A Cold and Frosty Morning …

December - the world turns from gold and orange to silver and white
As I write this the sun is streaming through the window and the fields are white with frost.  I knew December wouldn’t let me down – good riddance foggy November.  The run up to Christmas is now underway.  All presents bought, wrapping paper and cards are standing by, decorations need to be dragged out from under the stairs, foliage and berries need to be collected – other than that,  all is calm. 
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"From December to March, there are for many of us three gardens -
the garden outdoors,
the garden of pots and bowls in the house,
and the garden of the mind's eye."
-   Katherine S. White
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"I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December
A magical thing
And sweet to remember.
'We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September,'
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December."
-   Oliver Herford, I Heard a Bird Sing
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"Yule, is when the dark half of the year relinquishes to the light half.   Starting the next morning at sunrise, the sun climbs just a little higher and stays a little longer in the sky each day.  Known as Solstice Night, or the longest night of the year, much celebration was to be had as the ancestors awaited the rebirth of the Oak King, the Sun King, the Giver of Life that warmed the frozen Earth and made her to bear forth from seeds protected through the fall and winter in her womb.  Bonfires were lit in the fields, and crops and trees were "wassailed" with toasts of spiced cider."
-   Yule Lore
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Look how the rising sun has tinged the fields with pink
 
Neck well swathed in scarf,
hands plunged in pockets?
Collar pulled high,
hat tugged low?
Off you go, then, down the long slope
to where the pale winter sun never penetrates.
The frozen grass, glittering with reflected light,
crunches under your boots.
Run a hand along the fence to see a battalion of frost soldiers crumple.
Lick the cold particles from your fingers,
and take a long sniff of the freezing air,
pungent with bare earth and stone,
as dry and prickly as a holly leaf - the smell of winter,
down in the frost hollow.
Christoper Somerville

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When the ice of winter holds the house in its rigid grip,
when curtains are drawn early against that vast frozen waste
of landscape,
almost like a hibernating hedgehog
I relish the security of being withdrawn from all that summer
ferment that is long since past.
Then is the time for re-appraisal: to spread out,
limp and receptive,
and let garden thoughts rise to the surface.
They emerge from some deep source of stillness
which the very fact of winter
has released.
Mirabel Osler
 
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Hope everyone has a stress-free lead up to Christmas – there’s still loads of time to get everything done
 
 
And remember
'A lovely thing about Christmas is that it's compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together.'
Author Garrison Keillor


Dream it, Wish it, Do it; Christmas time;










Comments

  1. Some fabulous images Elaine - I love number two with those wonderful bokehs - I think that is what they call them, anyway the blobs!!!
    Everyone in blogworld seems to have Christmas under control - I am having a very relaxed and easy time as my youngest son is doing Christmas at his house.

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    1. Some years it all seems to go like clockwork - internet shopping helps of course - but there is bound to be something I have forgotten.

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  2. Dear Elaine - I am so glad you have said goodbye to foggy November. Your December photos looks wonderful. Sounds like you are right on track for Christmas too. Wish I was! Maybe by the 24th I will be be! Have a blessed week-end.

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    1. November was pretty gruesome anything is better than grey, dreary and dull. I will be starting on writing the Christmas cards soon - not my favourite job but the list seems to dwindle a little more every year - so not quite so onerous as it used to be. Have a great week.

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  3. Beautiful words dear friend! They fit perfectly with December!!! And your collage of Christmas goodness is wonderful as is that field of pink! Knowing we are a bit closer to spring than we were in September is a great way to look at it!! I have yet to get my shopping done but like you said it will get done!!! Warm wishes to you this weekend you! Nicole xo

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    1. Thank you Nicole. I don't have many people to buy for so it isn't such a big job for me. This year has gone so quickly I can hardly believe it is the Christmas season again, and it will all be over before we know it.

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  4. I especially love the first two photos. They are so delicate and just pretty. I still have all of my shopping to do. I never get around to it in a timely fashion. When I worked, I always waited until my grades were turned in before I felt like I could take time for me. Now, I don't know what my excuse is. It would be very nice to have all of the shopping done. I hope you are having a nice weekend.

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    1. Thanks Ann. I think when you are retired you think you have all the time in the world to get things done and keep putting it off - then suddenly it is upon us and panic sets in. Enjoy your shopping.

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  5. I've been meaning to say for ages how much I like your metal fencing (with the U bend tops) Old English metal fencing is a delight and should be cherished. Those 2 pix of the frosty field, open wooden gate, etc, are wonderful.

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    1. The fence is certainly a sturdy barrier - we had to remove the one at the front of the house as it was so rusted but they have generally stood the test of time well as they were installed in the 30's.

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  6. The second photo would make a lovely Christmas card

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    1. I don't bother making my own Christmas cards any more - but yes I agree it would.

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  7. Such beautiful photographs! I do love winter's crisp chill and icing sugar decoration.

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    1. When I saw how frosty it was I rushed out with my camera before it disappeared - as it was it didn't last for long.

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  8. Lovely photos and quotes, Elaine, I've enjoyed reading your post this morning. I've been reading a novel set in 1483 and the descriptions of the Yuletide festivals and services, the twelve days of Christmas and the traditions on each day plus the food preparation and eating have been wonderful. Yesterday was such a lovely crisp December day:)

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    1. Your book sounds like a good Christmas read - what is it called?

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  9. Beautiful images as always Elaine. I do wish I was organised as you. I only bought the cards a couple of days ago and still have to make a start on the presents. Still it's the same every year. I do not get into Christmas mode until December. Preparations may not be stress free but they will still be fun.

