Archive for the ‘winter’ Tag

Laugh a Little !   1 comment

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With all the violence and depravity in the news now, isn’t it time for a little levity ????

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I had a knock at my door earlier, it was a policeman…
“Mr Cook?”
“Yes,” I replied.
“I’m afraid your dog has just been reported to have chased someone on a bike.”
I said, “That’s a crock ! – my dog doesn’t have a bike!”

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This past year saw the coldest winter since records began

for countries in the northern hemisphere.

It’s been so cold that numerous politicians were actually

 seen with their hands in their own pockets.

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Diet Day 1: Just removed all the fattening food from my house, it was delicious.

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If con is the opposite of pro, it must mean Congress is the opposite of progress?

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Why was the jazz movie rated R?
Too much sax and violins.

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My friend boasted he had the body of a Greek god.

I had to explain to him where Buddha actually came from.

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Posted June 7, 2017 by PapaBear in Humor

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~~~ December’s Angel ~~~   Leave a comment

Some of you may recognize this.  It’s an annual tradition of mine.  It’s to honor the memory

of a time precious to me, and a brief part of my life shared with a beautiful young woman

who chose to share her love with me.

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At the beginning of December

Conversations turned to snow

It was always in her questions

Wherever we would go

I promised I would take her

So that finally she would know

But angels came to take her home

And she never saw the snow.

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As the chill of winter settles on the land and brings gray clouds the horizon, memories of another December come to mind and I feel a presence, and I hear a soft whisper, “Don’t fret dearest.  I’ve been with you all this time, every day of every year…, and, yes darlin’, even in the snow”.  A quick caress and she is gone again. Christmas…., a time we were, sadly, never to be able to share with each other. 

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In memory of Gayle Marie
12/10/1962 Heaven gained another angel…, and another star shone brightly in the night sky.

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b1[2]ab

Christmas Stuff   3 comments

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Just some miscellaneous bits of information relative to the holiday season.  Found it interesting and thought to share it with y’all.

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Winter Solstice

The Sun is directly overhead of the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere during the December Solstice.

The December solstice has played an important role in cultures worldwide from ancient times until our day.  Even Christmas celebrations are closely linked to the winter solstice times.

The December Solstice occurs when the Sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.5 degrees. In other words, when the North Pole is tilted furthest – 23.5 degrees – away from the Sun.

There are also customs linked to the June solstice along with traditions linked to the Spring (vernal) equniox and the Fall (autumnal) equinox.

In the Northern Hemisphere, astronomers and scientists use the December Solstice as the start of the winter season, which ends on the March Equinox. For meteorologists, on the other hand, winter began three weeks ago on December 1.

If you are in the Northern Hemisphere, the increase rate of daylight hours depends on your location’s latitude – in more northern latitudes you will see a rapid increase in daylight hours compared to if you’re in the more southern latitudes.

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Mistletoe

Mistletoe is the common name for most obligate hemiparasitic plants in the order Santalales. Mistletoes attach to and penetrate the branches of a tree or shrub by a structure called the haustorium, through which they absorb water and nutrients from the host plant.

The name mistletoe originally referred to the species Viscum album (European mistletoe, of the family Santalaceae in the order Santalales); it was the only species native to Great Britain and much of Europe. A separate species, Viscum cruciatum, occurs in Southwest Spain and Southern Portugal, as well as North Africa, Australia and Asia.

Over the centuries, the term has been broadened to include many other species of parasitic plants with similar habits, found in other parts of the world, that are classified in different genera and even families — such as the Misodendraceae and the Loranthaceae.

In particular, the Eastern mistletoe native to North America, Phoradendron leucarpum, belongs to a distinct genus of the Santalaceae family. The genus Viscum is not native to North America, but Viscum album has been introduced to California.[1] European mistletoe has smooth-edged, oval, evergreen leaves borne in pairs along the woody stem, and waxy, white berries that it bears in clusters of two to six. The Eastern mistletoe of North America is similar, but has shorter, broader leaves and longer clusters of 10 or more berries.

