The first day of Zen Mtn Christmas 2020

And so starts the countdown. So this is the first, or sixth story as it is a countdown after all.

Yule; Actually.

Ma’s and my Christmas card to all our favorite people.

Anyway… I was staring at the ceiling…. ok..fine.. It’s pretty friggin dark at night up here, so I was staring at the general direction of the ceiling…and had an AHA! moment when , and I mean ; out of nowhere, I remembered this song.. one I grew up with, I have always loved it..and yet.. never payed attention to the name.. It just seem like THEE song to put together our “card”..

I have always been horrible at sending cards out.. I just never felt like someone else could put a card together that covered what I was thinking. I did spend a couple years putting up cards for a company.. it paid crap so I told them…ok , well, nothing very holiday sprit-ish…

I asked Ma; my better half, what the song was called as I made a lame attempt at humming it.. I don’t hum.. or whistle…Dude.. I walk into walls,, what the heck do you expect from me?

…We lay in bed…staring at the black, coming up with names of traditional songs.. NONE of which were it. How the HECK do you look up a song when you have no clue what it is called and YouTube has lots of collections, but they tend not to name them other than ” A collection of traditional Christmas songs” WHAT THE F**?!?…

yes yes.. I had gotten out of bed and was staring at my comp…and Yes.. my eyes were not overly pleased with my decision… It took a while, but I tracked the song down….The next day I started figuring out the parts… I imagine I could have looked up the sheet music, but the first thing I found were the vocals broken down;

“That’ll work”

I figured it out on the guitar, part by part…yeah.. it wasn’t as slick as that and yet… And then I set it up on the Mando as I had planned, originally, to do an acoustic set.. but then… I got into it…damn it.. Still sounds good on the mando..

I put together the synth tracks for a couple parts, set up two kits of drums plus a percussion set… Being fairly lame at drums in any sense, it took days and days to come up with , basically, sixteen loops, in time, plus the perc. then on to mixing.

After I cropped and placed pics, pulled the vids and finally got them synced back up, I had 120 plus hours into the project.. then I found flaws… Finally getting things all together and put up the tests online only to find claim issues.. nothing I need to concern as I am not asking for cash. .and there are many places that say the melody is public domain, just not lyrics, aaannd” they” said it was a ” Live” performance of them…obviously, they never listened to it.. and I am a little irritated about all of that, but,

Zen Mountain Christmas Card vid ( click on the link…derrr )

moving on…

Ma’s and my Seasons Greetings Card – about

So, yes, I arranged and played all of the music myself, recorded and mixed it here. The guitars I used, I built. here.. The Bass is my Baby.. my Fender. The synth is actually a pickup for one of my guitars, the drums, I use E drums, some midi controller pads and then a TON of beat by beat fixes.

The photos, of course, are our “kids” here at the homestead.

Still can’t get Wolffie to stand still long enough to get a decent snap. I have one of way off but too fuzzy.

I have pics of our big bull elk, but same thing, or they are on videos.

No cougar pics, Can’t find the only pic I have.. they generally come through after dark.

Didn’t grab Stinkie pic.

My adult Bald Eagle pics, same prob, not clear enough.

Missed the pic of the giant bear we had up here for so long.

Waaaay too many pics of all kinds of birds to fit in..even types of hummies.

Only saw one pronghorn up here, didn’t have the camera on me..

Me and the snakes tend to be running/slithering/ screaming in opposite directions so no pics there either.

Ma, you’ll see spinning , a couple times, plus some of her spinning work in stills.

The yarn is Ma’s homespun; natural fibers or blended natural fibers; sheeps of many kinds, though generally heritage, endangered breeds, or rares..Yak..Bunny..silks.. and more.. just NEVER EVER EVER any demon lamas breeds , any/all make Ma break out instantly and swell.. Alpaca being the thing now can make it a PIA when she is watching the Fests..sees something nice annd it’s freakin Demon Lama.

The shawls and more are all Ma’s work. Several of her own designs and others are her take on traditional designs.

Like the spinning its self, Ma enjoys the more traditional paths. Haps, one of Ma’s favorite articles of knitwear, not the least of which is because Ma also loves Shetland sheep fiber (wool ) can be seen in the vid. A hap can be referred to as a shawl, though a little more encompassing than that. A Hap in its verb form is to “wrap warmly”

You won’t find any of the inexpensive yarns in any of Ma’s work, and extraordinarily few that can simply be tossed in the washing machine…let alone a dryer unless you are really into Barbies and they need some more knitted some damn thing. Everything has to be hand-washed and laid or racked to dry. We made a frame for Ma’s shawls, haps, wraps and such a while back which gets a lot of use.. once again, you can see that in the vid in spots. We also made racks for sweaters, socks and such to dry on. Everything breaks out and out of the way which is handy when it ISN’T sheeps washin’ day.

