A promising sunrise doesn't always ensure a sunny day.
Sunrise photos taken from the front steps--too chilly to walk along the drive in my slippers.
The colors change rapidly and my simple camera doesn't do justice.
As the sun came over the horizon there was blue sky strewn with puffy clouds.
Before long the landscape showed the colors that often forecast rain.
For several hours the sun hid behind grey clouds.
I was too restless to stay inside, so pulled on my boots, shrugged into a heavy zipped hoodie and ventured outdoors.
The two 'Jane' magnolias planted on the front lawn have pale fuzzy catkins.
Speaking of cats: Willis, like his keepers, is a bit slower in this his eleventh year, but he never fails to appear and walk with me.
The carnations in the west wall garden continue to produce flower buds, although the blooms don't fully open in the colder weather.
One of only two lady's mantle raised from a greenhouse planting. I hope for its survival through the winter.
Many of my shrub roses have unwisely put forth new leaves in the weeks since the first hard frost.
Violas tucked in the edge of the raised bed are sheltered by the branches of a dwarf butterfly bush.
The nigella planted nearby has self-sown vigorously. The tiny plants won't be cold hardy. I hope more seeds stay dormant until spring.
Shortly after noon the sun reappeared. A light wind sang in the treetops. Walking the north/west edges of the property I came upon several stalks of mullein which had fallen to lie among the leaves.
My eye was caught by these seed heads, so similar to those of my cultivated clematis.
I think the plants are likely the wild clematis viginiana. Online articles identify them as common in the south east. The 'flowers' can be insignificant, not large and colorful as their pampered garden relatives.
I tied a strip of cloth on one of the vines so that I will be able to locate and notice the vines in the profusion of weedy wildflowers that take over in the spring.
Close up of the seed heads.
During several rainy days in the week just past, I hastily did housework, then decamped downstairs to the large 'family room' where I have set up a perhaps temporary sewing station. I searched out some favorite Christmas CD's [think Celtic Christmas and the like] and began once more to work on a long deferred quilt project.
A decade ago [in Wyoming] I hatched the plan of making a quilt to replicate one stitched by my great grandmother, Eliza. Eliza pieced her blocks in an unusual pattern which I've rarely seen, called 'Wind-blown Star. The fabrics used were cut from the least worn bits of shirtwaist blouses, aprons, men's shirts.
In the spirit of making do, I collected shirts and blouses found at charity shops--most cost less than $1.
Taking the shirts apart was tedious and I soon discovered that although I had focused on all cotton fabrics, some were more loosely woven than others making accurate piecing more difficult than with crisp new yardage.
Time and again I took out this work in progress then put it aside for something more rewarding.
As the shorter days have come upon us, I determined to finish this quilt. I suspect that it is good for my sometimes wandering wits to focus on putting the blocks together.
The finished quilt will be strictly utilitarian and I plan to experiment with simple machine quilting.
Slightly more than half the blocks are now pieced.
The link below should take you to a post on the original quilt.
Soon after dark on this first day of winter, I went out with the bucket of kitchen scraps and paused to search the sky for the promised conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter. While the two planets were clearly visible through the bare branches of the trees lining the north west ravine, it wasn't as impressive a display as I had imagined.
The photos published by those who have sophisticated telescopes and cameras do display it as the fabled Star of Bethlehem.
I'm glad I lingered to look.
As always I wondered how ancient civilizations determined the exact day when the earth begins to slowly turn toward the sun.
Mid-winter, indeed, and the slow journey to springtime.