Monday, December 22, 2014

Wellington at Christmastime 2014

It's Christmastime again at Wellington.  As usual, there is no snow on the ground, but we have had our share of rain.  Finally.  I love Wellington every day of the year.  But Christmas is especially nice. This year we are particularly happy because our beloved kitty has surprised us yet again and is apparently going to make it through another Christmas.  This will be approximately her 21st!

So for those of you who, while still enjoying your own Christmasses in your own Wellingtons, are not fortunate enough to be experiencing Christmastime at Wellington in person, here are some pictures to give you the essence.  The merest smidgeon of an inkling of the wonders and pleasures found herein.

If one listens to neighborhood gossip, it is the general consensus that the following cat is 21 years old or so.  We have only had her for a little less time than we've had Wellington (about four and a half years), but we'll take their word for it.  Readers of the blog know the lovely story of how Hugo came to be our very own kitty, so I won't go into that at this time. If you don't remember, or have never heard the story you can find it HERE. Let me just say that we have recently expressed our love for Hugo in the best way possible.  We have given her the most expensive present under our Christmas tree.  It's called "A Trip to the Emergency Vet" which has caused her life to be extended considerably, we're hoping indefinitely.  So far it has been three weeks.  This is her way of thanking us for her Christmas gift.

Ah  Heaven.

Here is Nordmann.  He is our Christmas tree.  Some of us decided we didn't need a large tree.  Why not get a very small tree this year, etc.  But as you will notice, this tree is about as large as possible in this room with high ceilings.  And some of us cut quite a bit off the top knot.  Some of us are in the Christmas spirit, I'm not naming any names.
Here is Nordmann ready for action.

 The Christmas cactus is from last year and it just started blooming in time for Christmas!  What a coincidence.  Below is a little Christmas quilt I bought at Romancing the Home, a downtown Benicia shop for which I have been carrying a Gift Certificate for a couple of years.  I was saving it for something perfect, and here it is!
 This is a little blown-glass heart one of my closest friends gave me on our Christmas Outing.  She is the same friend who gave me the Gift Certificate for Romancing the Home!  She knows me pretty well.

 The birds were purchased at the Dickens Faire a few years ago when I went with The Dot.

 I didn't make a glitter house this year.  I think the collection is a pretty good size.

Every year I hang some antique glass balls from ribbons in my window.

This year when I was downtown I bought a new icicle glass ornament to add to the collection.  I got this gold one at Steffan Antiques in town for $3.  Yesterday when The Hub and I were in the shops I found two more, a pink one and a larger blue one, in Charlie's Attic antique store for $1 each!

Loyal readers will remember that a tradition in our house is the annual Christmas Stocking.  It started in 1982 when I made The Hub a little stocking of his own.  The next year I made him another little stocking.  The tradition was set and I haven't been able to weasel out of it.  Every year I pretend like I'm not going to make one this year and every year The Hub pretends to believe it.  Until a few days before Christmas when he notices a new stocking hanging among the many (34?  I haven't counted) hanging throughout the house.  Actually I have counted but I can't remember the final count.  It was in the 30s.

This year he walked in on me right as I was finishing it.  Oh well.  It was bound to happen.  Here it is.

It's a wreath made of felt ornaments with felt holly.  I particularly like that there are bits from the past incorporated into the design.  The dress that the gingerbread woman is wearing is cut from a piece of lace that originated as my sister's 8th grade graduation dress, which later became my dress, which was later cut down to be one of The Dot's dress-up dresses.  One of the buttons is made from a piece of fabric that I used to make the kids their Christmas outfits one year when they were about four and six.  The bow tie of the gingerbread man comes from a bag of fabrics that a dear friend gave me years ago.  The fabrics belonged to her grandmother.  The little reindeer that sits in the wreath has beans in his bottom so that he sits nicely on a shelf (except he doesn't, he sits in the wreath) and there is one bean in each of his hooves to make them dangle nicely.

Another tradition is something I like to call "chocolate truffles."  Both of the kids have made these over the years for their friends and I hear that The Dot's truffles this year were so popular she made a second batch.  I always send a box to my favorite brother and I often include an ornament that I have made.  This year it's a little squirrel with a holly leaf.  I made a little girl squirrel very similar to this one and gave it to my dear friend whom I previously mentioned numerous times.

These are the truffles.  And there is also one fruit and nut cluster.  I understand from the Post Office that this box arrived at my brother's house this morning where they are probably chilling themselves in a snow bank.

What would a Christmas Blog be without a nod to the Creepie Santas?

