After a week of cold rain, snow, hail, wind, gray skies and generally crummy weather, our California family left for the sunny south today... in bright sunshine for the first time since they arrived. We didn't have good snow for the kids to play in, but they did find some at our Washington kids' place. Steve and Munazza and Kestrel and Cedrus took the Amtrak from Portland to Seattle to spend a couple days with K&C's Uncle Kevin, Aunt Jessica, and Cousin Ian, while Auntie Fudge (aka Faiza) toured Powell's Bookstore with me and then came back to the farm to nurse a sore throat and fever... not a fun way to spend a holiday. Meanwhile, Kestrel and Cedrus were having a great time throwing snowballs, playing with Ian's super marble machine, and touring the old trains by Snoqualmie Falls.
Back here on the farm, it was tough to find any weather fit to go outside in. Once in awhile, the sun came out briefly to show the pretty snow just a short distance up the mountain from us...
but then the blue sky turned dark again and down came the hail.
Fortunately, Kestrel (almost 4) and Cedrus (almost 2) were happy to play with the many toys their doting parents, Auntie Fudge, and Grandma and Grandpa gave them at Christmas. During occasional breaks in the weather, they fed goats,
gathered eggs, and played in the new goat barn.
Along with the ever popular throwing rocks into the pond...
Kestrel helped Grandpa bring in firewood, as always. This time, he did some of it all by himself.
On the last day of 2010, our California kids stuffed three adults and two children and a ton of luggage and presents into their minivan and drove south.
There is no silence quite so profound as the silence in a house after the grandchildren have left.
But the sun was shining, so Johnny and I took the two dogs and went for a walk through our woods: destination, as always, the river (Agency Creek).
Moss and ferns and mushrooms love our wet, cool weather. Every tree was draped in greenery. Looking closer, this tree was decorated with more than moss and ferns. It was wearing icicles.
And what's this? Cotton candy??
No, frost! A delicate cotton candy whorl of frost on a twig.
A colorful mushroom peeked up through its bed of big leaf maple leaves and the ever-present moss.
Heading home through the arboretum, a trace of snow still appeared on Spirit Mountain, beyond our young sequoias.
Soon the sky turned gray again, with only Christmas lights to remind us of another holiday season... and another year... gone by.
Here's hoping for a healthy, happy, colorful and fun-filled 2011 for everyone.