The best-known ancient mistletoe myths are the Norse and Greek legends. The Norse God Balder was slain by an arrow of mistletoe, soon after everything living or growing in the earth had sworn not to harm him. In Greece, Aeneas was guided to the abode of the dead by plucking the Golden Bough of mistletoe.
The Norse myths give a significant, and deadly, role to mistletoe. There are various versions and variations, but the commonest variation runs along these lines:

Balder was a popular and righteous God, but in a dream he foresaw his own death. After discussing this with the other Gods in Valhalla, the Goddess Frigga offered to make all things living on the earth, or growing in the earth, promise not to harm him.
This was done, and resulted in a new sport for the Gods – ‘slaying’ Balder with whatever weapons they could find. They knew he would always survive.
During one of these sessions the evil God Loki offered to help Hodur, a blind God, who was Balder’s brother, join in.
Knowing that mistletoe, which did not grow ‘in’ the earth, was not covered by the promise Loki gave Hodur an arrow of mistletoe wood and directed his throw.
Balder was killed by the blow, thus fulfilling his dream. A period of significant mourning followed, during which Hel was visited in an effort to resurrect Balder, and mistletoe was designated a plant of peace

In Greek myth, Aeneas, having resisted the charms of Dido at Carthage, went in search of his father Anchises, in the abode of the dead. In order to make his way to and from Avernus, he was advised by the Sibyl that he must first seek and pluck the ‘golden bough’ from a tree in the forest.
He was guided to the bough by doves sent by Venus, his mother, and found the branch. He successfully visited his father, and returned.
 

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The History of Christmas Cards

The custom of sending Christmas cards was started in the UK in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole. He was a civil servant (Government worker) who was very interested in the new ‘Public Post Office’ and wondered how it could be used more by ordinary people.

The First Christmas Card

Sir Henry had the idea of Christmas Cards with his friend John Horsley, who was an artist. They designed the first card and sold them for 1 shilling each. (That is only 5p or 8 cents today(!), but in those days it was worth much much more.) The card had three panels. The outer two panels showed people caring for the poor and in the centre panel was a family having a large Christmas dinner! Some people didn’t like the card because it showed a child being given a glass of wine! About 1000 (or it might have been less!) were printed and sold. They are now very rare and cost thousands of Pounds or Dollars to buy now!

The first postal service that ordinary people could use was started in 1840 when the first ‘Penny Post’ public postal deliveries began. Before that, only very rich people could afford to send anything in the post. The new Post Office was able to offer a Penny stamp because new railways were being built. These could carry much more post than the horse and carriage that had been used before. Also, trains could go a lot faster. Cards became even more popular in the UK when they could be posted in an unsealed envelope for one halfpenny – half the price of an ordinary letter.

As printing methods improved, Christmas cards became much more popular and were produced in large numbers from about 1860. In 1870 the cost of sending a post card, and also Christmas cards, dropped to half a penny. This meant even more people were able to send cards.

An engraved card by the artist William Egley, who illustrated some of Charles Dickens’s books, is on display in the British Museum. By the early 1900s, the custom had spread over Europe and had become especially popular in Germany.

The first cards usually had pictures of the Nativity scene on them. In late Victorian times, robins (an English bird) and snow-scenes became popular. In those times the postmen were nicknamed ‘Robin Postmen’ because of the red uniforms they wore. Snow-scenes were popular because they reminded people of the very bad winter that happened in the UK in 1836.

Christmas Cards appeared in the United States of America in the late 1840s, but were very expensive and most people couldn’t afford them. It 1875, Louis Prang, a printer who was originally from German but who had also worked on early cards in the UK, started mass producing cards so more people could afford to buy them. Mr Prang’s first cards featured flowers, plants, and children. In 1915, John C. Hall and two of his brothers created Hallmark Cards, who are still one of the biggest card makers today!

In the 1910s and 1920s, home made cards became popular. They were often unusual shapes and had things such as foil and ribbon on them. These were usually too delicate to send through the post and were given by hand.

Nowadays, cards have all sorts of pictures on them: jokes, winter pictures, Santa Claus or romantic scenes of life in past times. Charities often sell their own Christmas Cards as a way raising money at Christmas.

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Well….., That’s all folks !!!

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Snow Princess Asleep

Good Night !!!