 There were two additions to the Creepy Santa collection this year.  One is in the top picture, leaning on the little tree and tipping his head at a jaunty angle.  The Dot found him a couple of months ago at a thrift store and nabbed him for me.  The other is below on the left.  The Hub and I were in Santa Rosa with The Dot and Mr. Dot.  We found this little Creepy in an antique shop in the downtown area.  He is so perfect.  First, he is made of wood, carved by someone who is not a professional carver.  Likewise his costume is made by what I would refer to as a hobbyist.  His hair, which came from a real sheep is falling off his head and down his back.  The best part of all is he was only $5!  We couldn't believe our great fortune and The Hub absolutely would not let me leave that store without this little guy wrapped in tissue and tucked under my arm.  Seriously though, he allowed me to nestle him into the trunk of the car and bring him home.  He rounds out the collection very nicely.

There are too many great ones to even pick a favorite.

Now I'm sitting at my kitchen table while my turkey brines.  I have a pot on the stove that smells like turkey stock.  My boys are playing a game and The Dot is coming over tomorrow for a pre-Christmas visit.  Soon the whole family will be together and smushing will ensue.  That is a teeny glimpse into the splendor I call Christmastime at Wellington.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Beaver Run

Regular readers of my blog may have been asking themselves why there has not been any reference to the Benicia State Recreation Area (aka Beaver Run) since my blog of March 19, 2010, before we even moved in.  I have only been to Beaver Run once before today.  That was in 2010 when The Dot and I rode bikes there.  But today The Hub and I decided to drive there and take a walk.  The entrance is about two miles from Wellington, so we could technically have walked it.  But we didn't.  And it's a good thing, because the best part of the park is about 2.3 miles from the entrance.
This is a nature preserve and you have to stay on the paths.  Some paths are little dirt trails and some are paved for walking, biking and even driving your car in some areas.  This picture below was accidental, but I kind of like it.
We saw a lot of pickle grass which I remember from Field Trip days was used by the Patwin Indians in this area.  And according to the brochure, the endangered northern salt marsh harvest mouse depends on it for cover.  The picture below shows a lot of it covering the ground.
There are a lot of low lying areas which I imagine become very marshy when there isn't a drought.  I saw a beautiful pheasant land in this area.
 There were some little water ways that seem like they would be perfect beaver habitats.  But we didn't see a single beaver.
 Apparently there are otters in these areas as well, but we saw zero of them.
When you come to about the two-mile mark, the straits and bay look like a large lake.  It was a gorgeous day with lots of boating and fishing.

Although we didn't see a single beaver or otter, we saw about a dozen ground squirrels.  If you look carefully you can see this little guy on this fence to the right of the frame.  He was lounging in the sun.
We also saw an egret, a hawk, a lizard and about 50 shore birds.  And we heard a mocking bird and what was either a deer or a bear in an overgrown area.  We're counting it as half a deer.

Here is a map of the area.
We started off the  map at the top right corner, to the right of where you see highway 780.  We parked on West K and walked up the path and into the park.  Then we looped up where it goes off the map in the top left corner and back onto the map and down to the point, where the restrooms are and you can see Dillon Point.  It was 2.3 miles from the start of the park to where we turned around.  I think we'll have to go back more often than every four years if we want to see a beaver.  I'll keep you posted.

And here's a picture of the bread I baked yesterday.  It was The Hub and my 35th going-steady anniversary.  So I made a nice veggie lasagna and this bread which I'm only shoving on the blog because, isn't it gorgeous?   It was 35 years ago that he asked me to go steady and gave me foot pegs for his motorcycle.  It was a mere six years later that we got married, but the foot peg anniversary, that was the start.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Wedding Crashing and Kitty Scratching. Plus a Frog

Today's walk brought us to the Jefferson Street Mansion.  Our first choice was the Benicia Memorial Cemetery, but they closed at 4, so we kept right on walking.  I could have titled this post "One Wedding and a Funeral" except we missed the funeral.  Technically we missed the wedding too.  They were just starting to take pictures of the wedding party and we decided not to stick around.  But I did snap a couple of pics.  It really looks like a great place for a wedding.  The weather was beautiful.
 This is the mansion above.  To the right is a door leading out to the reception tent.
 Here is a view of the front of the mansion.
 To the left is where they were going to hold the ceremony.
 The chairs were set up.  I think the wedding was probably going to be at 5.
On our way back I took a picture of this hideous frog that has appeared near the parking lot of Robert's Chinese Restaurant.  I don't like the way he's staring at me.  He seems upset about something.  Again, we kept right on walking.
At this corner, we hung a right and walked up the alley towards Wellington.  A delightful kitty cat came to greet us.  We think he belongs to the ambulance station along the alley.  He was very friendly and even posed for this picture.
He had a very loud kitty voice.

Homemade chicken pizza for dinner tonight!

Monday, September 22, 2014

What's Making Me Happy

The view from every window.
 A cat that wants to nap wherever I am.
 Little cuttings hoping to root.
 Gnarly orchid sprouts.
 The beginnings of a perfect lunch.
 The anticipation of a perfect lunch.
Any gardening.
Crosswords and  yogurt outside on a perfect day. 
 Watching my boyfriend garden.
 The cat's slow migration around the room.
 A great book lent to me by the daughter.
 More cat migration.
Another perfect day at Wellington.