Tag Archives: Christmas

Tis the Season – Dec. 6, 2018

The tradition in our household since daughter was old enough to notice, was that no Christmas decorations could be put up until after her late November birthday.  She no longer lives with us, nor was she even in town on her birthday this year, but no decorations went up.  Nearly a week passed and I still wasn’t in the mood.

December is a bitter sweet month.  Both of my parents passed away in December, my mother in 1987 at only 63 years young, and my Dad just a couple of years ago.  Christmas was always a fun time for me when our children were young, as we could get them special gifts of items they desired but wouldn’t spend the money on at other times of the year.  We always had extended family for the special holiday meals, and an Open House for hubby’s staff and all the neighbors.  When our kids were grown and gone, beginning families of their own, one or more of them would come home, or we would travel to be with one of them for Christmas.  This year we will awaken on Christmas morning with no kids or grandkids in the house.  We will go to daughter’s on Christmas Eve, she will bring her kids over for Christmas dinner later on Christmas Day, and eldest son and eldest grandson will be here on the 26th.

Two days ago, I put on some Christmas music and began hauling the boxes of Santa’s and the Snow village up.  A good thorough cleaning always precedes setting it up as dusting for the next couple of weeks is onerous with dozens of Santa and Christmas gnomes adorning the book shelves, mantle, and window sills.  The Christmas towels, table cloth, throw pillows, and wall hangings were put in place.  The tiny tree of Hallmark mini’s that used to grace my office was put on the jelly cupboard and lit and I quit.

IMG_20171210_161605  IMG_20171210_161541


Today, before we get snow this weekend, we drove to the local tree farm to get a tree.  Normally we walk the hills and choose one, some have been as much as 12 feet tall as our living room in our log home can accommodate it.  There were no other cars in the lot in the early afternoon on a work and school day and we walked up to get the tag to hang on the tree we wanted, and there by the building was a beautifully shaped little 6.5 foot precut tree.  We took it, had a fresh cut on the trunk and drilled for the stand that we bought from them several years ago.  The tree was small enough to fit inside the SUV with one rear seat down.


One of the taller ones from years past.


Today’s small addition.

The house is decorated, we listened to Christmas music as we decorated it, topping it yet again with the huge Starfish that came from a cruise with youngest son  about 5 years ago.  It makes a good tree topper, a reminder of a good week with them.

And ended our day with a comfort food meal of turkey pot pie, using some of the remaining Thanksgiving turkey.

Olio December 17, 2017

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things.

The second Holiday Market was yesterday.  It was biting cold when I got there to set up and it was noon before the sun came around enough to provide some warmth, never enough to remove my parka and hat, but I did finally remove my gloves.  It was a great market and I did very well.  It is the last event of the year for me.  The market manager told me that I should bring my spinning wheel and sit and spin.  It was too cold yesterday for me to even drop spindle until it warmed some.  When someone shows interest in the knitwear or yarn, I always let them know that it is hand spun and the knitwear, hand knit by me.  Two ladies were looking at the hats, sweater, and mitts when I told them that.  One of the ladies turned to me and said “What do you mean hand spun?”  Her companion said before I could answer, that it was spun on a spinning wheel.  Lady #1’s eyes got big and she said to me, “You make the yarn and then make the hats?”  She just couldn’t wrap her head around that idea even though I was standing behind my booth with a spinning drop spindle at the time and had knitting on the table.

The cold and wind when I had been fighting a cold for a couple days, left me totally voiceless today.   The week has been very cold and several days of  light snow.


The grands missed one day of school and had a 2 hour delay the following day because of the extreme cold.  We drove across the state last weekend in the snow, but fortunately the roads were in decent shape.  We delivered Christmas gifts to our youngest and his family and enjoyed a few hours of visit and a meal out.

When we got home last weekend, we went to one of the cut your own Christmas tree farms and got our tree for the year.  It was put up in the stand and has been watered daily.  I put the lights on it and we were waiting for the grands to be able to help us decorate it, but between school, their activities, preparing for and moving stuff from storage to their new house, it hadn’t happened.  Since I am voiceless and a bit under the weather today, I built a fire, put on carols, and Jim and I put most of the ornaments on the tree, leaving a few for the kids to hang this evening.


