Friday, 16 December 2016

9 More Sleeps 'til Christmas

I finally got around to getting our Christmas tree last Sunday. I joined Mike on his morning feed rounds, which passes the tree plantation, so I could make use of his off-road buggy to haul out the tree. Molly, his regular feeding partner, wasn't keen to share her front seat-

Being able to choose and cut a Christmas tree from the estate's plantation is a great perk of the job. Mike defers to me to choose our tree. I cut it down and loaded it in the buggy -

 while Mike fed maize by hand to the pheasants -

Pheasants love maize, probably for its high energy value. Mike broadcasts handfuls as he walks along feeding rides (areas). The pheasants stick around, scratching the soil and picking at the maize. A good feed keeps them at home.

Molly and I used the time to do a little training: sitting steady while pheasants fly over us out of the hedgerows.

Our training goal is: alert but steady. She's pretty good at it.

I cut the tree on Sunday, but it was Thursday before it was up and decorated with lights and ornaments. I managed to do a little bit each day, whenever I could scratch together a free half hour.

It is a nice tree, even without the decorations, and fits the space just right. It's even got a job after Christmas - we recycle Christmas trees to put in the flushing points (i.e. where birds fly out from on shoot days) to build up the natural cover that has died down from repeated frosts and wind.

The house is beginning to look more festive, inside and outdoors. A few leftover ornaments put in vases make centrepieces for the Christmas dinner table-

Festive Chicken tablecloth!

The fallow deer skull by the back door gets a few lights and an evergreen wreath -

Very Saturnalia-esque, don't you think?

The front door has a wreath with lights too. The guys say they can see it through the woods, just on dark, when they are finishing their evening feed -

My first store-bought wreath, and I really like it.

The mantelpiece just has a simple green garland with a few lights for decoration, and Cecelia our stuffed red squirrel, of course. I had some leftover red yarn so I knitted her a little nisse cap -

Nisse are the little people of Scandinavian folklore. They protect the farmstead and bring luck if well-treated. Besides the cookies and milk for Santa, and the sweet feed for the reindeer, I will have to leave a bowl of porridge for my squirrel nisse this Christmas eve. I can use all the luck I can get when lambing season starts.


Sara Eldred said...

Love the squirrel with cap, looks like good taxidermy, he looks,... so alive (and joyful!) Your decor is marvelous, Jen. It's fun to get get creative at Christmastime. Almost makes you wish there were more Spring and Summer holidays to decorate for. I hope all is well with you, mi amiga.

Jennifer Montero said...

I love the whole mythology of winter- trading dark for light, evergreens, enjoying feasting and hibernation after working all summer. Not sure where a stuffed squirrel fits in to that...:) Miss you, my old and dear Amiga. Will visit next time I'm in MA.

Janice Bendixen said...

Jen, you inspired me to brave our cold (-20F was the worst) and dark to select our Christmas tree. We (sensibly) waited until it warmed to +30F yesterday to reach it home. Now it's upstairs in water and awaiting adornment. BTW, your stuffed squirrel makes me chuckle. Darling Husband dispatches them with a .22 here at the Homestead. Then Running Away D O G Cherni Girl has a "babysitter" for as long as the poor rodent holds her interest. Alaska Native peoples have a long tradition of sewing lovely, ornate parkas from squirrel skins. Sometimes they're even trimmed in red so you might have caught onto something... Happy Christmas from frozen Alaska!

Anonymous said...

Glad to see you are keeping Nisserne (plural) happy! I should look for some Nisse lookalike - hard to come by here in California - they are never quiet right. Love the "Nisse Hue" you knitted - so cute.

Dane in disguise.


Anonymous said...

I love the gold deer skull!

Jennifer Montero said...

Janice - Those are some serious temperatures, I admire your Christmas spirit to brave that kind of cold for a tree!

Cecilia the red squirrel was an RTA victim from the Isle of Wight, one of the red squirrel's last UK holdouts from the invasive grey. Our friend Foxy picked it up from the side of the road on his way to visit us, as a gift. Which of course we loved and had stuffed! The greys here just get the .22 treatment. Dakota, like Cherni Girl, is obsessed with them, alive or dead.

Stay warm up there!

Jennifer Montero said...

KJ - A cap is a hue? And Nisserne is plural. I'm glad to know that, thanks. Mike is Cornish and they have their own little people to keep happy: the Piskies. He is very superstitious (probably left over from his youth spent as a trawlerman) and his mum crocheted us some beautiful Christmas stockings, adding a small silver piskie charm to each for luck.

I hope you find you CA nisse!

Jennifer Montero said...

Anon- it does look gold, I hadn't noticed that! It's really an old skull Mike found on the estate, from a deer that died of natural causes.

Anonymous said...

Yes, a "hue" is a cap. I do like the word "piskies", very close to the word pesky... :-) Spread some hygge. Merry Christmas to you and Mike.

Sally S said...

Merry Christmas from upstate New York!

Seester said...

Somehow you got all of mom's energy and motivation to decorate for the holidays. We have a 2' tall potted tree with one string of lights and currently only one ornament on it -- all of which Remy put up. The tree (and gifts from Meg and Liser) are the only things that we have that say "Christmas".
Maybe one of these years I'll get in the spirit. Glad to see you are, though!