After the Tinsel’s Gone

Well, the Holidays have come and gone.. for most..

I know a LOT of folk have the Christmas decos in tear down mode after the day’s celebration;’ package/present opening and breakfast are over…. and then, ya have the whole of winter to complain about…Nice.

I can still, remember….that is a feat unto its self by the by ; Our family, as in myself, and parents.. then added sister, would go down the the nursery, at least for a while, to pick up the tree the folks had ordered.. There was no lookin’ about, just pick up the tree and head home… Tree was up and let the decorating begin…Not too long before the holiday course, it was, or had been a live tree… We would get up early…Oh yes, I was one to wake in the wee hours to go look for signs of Santa; we go way back… The tree lights were left on all night, and usually by the third time I would check, son of a gun, there were presents, cookies bit into and a sip of milk gone….Seriously.. what the heck is wrong with our cookies that he only took a bite? The thought that maybe he had oodles of other houses didn’t connect with a little kid, right?…….

In any case, Presents: Check. Cookie bit into: Check. Milk ..well.. Maybe he would have liked whiskey better by the time he got to our place, but sipped: Check… No soot in front of the fireplace…The guy is a marvel .. I would have left a trail of footie prints…. This was still back before we had carpets.. Nice hardwood floors…Still buried under shag carpet to this day…. I would check to see that I got something besides socks, then back to bed to wait…..FOREVER…. Finally, the folks would get up and let the opening begin… I swear.. I think they had to grow and grind the coffee before they would sit down with their cups. Then we would sit and look at the friggin tree till I thought I would scream… Come on! I’ve been waiting like 12 months least 11 of them while I waited for you guys to wake up , I am sure..

The time for opening presents finally came when Dad would be so enthused he would nod to Mom who would then say it was ok for me to hand out presents….And so it began… Once I handed out five or so presents to each of them, all the while, hoarding my load next to where I would sit… I was given the ok to open presents.. Even then I noticed how slow they would open presents compared to myself.. I was never big on ripping them open…After all, once they were open, they were things, not presents..

The things about presents, to me anyways, is that they have a magic about them; they could be Anything…But more than that, The tree was prettier with them under it. It seem to glow to the point where I would catch myself holding my breath as I peaked around, looking at the shapes and sizes.. Not just of mine, but my parents’ packages as well… You just never knew what Dad would come up with for my mother… Usually clothes, but sometimes something marvelous…yeahbutt.. usually clothes…

Once the packages were sorted, the first round anyway, and the nod was given, and then Mom saying I could start, I would try my best to not open each package any quicker than Dad.. but then I saw that he ripped the paper and it was over with the present.. Then I watched Mom who took her time….So I would make sure I didn’t pull that last piece of tape until she was almost there….and then I noticed that this was way more fun…I didn’t care all that much about what was inside, it was the anticipation…

As Christmases followed one after another, I began to take more and more time. There finally came a time where the family would complain as I would have barely opened a couple packages and even the folks were done and Dad wanted to haul off the remains…Like THAT would hurry me up….End of remains is the step before breakfast and then the tree would come down…..Screw that!

Once our family grew to having others adding in their noise, I started carrying a pocket knife to Christmas morning…My mom thought it would be a funny joke to cover not just the outside wrapping in tape, but another layer inside, thinking that , that would make me just get it over with..( the first person to try that, not the last .) To her chagrin , I happily sat back on my stool and separated each piece of tape from the box, one at a time….And so began the first round of cat calls from all present every year. My sister finally grew older, if not up, and got married.. The Brother in Law would get absolutely irritated and bug the crap out of me about it…and like tail-gaters , it made me slow down even more…No need to tell him to shut the hell if that would do any good any how….You bug me and I’ll just kick back and make a meal out of it…

