Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Southern Frost

The weather was unusually warm, and then we had several days of vigorous rain.  That passed, and now winter has come to the South.  Not winter as I know it, with ice and snow and freezing fog, but a kinder, gentler sort of winter with its own sort of beauty.

We had frost.

My car windshield was covered in long, elaborate ice "feathers", which were formed when a strong wind blowing water turned cold, then colder. 

Ice formed in the bird bath for the first time this year.

You'll note that the ice formation is different, based upon the wind on the southern side of the house being a bit more gentle that night that the wind on the northern side.

Water droplets formed in the trees...

...and turned to diamonds in the sunlight.

Frost edged the leaves of the helleborus...

...and all the bushes.

The autumn leaves were frozen.

The pond steamed in the early sun.

In this growth zone there is still a lot of green.  The little white buds that had formed on one of the 10-foot bushes outside opened up...

...and proved to be white ruffled camillas.

They only live for a few days, and then drop their petals to form a romantic little path along the edge of the yard.

The few Mahonia bushes that I hadn't gotten around to cutting down bloomed briefly before falling to my hedge clippers.

Of course, I've done my best to 'bring the outside in'.  I have cut many fir and pine branches to put in vases around the house.

Holly is *everywhere*.

I bought several hyacinth bulbs from the store and they're sprouting nicely in narrow-necked glass vases.

I've been bringing in near-armfuls of fallen camilla blooms.  I have them in white dishes and egg cups.

Bosewichte heartily approves.

I need all this cheer around me, because making friends in a new place when you work from home hasn't been as easy as I thought it would be.  I tried to volunteer.  I tried to get more information about the local League of Women Voters.  I contacted multiple people in my new town via Ravelry to see if anyone was interested in starting a knitting club, and the same method on Gardenweb to see if anyone wanted to form a gardening club.  I didn't get any response from any of my efforts.  I tried to find other community groups/clubs via meetup.com and through the local library with no luck.  We're looking for a church, and I joined the gym and am taking an upcoming Master Gardeners course, but I'm still alone most of the time.  It's easy to become discouraged, and being out in the yard and enjoying the natural beauty of the area helps.

So does spending more time on my hobbies, like knitting.  I knitted this pillow recently and it was really enjoyable.  The pattern is free on Ravelry.com and I believe it's called Handspun Cushion.

I've also been doing a little baking.  Here's a fun tip:  instead of chocolate chips in your next dessert recipe, try making Nutella chips.

I just filled a piping bag with Nutella and piped out rough chocolate blobs.  Be sure to freeze them overnight...they melt really easily.  Then just mix into your batter like you would chocolate chips.  Yum!

Have a great week!

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