Thurs. Dec. 1, 2022: The Season of Evergreens

Advent Table, photo by Devon Ellington

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Second Quarter Waxing Moon in Pisces

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Elder

Cloudy and cold

Phew! It feels like ages since we got together, even though we only skipped last Thursday for American Thanksgiving. I hope you had a good one. Ours was lovely and quiet, filled with good food and good books.

I started the decorating over the weekend, but haven’t gotten very far, and there are boxes scattered everywhere. I hope to get another big push done this weekend, especially when it comes to getting the big tree in the stand, and start that decorating. We are learning how things fit in the space. Last year, we just kind of slapped everything up, in our first year here, to get it up. This year, we are taking more time to figure out what we want, and so there’s more box chaos early.

Tessa, the big black cat does not like it. She likes things tidy. Charlotte and Willa think it’s fun.

We will get there. I have to stop berating myself for not getting it all done in a single day. After all, I’ve accumulated a lot more decorations since the single-day-decorating years, and I have to get the writing and other paid work done before I can decorate. On weekdays, I’m often too tired.

But I got the wreath from Whitney’s Farm, and it’s decorated and on the front door. It looks kind of pretty. Remember last year’s wreath? It was fresh until June, and after the holidays, we hung the green wreath on the living room door.

Door wreath. Photo by Devon Ellington

I’m hoping, once everything is decorated and just before Solstice, I can get some fresh greens and scatter them amongst the decorations here and there. I’m worried if I get them now, they’ll dry out too early.

The photo above is of the Advent Table. We’ve kept it simple this year. The wreath used is artificial, not real. The candleholders for the four Advent candles have been in our family ever since I can remember, and the silver-plated tree in the center was a find at an antique store in Saybrook, CT, when we were moving from NY to the Cape. The bells attached to the top came to us on a gift probably back in the 1960s or 70s. The top cloth on the table is a gift from friends in Germany; again, we’ve had it for ages. The cloth underneath (barely visible) is one I made back when I was living in NYC. Everything has a story and a memory attached, whether it’s on this table, or anywhere else. As we decorate, we tell the family stories and keep our history alive. We combine old and new traditions, as works for us.

The fake fireplace (we don’t have a real one in this house) is a work in process. The artificial garland we use had blue poinsettias. In the back, you can see that I’ve put a seasonal ribbon on my broom.

Even though we don’t celebrate the traditional Christmas anymore (Solstice is my big holiday), the tradition of the Advent table and lighting the candles is a big deal. Each Sunday, after dusk, we light a candle. On the first of Advent, we light one; on the second, we light two, and so forth and so on. On Christmas Eve, we light all of them, plus the center (it’s often a bayberry candle; this year it’s the votives in the silver tree) and burn them all the way down.

I still have to get bayberry tapers. Tapers, in general, are difficult to find around here. I’m hoping to pick them up on my errands this weekend, if the weather clears up.

If you haven’t yet planted your bulbs, today is a planting day, by the astrological calendar. Better get them in. Ours are planted and on the front porch. There’s one little shoot, which started peeking out, probably a narcissus.

I’m still trying to nurse the peace lily back to health.

The Celtic Tree Month of Elder began last Friday. Elder is the thirteenth lunation, and is connected to death and regenerative magic. It’s bad luck to cut from an elder tree without permission (and even worse luck to cut one down). Elderberry syrup is a popular medicinal for the winter, helpful in promoting healing from coughs and colds.

Here we go, into the busy holiday season. I hope you take some time to enjoy the greenery, the lights, and the joy.

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Thurs. Dec. 9, 2021: Just Enough Snow to Be Pretty

Small tree on the front porch. Photo by Devon Ellington.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

First Quarter Moon in Aquarius

Chiron and Uranus Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Elder

Snowy and cold

It snowed twice yesterday, once in the morning, then a break, then again in the evening and into the night. It wasn’t a lot of snow, either time, just two or three inches. It looks pretty, it needs to be brushed off the cars.

They’re good about plowing here. Unlike on Cape Cod, where it could be days before one saw a plow, and there were times when I could see the cleared street at the end of the block, but couldn’t actually get to it, the plows are out regularly. They’re strict about the “no parking on the street” regulations from November 1 to April 30, so that they can plow, and people actually respect it. With everyone working together, it works.

Because we are on the second floor, and have these magnificent windows, I love to sit or lie on the couch and watch the snow fall. It’s becoming one of my favorite mountain pastimes! And it’s wonderful to look out of either the front or back windows and see the mountains.

I love the way snow puts a quieting blanket on it all. Our neighborhood is reasonably quiet anyway, even with the college right here. For some reason, the clock isn’t chiming anymore, or right now. I don’t know if they turned it off because there was a film crew here, or for maintenance, or if it’s off for the winter. I miss it terribly. I loved keeping track of my day with it.

We have the small tree up on the porch, with the blue and silver ornaments. It’s the tree that used to be in my office. It’s got the painted shells and starfish and sand dollars that we accumulated and painted through the Cape years, and I also strung colored lights along the windows. It’s very pretty.

detail of small tree. Photo by Devon Ellington.

The stair bannisters are wrapped in lights and garlands, and look pretty, too.

This weekend, we put up the big tree. We finally decided to put it in the doorway between the living room and the sewing room, because I can tie it off to the door hinges for security.

It will be a big job. And there are still other decorations to unpack and put up. Since this space is new to us, there’s a lot of rearranging involved! But it’s fun.

After the holidays, I will have to sit down with the seed catalogs, and we will have to decide what we can, realistically, plant on the front porch and on the back balcony in containers. The garden will be very different this year, but it will exist.

What is it like where you live?

Thurs. Dec. 2, 2021: Just A Little Winter Snow

image courtesy of Alain Audet via pixabay.com

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Fourth Quarter Moon Waning in Scorpio

Neptune Direct as of December 1

Chiron and Uranus Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Elder

Rainy/snowy, starting cold and warming up

It’s been snowing, on and off, since just before Thanksgiving. Not enough to be a problem, just enough to be pretty. The buildings and branches are all decorated for winter.

We’ve left only the hardiest plants on the front porch, and will probably bring those in, as soon as we get the Yule tree up. It is an artificial tree, and the smaller tree, that we’ve also had for decades, will be decorated and put on the front porch.

Decorating is happening in bits and pieces, mostly because the COVID booster took me out of commission for a few days and I’m behind where I’d like to be. Plus, I have to do the domestic cards and the baking.

But it will all get done.

We’re in the Celtic tree month of Elder, which is a time for creativity and renewal, of endings, beginnings, and rejuvenation. I’m ready for that.

And it’s lovely to lie on the couch and watch the snow fall.