on the feast of Stephen


photo: 4:30 pm Christmas Day 2014

Good King Wenceslas looked out on the feast of Stephen… I wrote at the start of a post on this feast day in 2008. Please visit that favourite page of mine for an interesting story about the Finnish source of this well-known song. Also check out the comment from Kate Laity!

Note all the snow we had that Christmas. It’s a green one this year. How is yours?

Have a great day! The two of us are having a quiet morning while some of the family are out visiting friends and one is out at a Boxing Day sale.

Winter Story 2014


Once again, our granddaughters’ annual Winter Story is up! Please click here. This one looks to be partly inspired by their brood of chickens and their new kittens. The crocodile is revisiting from an earlier Winter Story.

You can see their other annual winter stories on their site as well. Long time readers may recall that I’ve posted each of them here every year with grandmotherly delight and pride. Enjoy!

We hope you have had or are presently enjoying a wonderful Christmas Day with loved ones or dear friends, as are we.

PS – Did you know…

The word “Christmas” means “Mass of Christ,” later shortened to “Christ-Mass.” The even shorter form “Xmas” – first used in Europe in the 1500s – is derived from the Greek alphabet, in which X is the first letter of Christ’s name: Xristos, therefore “X-Mass.”

And I thought “Xmas” was just a modern lazy way to write what it means!

happy holidays


Merry Christmas, Hauskaa Joulua, Frohe Weihnachten, Joyeux Noël!

My warmest good wishes for a peaceful holiday week to all you dear readers and friends, however you celebrate it, or not. I am so very grateful for your visits and friendship over the years.

I am still baking and cooking and cleaning in preparation for tomorrow. Some of our family will be here for our own blend of Finnish and German Christmas Eve traditions. Our latest wave of the Pineapple Express should be over soon and we may have a sunny green Christmas. Hope yours is a beautiful and safe one.

snow white


The Snow Queen came for a visit yesterday evening and overnight, accompanied by Wind.


How bright was the night, keeping me awake watching tossing snow-heavy tree branches and flying snow devils.


Not much of the five centimeters or so melted in today’s sunshine.


Tonight is very cold and clear. Winter is here.

at dusk




On November 1st at 4:35 to 4:36 pm looking south, southwest from our rear deck.
A bright new view since the removal of many tall trees next door,
but for this one magestic maple looking like a silhouette paper cut.

…each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds – Wilfred Owen

the ninth month


Novem means nine in Latin
November is the ninth month in the Roman calendar
November is about weather from wind and rainstorms to sunny skies,
about garden cleanup, trimming trees, sweeping and raking leaves,
bringing in tender plants with possible frosty nights ahead

another demolition


the house on our south side was demolished last week, not so long since the January 2012 demolition on our north side


it feels so disturbing, so sad to see this happening everywhere; this was a good home for one single family since the 1950’s


the yard had some lovely rhododendrons though overgrown with too many trees and invasive ivy, all now cut and ripped out


including two giant cedars, here with some interesting icicle like rips on the stumps


how many tree rings can you count on this twenty-six inch diameter stump?

our home feels a bit exposed but there is now so much light and views for us neighbours around the property

(all photos taken by my husband with his iPhone)

Added later: Oh, how could I forget: the noise and the pounding? As I sit at this computer in this room on the south side, right next to the ‘zone’, I suddenly notice all the art work on this wall has gone higgeldy-piggeldy. A mini-earthquake.

late summer




the changing light and lengthening shadows beckoned for a backyard garden tour
a slight breeze meant only three images out of ten worked reasonably
a strawberry blossom, clematis seedhead, and seedpod of an unknown flower
named as New Zealand hibiscus after the friend who gifted the seeds

gardening days

Summer is here! I am busy busy in the garden! Here are a few photos of what is blooming.

Peonies must be the beloved perennial in every garden:


Newcomers this year are the tall large purple alliums, now an interesting seedhead:


Like sunshine, this generous old faithful, a low-growing yellow allium:


Many rhododendrons in our garden, this one with lovely red bud opening to peach:


And how does your garden grow?

February snow


It’s been snowing here, now on its third day. As we live near sea level it is wet snow leaving little on the ground or on the trees. Higher up there is lots of it. A father-daughter hike on the mountainside with photos to share at home – beautiful!