Ma also makes a LOT of socks..mostly because I wear out LOTS of socks. She has found, as many others, I am sure, that just because a yarn is called ” sock yarn” doesn’t mean it actually is a good idea to use it as such. It may be soft and cozy..but only for a very short time. Then it is time to darn socks….I imagine it is called darning only because damning was already taken.. Patches last about as long as the original wear..go figure. Soooo generally it lasts about twice as long as the darning process unless you use a goo fiber.. Makes sense right?

At present, Ma has taken advantage of all of the FiberFests going virtual and is looking at, and picking up many different types of fibers and blends, searching for the best use for what is needed for the occasion . From wear to HOW it wears and feels, how it spins, how it knits, how takes a design and more… Is it too coarse for next to the skin, or too soft to last or will that sweater end up dragging on the ground simply from gravity over the course of a normal day? ….

When Ma makes something, it is an article that can be handed down over generations and treasured. No TP cozies in our house. Ma goes for natural colors more and more, only my couple colors and a couple of hers are other than what the sheep sport. Some of those are hand dyed here ….yes yes.. I know.. One of those subjects I tend to go on about…

At present Ma is working with Bunny. She has a blend of bunny shetland and silk still drying, freshly off the wheel, and another batch is turning into a sweater as I write…Along with a few other projects..course.. Ma has three wheels and two are presently in play.

And on to Yule

Yule is what we celebrate, over Christmas….One , though very minor reason is that it runs two months rather than one day….It makes a big difference in keeping those dark months at bay. It is Germanic in origin,. It is pagan.

There are no devils or demons, no blood sacrifices or anything ridiculous like that , which I have heard zealots of other religions spew out. Wrong religion * eye roll *. It is far older than Christmas which was one of the more entertaining topics over the years at work with folks from several religions going over this time of year ….

Also living off the edge of things and by the seasons Yule also feels more correct for us.

Part of the reason I moved here on this particular property was the feel of the land. There is a grove less than five miles from me, as the crow flies, that I can not even get close to, it makes me sick to my belly and absolutely creeps me out.. I saw that one first some thirty plus years ago. It is still a grove of woods after all of this time though orchards and such have gotten closer to it, but I notice, no one has ever cut down the trees . Zen is the flip side of that so even with the winds, snows, lack of water and such, it is the right place and a core for our seasonal traditions.

The Yule log; I have grabbed large logs over the years to feed through the night, and there also was the feeding of the Christmas tree bit by bit throughout the season. We cut a Yule Bough , normally on the 20th or 21st and she lives with us until the following Yule when she will be fed into the fire.. Surprisingly enough, it generally stays green…if drier and drier as the year goes on . Some may, or may not have noticed her when they visit.

We use to always get our bough from the Mother Tree of a hidden meadow , until recently when the area got scraped down to the soil. She is still growing but the area is pretty rough. The work made it so that any branches are far too high up to grab now… Fortunately, very early on, I planted several of her offspring and a few still survive and for the most part, thrive. So.. now we get our bough there.. Not quite the same as visiting Mother Tree, but I knew it would come one day and, as I say, Mother Tree is doing fine .

We have always worked through Yule, even if you only were to do the twelve days of Yule, so we have never done the giant feasts, let alone the ; It lasts until the Ale runs out versions.

Beings that there are so many different ” This is this and That is that” places to look at about Yule, the one thing that holds true is,; It varies from place to place, always has when it comes to traditions and, for that matter, length. You do have a ” Mothers’ Day”..well night and a night of lights, feasts a plenty, You have beginnings and ends of the year, even a scary night. You can have it all.. So we do.. I use to do a lot more than I do these days, both with and without others about. And, NO I do not eat rotten shark or Ram balls thank you very much though there are places where that is the thing

Good Will is what any of these celebrations are no matter which you follow, which makes me just shake my head at how so many people get to be such petulant children during the holidays..

Final thoughts

We are heading into a fun week. It is your choice, in part, to make it so. The countdown to Christmas…Yes , yes, Not your religion..Not mine either, doesn’t mean ya have to be a Scrooge . How about try to make the people you talk to smile rather than think you are a completely useless ASS. Most of us don’t give one flying shitte what color, religion or political views you have, you are either a good witch or a bad bitch..err…witch.. Make the wise choice.. Whatever your beliefs or lack of, if Good Will is not your bag, that would make you the latter.. for the rest of us……bugger off if you can’t smile simply to make someone else feel a little better about their day. Stay the hell off your fences and soap boxes for a freakin week . Sarcasm is more than acceptable .. well except for the folks with their panties in a wad simply because they enjoy having them there ..

In short Spread Cheer, not Dissention , it is in all the religions and countries.. for the most part.

Try to enjoy giving people the gift of a smile.. You might like it if you haven’t tried it. and if you want to make some dumbass proclamation for the new year. maybe simply making sure to not be total Dipswitch would be the best one.

Yes, 2020 has been a handful . For many reasons for many people. We have been forced to share a lot of them and some , as in our fires in the West , we didn’t pass along in more than chat…well and smoke, not a lot we could do about that.. Talk to Mother Nature..