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b1[2]ab

Posted December 11, 2015 by PapaBear in Experiences, History, Other Art, Prose

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~ The Harbinger ~   2 comments

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The Autumn leaves drift by my window

(yes, they’re getting that deep out there)

I hear the chilly autumn wind blow

And feel the dampness in the air

So sad to see summer’s warmth go

Carefree days beneath the sun

Autumns leaves, falling, falling, falling

Lay like a blanket on the ground

In the distance I hear the calling

A soft, but chilling, bitter sound

As the Snow Queen rallies her forces

To commence another round

Of Winter

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b1[2]ab

~~ Reality…   5 comments

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Broken limbs, partially covered by a frigid, crystalline blanket of white, protrude upwards in desperation,
reaching for a sun that is hidden behind a steel gray sky.
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The only movement, flakes and grains of frozen snow swept across the fields by  an icy winter gale.
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The wheel of winter grinds exceedingly slow.

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Posted February 25, 2015 by PapaBear in Experiences, Photo, Poetry

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Footprints…, and Dreams   2 comments

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It was quiet in the house.  The only sounds were the crackling of the logs in the fireplace.  He had been working every spare minute to get the cottage ready so that he could move in before snow and the Christmas holiday came.  He didn’t quite make it.  The structure of the building had been repaired and it sported a new steel roof.  The old, rotting wooden siding had been replaced with vinyl, and the porch was rebuilt with new wood.  From the outside it was beautiful.  On the inside, though, all seemed to be in a state of chaos.  He had piled wood in the parlor and tools littered the living room.  In the kitchen, new cherrywood kitchen cabinets were hanging over a black granite counter that was imbedded with gold metalflakes.  The stove was an antique, an old kerosene range with a huge oven, that he’d found on Craigslist.  It was old ivory, almost gold, with black trim.  He had been working for a week to sand and refinish the hardwood floor leading from the kitchen into the dining room.  Tonight he was cutting and installing the baseboards and trim.  The kitchen looked pretty good now…., the rest of the house was a war zone.

Christmas had come and gone.  The New Year was no longer new, Even Valentine’s Day had passed quietly with little notice.  In all, though, the past two months had been a time of creative productivity.  He’d completed refinishing all of the hardwood flooring, repaired and painted all of the interior walls, and installed a new bathroom, complete with a tiled shower and floor.  The place was finally livable, except for the stairs and the upper level.  He had scarcely touched them……, “out of sight, out of mind”.  With all the commotion, dust, and dirt downstairs, Ghost had concluded that she was safer upstairs, away from the chaotic din down there.  The lane had been completed.  He’d gone into debt for that because he’d wanted something other than a gravel path.  Thus, the gravel path became rolled, packed, and paved – 5 inches of asphalt…, a quarter mile long.  He’d long since traded his nice car for a pickup with a snow plow on it as that seemed much more practical with his need to be hauling supplies and winter coming on.

In preparation for the winter, he’d cut and split about three cords of wood for the fireplace and set aside a lot of kindling for starting the fire.  Good thing, as it was a frigid winter…, not so much snow, but cold, with an icy wind coming off the lake.

Tonight was “one of those nights”.  He’d come home late from work, exhausted from hours of paperwork and phone calls.  A quick dinner of a chicken pot pie and he sat back with the cat and listened to music on the stereo.  He knew that he needed to get started on the stairs and the two bedrooms but his heart just wasn’t in it…, not tonight.  Just too tired and his head drooped as he dozed off.  Ghost, curled up in his lap, followed his lead and was soon sound asleep too.

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“My, my, what a sweet scene.”  The apparition drifted across the room, picking up a blanket that had been on a chair, and covered the two sleepers.  “You’ve finally worn yourself out, haven’t you?”, she mused as she sat in the chair, quietly watching them sleep.  She had watched all the while he’d rebuilt the fireplace and chimney, replaced the roof and siding and finished the downstairs of the cottage, never dreaming that it could ever look so grand as it did now.  He’d been so driven, seemingly tireless as he went from one project to another over the weeks, months, but now was spent and finally had given himself permission to rest.  She could tell that he’d fallen in love with the cottage, as had she when it had been originally built.

He woke in the wee hours of the morning, wondering how the blanked had appeared, how the fire had fresh logs, and the dishes in the sink had been cleaned.  …….(she’s been here again, keeping tabs on me…, and the house)….  She hadn’t been there since before Christmas but there were telltale footprints in the sawdust on the floor.  Did this little visit foretell something auspicious?  He struggled up the steps, undressed, and was probably asleep again by the time his head hit the pillow.  Ghost was quickly asleep by his side.

