Thursday, December 31, 2009

Year’s End

Today is the last day of 2009. It is time to reflect on the year gone by and to dream and make plans for the year ahead.

Last year, I looked backward at a year full of illness for my husband. I looked back at a severe drought that had threatened to starve every living thing of life giving water.

This year, I can see the trials and tribulations we've had with the pets being ill; but nothing as wrenching as 2008 and Jim's illness and many close-calls. Looking back at 2009, I see an end to the drought and an almost overabundance of rainfall. We had so much rain that I seldom even had to water the container plants.

Since everyone likes to make lists at this time of the year, I'll try my hand at it.

Ten Worst Things of 2009 at Shady Hollow (in no particular order):

  1. Slugs, they will eat through a garden overnight, and are an animal I truly hate
  2. Sick pets and worry over their recovery (Jay-Jay and then Tigger)
  3. Damping-off disease killing some of my spring seedlings
  4. Not having the big freezer until after the gardening season was over
  5. Did I say slugs?
  6. Over-winter loss of my hibiscus plants (only 1 out of about 6 made it through the winter)
  7. Over-winter loss of my orange cannas (my fault)
  8. My failure to get the cottage de-cluttered, again
  9. Not having friends over more often
  10. Oh, and slugs


Ten Best Things of 2009 at Shady Hollow (again, in no particular order):


  1. Two artichoke plants have survived the slugs and may produce next year
  2. I finally reclaimed the lower yard/meadow from encroaching undergrowth
  3. The vegetable garden was the best I had ever grown
  4. The cannas gifted to the Hollow by our friend Bill L. did wonderful
  5. I was gifted a crape myrtle by a work friend (once again the Universe came through)
  6. The Rose of Sharon's are all transplanted and doing well
  7. Our wonderful neighbors have been there to help, without being asked, at just the right times
  8. Visits from family and friends
  9. Jim's health has remained stable
  10. I started this blog to share my adventures with the rest of the world


I have never tried this exercise before and am happy to report that the best list was much easier to fill than the worst list. That's a good thing, right?


Whatever items you have on your worst and best lists of 2009, we at Shady Hollow wish you a happy and prosperous 2010. May each and every one of you be blessed.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

It is Christmas morning at Shady Hollow. The cats have been fed and the coffee made. Rain is falling from the gray skies, attempting to wash away last week's snow. So far it hasn't had much luck. There are areas where the good earth is peeking through the snow pack, but it will take much more rain to finally wash the snow away.

While they gleefully rode the snowflakes to earth last week, methinks the Fairies are all safe and snug in their cottages this morning. In my mind's eye I can see them in their tiny abodes, gathered around their tiny Christmas trees. I'm sure some are even in our cottage, hiding among the branches of our tree, waiting to play with the cats or hide items I may need today.

While we at Shady Hollow keep to the Old Ways, we still celebrate Christmas. To be a true Pagan, one must honor ALL the Gods. Our myths and legends hold many Gods and Goddesses who intermingled with humans and produced mighty offspring who then aided mankind. Why then would we not also believe the Christmas story which is also of the union of a god and human whose offspring has and will continue to offer hope and solace to so many?

We honor Him this morning, that babe born in the most terrible of conditions, whose life was an example of love and sacrifice, and Who gave His life for all.

Merry Christmas!

Blessed Be!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Yule (Winter Solstice)

I stood at the window; it was just too cold outside, and waited for the rebirth of the Sun. The Eastern sky gradually lightened and turned a pale blue. Slowly it brightened as I waited. Finally the first ray of sunlight shot across the land. Bright and full of promise the ray sped by me and onward across Shady Hollow and toward the western sky.

There was no sound as the Silver Wheel clicked a notch. There was silence as the world stood poised to gradually ascend toward the light part of the year. Even the birds were still and quiet. The Sun is reborn and light and warmth will return to the land.

All my weather lore foretold the current cold and snowy weather. It has shown me the conditions are right for a winter with more of the same. Yet, even while the North Winds blow snow across the land the days will grow longer and at last the sun and warmth will defeat the winds of winter.

My blessings to all on this Solstice morning. May the Sun always shine on you wherever you are on your journey through life.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snow Storm

It snowed at Shady Hollow on Friday. Serious snow. We knew it was on the way and had stocked up on supplies. Tigger was brought home from the vet's the day before with prayers that he didn't take a turn for the worse after getting home (prayers are answered so far on that one).

I told my boss the night before, "Remember, I don't do snow." He nodded affirmative and said that was OK because he had heard this one was going to be bad.