That finishes the decorating for this year, now we sit back and enjoy it for a couple of weeks.  Midweek, we made the Christmas dinner purchases as we will travel to visit eldest son and his family next weekend, coming home on Christmas eve.

There has been quite a bit of knitting going on with 3 little girl hats hand knit from my hand spun yarns. IMG_20171212_150448IMG_20171208_111447


I failed to photograph the third one, it was all pink.

Now I am working on a project for me, a Hitchhiker scarf, knit in a gradient merino commercial yarn that started with a soft salmon and has turned into a red, though several shades of reds to maroon.


I tend to knit blues and teals for myself, so it is fun using something brighter.

The cold and snow have the chooks on strike.  Yesterday, there were only 2 eggs from 16 hens.  One of the hens doesn’t seem to be a layer.  Her body shape is more like a guinea hen, her neck longer and thin, and her comb and waddle pale.  She otherwise seems healthy enough as far as activity.  I haven’t seen any sign of parasite activity.  And unlike her Welsummer sisters, she can’t fly over the fence.  She may have to be culled from the coop.  There are too many hens for my coop right now and the coop is requiring frequent cleaning when most winters I can just use the deep litter method of keeping them clean and warm.

Hoping you and yours have a wonderful holiday season.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.


Memories – December 11, 2017

Our memories of Christmas together go back 40 years and most are wonderful memories, a few sad, a few where a silent primal scream in the kitchen was in order.

As our daughter was born in late November, as soon as she had a voice and an idea of what a birthday was supposed to be, decorating was forbidden until the day after her birthday.  Usually the outdoor wreaths would go up the day after Thanksgiving whether it was the 23rd or the 29th, but the indoor decorations were left in the boxes in the attic or storage closet (depending on the house) until the 30th.

Early on in our relationship, a Santa collection was begun and as the family grew, so did the collection as it made a great gift from the kids or from hubby.  We lived in the Hampton Roads part of Virginia at the time and in the town of Portsmouth was a Nursery and greenhouse that in addition to selling Christmas trees, turned the entire property into a winter wonderland with animatronic displays of various themes, the Santa workshop, Candy factory, train displays, with one room of one building selling tree lights, ornaments, gifts, and hot cocoa.  Our first Santa and his Mrs. came from Coleman’s Nursery.


Several of the more than 100 also came from there as I discovered the gnomes of Tom Clark and they became my favorites.


At some point, a tiny village was also started and occupied the mantel when the children were small and later the corner of the hutch.


Sometime in the late 1990’s, Coleman’s burned and they lost a lot of their displays, but vowed to rebuild.  In 2003, we heard that Coleman’s was closing and selling off their  remaining animatronics and trains and though we hadn’t been in a couple of years because it just wasn’t the same after the fire, we returned and came home with an addition to the village.  Most of the Santas and village pieces are dated by me and often have either where they were purchased or who gifted them to me.  One year at Coleman’s, we discovered that daughter, then maybe 4 was breaking out with chicken pox.  I always wondered how many children we infected that night before we realized, she never felt ill and fortunately didn’t get too many pox, but another memory.

There were Christmases when money was tight and we struggled to make sure that the kids got at least one major gift from their list.  Of course our kids were of the age to want Cabbage Patch doll or Transformers, sending us on merry chases to try to locate the gift that every other child of that age wanted that year.

One year, a small animatronic Santa with a working clock and tape player that played the Night Before Christmas Story appeared.


He always sat in our foyer at Christmas, but has been stored away for more than a decade.  This year, not knowing if he even still worked, he was brought out for the resident grands and with a battery in the clock and a good dusting, he still works, including the cassette.

There were the sad Christmas times as I lost both of my parents in December, many years apart and the unwrapping of ornaments and Santas from them bring tears of love and sadness.

The memories, oh the memories.  I hope my children have mostly good memories of Christmas, I do.

A Time to Rest and Enjoy

The shopping is done, groceries stocked, gifts wrapped and under the tree.  Tomorrow, Son #1 and family will arrive back in my car that they drove home at Thanksgiving and we will have time together, sitting by the fire, enjoying the Christmas lights.