6:45…, the alarm went off and he rose to start his daily routine.  Wait ! Today is Saturday !!!  Oh, well, he thought.  I’m awake now.  Might as well do something.  He dressed, fixed coffee, and made a list of things to buy at the lumberyard…, newels, risers, treads, and some carpeting to cover them, screws, nails, and few other miscellaneous items.  He put Ghost’s food and water bowl at the top of the steps and was off.

He left his order at the lumberyard and went down to the café down the street for some breakfast.  It was early and he was their only customer at the moment.  About the time his order came to the table another customer drifted in.  It was the clerk from the county tax office.  She gave her order at the counter and came over to his table…

“Want some company?”

He nodded, “Sure, if you don’t mind being seen with someone as grubby looking as I must be this morning”.

She slipped into the booth and they were soon into a discussion about what was happening at the cottage.  She’d heard that he was buying a lot of supplies, building materials, and appliances.  Gossip spread quickly in a small town.  He recounted what he’d done so far and that he was now starting on the stairway and the upstairs bedrooms and bathroom.  She seemed surprised that there was a bathroom upstairs.  He admitted that there hadn’t been but he was installing one.

“What do you have on tap for today?”, she asked.

“Stairway”, he replied, “new treads, risers, newels, and I’ll carpet them.  Should look nice when I get finished.”

“What does a girl have to do to get an invitation to see this palace you’re building in the wilderness?”

“I think you just did it.  I’m there most every weekday after 5 and almost every weekend.  A lot to be done there yet, and when I finish the inside, there’s landscaping to be planned and planted and a garden.  Just give me a call before you come out to be sure I’m there.”  He wrote his phone number on a napkin and gave it to her.

“I have to confess, I saw you come over here and I wanted to talk with you about the property…, and its former owners.  After you bought the property and left I started looking at the names on the documents again.  After a little research with family members, it seems that I’m related to them.  Marie Latimer was my grandmother’s sister.  I never knew anything about any of this til yesterday evening.  I took a chance that, being Saturday, you might come into town for supplies for the house.  I’d really like to see it…, if I’m still invited, that is.”

He smiled, “Sure, I haven’t had any guests out there since I moved in.  Hope you don’t mind ghosts.  That’s my cat – Ghost.”

They finished their breakfasts and  he went back to the lumberyard to pick up his order then headed back home.

Back at the cottage, he took up all the treads and risers from the steps and measured for the new ones which would be slightly deeper to make it more comfortable to go up and down.  He cut, sanded, and stained the treads and risers an re-installed them on the stair.  Next came the newels.  Those were sanded and stained before replacing the old ones, which was a relatively easy job.  He unrolled the carpeting, measuring, cutting, and fitting it to each tread so that it rolled over the front of the tread to the riser below and nailed it in place with large brass head nails…., all 10 steps.  It gave the steps a “modern/rustic” look that was in keeping with the rest of the interior.

Ok, he thought to himself.  Now for the bedrooms…, but they can wait til next week, I’m really tired.  After a quick lunch, he stretched out on the sofa and dozed.

“I think you’re almost there…, finished with the house. I love everything that you have done…, and I love you.  I’ll leave the upstairs to you…, and whomever you might share it with.  Now it’s time for you.  Time rebuild and put yourself in order like you have the cottage.  Ghost is a wonderful companion, but you need something, someone more than a cat…., and she’s closer than you know.”

The dream ended and he woke, feeling like he’d just been lectured by his mother.  About five minutes later the phone began to ring…

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b1[2]ab

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White   10 comments

 
Capture

Before the dawn this morning

A nymph came out to play

In the mists as day was dawning

And she stayed for the whole day

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She picked her way among the trees

As she danced before the wind

She kissed the blooms and made them freeze

And their branches she would bend

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Her icy gown was shaded white and silver gray

She lingered til the dark of night

Then took the bright and shining light of day

And painted all in winter’s white

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The Snow Queen has come to impose her Winter Way on the land

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Good Night Everybody.  Stay Warm !!!

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We have 7 inches of new, heavy, wet snow with 3 more forecast overnight.  Did I ever tell y’all how much I really don’t like any of this…., all these 4-letter things like cold, snow, wind…???

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Posted November 13, 2014 by PapaBear in Experiences, Personal, Poetry

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