Going back in time , once again, The tree would go up a few days before Christmas and come down that day… Once that happened, I just went to my room to hang with my plunder and think about how pretty it was Christmas Eve. Mom would ask how I liked my stuff….Mostly clothes…Mostly socks….I can, and do, go through a pair in one day if I am working hard, I constantly pivot.. I would tell her they were great and go back to looking at the little things I would get on The Eve.. When asked, I told my thoughts of the tree…The tree then went up earlier and came down the day after Dad’s birthday.. Dec 26…

The year came when Flocking was Big in our area…” Get your tree flocked for a small price. Now it looks like it has snow on it still. ” Well, dying trees kill my allergies to begin with, I fought that every year working for the school district. Bad enough when the door to the hall was open, but close that room up for a few hours and I would lose my breath when I walked in and headaches from lack of air in my lungs as well as tunnel vision would make me miserable for weeks.. Now Flocking, that was a whole new level of allergy slapping pain… I think this was either right before my sister was born or maybe her first year so I was around 5 years old.. I ended up in the hospital and had no problems with the tree going Christmas day.

Finally came the time when artificial trees looked more or less real-ish…. Mom and Dad always being at the front of what was new…Don’t get me started on the switch from home cooked to canned or frozen dinners…I had already started cooking.. again, around 5, but at least a few days a week was something food-like for dinner…mmmmm good…So, anyway.. ( one of my favorite segues as we all know ) We got our first fake tree…Now, the tree went up towards the beginning of December and didn’t come down till around the first of the year, after the folks had their New Years Eve party…. Well…. Then trees got nicer and they bought a new tree… The old tree was moved into the living room, compared to the Front Room where the adults did their thing…Now I had a whole room to decorate myself as my room was off the living room towards the back of the house.. So I started making decos, which, of course, added to the fun…Streamers came in then.. We had them in our school rooms so I knew what to it’s hard right? I was a little kid, I still liked my work…Still better than a lot of the crap in stores now…Not a fan..and over the years my decos have broken , but more walked off… Have you tried to get the old ornaments.. Good Luck with that…So, again, we make our own.. Mostly Ma; my better half course.

Over time I got to push the date of Tree up and tree down.. Mostly my tree… Dad would put up outside decos, not just for us, but some of the neighbors, and, as one would imagine, I was enlisted to help.. I couldn’t reach the counter tops, but I could climb a ladder and walk the rooves laying down lights and putting in new bulbs that went out after they were up. When we started outside, I would explain, was a great time to start inside….Finally won that battle to a small extent and now the inside started getting decorated after Turkey Day.. Yes, I know, far too many reading this are rolling their eyes…yeh.. don’t care..not even a smidge…Scrooge…

Once I had my own place, now I decided when they went up and down…. With that also came the time when I started really noticing , in a different way, how seasons dictated life, and how some woods made me very uncomfortable and others were inviting which then lead me to Yule, and the different ways it was celebrated.. which pushed me more and more towards living with Nature and less with People…. Nature told me when to put up my Christmas/Yule decos….I mean.. Turkeys are here during Spring and Summer… You notice how few hang about the house right before Turkey Day…. So, though I always want to get into the Fall decorations, it is a busy time with harvest and some how I always get too close to the Yule deco time to worry about it…Every Winter, I tell myself I want to do more for Fall, and for crying out loud Spring…Course, a lot of our “Springs” have temping in the tens with a few feet of snow on the ground which doesn’t lend well to flowery decos inside…

The holiday decos ( which I use the term, obviously, over Christmas, for several reasons ) have one thing that tells me that they need to get put up… Crap Weather… A good snow storm, which can and does happen in October can set me off… The decos are in an outbuilding that can, and, again, does get snowed in to the point that it is a major trial to get in and out, not to mention the walk back to the house carrying those heavy totes on ice… Which has lead to a couple times putting things up closer to Veteran’s Day than Christmas.. Though, normally, still around Turkey Day. When my sister and I still talked, and even visited, it was a race of sorts…’ HA! You got yours up today? Mine has been up for almost a week.” Then she started blowing off the annual Christmas Breakfast…which meant I had a good week’s worth of food sitting on the counter at 11am before I would get the.” We’re not coming.” call… So now, I have Ma; my better half, and all our Zen Mountain kids to celebrate with from hummingbirds to elk.. Plenty of family there…. and, my tree is ALWAYS decorated first…win/win..

