Saturday, December 15, 2012

Frosty Mornings

The first rays of sun strike the goat willow and the frost-whitened grass of the front field.

Mornings this past week were sharply cold and frosty, giving way to morning sun that sparkled
on crisp grass and feathered twigs with silvery light.
We are rising a bit later just now--one of the perks of retirement.
I am not allwed to be slothful, I hasten to state.
If I were inclined to linger in bed, I couldn't do so in comfort.
At the first flicker of an eyelash or wiggle of my toes, I am pounced upon by cats and lovingly urged to get up and serve their breakfast.
Teasel has been particularly importunate these chilly mornings--poking at me with an insistant paw until I emerge from the covers.
She has an endearing way of sitting up on her haunches and waving her front paws at me until I pick her up and head for the kitchen, trying not to trip over the throng of furry bodies.

The three boy kittens dash outside and gobble their treat of canned food in the carport, while the older cats eat in peace in the kitchen.
With cat tummies comfortably full its time for bird-watching, mousing, sniffing at the mole tunnels.
I start the coffee, poke up the fire, haul on jeans and a heavy top.
My limit is one cup of coffee;  with a bit of luck I can sip it by the fire and ease into the day.

My feet are still in slippers and I don't want to walk into the cold grass, so these photos were taken from the front porch or the steps.
The sun comes up now much farther to the south, beaming in low, crossing the sky in a gentle arc to disappear behind the woods of our western boundary before 4 in the afternoon.

I was back inside, warming my chilled hands when J. looking out the bedroom window, called my attention to the 5 deer crossing the north field and heading toward the road.
We often see them in the evening if we've been out, picked out in the beam of the car's headlights as we turn into our drive.
I went out again and stood on the front sidewalk, zooming with the camera, trying to focus just ahead of the bounding deer.

I was praying no traffic would come along as they reached the road.

The movement of a deer always appears effortless, springy and light.

Small household tasks have taken my days, the unexciting things which must be done to hold domestic chaos at bay.
I spent over an hour online trying to find rubber boots to replace my familiar rose-colored ones which developed leaks in both boots.
Having gone throgh two pairs of boots in the past 4 years it seemed that perhaps I should buy a
better quality.
Everything I viewed was formidable in price.  I considered authentic wellies, balked at spending that much.  Reading reviews I found that Hunters' wellies are no longer made by a Scottish firm but have been farmed out to production in China. All the reviewers felt that the quality was no longer equal to
old time wellies.
I settled on a pair of boots which are selling for $75 at Eddie Bauer.  These were $26 plus shipping  from a surplus house--only this color and size left in stock.
I'm not overly pleased with them.  Too narrow to accomodate a heavy wool sock.
What is the world coming to, when boots are a fashion item rather than the sturdy staples of a hard-working country lifestyle!

The kittens reminded me that I hadn't stripped the seeds from the last batch of sunflower heads salvaged before hard frost.
[The drying seedheads had been in a cardboard box sitting in the front hall--and the bully boys suddenly discovered them as a rattly toy to swat and watch seeds shower onto the floor.]
I learned last autumn that sunflower seeds don't shuck out easily and can leave sharp little prickles
in bare fingers.
I held the heads over a newspaper and whacked with a wooden spoon until most of the seeds fell out.
I now have enough seeds squirreled away in zip-lock bags to sow a plantation of sunflowers come spring.

Simple meals, music to practice for church, a favorite old book re-read.
A few minutes to stab away at my hand-quilting--and always the cats for company!


  1. What a lovely insight into a winter's day at your house. I have taken to doing my "work" in the morning so I can "rest" in the afternoon. TH, the weather does NOT encourage outside pursuits, being either wet (usually very can be added to that) or cold (ditto very adjective) and as I get older I seem to feel the cold a lot more, so I prefer it wet, tbh!

    A plantation of sunflowers next year sounds like a good idea and very Mediterranean : )

    1. BB; I'm liking sunflowers more each season. The 'dwarf' form are still taller than I am, but the heads lean down so the colors can be enjoyed.
      Chores in the morning and a bit of time in the afternoon to be selective--that works for me!

  2. Thank you, thank you for this lovely post. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    Yes, those sunflowers seeds do leave little prickles in fingers. I loved it that you gave them a good whack until most of the seeds were out. :-) I'll have to remember that t rick. I haven't grown them in awhile, but they always made me feel happy.

    Love and hugs to you ~ FlowerLady Lorraine

    1. Lorraine; Sunflowers do indeed lend a happy glow to the garden, and I like that they are not fussy--drought, heat, wet--they GROW!

  3. Wonderful shots ...I love to see sun on crisp frost ....not so keen to experience it all though xx

    1. Angie; You'll note I wasn't quite ready to bundle up and be outdoors that early. The chance for some good photos lured me only as far as the front steps and the walk.

  4. I do very much enjoy these descriptions of your domestic goings on. I have pictures in my head of the cats twirling round your legs as you make your way to the kitchen.

    1. Kath; I'm sure I'll go tripping into my dotage with a bevy of cats tangled around my ankles!
      The tablespoon of canned food they get in the morning is more about ritual than warding off starvation. I think they want my attention.

  5. Wonderful - a busy yet peaceful post.

    1. Lillian; I so cherish quiet days with non-demanding tasks!

  6. What a wonderful way to wake up in the morning. I think that its paradise.
    My tribe does the same, the slightest movement, and the mobbing begins. I am their slave.
    We ocassionally get deer up where I am in town here. They come down Hwy 30 from the west and wander looking for something fresh to eat. I have not seen any for several years now, but I am thinking as it gets drier here, we will see more.
    We did have some rain Friday afternoon and Friday night, not much, but it was something. Still dry still.

    1. Vicki; I suspect that cats have a built in desire to feel that they are in charge--they need to keep their humans up to snuff!
      In Wyoming, deer walking the streets of town were a common sight--mostly mule deer.
      We've alternated all month between mild rainy days or the sunny frosty ones--mild enough after many winters in New England and Wyoming.

  7. Gorgeous pictures. I love the one of the clean wellies....they won't be like that for long I'm sure!

    1. Em: I can't imagine living where good boots aren't a necessity of life! I have some from the Wyoming years that are meant for snow and cold--here its more about wet and mud.