Tomorrow is supposed to bring a wintery mix, much less than had previously been threatened, the front is passing farther south than predicted earlier this week. If the weather permits, we will venture to the Farmers’ Market to try to buy a beef or pork roast for one of the dinners while family is here.  Perhaps we will get some other meat as well, with the family also eating from the freezer, we will use the stew beef and ground beef and it will be two weeks before we can return to the Farmers’ Market.

Tonight, I am tired and cold, having done some clean up, some laundry, split a few dozen pieces of firewood from sections that were too large to get to burn easily.  Dinner has been prepared, eaten and cleaned up.  With a cup of Cocoa and Chambord, I am sitting with my knitting and a book, soaking in the warmth of the fire, . . .


enjoying the tree, . . .


with the gifts awaiting an eager grandson, and glad that I did unwrap and display my Santa collection, though this is but a few of them.


Wishing you all a happy holiday with your loved ones.

It is too quiet

Our family has left to return home in my car, full of pork, chicken and vegetables, canned and frozen to supplement their budget as they finish the last couple of weeks of first semester.  DIL#1 has only one more to her BFA.  Son#1 returns to work and spends any time he can budget to work on his PhD.  Grandson#1 plods along as a reluctant 4th grader.  He is so bright, but such a footdragger.  It was so great having them here for more than a night or two and look forward to a few more nights with them here at Christmas.  Not having Grandson#1 rough housing with the pups or begging for someone to come to the basement to play ping pong with him is already missed.

They always appreciate the good food that we grow and I prepare for them.  Son#1 always gets a few tasks done that we either can’t do or find difficult.  This trip we got the weatherstripping back up on the garage doors, he does most of the work, I am the gofer and holder.  He reconnected a downspout to a gutter that gets damaged every time we have accumulating snow.  Come spring, the end of the snow and the restaining of that section of the house, we will have to hire a real gutter person to come and fix that whole section, putting snow spikes on the upper roof at the same time.  That is yet another error on the contractor’s part, not making the upper overhang longer than the lower one or at least putting the snow spikes on that upper section of roof.  Son#1 and I got the load of firewood stacked and this morning, he, Mountaingdad and I switched the futon from the loft to the basement and brought a double recliner up to the loft. Having the futon in the loft gave us an extra bed before we finished the basement and added the 4th bedroom down there and the loft is where I sit and knit or spin and Mountaingdad watches TV and writes.  Having the seating here and the extra bed in the basement greatroom made more sense, we can put 4 people down there and 4 on the main floor of the house, so two of our kids with their families.  If we have all three kids and families, we will put the adults in the bedrooms and have a great sleepover for the 5 kids in the rec room with pads and sleeping bags.

When our daughter lived at home, she made a rule that I couldn’t begin to decorate for Christmas until the day after her birthday which is November 29th.  Sometimes that is only two days, sometimes a week.  I would comply except to maybe put up the outdoor wreaths.  After the kids left, I pulled out the first couple of boxes of decorations and put out the holiday linens, the wreaths, and my miniature village.  There are two large plastic boxes of Santas that each must be unwrapped, the shelves thoroughly dusted, statues places and though I love them, I dread that and later putting them away after Christmas.  We will wait to get a tree for a few more weeks and then decide whether to to go to a cut your own location or try to find a live tree that can be planted after Christmas.  We have a small grove of them between the house and the barn from Christmas past.  Until we decide, I always put up a 2 foot artificial tree with Hallmark mini ornaments and lights on my jelly cupboard between the dining room and living room.  The decorating will continue for a few more days, saving the tree and enjoying the rest.

Love my family and our mountain home.

Holiday family time

The gift giving frenzies are done. Two days before Christmas I feared for the worst when I awoke with Norovirus. The day was miserable and the family left me to sleep and went to see The Hobbit.  Fortunately Christmas Eve dawned over it. Our tradition is to have our Christmas dinner on the eve. The dinner was prepared, enjoyed and delicious. Christmas was a celebration of love and commercial avarice but so much fun watching the grands rip into their new gifts.


Santa brought me a new tablet and hubby a motorcycle jackest with armor for his new hobby.

We are loving family time, especially hubby who granddaughter has really decided is hers alone and wanted him to sleep with her last night.