describing plants didn't just mean hairy (as I thought), but whitish-greyish hair. Where did the witch connotation come from in my head? Thinking of the word W-H-O-R-E? But that's not a witch. In any case, I like the thought of a wintery witch breathing on everything.

    Great photos.

    And hooray for flowers growing and blooming inside in the depths of winter!

  2. So good to see you posting again, Sharon. Sounds like you had a lovely Christmas. Sweet, sweet photos of the kitties and the hoar frost looks magical. Funny that your plants did so well in the cooler temperature!
    Hope you have a good rest of the week and a very happy and healthy New Year!

  3. I love that kind of frost that clings to every nearby tree, limb and anything it manages to grab onto. Your photos are great! Your two kitties look like so much fun to have around! They seem to be very much needing each other. I have three that our sister's and they are always piling on top of one another for a nap. And of course licking each others faces! It feels good to have them all together. Knowing that they have family nearby as well! It would be so sad to ever separate them.

  4. Sharon,
    Thank you for your lovely comment today. I feel so fortunate to have met you through our blogs. It is obvious that Anne thinks the world of you - I just love what she wrote about you on her blog. We are both so lucky to have wonderful daughters. Kate will be 30 March 2 and we could not be more proud of her. I think that part of the appeal for me of your blogs is the close mother-daughter relationship you have. I don't know if I would ever have the courage you both have to follow a dream as you are doing, but I love reading about your journey.
    Well, it's late and I don't know whether I'm making sense, plus I'm typing this without my reading glasses so I'll just say thank you again.
    Best wishes,