The nice thing about moving over the the seasonal look and feel of life is that there are tons of winter holidays in the pagan world which means while a lot of folk are grumping through winter, I have holidays and decorations..Ha!

When do they come down? Just like they go up… we start with a few and work our way in to the full tree deco and trimmings around the house.. No stockings.. No angels.. Not quite enough Santas…I like the Old World look and thought so I enjoy my Santas and am always looking for more of the Old World guys… There was a time when we had the most amazing store in Gotham that had so many Old World Santa scapes that I wanted so bad, but I didn’t have the room to store them, always thinking that ” One Day, I’ll have a place and then I’ll pick them up.” The world changed, not for the better…. Decos these days are nothing but glitter on plastic and bigger is better and even more so the more annoying it is….again.. Not a Fan… So now I have room but no place to find the guys and am a little heartbroken over it…

Anyway ( see there it is again ) Our Santas are part of the first to go up and last to come I see them differently in more of a wise Old Elf, rather than some dude that probably doesn’t exist and is a marketing tool.. personally, I figure the people that act/talk like that are the tools…My Blog, my ways of thinking…

So, before the signs of Spring come, the very last of the holidays for us start to fall away, the house gets its Spring cleaning as well as we can before the snow, ice and mud are completely gone and without having EVERYTHING taking up space….

icy morning
icy morning

If you come to the Homestead, you’ll most likely notice that I have up Christmas lights throughout the house.. trust me, I have heard it before…more times than you could possibly imagine, all the little comments… Here is the actual reason… Light hurts my eyes, even more since the accident in 2017? Summer is lava in my head…as is a Nice beautiful snow scape with the sun on it… The lights are up and out of the ways with the darker colors giving us light but not like LEDs or Bulbs.. fluorescents make me sick as a pig..The last 7 years working under them, I had to wear a baseball cap and sunglasses all days/ night while worked so that I even could work, and even then I was dizzy and sick with the awesome headaches… I noticed a VERY long time ago that the holiday lights didn’t bother me and were more than enough for a lot of what I did….So, now they are indirect lighting..get over it…The festive feel I notice some times but not always….I do notice not being miserable however,

This little page is already getting pretty long and I haven’t touched very much on, well; much… sooooo moving along…before this wont even upload to the net…

Holidays and “the kids”

Other than my niece and nephew, we don’t get family up here, let alone kids.. The drive is too much for friends, which is more of an FB thing these days…We don’t get out…Even before the pandemic thang…

Our place, however, is the Great Stopping Spot, for animals.. Blessed? I guess , if by Blessed, you mean that we have all kinds of animals here due to us planting for them, putting out food , water and mineral blocks for them. Walking slowly and quietly, talking to each one of them that comes in every day now that they do come in….. I have worked on the place to bring in animals for 30 years… They have only really been coming in all the time for maybe 15 of them…Blessing takes a shit ton of work it seems. But yeah, we see something every single day. Even in the worst weather, our ravens come in and usually crows, but also, by that time of the seasons, we have the eagles in, and generally wolves passing through , both till early Spring.

ON not horrible days, it’s nothing to have hummers coming in chatting with us….I usually get an earful when I go out, as Ma has usually been out there for a bit and, it would seem, I am late, uncaring and a horrible adopted parent….. according to hummers’ way of thinking..

When the snow isn’t too deep, we see lots of deer come through to see if we have any goodies for them and to visit..mostly; it’s the “appule” thang. We generally have some apples in the entry for a fair share of winter…and they darn well know it…and that we are suckers for big ole doe eyes..

