Saturday, December 22, 2007

Frosty Foggy Solstice

I woke up yesterday, on Winter Solstice, to a pale, foggy and very frosty morning. Our first frost this winter.

The trees in my back garden were dressed in frosty white. The contorted hazel looked especially lovely.

The lone witch hazel flower coated in crystal.

Out front, on the farmer's field, the sheep were lounging about in the heavy fog.

One lone sheep felt it necessary to be apart from the rest.

It was SO cold, I went back inside and had my oatmeal. I used the last apple from my tree today. Notice, I had the wrong burner on. I actually was thinking it was taking longer to cook today, because it was so cold!

In a little while, the sun came up, peering through the mist.

The sun was just a glow in the sky.

The countryside looked magical in the faded light...

Later in the day, the weather had not changed one bit, it stayed foggy and frozen. Here's the sun around 2:00, low on the horizon, caught in the branches of the beech tree.

Back inside, Tas watches the bird channel, as a flock of starlings look for goodies in my back garden.

It was quite a big flock, and I wonder what they found so interesting back there in the frosty grass.

So that was the shortest day of the year here at Windywillow.
Happy Winter Solstice to all you gardeners and artists!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Winter Solstice

Winter only truly begins for me when I see the first flower on my witch hazel (hamamelis). Uncurling its little bright yellow blossoms, gold as the sun in summer. The delicious scent wafting through the chilly air, perfuming the garden on these dark winter days."Of winter's lifeless world each tree
Now seems a perfect part;
Yet each one holds summer's secret
Deep down within its heart."
~Charles G. Stater

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Bloomday for December

In the dark days of winter, the sun manages to heave itself over the horizon late in the mornings, only to find another misty and cloudy day, waiting for his chance to have a little peek through the clouds. Ah, there he is, shining for a fleeting moment, giving his energy and light to the several flowers still blooming in December.
Here are the flowers blooming at the Windywillow garden:

An oriental poppy?? Decided the weather was mild enough to put a flower out, and there's another bud coming up!

A sprinkling of geraniums continue to bloom.

Heather just now starting to flower for the winter season.

Malva also continues, although much smaller flowers now than in summer.

Marinette has a look around on a dark December morning.

Allysum still blooming.

Malcomia blooms all the time here, although more faded and less flowers in winter.

A chilly viola by the back door. I put a few in a container so we can see them from our dining room.

Here and there, a few calendulas are still blooming.

I found the last nasturtium tucked away in a wild corner.

I was replanting my strawberry plants a few days ago, and there were strawberries growing!!!

Inside a south window, a cactus is blooming.

And also inside, by the back door is the Christmas cactus and some geraniums blooming brightly in a rare moment of sunshine.
Have a look at what's flowering in other parts of the world. Visit Carol's May Dreams Gardens for December's Bloomday posts.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

harvest foods

Must apologize for not posting often. Really busy these past few weeks, and can't seem to tear myself away from my work. Here are some pics of the harvest dinner before I cooked it, all from the garden. But I forgot to take a pic of it after, it was really good. The apples are almost gone now, just a handful left, and the red cabbage is half gone too. The scent off it when I cut it is heavenly, strange as it may seem, it's only a cabbage. But I love all cabbages and cabbage family, they are one of my fave vegetables.

I've been asked for the recipe for this dish, so here goes:

1. chop red cabbage, onions and apples, ratio of 1 part each apples and onions, 2 parts cabbage. also chop fine some garlic, one or two cloves.
2. in a casserol, arrange layers of red cabbage sprinkled with salt and pepper (I left out the salt for my hubby's sake), alternating with the onions/apples mix sprinkled with garlic, thyme, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and brown sugar.
3. Sprinkle a little bit of wine vinegar (I used plain, didn't have wine on hand) over the top, and dot with butter.
4. Put a lid on, and put in a preheated oven 150C (300F) for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, stirring everything around twice during the cooking.