Our temperatures dropped quite a bit two nights ago, just in time to usher in December and the longest nights of the year. I'm glad for it. It doesn't seem right to have warm weather this time of year. Temps have been getting down to freezing or a little below, and that's set to continue for the next couple of nights. Waking up to frost-sparkled mornings, I've revived my recent tradition of sitting by the fireplace in the morning with the Christmas tree lit and a cup of coffee. It's such a nice, peaceful way to start the day and gets my morning off on the right note.
We're still walking George a lot more than we used to. Every morning we go out for two laps around the neighborhood, which equals one mile, and now that it's cold we've contrived a sweater of sorts for George out of an old vest of Gregg's. He seems to really like it. (He's a weird dog. He'll hold his paws up for me to put his legs through the arm holes!) Note the wagging tail-blur:
We've come to treasure our twice daily walks around the neighborhood. There are three deer that we regularly see hanging out together at night. We all stop and look at each other for a while whenever we meet up, and they don't seem afraid at all. Usually after a few minutes they'll just quietly disappear into the shadows. We also hear a pair of Barred Owls calling back and forth at night. And every morning, we hear and sometimes see a pair of Cooper's Hawks patrolling for breakfast. There's a big bare tree top jutting above the rest of the trees across the street from our house that makes a fantastic perch for them. The fact that they perch on that particular piece of wood so often is the main reason I got Gregg a new pair of binoculars for his birthday, so he could get a closer look at them. Another thing that happens in the morning: a huge flock of geese fly over (they return at dusk) and honk up a storm as they go. You can almost set your watch by them.
This place is wonderful for wildlife. Thanks to the proximity of a creek and a wooded nature trail, we see and hear all kinds of birds, deer, foxes, rabbits, turtles (in the summer), squirrels, possums, turtles, and I hear that there are plenty of snakes around although we've only ever seen one so far, and it was dead in the road. All in all, it makes for a perfect neighborhood for two nature loving people like us. Our almost nightly encounters with deer seem almost magical this time of year.
Speaking of magical, we have 13 (and counting) neighbors who have put up Christmas trees in their windows and/or lights out on their lawns. It's so beautiful at night! I expect there will be more as we get closer to Christmas. One neighbor in particular has a display that Gregg and I both thought was very good. It's a big bright star up high on the garage that shines a spotlight down onto a wooden manger filled with hay and a lifelike newborn doll nestled within. Although we're not Christians, the beautiful simplicity of it seems quite touching. We've never seen anything quite like it. I'll try to get a photo of it at some point to share with you all. In the meantime, here is George with our Christmas tree:
I hope you all are having a nice beginning to the holiday season!