Friday morning we had received a dusting, but it had started to mist rain with a little sleet mixed in. I kept watching the Weather Channel and they kept assuring me it was on its way. They were correct. By mid-day it had begun to snow heavily and continue snowing until after 10 p.m.

I kept taking pictures all day and again this morning. These white squirrels were in a feeding frenzy below the bird feeder before the snow had accumulated more than an inch or two. I never saw any squirrels today. I suppose they were staying curled in their beds, snug and warm.
I haven't seen the chipmunk, but did toss him some food over near the opening of his den. I know he is the warmest, as is den is next to the cottage and he gets some warmth through the wall.
My adventures have been few. My enjoyment has been great. I don't think I have gotten as much pleasure from a snow storm since I was a child.
Tomorrow I will dig us out and get ready for Monday and the real world again. But for now, locked in the Ice Crone's embrace, Shady Hollow and her inhabitants are all at peace.
Be Blessed.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Strangers in the Night

I don't know who she is.

We meet every night on the same stretch of road traveling in opposite directions. On the afternoons I take that route to work, we meet again, headed in different directions to different destinations.

I am sure we both work second shift, I know from meeting her in daylight that we are close in age. But, I don't know who she is.

Sitting at the red light one night I saw which way she turns when she leaves our rendezvous road. She saw the direction I come from as well. You see, after a year of these meetings, I'm sure she recognizes my car, too.

On the nights I am home or work over, I wonder if she misses me. I miss her and wonder if all is well in her world on the nights she doesn't pass me by.

Those of us who travel the darkened streets after the rest of the world is home and safe take comfort in small things, I guess. It is comforting to meet her every night as we travel to our homes and who or what awaits us there.

Whoever you are, my dear, may good fortune smile on you and keep you safe on your nightly journey.

Friday, December 11, 2009


It is 10:00 a.m. as I write and the temperature is hovering at 22°F. Brrrr!

I haven't gone out to get the newspaper. I haven't forced myself to believe the latest news is worth the effort. It's a long way up the hill when it's this cold. I can read most of what I want to know on my computer anyway. The cats have even avoided sitting in the windows this morning.

I guess winter has finally arrived.

Be Blessed.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Unexpected Visitors

It is cold at Shady Hollow. After getting to see a few snowflakes on Saturday morning our weather took a definite turn toward winter. Serious winter, with temperatures in the low 20's Sunday and at 29°F as I write early Monday morning.

We had all wanted a little more snow. It was the weekend after all, and we wouldn't have to travel anywhere. It worked out alright though, for with the snow came some new visitors to the Hollow.

Jim saw them first and called me to look. He was not ready to believe his eyes. I looked for a moment and grabbed the camera.

Neither of us had seen a bluebird in years. I remember them as a child in South Carolina, but had never seen any here. There was a small flock of them, four at least, but we think maybe five total. They had settled into the limbs of the Survivor Tree, and occasionally one would visit the deck railing. They were feeding below the deck, presumably on herb seeds.

We feel blessed that these little beauties rode in on the snow. We saw one again on Sunday and are hoping they will hang around for awhile.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Snow = Milk & Bread

If the weather forecasts are to be believed, we may get some rain/snow showers here Saturday. I'm getting the cameras ready in anticipation. I'll do my shopping tomorrow: milk and bread. It's a Southern Thing.

I've had people who aren't from around here ask me many times why we southerners run out for milk and bread whenever the forecasters say the word 'snow'. I don't know about anyone else, but the area of South Carolina where I grew up was prone to power outages during any type of inclement weather. So long as you had some milk and bread, you were good to go whether the power was on or not. Just my observation, if anyone has a differing opinion, please let me know.

When I moved to North Carolina I soon found that the milk and bread thing was in effect here, too. Milk and bread alone, however, will limit one to "jam" sandwiches. You know, two pieces of bread "jammed" together. So, I will probably pick up some peanut butter, pimento cheese, spam, and Dukes Mayonnaise as well. Oh, and some vanilla flavoring. Vanilla flavoring, along with milk and snow make snow-cream.

We won't get enough snow to make snow-cream or even make the milk and bread run a necessity, but it's still fun to do.

Right now, I think I'll check the forecast, one more time.

Be Blessed.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December’s Chill

The flowers were not killed the other day as I expected. Judging from the outside temperature as I write (in the wee hours of the morning again) they will probably succumb tonight to winter's chill. If not, I will have salvia, impatiens and begonias blooming outside on December 1st.

In two weeks I will be starting my begonia seed for next summer. In the months after I'll be busy in the plant room getting other seedlings underway. Winter is not necessarily a time for rest at Shady Hollow. At least not under my grow lights!