Unusual Christmas Greetings to You!

“May all your raccoons have an accident-prone Christmas!”

raccoon accident

This is the oddest Christmas card I expect I’ll ever receive. It was created by a girl in Patchwork’s Arts & Smarts children’s program. She was inspired by a rubber stamp that she thought depicted a broken ornament.

My friend Jane customized it just for John and I.

Evergreen with a Touch of Whimsy

It’s Christmas Time!

That means it’s time for the annual trek to the reclaimed strip mine land in search of Christmas trees!

This year the weather was terrible with lots of rain on top of what was left of the snow. As a result, John and I were the only ones from the usual group who managed to venture out for a tree. It was a bleak midwinter landscape, made more bleak when I played with the high contrast setting on my camera.

strip mine landscape

bleak tree

a weed

We found our tree pretty quickly–we just grabbed the first good candidate that we laid eyes on. The ground was so soggy that we didn’t feel like slogging too far from the road in search of something better. In retrospect, the one we picked is perfect.

Our tree in the wild

John in high contrast

It looks wonderfully old-fashioned decorated with red ornaments, glass, fake birds, and tin icicles. It’s smaller and wispier than our previous trees, so I didn’t even attempt to add our usual angelic tree topper. As a nod to the tree’s origin, I topped it with a little goldfinch. It perches just like the live ones outside at my bird feeder.

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In looking back over the year, it seems perfect to share a photo of my garden taken from our upstairs bedroom. Here’s my garden in its entirety tucked under a blanket of snow: perennials, containers, and vegetables. It looks so small!

my little garden

Shamoo adopted that upstairs bedroom back when we moved into this house 5 years ago. It was his safe place among the stress and chaos of the move and it has remained his safe place. John and I call it…

The Fortress of Moo.

Now that Shamoo’s an old guy with kidney failure, he’s loosing all his body fat–not something anyone wants in the middle of winter. As a gift to the sweet guy, I bought him an electric cat bed that heats up when it senses he’s sitting in it. I put the bed in his already cozy Fortress.

After waiting just long enough to show me that it was his idea to sleep in the bed and not mine, he’s been spending his days sleeping toasty and warm in his bed.

Moo in his bed

His Moogesty

Of Ice and Snow

Winter storms make for great photography, so last weekend I made sure my camera battery was charged as a storm neared.

Even before the ice and snow, the frozen hosta leaves had subtle beauty. The ice added to it.

Then the snow began. My Garden Guardian was prepared.

Gathering Storm

Garden Guardian

I went out looking for interesting things to photograph in the ice and snow.

In the end, we had a whole day of snow and over 6 inches of accumulation!

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Get to Know Your Neighbors: Ski Evansville!

Selfie while skiingThe big winter storm went through Evansville on Friday, and from it we got SNOW! Over 6 inches of it!

I live in walking distance of work and had plenty to do there, so I didn’t take a snow day. I strapped Yaktrax traction springs onto my boots, shoveled the first few inches of snow and 1/4 inch of ice off our walk, and headed in to work.

Big flakes, little flakes, medium-sized flakes flew by my window all day. By 3:00 I decided I should leave a little early so I could go out and play while the snow was still coming down.

I went home, grabbed my cross country skis, and headed to the Evansville waterfront to ski. I had to walk several blocks to get there and quickly became a neighborhood conversation piece.

A few houses down from mine, a guy looked up from trying to get his car to start under a thick blanket of snow and asked, “SKIS??” as if the sight of me confirmed that we were in the grip of a snow-pocalypse and the zombies were not far behind.

A kid on a porch next door asked, “Do you know how to use those things?”

A woman stuck on her porch whose car looked like a marshmallow lump in the street called out, “Now that’s not fair,” as I strolled by.

Later, some people attempting to clean their car off commented, “Now there’s some transportation.”

And another guy just stared for a long time then asked, “Are those skis?”

“Yep,” I said.Bunny Cup

“Are those skis?”

“Yes, they are skis.”

“Wow, those are skis.”

One neighbor asked where the hill was. I explained that these were cross country skis for flat ground.

Her friend asked if there was any way she could try my skis. I told her that unfortunately you need special boots.

“Aww. I was afraid it would be something like that!” she said, making skiing motions with her arms like she was ready to give it a go.

The skiing itself was pretty good for Southern Indiana–which is saying it wasn’t that good. However, it’s only every few years that we get sufficient snow to ski, so I was just really happy to be out in it. For being in the center of the city, it was very peaceful gliding along. A few cars were out, but no people on foot. I skied along the riverfront all the way to the casino.

On the way back, a pack of enthusiastic runners passed me, stomping on my path and churning up the lower slush layer so my skis started to accumulate ice on the bottoms and I could barely move. Sigh. My reverie was lost.

After skiing, I drank a cup of hot chocolate in my bunny cup–just like I did as a child after my family got home from skiing in Goll’s Woods in Archbold.

The next morning, I went out again, figuring I should get my skiing in while I could. It was beautiful and sunny and extremely cold. Again, I didn’t see anyone else on the riverfront.

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