To be honest, this year there is little difference between December at the Ditch and November at the Ditch. Even the holiday ornaments that sprang up there a few years ago haven't yet appeared. I suspect everyone is as behind schedule as I am.
On the 14th -- a Thursday -- we told the kids we would seen them in a "couple of weeks from tomorrow." The next day I looked at the calendar and realized we would see them only ONE WEEK from that day (the 22nd). In between that, there was insulation installation, a wedding I didn't know we were going to until a couple of days before that, cards to make, cards to send and not a speck of baking done.
But that Friday was beautiful and after a grocery marketing trip with a friend, I knew I had to do a walk to the ditch. Who knows when the weather would be that good -- 50 degrees, little wind and sunny! And, surprisingly, I was rewarded for my efforts!
Harry, who usually isn't seen past November, was still in residence! And, he was looking mighty fine!
He moved from one end of the pond to another -- I love to see him in flight, though I wasn't expecting it!
There was little bird action, apart from Harry. I saw a couple of ducks huddled on the bank. But this little fellow was having quite the time of it.
I think he was looking for his hidden stash of nuts! I hope he was successful!
In other news, we finally got Rick's "forest" decorated. Beginning Covid year when we couldn't find a tree lot to save our souls, I passed on some of my smaller trees his way. (Don't tell -- step one toward purging the basement.) They looked beautiful with so many ornaments!
So many, in fact, we made our own little holiday village underneath, where Santa, angels, snowmen, bicycles and pokemon characters comingle in holiday joy!
The fellows doing insulation on the house came and worked in the attic and basement all day. When they left, you'd never know they'd been there -- perfect clean-up!
I've been so swamped that I've hardly pulled out any of my own Christmas CDs and have listened more than I wish to youtube. If you need a couple of hours of non-stop music and enjoy Michael Buble, I recommend this one.
I finally finished Christmas cards, including making a very few. I felt like I was speed painting and I don't particularly enjoy that -- it's more like production work than creativity. Last year I did an Este MacLeod online class and painting watercolor ornament rounds for our "wreath" was part of it. I made far more than the project called for so I used the leftovers on the cards. Not fancy but done.
And I was finally able to start baking. So far I've done Diana's Peanut Butter Fudge (highly recommended!), Marie's Lemon-Ginger bars (also highly recommended) and Ina Garten's raspberry bars, along with Anno's Peppered nuts. (Her recipe isn't online but I'm sure if you ask nicely, she'd share! They are the BEST!) I also did my fabulous shortbread cookies and topped them with a lemon glaze. I'd still like to get a molasses or ginger cookie in there and the mandatory cut-outs that we'll decorate with the kids on Christmas weekend. I know I'll be missing a few of my other favorites this year but there just isn't time.
I also made some frozen sugared cranberries for garnish or snacks. (Heat fresh cranberries in a simple syrup of equal parts of sugar and liquid made of lemon juice and water and add about one inch of sliced stem ginger. Just before they pop (or right after, quickly!) roll in sugar, put on waxed paper and freeze. Then pack later in a container to keep frozen. Use the syrup for fruit salad or in a drink. AWESOME!)
Rick and I took dinner to our Cork Popper friend Barb, whose husband Mike is still in rehab for his stroke. I did a pasta sauce with artichokes, kalamata, mushrooms and such and took some pasta with it, along with fruit salad and dessert. Rick brought two baguettes. It was good to get a progress report -- they hope to have him home for Christmas. Keep the good vibes going!
As we drove out we were dashing through the snow, as we had an unexpected snowfall. It was a wet snow and stuck to the trees -- they looked like Narnia or a scene from "The Snow Queen."
Then this happened.
You don't want to see this message on your phone. It will require a factory reset (I learned after spending an hour with online chat to my provider) but first (in my spare time) I need to make sure I have a complete list of my contacts -- which are extensive. Meanwhile, I'm holding my breath that it makes it through Christmas. I feel somewhat relieved in that I never do banking or buy things on my phone, so credit info should (emphasis "should") be safe.
At Christmas Central I finally have started some mega-wrapping. The house is a mess. Paper is everywhere, ribbons sprawled over several rooms, the kitchen is a disaster zone. I have two days left before we leave for Christmas and my friend from Paris is visiting one of those days. I'd love to be taking my time on this -- but time waits for no one!
This one is bugging me -- it's time for her dinner, perhaps even a bit overdue! So, I'll take care of that and back to the wrapping.
Meanwhile, I'm not sure how much I'll be blogging over the next five days. I'll do my best to check in but for now I will say have a wonderful and safe holiday.
Wishing you peace, happiness, healing and the very merriest over this holiday. Merry Christmas.