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.
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!
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.