Hello, chickadees! Our part of the world is about to get hit with a winter storm that will keep us all shoveling and snow blowing for the next couple of days. Mr. Magpie and I had plans with friends for the whole weekend, plans involving festive things like horse and carriage rides, holiday fairs, brunch, and long walks. Most of those plans have been cancelled, which makes us sad, but we are consoling ourselves with a roaring fire in the fireplace and copious cups of tea on the sofa avec les chats.
All in all, this Christmas season is turning out to be a wonderful one. I've made a few twig wreaths, including the one above, using invasive vines we had cleared from the property. No wires needed to make these simple wreaths. Just weave the vines around the bottom of an old bucket to get started, and then you can finish the wreaths as natural, free-form lovelies from there. Even better than the wreaths are the driftwood trees that my sister is making. I will share a picture of the one she made me soon.
I'll be making my Maine Needham candies soon, too. You can click this post from last year for my recipe. If you like Almond Joys, you will love these candies made with chocolate, almonds (in my version), coconut, and potatoes. Sounds crazy, but they taste divine.
I know I'm partial, but I can't imagine a better place than Maine at Christmastime. The morning that we went to our favorite tree farm, a light snow began to fall, turning the whole place into a snow globe. As we tramped through the brambles in search of a tree that "needed us," as Charlie Brown would say, we could hear kids laughing and running through the trees. Pure magic.
And then there was the visit to the Holiday Open House at the Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals, a wonderful farm where they rescue horses.
I can't imagine Christmas without animals and long walks in wild places. This Christmas we plan on going for a walk through one of our favorite bird-watching spots, Gilsland Farm. We've been hearing about a lot of owl sightings in the area, so we're hoping for some good luck. In our own backyard, the feeders have been visited by all the usual suspects, along with red breasted woodpeckers and lots of Carolina Wrens, which are a lovely tawny color against winter's snow and bare branches. We've cracked open the autumn pumpkins to share with the squirrels and chipmunks, who have been feasting on them all week.
We are off to a holiday open house tonight to see friends and raise a cup of cheer before the snow flies. It is bitterly cold outside, on its way to below zero in the next few hours, so I am worried about all the folks who don't have coats and mittens or even a roof over their heads tonight. Wherever you are, I hope you are safe and warm and dry. I hope you have a full belly, and I hope people you love are nearby--or just a phone call or a text away. This can be a joyous time of year, but it can be incredibly hard, too. May we all be able to give help when it is needed . . . and ask for help when we need it ourselves.