We have had a nice four point buck in for a while now.. He just lazes around the place.. Usually , after rut..and before, we don’t see too many bucks… but this guy… Ma was looking at him early on saying that he looked a lot like ” Stewy” HE was a character… I would not have been surprised if he would have climbed up into Ma’s swing with her, and more than once, he and I were eye to eye on accident, both of us gasping then calming at being just a few feet from each other suddenly..

Anyway ( see note above ) Ma was looking at him, walked to the end of the porch and called out ” Stewy….” The buck turned , watching her, and settled in..still watching her….

I was out yesterday and he was out there. I called to him and again he turned to look at me, though everything I said before that he pretty much ignored…. I soon after, had to make a run to the shop. I opened the door to two does just outside. One of them was ” Our Girl” she pretty much just got all comfy a few feet from me, the other walking off, ignoring me….I am seeing a pattern here. I asked Our Girl if she would like and “appule” , to which she replied, ” Y, yes , I’d love some appules” and came in closer…I tossed her one, and one for the other girl….Yeh, that worked out..Our Girl kept them both between her legs, munching as I walked past her…As I entered the shop, I thought, ” If that’s Stewy, he’ll be there went I come back out and he tends to stand in my way till he gets his Appule…crap.. I forgot to bring an appule.” Sure enough, I walked out of the shop to see Our Girl hoarding her last apple and Stewy trying to talk her out of it..till he saw me..

” DA! where’s my appule? I know you have them stashed old man cough it up.”

I rolled my eyes, ” Hey Stewy.. I have to get by you to get the appules..”

” Buckcrap! I seen you pull them out of your fur…Come on… I love appules.”

” Yeah, and I enjoy a good venison steak..”

” Gawhhh.. that was nice.. fine… be on your way little man..”

I shook my head and walked past the two , to the house, where I tossed them each another apple…

Our Girl was not about to share… They both rolled close to each other, and right between the two deer. Stewy tried to get his appule, but Our Girl likes to watch soccer at Lass’s apartment, so she knows the moves and batted the apples together , once again guarding them between her legs.

” Oh come on now. Da threw one to me, he even said,”

” Ok.. here’s the deal.. appule now… No nooky come Fall.”

“Wait…What?!? How is that fair? Pretty sure no nooky anyway. Give me an appule.”

” Nope…finders keepers.”

“You didn’t find it, you took it.”

” Mine now, ask Da for another..”
” But.. But.. you’ll just take that one too…”

” Probably…”


Last I saw, Stewy was still complaining as I walked in, he gave me a hopeful look, to which I replied,” This little old man is going inside now..Good Luck BaconBoy.”

” Wait, What?!?!”

I closed the door, chuckling.


We also have two pairs of yearlings that hang out and are more than comfortable with the two of us as they hang with us all day long…..They also seem to like the appules..go figure…We’ve had one pair for a while now, both are still really chunky, though, they have 2-3 months of snow and cold to deal with.. well could be easily be 4 months.

The other two showed up a few days ago and are making themselves at home. The day after we did the last batch of apples, which we will be starting the next batch soon, we had a ton of deer in.. Obviously, the little spike buck was bragging at the Lodge.


The coyote kids have been around a lot more, Tis the Season, though they don’t usually stick too close once the wolves come through and any singing stops once the wolf howl goes out.. The wolves have no sense of humor when it comes to their relatives.

