Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New year

Happy New Year! I'm having a very good day, getting things organized and cleaned and put away. The Christmas tree and other decorations are down and put away until next year and the whole house is clean and fresh. I always feel rejuvenated by a good clean-up, it's just part of who I am.

This is my favorite time of year, actually. January and February feel like a clean slate, a time to get back on track and settle back into the routines of life, now that the parties, cooking, decorating, shopping and eating have ended. I love those things too, but I really adore the calm, quiet period after the holidays.

We stay home for New Year's Eve, just my Bears and me. Even when we were young and childless, the Bear and I preferred to stay at home and celebrate quietly by ourselves. It's dangerous out there on the roads with other revelers and we usually can't stay up until midnight anyway. Most years we're in bed by 10 or so, and this year was no exception.

We had a lot of fun, with a dance party in our family room and the small Bears showing off some fancy footwork. I made a festive and fun dinner of party foods for us all; we had cheese fondue (with dippers such as bread, veggies and fruit; this was my first time making it from scratch and it was so easy! I usually buy the little kit at the grocery store but I won't need to do that anymore), pigs-in-blankets, and shrimp cocktail as an appetizer.

The meal was a hit! Everyone enjoyed dinner and gobbled most of it right up. I like cooking this kind of food, truth be told. I enjoy doing bigger things like roasts and soups and stews too, but kiddie party food is where I really seem to shine in the kitchen.

Earlier in the day, we had experienced our biggest snowfall so far this winter. Here in the desert, it's typical to get an inch or so at a time, though there is the occasional major snowstorm; six years ago, more than two feet fell on our city in a several-day storm! But that is not the norm at all.

We're at approximately 5500 feet in elevation, but if you were to ascend in the nearby mountains, you would find much more snow than we have. I don't mind not having more, though; snow is pretty to look at but it can be a hassle. I have lived in much snowier locations and I usually don't miss it much.

Anyway, the small Bears enjoyed themselves very much in the snow. We had a little less than an inch, but it was plenty for them. The Little Bear built this item he calls a "snow chicken"; it was created from a clump of snow he collected in the last snowfall. He maintained it by keeping it in a flower bed that is mostly in shade and he also pours water on it to keep it frozen. Yesterday, he was able to add some more snow to it and make it bigger. He says he wants to make "eggs" for it next time.

Snow was packed, thrown, trampled and caked onto clothing and shoes. We don't invest in much snow gear, given how little snow falls here. So the Bears played in regular clothes and shoes, with coats, hats, mittens and gloves. They had a lot of fun playing with the snow, as evidenced by the LB's gloves and sneakers.

While they played, I walked around the yard with my camera, capturing the beauty, and novelty, of a snowstorm in the desert. It gets very cold here, but there just isn't much moisture. The rarity makes an occasion like this all the more special and exciting.

I stopped to examine last year's plants now covered in snow. This is one of my chrysanthemums crowned with snow on its old, dried blossoms.

Last summer's bachelor's buttons stand out especially brightly against the clean, white snow.

One last petal clings tenaciously to the miniature rose bush.

Snow collected on the iron fence and gate leading to the side yard.

The arroyo is snowy too. Our property abuts this municipal feature, which is essentially a large drainage ditch that collects rainwater and takes it down to the Rio Grande, the large river running through the middle of our city. We like living next to the arroyo; it's open and quiet and the utility company has an easement on it so it will never be built on. There is an excellent walking trail on the side further from us, which you can see above the paved area.

Sometime I'll show you more of the arroyo but yesterday's peek at it was all about the snowiness down there. We are separated from it by a wall running across the back side of our property but I can view it easily over the wall.

Pyracantha berries and Nandina berries collected a bit of snow too; they looked especially pretty because of their bright colors.

And here's my little bunny lawn ornament wearing a mantle of snow. This fellow gets to nestle in primroses and verbena in the warm weather, so it all balances out for him.

We headed inside after awhile because the small Bears were cold. By the afternoon most of the snow was melted but a little still remains in shaded areas. The air is cold now but the sun's rays are strong and snow doesn't last very long here. We had a memorable and fun morning in the snow, with hot chocolate to follow. What a happy way to end the old year and welcome a new one.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely photos and narrative, Jennifer :) Thanks for posting!
    Gracie xx


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