I have already seen people going on about how the year coming is going to be horrible for one dumbass reason or another; all tiara-throwing speculations from people that aren’t getting what they want today.. Yes, that may mean that for YOU it will be a bad year, simply because you have that fence post up your hiney.. That doesn’t mean it will actually be a bad year, only that you, for what the hell reason , want it to be. Dumbass. Try the smile thing instead.

LOL…yes yes.. a lot of people irritate me, but I still smile and am polite in public, well .. until someone is a jerk to me, I have no problem lowering to their level if I am not able to ignore their stupid asses. It can be fun just to let them smear their own selves in their own awful they try to spread by being polite and smiling.. yes, even in a mask you can tell..and if you can’t, you are making a point of being an dink..

I am absolutely cracking myself up at this point because I keep getting flashes of the people that annoy me. Generally the same ones over and over both in person and in social media…

On that note….

Each day from Monday through Thursday, again , at 5pm PST, I’ll post up a very short story from the “kids” view, heading towards Christmas.. Thursday eve, of course, is the actual ” Night Before Christmas” story I have done versions of now for the last five years . I added a Christmas story category to my main page where folks can access most of them.

Santa always stops by to visit Ma, and harass me while the kids visit with the reindeer. It is my favorite story of the year. I like Santa, he has never let me down.. You simply have to know what to expect and not be upset if his choices aren’t what you THOUGHT you wanted.. He makes me smile.. that’s all I expect.

Christmas morning I’ll post the final post, again, a simple small the “kids” type story..

I don’t really expect many if any to read them, but so long as I have fun writing them, I’m good.

Zen it started


” What?”

” Is Santa real?”

” Yes.”

” I was told he wasn’t”

” Not our problem. You’ll meet him in just a few days. HERE, he visits.. Thank Ma for that. “ I looked to Lil Buck, his head cocked, the withered apple hanging from the side of his mouth. Our girl a ways behind him grinning as she munched on her own appule.

” So… The reindeer really are real? They really fly? “

” Course and yes. “ I toss another apple to each of them as I stood on the deck where in just a few days I KNEW..I KNEW.. I would be cleaning up reindeer poo off said deck…………..again come the 25th.

Lass, overhead, chirped in; ” I’ve never seen him. “

Lil Buck looked up to Lass , then to me in alarm.

I roll my eyes at her, then grin down to Lil Buck. ” She is giving you grief . Ask her why.”

Lass gave an exaggerated shrug and huffed, ” Fine..Whatever.. because I go to bed early..”

” See… and didn’t your stocking get filled last year? “ I asked the little feathered pest.

” I spose.. I need Ma to make me a bigger stocking.” She said grumpily .

” For more coal if you keep giving Lil Buck notions that Santa isn’t coming. “

Lass giggled.” Yes.. Fine fine.. I am just messing with you. I have seen the reindeer poo on the roof.” She said to the little fawn.

He munched on his newest apple as he smiled around the juices, trying to get it into just the right spot in his jaws. ” Oh good ! I want to meet Rudolph .”

We all looked to one another. ” Mmmmmm Rudolph doesn’t come up here. He only comes out for specially bad years. If he comes, you’ll likely be huddled in bed trying to keep warm. You can meet the rest though. The girls especially like Prancer…bit of a show off if you ask me, but there ya go. “ I look to Our Girl,” Umm, you’re drooling girl.”

” Oh! My!.. but that Prancer…Whew!….”

” SEE!” Lass and I chorused.

Moooomm! You’re embarassing me. “ Lil Buck said as he stared at his mom.

” Um.. Right.. Just the appule making me drool.. yeahhhhh, the appule.” She said, her cheeks coloring.

Well, “ Lass said, ” I am bored with this reindeer stuff. I have people to visit. Limpy and his family and I suppose I should check in with my family.. or prepare myself for my Dad coming to yell at me again. I’m out.” and off she flew.

” I imagine we should move on as well. Things to do and all. “ Our girl said as she look to her little boy.

” But..Mommmm.. I want to hear more about Santa…” He grin,” and Prancer. “

“Aaaaaannnd we’re off.” She said as she turn, walking away.

Lil Buck look to me and then his mama and an evil grin crossed his visage . He kicked , spun and ran off after her. I could hear him exclaim as they trotted out of sight, ” Is he your boyfriend and will you kisss in the moonlight?”

I laughed to myself as I turn to the house, I look back one more time thinking about that jolly old elf. He and his reindeer would be here quite soon.. I found my face begin to wrinkle as if it were an old prune.

And so it begins, the festive holiday week, preparing for the kids and to give Santa a tweak.

I stopped, shook my head thinking to myself..Crap.. It has begun. I’ll be thinking in rhymes till I go crazy before this week is done

The sun began its slow climb over the tops of the far ridge line of our neighboring state before I could finally shake the habit that drops in this time of year..That’s what I get for talking to deer..


and so begins

Just another day on Zen Mountain

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