This morning , around 4-5am.. I forget now…We were awoken by Rhey and her choir just outside the window again..a nice loooooooooonngggggg rendition of “99 mice in the Den” led by, of course, Dennis…who wasn’t ready to stop his harmonies when the others finally were out of wind and kept croaking out his bit for another few minutes, coached, I am sure, by Rhey. They are here so often now, and all over the place, I don’t even take pics ….Sorta like our deer, ya see them so often that if I always took pics,

A) I would run out of room on the Mega Terabyte hard drive that I put pics on now

B) I would have a camera in my hand all day long

C) Rhey would get all cheeky with me

Final Thoughts

The weather has been Grand save for the week of single digits and an EastSouthEast wind that drove the wind chill factor down to -47F or -43C apparently ….For more than 24 hrs and up to a balmy -34F 36C …..hmm odd how it changes balance there ( to me, I don’t know crap )

It has been in the mid 30s (F) around 1 (C) and more rain than snow though we have had a few 4-5+ inch dumps.

I still do have an ice rink for a driveway yet, and all the way down our road though some of the thinner ice areas are getting rotten with standing water all over in the snow puddles. It’s still all white, so we have more Hallmark weather rather than the norm for up here… am definitely not going to complain….and again.. 2-3-4 more months to get through before snow won’t be on the probably weather predictions… and we get snow after they citiots tell us we can now safely plant our gardens.

Ma and I have been enjoying our walks now that Ma is finally retired and getting closer to the ” In the swing” portion of things. We still can’t get out too far, more because of my lungs rather than Ma being pocket sized… but .. we are getting farther and it is great, if chill, out there.. yes, there is always that blast from off the snow and ice covered hills that’ll blush your cheeks..both sets..but it is nice….the walk I mean.

The neighbor letting me use his tractor to clean things best I can around up here rather than paying me to do his place is great. I don’t know how it would do in a storm, but so far so good. Got it stuck a few times the other day, but, obviously, I worked my way out. His place is steeper than ours as we are the top, and he is nestled in.

It’s great having the jeep up and running, we have a ton to do on it yet, come spring, but, it is in better shape than it has been for the last ten years and change w/o heat, wipers muffler, shattered windshield, wandering front end, lights messed up..though , those are great for signaling planes and UFOs.. and more things.. but now with a muffler windshield and I got the wipers and heat working again, I just have to not drive fast till we get the front end done then on from there…It’s a great ice rig and not horrible in snow though, the truck is better for that as it is taller…

Anywho…We have our apples down to the last couple very large boxes all to go to sliced apples for canning..well… and for appules for the kids…

All of the shawls and baubles Ma had up for sale have homes.. though one shawl and a couple baubles still needs to be picked up and paid for as well and a clutch of baubles for another person.. But they all have new homes, in theory..

Ma just finished blocking two shawls she has been working on till just the other day. They are, of course, awesome.

She has been looking at weaving for a while, with not a lot of interest until just lately as she hangs with her buds online from the WAFA groups ( Wool and Fiber Arts) She started looking at, and then for Looms…. Now that is a new world to us both but I can’t even begin..yet.. to tell you folks about it…Wasn’t raised around them much…Though when I was making and hanging curtains and such , ages ago now, we had one in the shop.

She tried to pick up a couple that turned out for one reason or another, the finer details Ma wasn’t into, but as I told her, Mama Wheel showed up suddenly out of the blue and when I knew it was ” The One” I fought for it and got it for her…I said; the same thing will happen with a loom…. And BOOM a few days ago, the right one came up with a lot of the toys that are needed in the package……and…

another Shetland wheel popped up too and I had Ma grab it.. It originally came from York England, the person that, I have to imagine, bought it, engraved the date on it and where they were… If it were more cleanly done I would have thought maybe as it was put out. This is actually the next newer model from the one Ma got not too long ago….Now, I know that looms will be next on the list, but I am sure that this first loom will get Ma going fairly well, though even I know from the arrangement of it that Ma will have to upgrade to a bigger loom,,, which if we had the room, I would have had her start with something bigger and with more ” options” ..We’ll worry about more room at that time.

Today is raining, making snow into soup, we haven’t gone for our walk yet as I type away, so I am thinkin’ it’s about time to give y’all a break and finish up for the week.

Other than the taller of the meadow grasses, it is all white out there and, funnily enough;

Just another day on Zen Mountain


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