Out with the Old, Ring in the New -- December 31st, 2015

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne.

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From our house to yours, we wish you a Super Great and Terrific 2016.


Christmas and crunch, crunch -- Fri/Sat, 12/25-12/26

Jimmy and I had a lovely Christmas morning, leisurely opening presents and cooking breakfast in our own home before heading off to Roseville for Christmas with Matt and Jen and Jen's parents, Alice and Tom. It was blasted cold when we left our home in Nevada City around Noon, but the roads were clear and we encountered very little traffic on either Hwy 49 or I-80.  By the time we got to Roseville (3000' lower in elevation), the temp had warmed to 52.  Today is also Jen's birthday, so she got double presents!  Indeed, every year (win-win)! Everyone had a grand time, presents given and received were A-one ... and the dogs pretty much stayed out of trouble.

Merry Christmas, Jen and Matt!

We noshed on appetizers before opening gifts.  But then we were all hungry for dinner.  What, you ask?  Dinner was Jimmy's seafood gumbo, Alice's scalloped potatoes, and Whole Foods' Alaskan crab!  Look at that pile of empty crab shells on Matt's plate ... he did all right!  Dessert was my cranberry-walnut upside-down cake and eggnog cheesecake.  Everything was delicious!

Alice and Jimmy spoiling Maggie (above) and Sophie (below).

I'll say it again -- it's wonderful having Matt and Jen living in Sacramento now where we can see each other more often than once or twice a year.  Celebrating Christmas with them is extra-special.  We left Alice and Tom's place a little after 7 pm so we wouldn't have to be on the road late.  I think it's safer to be off the road before tipsy party-goers decide to attempt driving.  We were home an hour later, safe and sound. 

Poor ol' Tergel is shivering in her boots! 

Saturday morning was frigid; the low temp in the high 20's.  That's cold.  We futzed around in the morning, cleaning up some of the usual Christmas debris, etc., and then we decided we wanted to go for a walk.  The sun was shining, which made the outside seem even more inviting.  We waited till after lunch when the temp was up to 40 before we layered up and went out into the wintry air.  The Christmas Eve snow remains on the ground, frozen in place, and we had to be soooo careful where we put our feet, so we didn't go slip-sliding away!

We wondered if the canal trail would be snowy and sure enough it was.  Snowy and crunchy.  No stealth mode here, our every footstep crunched loudly on the icy snow.  I bet we sounded like a gang of troopers as we walked along.  No way was this a speed walk -- but by the time we got home, I knew I'd gotten an aerobic workout! Nevertheless, we enjoyed the walk very much.

With the sun shining on the tall tree tops, big plops of snow fell periodically, and if a puff of wind hit the high boughs, we'd be pelted with "raindrops," which was really just melted snow.  I pulled my hood up.  Jimmy's jacket doesn't have a hood, and once he yelped like a girl when one of those icy drops hit his neck and trickled down his back!  Quite a few other intrepid folks were Out and About on the trail, each with a smile and a cheery hello.  It was very beautiful today.

With his mantle of moss and snow, this little "bear cub" is waving goodbye!


Merry Christmas Eve! December 24th, 2015

What's better than a snowball fight or making a snowman or sledding on Christmas Eve?  Not too much!  This is being called the Christmas 2015 storm and, while it wasn't quite as moisture-laden as predicted, it was definitely forecast for today. We were hoping snow would fall tomorrow, but -- alas -- it doesn't look promising.  There is an excitement in the air when a weather event such as this is in the works, and when I looked out the window this morning, sure enough, our world was covered in a blanket of white.

Last evening, Jimmy parked the Prius at the top of our driveway ... just in case ... so we could get out on Christmas Day.  I took the photo above at 7am when I went out in my red and white polka-dotted boots to get the newspaper.  It was a dark and gloomy morning, and we didn't hear any sleigh bells ringing.  The snowplow hadn't cleared our road yet, but when they did start, a snowy berm piled up in front of the car, which Jimmy tackled. Eventually the road turned to slush, and then the plows splashed a slushy mess up on the Prius.  After the driveway was cleaned, Jimmy moved the car down the driveway a bit.

Meanwhile, Anson and Fran, our friends across the street, brought out a big inner tube for sliding down the short hill in front of their house.  Naturally, we all had to test it.  The St Johns Wort finally served a good purpose when its dense tangle of vegetation stopped us from careening onto the road.  


Jimmy clears the driveway in front of the Prius.

Fran takes a turn wielding the "Wovel" to clean off the rest of our driveway.
Many thanks to you and Anson!

While our brothers and sisters in the East and South are "enjoying" warm, even spring-like,
Christmas weather, I rolled snowballs into a ...

... proper snowman!  I wonder if the carrot will be gone in the morning?

Jimmy's turn on the inner tube.  Anson gives him a push.

Yeehaw!  As Anson goes splat, Jimmy sails down into the St Johns Wort.
(We can all attest that it ain't easy getting out of that tube!)

