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Garden Bliss & Blunder, Issue #030
December 07, 2023

December Joys

“December, the diamond-frosted clasp

linking twelve jewelled months

to yet another year.”

Phyllis Nicholson

English Country memoirist

Lacy frost on Heuchera leaves

"How I go to the woods...."

"How I go into the woods..."

Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single 
friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore
 unsuitable. I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds
 or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of
praying, as you no doubt have yours.

Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible. I can sit
 on the top of a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds,
 until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost 
un-hearable sound of the roses singing.

If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love 
you very much.

Mary Oliver, Swan: Poems and Prose Poems

I Love the Holidays...

If you are like me, I LOVE the holidays… and for me, it is Christmas. But no matter what the holidays mean to you and yours, it's all about the spirit of it - the quiet and peacefulness that comes with the first snow - a soft white blanket that covers what is left of the dull colours of fall, and maybe even past hurts, pain or suffering with the challenges life brings.

But for a little while, this season can make us believe in something, or everything. Most of all, it is about family and friends… either by birth or by choice. It's about the strangers we meet; passing along the way and a smile or a wave can mean so much.

It is a time we spend thinking of others…by giving gifts, making things to share, or supporting a charity that speaks to us…

Shop locally whenever you can: go to the craft sales, art sales and buy from the artists themselves. You have no idea what that could mean to any one of them. Besides, what fun it is.

And, by the way, my friend Claire Sullivan, and I have a whole wall for our art at the Ashburnham Alehouse… come see us and all the other artists….have lunch or dinner and see some great art.

Ashburnham Alehouse

Winter is on its way...

We know winter is nearby when the sunrises are this glorious

It's like the sky is on fire.

…and then the sky turns dark and we know snow is coming.

We love to look across the street and see our neighbour's lights, glowing softly in the darkening dusk.

This also means...

there is even more reason to leave our gardens standing for winter… In only one day, the garden goes from green in the afternoon to snow-covered overnight.

… little birds and tiny critters have no place to take cover if the garden is bare. There are seed heads for birds and leaves and little branches that will make small shelters for other wee creatures.

I reluctantly agreed to my daughter buying some hay and rabbit food for our resident garden bunny... if it will keep it from eating my roses, then money well spent.


Thomas Hardy thought...

... the days of declining Autumn created an inner season….

Perhaps he meant an inner season inside our homes, our hearts, our thoughts, our dreams and plans.

As for me, time to read, to paint, to sketch, to plan and dream of gardens.

Oh, of course, time to decorate...

And, they're back....

Every year, we look forward to putting up the nativity with all its visitors. On a magical trip to Italy, I found the key players of the stable and a wonderful stable made of bark and moss. Of course, getting it home was a challenge and ended up costing $80 for “additional baggage” - but no regrets…

It started with Mary Joseph, Baby Jesus, the cattle and an angel or two and then I found the Wise men, looking very lost at a yard sale…

Then one morning, I was amazed when I saw Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog visiting the manger. My (little at the time) daughter said… “but Mom, you said anyone can come to the manger”… of course she's right.

Now we have bears (for my dad - carved wood and one made of iron) an assortment of sheep, an alpaca (for friends Kathy and son Dylan), a camel from Jen’s Egyptian friend, a loon (for my mom) a moose, a deer, a zebra, some dogs, a chickadee, a holstein cow and a peacock. Every year another animal arrives and the whole scene needs a bigger and longer table - oh so precious.

This year, we have a new visitor…. Henrietta Hippo… a gift from a very dear friend in memory of another. I love that. Isn’t she saucy?

Now if we can only find a wee felted donkey.... love the search.

Coffee Time...

Who doesn’t love a great cup of coffee? Our neighbour's family grows coffee on their own hillside plantations; sustainably, ethically and fairly, then brings back these amazing beans to roast and share with coffee lovers.

If you want to try some of "Carolina's Columbia" interesting special holiday blends, look here.


Peterborough Ontario: 
texts:  705-772-5844


Carolinas Columbian Coffee

Coffee and Shortbreads? Oh yes...


It was her mother’s - Amelia Maude McAllister and passed to my Mom Noreen Viscoff and I know she would love to think others were loving them like we do…

1 lb. of butter-softened - (must be butter) 5 1/2 cups of flour (approx.) 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar Cut these all together. Roll out using icing sugar on the roll-out board Cut with cookie cutter - a small (empty) drinking glass works - be sure to drink the whisky first Bake at 325 “For a few minutes” - my mother said… Sorry…. it just means you have to watch them after 6 to 8 minutes so they don’t brown. When I asked how long to bake something, she’d say “till it’s done”. So I pour a nice glass of whisky and keep my eye on the cookies.

And, until next time...

While you are waiting for Santa, drink some cocoa and be thankful for all you have - leave the people or things you don’t have or have lost for another day.

- because it is not all about us, no matter what Lucy says:

By the way...

Thank you for taking the time to read my "newsletter"and please feel free to pass on

My sketches from any of my newsletters are also available as prints.

Please me a note in the form on my site and we can make it happen.

I also still have some signed copies of Little Bird that make great gifts.


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