Tuesday, December 26, 2023

At the End of December

Reviewing the jottings on my calendar I count less than half of December's days with sun. Mornings come slowly, and after a clear night stars and moon linger in the western sky even while the digital clock's red numerals announce that day has arrived. 

Cloud-dappled skies greeted the solstice, with the wintery sun obscured by mid-afternoon. 
Several frosty nights have bleached the meadow grass; there is still underlying green but the overall color is yellowed and subdued.

Late sunrise on the solstice.
 'Mid-winter' seems a more realistic designation than 'first day of winter', the label on most calendars.  In our native New England and in Wyoming where we spent a dozen years, winter weather arrives long before December. 
Here in south-central Kentucky a run of days such as we've just had with afternoon temps in the mid 50's F. the wind often skirls out of the west with a bitter bite.
I've needed a sweatshirt hood drawn around my face or a fluffy scarf into which I can burrow as I've plodded my rounds of the tracks which loop the upper and lower meadows. I've missed only two days of walking this month. On a day of sharp wind or persistent misty rain walking is a discipline. On milder days it is more of a pleasure.
Jim usually walks at least one round with me. 

If Willis-cat notes our departure he stumps along behind. We stop part way up the path that skirts the north ravine encouraging him to 'come along.' He rarely makes the entire loop, usually pausing to rest before catching us up somewhere on the slope below the house. 

Slate colored clouds, wind-driven across the sun.

In honor of the season I put this wildly colorful quilt on my bed. I began constructing the blocks last winter thinking to make only a few as an experiment with a 'flying geese' tool. The plastic cutting guide gives options for several sizes of 'geese' units which suggested the larger block design. Intrigued, I pulled out a collection of fabrics by Robyn Pandolph, some from her early 'Folk Art Christmas' lines, others that coordinated. My quilts have a way of growing; this one is a super queen size that reaches the floor at the foot and sides of the bed.

 When a quilt is finished I am often reluctant to spread it on the bed subjecting the fabrics to wear and washing, the inevitable cat hair.
But why not? Surely it makes more sense to enjoy the quilts, turn about through the seasons. 
Rosie-cat loves to make beds and adds a decorative touch to my handiwork.

My only remit for Christmas dinner--held on Sunday--was to produce pies. 
Lemon Meringue is a family favorite.


J's preference was blueberry.

I felt that I was being efficient: blueberry pie and the baked pastry shell for the lemon were prepared on Tuesday and carefully stashed in the freezer.

A smaller blueberry pie was baked on the spot for J. to enjoy, and the remaining pastry prepared for a quiche. I measured the ingredients for the quiche in a rather general way: 2 cups of half and half; 3 large eggs; a mound of grated cheddar, half a tub of small gourmet tomatoes that needed to be used, a bit of chopped onion, a slice or 2 of turkey bacon, diced, a can of sliced mushrooms. I could see that the filling was more than the pastry shell could accommodate, but not wanting to waste the cream/egg mixture I kept pouring it in. I opened the oven door, carefully lifted the quiche, where-upon the filling splashed over the front of my apron, sluiced down the oven door, splattered onto cupboard doors and the floor. 

Clumsy! And quite un-necessary! 

I managed not to waste energy on bad words. I had laboriously cleaned up splashes on the stove, cupboards and was mopping the floor when J. appeared. He countered my tale of woe with the comment that he is not overly fond of quiche. He did meekly eat his share for lunch, and the extra milk/egg mixture went out in a bowl on the porch for Willis and Sally.

So, a review of December doesn't furnish a great list of accomplishments.

Two Friday night trips to church in town to thump out the piano accompaniment for friend Ruben's amateur orchestra and playing with them as part of the Christmas program. 

Walking daily; keeping house in desultory fashion; reading late every evening; keeping J. company on a number of his errands. 

Each year my pace slows a bit more. There are the under-lying private concerns of family matters; there are the foreboding issues of wars, elections, flagrantly corrupt politicians, weather disasters--so many problems for which I can contribute no solution or even comprehension. 

Yet, "underneath are the everlasting arms," the turning of the seasons in a timely way.

Tonight the sky has cleared, layered in shades of deepest indigo. The gibbous moon gleams surrounded by scarcely moving fleecy clouds. The heavens are studded with starshine. The temperature has dropped 10 degrees. 

There is a certain comfort that whatever happens in our familiar realm or in the larger scheme of things, the eternal verities remain.


  1. I am right there w you in spirit Sharon. Seems I have those just a tiny bit more and clean up the overflow, wear it moments.
    The season here so up and down. Rain, floods, freeze, fifties.
    I’ve yet to finish Luke and Christmas is passed.
    We need to walk more and make that earth air connection. It may be your roaming will encourage me yet.
    No sewing no crafting so far. Some nursing in the house. It’s been a long three years.
    It’s encouraging to walk with you.
    Love your beautiful quilts.🤗♥️
    Hi to J.

  2. Georgi; Dear girl, you and 'Mister L' have indeed had a difficult and demanding three years.
    I'm relieved to know there are others who have a talent for making kitchen messes!
    You also have great gifts for crafting, gardening and decorating; I hope you'll feel more able to return to those pleasures.
    Getting myself outdoors for a quick walk even in bad weather seems to blow away some of the personal storm clouds!

  3. I like the colourful winter quilt that you made.
    Sorry about your quiche overflow.....it has happened to me too. It seems I get right to the oven without jiggling then at the last moment I manage to slop some onto the oven door.
    I'm so pleased not to have trouble posting comments!!!