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    1. Thanks Anna. I have been picking things up here and there over the last couple of weeks - as I hate last minute panics - but in a way it takes all the fun out of it. When I was little my Mum and Dad used to do all their present shopping on Christmas Eve as they had to wait till Dad got paid, I can remember tempers were very short. Not surprisingly.

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  10. A lovely post, and wonderful pictures. It sure was frosty yesterday morning, but cold as it was it's better than damp weather. Flighty xx

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    1. Thanks Flighty. I prefer cold and crisp too - I hear there might be snow on the way!

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  11. I love your frosty morning photos, I almost envy you, we have not yet seen such a beautiful sceneries. And.....I always enjoy reading poems and quotes about nature and garden. In our country we mostly start decorating for Christmas after the 5th of December. First cleaning the house and then the fun can begin with decorating......stressfree.

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    1. The frost hasn't lasted long sadly but it does look beautiful - we are still having comparatively warm weather considering the time of year - it doesn't seem natural somehow.

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  12. Beautiful colours decorated with the whiteness of frost for a while.

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    1. I agree - well worth trying to get some photos before it disappears.

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  13. What a wonderful post....I love all your frost, we haven't had much, instead getting howling winds and sleet storms, it's freezing at the moment.I loved the pictures and quotes, especially the first two shots and the pink tinged fields, stunning, and that poem by Christopher is marvelous......good to be reminded that we are slowly edging closer to lighter days.
    Gosh, you sound very organised, I haven't got many pressies....I was shocked today to find out the cost of a second class stamp, they actually work out more expensive than Christmas cards!!! I wonder how some can afford them at all!xxx

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    1. Thanks Dina.The weather hasn't really been that bad here although I do walk a little more briskly on my daily walk. Luckily I only have a few cards to send in the post the rest are local - but you are right the cost of stamps is extortionate. I'm not really organised - I find the worst thing is trying to think of what to buy people - but it all seems to come together in the end.

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  14. What wonderful photos to accompany the poems. That second is a stunner. The light in your landscapes is incredible.

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    1. Thanks Barb - the countryside is beautiful around here and the light is ever changing - we are very lucky.

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  15. Your choice of prose is lovely...
    Yes there is only few more days and then the days begin to herald the daylight longer and though here we go into our coldest time the lengthening sunshine is always welcome.
    I've planted pots of a new Siberian grape hyacinth that are waiting in the cold of the front porch so once the new year begins I can bring them in one at a time to flower in the windowsill. Though Spring will be months away outdoors the fragrance and dainty colours shall be indoors weeks ahead...
    Susan x

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    1. I can't wait for the days to start getting longer again. The bulbs I have grown in pots have been brought in now but progress is slow - I was hoping that the hyacinths would be flowering for Christmas but that doesn't look likely now. Have a good week.

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    2. I think they will just burst forth all of a sudden. It says it is better in a cooler place, less stress on the bulbs, too much warmth and the bulbs will not flower again.
      With your green thumb I'm sure your hyacinth will be sending up scented blooms very soon...
      Susan x

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  16. What a gentle and hopeful person Oliver Herford seems to be; I must look for more of his verses.

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    1. It is a nice little verse - although most of his other poems seem to be about cats!

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  17. A most lovely post Elaine,
    Poems most appropriate for this time of the year.
    A little sun coming through , brings a little cheer.
    Christmas is a time for us all to be together..with loved ones ..think about our friends.
    no stress..
    Wish you happy decorating.
    val x

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    1. Thank you Val. No stress - not as easy as it sounds - we can but try.

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  18. Lovely post Elaine with some stunning pictures. I do love a cold and frosty morning all crisp and crunchy. The fields behind your house look gorgeous and the sun has given such a beautiful hue - a Christmas card in the making there. I love the poems too. :)) P x

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    1. I love the cold crisp days too so much better than damp and foggy. Thanks Patricia.

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  19. What lovely images especially at the top of your post Elaine. I am glad that November is over and done with too! December is a much happier, "warmer" month.

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    1. I totally agree Jennifer - try as I may November and I just don't get on.

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  20. I too love that exquisite second photograph. What a delightful post. (I've read it several times - thank you!)

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    1. Thanks Freda - kind of you to say so.

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  21. What beautiful pictures and such a lovely selection of words. I really like the ones about there being three gardens at this time of year, especially the one in the minds eye! In my minds eye it is all perfect and beautiful, but not in reality! xx

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    1. Thanks Amy - I know what you mean - I always think it is going to be better next year - wishful thinking.

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  22. Those frosty pictures are superb, the second one is just so magical! I don't enjoy the winter but seeing something like that makes up for the cold and lack of growth in the garden. Sarah x

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    1. Although they are lovely to look at the reality is a little different isn't it.

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  23. Oh, that frost is so pretty! I love that second photo -- so dreamy with the droplets. The aftermath of frost isn't so pretty but nice to have these images to remember them in their dreamy phase. And, yes, the lead up has been very good. A good busy, not a frantic one.

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    1. Frost comes and goes so quickly that you have to be on your toes to capture it - the photos of the fields were taken from indoors in the warmth.

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  24. The second image is beautiful Elaine.....and I love the Christmas mosaic.
    Frost does look so pretty when it hits the countryside............I always find hoar frost magical.

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    1. Since those photos were taken we haven't had any more frost - just gales and rain and a little sleet - not the best kind of weather to try and take photos.

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  25. Lovely photos .... especially that second one.

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  26. Patricia is right that second photo is adorable
    Did you take it?

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  27. I've said it before and I'll say it again -- you live in a magically beautiful place. Any of those first five pictures would make a beautiful Christmas card.

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  28. Thank you - yes, we are very lucky to live in such a beautiful place.

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