Our small table, where we eat when it's just the two of us, has the best view of the bird feeder. These days we watch black-eyed juncos, house finches, a variety of sparrows, the occasional towhee, and a few chickadees vying for positions on the feeding perches. They can certainly squabble, those birds, all a bit greedy to have sole access to the feeder.
"No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member -
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds -
- Thomas Hood, No!
Hood's words seem a little harsh for this year's November. We've had a fair bit of sunshine and just yesterday I saw a wasp inspecting a red Christmas light strung along the eaves, perhaps thinking it some sort of flower. I pulled on my wellies this afternoon and tramped around the garden. How surprised I was to see a few flowers: a couple of cornflowers, a sweet pea, some roses, a stalwart zinnia, and of course, the reliable hydrangeas that are hanging on very well this year. So take that, Thomas Hood!
There were even a few raspberries!
A wind warning has been issued for tonight and tomorrow - wind and rain are set to batter the garden and curl around the corners of the house. We're warm and cozy indoors. The lighted picture is a recent acquisition, and difficult to photograph properly. Since we get so little snow, this snowy scene with the twinkling lights in the trees and the lamps glowing is as close as we get to a walk in a white landscape.
"The snapping of pitch from a burning log,
The faint scent of pine filling the room.
Flames leaping about as if it were a ballet
Performing for its audience.
The soft, comforting glow of candlelight,
Bringing with it serenity and quiet thoughts."
- Linda Christensen, Autumn's Beauty
Although our fires are gas, the flames are still most welcome when I stand and warm my back, then my front, toasting both sides, as it were. Around the kitchen windows I've strung star-shaped lights for a soft glow that makes me smile to see them.
There's a party on Friday, with Tim's work colleagues, so I've done a little baking - cranberry orange shortbread, pecan toffee squares, almond cream cheese bars, and raspberry diamonds. We sampled them this evening and they pass muster.
November days are passing. Today marks just one month until Christmas. This coming week is a busy one with a school inspection (I teach at an independent school and we are inspected every 4 years), and three evening events, including a party on Friday night. December's calendar is curiously empty, save for a couple of dates. I don't mind. A slower pace allows for time for reflection and thinking about the focus of the season, of the birth of Christ, as well as time for preparing the house and all that goes with celebrating.
How is your November coming along? Are you full into the Christmas mode, or do you have some time to think and reflect, as well?
Linking with Mosaic Monday, hosted by Angie of Letting Go of the Bay Leaf.