Fran brought her kitty, Pocket, outside for me to pet.  Pocket and I are great friends, but when I set her down in the snow, she bolted for the front door.  She wanted back inside where it was warm.

Nice pile of snow there, Jimmy.  Here in the foothills, the storm didn't drop an odious amount.  I think we rec'd about three inches (plus some sleet), just enough to play in, not enough to keep us indoors or to keep us shoveling.  Us?  Hah - I didn't do any shoveling!  I was busy making a snowman and sledding.  NorCal did have a strange thunderstorm this afternoon, complete with a tornado warning and buckets of hail, south of us in El Dorado County.  Wild stuff for this part of the country.  All this will be gone soon, yet more weather is predicted for early next week.  NorCal has also had beaucoup rain this past week to ten days -- most welcome, for sure -- every drop helping to refill the reservoirs and lakes. 

This morning I baked a yummy cranberry-walnut upside-down cake to take for Christmas dinner tomorrow with Matt and Jen and her parents in Roseville.  I also made a batch of seed brittle and this evening I popped an eggnog cheesecake in the oven.

Earlier, neighbors came bearing homemade sweets, and this afternoon, we shared Christmas cheer with our friends, Fran and Anson.   Wonderful smells and warmth from the oven filled our home today, while snow created a winter wonderland outside.  Standing next our little tree glowing with colorful lights, gaily-wrapped presents nestled beneath, Jimmy and I are truly happy and grateful to have so much.  As we gaze out on our snowy landscape we wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and a "Super Great and Terrific New Year!"


Veddy Interesting Saturday! 12/20/15

The day began as a routine Saturday, except snow was forecast.  I went out to the street mailbox around 7am to get our newspaper, per usual.  Somewhere around 9, I opened the kitchen window shade to see if the birds were at our bird feeder yet.  Eh?  Where's the bird feeder?  Uh-oh.  I went into the garage to look out the garage door window and saw the now-empty feeder sagging several feet below where it should have been, the wrought-iron hanger nearly twisted off.  I ran back in the house to open the living room sliding door curtain to ... uh-huh, no bird feeders visible  ... they're on the ground.  Everything smashed.  Bear.

And a big muddy paw print on the garage door window.  Yikes!

Blue birdbath and three feeders downed and smashed (the orange one isn't broken).

Light snow dusts the ground and the torn-up area on the right looks like where the bear wallowed.  OK.  I get it.
No more feeding birds for a while.

Our friends across the street came over at 10am to share our annual Christmas Kringle with us, always fun.
By this time, snow was falling in earnest.  Hi, Fran!

A picture post card!

Matt and Jen were driving up from Sacramento around 1pm to visit.
He asked about the road, so I sent him this picture.  I told him it looked doable.

When they arrived, the "girls" -- Maggie and Sophie -- wanted to explore in the snow.  From the back deck, Maggie looks out on the bird feeder destruction.  We were grateful to NOT see bear prints on the deck this morning! Maggie looks festive in her bright red hoodie.

Sophie wasn't so sure about stomping around in the snow.  Photo op!

After a bite of lunch, we hit the downtown streets of Nevada City for their Victorian Christmas festivities. The streets were clear, no snow stuck here, but drizzle persisted.  It was cold, probably in the high 30's, cold enough for me to pull out my Alaska parka.  We all bundled up.  Because of the weather, we left the dogs at our house. Lucky us to circle a street close to downtown and get a parking space near Broad Street.  Cool beans!

Not everybody left their dogs at home!  Matt made a friend -- "Peeps."

I think Jimmy looks pretty good in a top hat.  I wish my waist was this small .

It was fun listening to the various groups play carols.  These kids were doing their best ...

... while this little guy stood rapt.

Nice to have a blazing fire to warm your hands or whatever needed warming! 

We really enjoyed our afternoon here with Matt and Jen, never mind the weather.  By the time we took this picture, the light rain had stopped.  We walked in and out of shops, admiring their wares, sometimes oohing and aahing, but not buying much.  On our way back to the car, we stopped in at Wheyward Girl Creamery for some delicious cheese and a loaf of bread, and then drove home.

It was toasty warm inside!  Jimmy fired up the stove to heat the seafood gumbo he'd made, while I put on a pot of rice.  Matt and Jen sliced the cheese and bread and got out the crackers.  We proceeded to have a pre-Solstice feast, while the dogs circled like sharks (heh heh, it's what dogs do), and we smacked our lips afterwards.  We topped it off with brownies that Fran had brought over earlier.  Yum yum, all the way around.

The only presents that were opened today were two dog toys, one for each girl.
Meh, they said ... we'd rather have shrimp!

We had snow or light rain almost the entire day, but ended up with a slushy mix covering everything.  I don't suppose we need to worry about the bear returning since he cleaned us out, but I bet if I hear the slightest noise tonight, I'll be up and peering out the window.  Today ends quietly, altho not really a routine day after all. Tomorrow more rain/snow is predicted ... definitely an inside day.  A perfect day to bake more cookies!