Monday, December 31, 2007


I did battle yesterday and here are my weapons. Yes, I started pruning the roses. I prune them every year about this time. I prune them rather hard because I want the bushes to remain a manageable height and I like the larger roses that hard pruning creates.

Here is a Double Delight before I pruned it.

Here I am pruning away, wearing my favorite boots that I bought in Chagford. I don't really need them here in sunny dry California, but I LOVE them anyway. I also wear long sleeves and leather gloves. Even with that protection, blood is frequently involved, but not yesterday, HA!

And here is that same Double Delight after pruning.

So after finishing the roses in the front garden, we had tea outdoors near the fireplace. After the nice warmup I decided I'd pruned enough for one day; I'll try to finish tomorrow. But if I don't they will wait patiently for me here Amongst The Oaks.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Field Trip

I've been a naughty blogger lately, haven't I? One would think I've been on Holiday or something! Well I have. We've just been taking it easy here Amongst The Oaks; haven't even taken down the decorations yet. The Lord of the Manor and I returned to work after Christmas, but the Teens are sleeping in and playing with their new "toys", and I haven't cooked a proper meal in days. (I'm making them eat up all the leftovers.)

We did go on a little field trip the other day though. We drove out to the end of Woodbridge Road to visit the whooping cranes. Every winter thousands of them visit the fields out there. It's a nice day out. We always take binoculars and cameras and try to get a few good snaps. We also saw kingfishers, coots, egrets, hawks, ducks, seagulls, and killdeer. I hope you enjoy these pictures. Here is my favorite site for bird identification.

Monday, December 24, 2007


Brown paper lunch bags . . . . . . . $11.34

Votive candles . . . . . . . . . . . . $50.00

Three bags of sand . . . . . . . . . . $8.69

Three hundred luminaries . . . . . . $70.03

Lighting up the neighborhood on Christmas Eve . . . Priceless

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Frosty Morning

I went for a walk this morning and it was frosty cold. But it was beautiful too. I know our weather is nothing to compare with most folks' winter weather, but I'm going to share these pretty photos anyway.

When I got home the Lord of the Manor and I made some fudge.

Now it's only 10:30 and we've still got the whole day ahead of us to play. The shopping is done, the baking is done, the wrapping is done, the decorating is done. No, wait, I still have to make tomorrow's dessert....and shop for Monday's dinner.....and put the down comforter on my bed....hmmm...I guess we're never really done are we?

Friday, December 21, 2007

A Christmas Card

Things are getting pretty hectic, so I thought I'd post my Christmas card to everyone before the big day arrives. I hope everyone has the holiday they dreamed of; one full of good cheer, fun times, peace and happiness
Merry Christmas from everyone Here Amongst The Oaks

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas in Germany

In 2005 I went to Germany and Austria to visit the Christmas Markets. Germany is where many of our Christmas traditions started so it was fascinating to see how they celebrate Christmas. Some shops had Christmas scenes in their windows and some had simple trees with white lights on the sidewalk.

Salzburg had an elaborate ice sculpture in one square...

And Munich had little Nativity scenes displayed on the street...

But the Christmas Markets were the best! Chestnuts roasting....

Gorgeous glass ornaments.....

Adorable little dolls....

And everyone's favorite traditional delight - Prune People....

But the best memories are the simple ones like riding in a horsedrawn carriage up to Neuchschwanstein to visit the castle....

and standing amid the hubbub of Marienplatz, watching the shoppers, drinking gluwein, listening to the carolers, and watching the snow fall.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Festive Weekend

We had a fun weekend filled with family, friends, food, festivities and a play. It all started Saturday afternoon with the Lord of the Manor using the leaf blower in the living room (!) because the chimney didn't start drawing fast enough and we had a bit of smoke in the room. Cough cough! (Do these things happen in other folks' homes or is it just us?)

Our guests arrived right on time which was great considering they came all the way from England. We had a delightful time catching up, watching little guyguy push buttons, and sharing a meal together. (I think he's going to be an engineer of some sort; he was fascinated with the washer and dryer.)

They brought the pudding in this FABULOUS little bag from Marks & Spencer. I am just thrilled with the bag. It's soooo cute!

And check out the fairy cakes. Aren't they delightful? (I'm pretty sure they didn't come from Marks & Spencer.)

Then yesterday we went to see a slightly off Broadway production of CATS. There is something so festive about a live production during the holidays. I just love seeing plays anyway, so it was a great way to spend an afternoon. And what a fab job those high school kids did. Fun, fun, fun.

So we had a great weekend here Amongst The Oaks doing what we think is important about the holidays; getting together with family and friends to share laughs and good times.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Time! Time! I need more time! It's 11:45am and I still have so much to do today! I need to do a little more shopping, I need some new shoes (no really, the ones I'm wearing have holes in the soles), and I want to make some cookies, and I need to finish a couple of gifts, and we're having company for dinnner at 6:00!

I bet you could use a little more time right now too, huh? I thought so. So here's some more time for you. Just select the clock (and time) that you like. Enjoy it while you can because it's flying by quickly!

This is the one I selected; I wish it was 8:40am again. But it's not, so I'd better run and do my chores here Amongst The Oaks.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Deck the Tube

Several years ago when we finished the Big Remodel, the Lord of the Manor built this box above the fireplace in the Library to hide the television. He framed it and put the doors on it and I always planned to paint a ship picture to finish it off, but I never got around to it. Well I finally did something about it! I found a picture and had it digitally printed and I stuck it on those doors. Then I trimmed it around the edge and slit it down the middle. Voila! a valuable old painting! (Please ignore that cut down the middle.)

While we're in here I'll show you some more Christmas stuff. Along the mantel I have little decorations that we've collected over the years. That little green rabbit is something I made several years ago. It's all cut out of wood. I have no idea why I made it. The next one is an old Santa from my MIL. I guess she'd had it for years before she passed it on. Next is a tiny fabric horse we bought our first Christmas.

Then we have another old Santa from MIL, an old block, and two little dolls. I have no idea where they came from, and they're not old, just cute.

I hope your Christmas plans and decorating are coming along nicely. I think we're about done here Amongst The Oaks. Now on to the baking and gift wrapping!