November 30, 2004

Cats and Christmas Trees

Many of you on this blog are familiar with our cat, Jasper. He's 21 pounds of cat fat surrounded by a very cushy striped coat. He's very friendly, his favorite game is "bite", which he learned as a young kitten, and overall he's a good cat.....except during the Christmas season.

Our Christmas tree was assembled and decorated on Thanksgiving day. It's a lovely tree, eight feet tall, nice and full, and covered with ornaments that have been collected over the years. We have baby shoes, kid pictures, ornaments from all over the country/world (depending on where we were stationed) and the usual ornaments handmade by the children during their elementary school years. Generally a very eclectic collection and we love them all. Jasper especially loves them.

On the morning after Thanksgiving, the lower string of lights on one side of the tree was on the floor, along with several ornaments, and the tree skirt, which is really just a white bed sheet, was ripped away from the trunk and wadded up into a heap. Jasper was sitting nearby admiring his handiwork.

Every morning since, there have been ornaments strewn around the room. This year the preferred toys are the small, embroidered felt stockings that are hanging on the lower branches. The bright, shiny red apples that usually get batted around the room were placed a little higher on the tree out of the reach of the cat. They're quite old and can't take a lot of use as soccer balls.

I always enjoy the Christmas tree. It's so pretty when the lights are turned down in the room and the lights on the tree reflect off the shiny ornaments. In the late evening they may also be reflecting off the yellow-green eyes of a fairly large cat, sitting under the tree just waiting to do his mischief.

Posted by lsegolf at 04:24 PM | Comments (7)

November 07, 2004

Pumpkin bites the dust

Each year toward the end of September our family goes apple picking and at the same time we ALWAYS choose a pumpkin to use as decoration for the holidays. This has been going on since we moved to Vermont in 1993 when we used to visit Chapin Orchards in Essex each fall. The weather was usually clear, crisp, and occasionally pretty cold, but we always had a wonderful time, came home with more apples than we could ever eat, and a pumpkin that had character.

Since moving to South Carolina, we have frequented Sky Top Orchards near Hendersonville for this annual event. Sometimes it has been the four Egolfs, at times, when one was away at college, there were only three and this year we added our beautiful daughter-in-law and one of Gwen's friends to the group so there were six of us. As Mandy put it, it's a real cultural experience!

The chosen pumpkin always has had a place of honor in the living room until sometime in mid-winter when it would inevitably begin to get soft around the bottom and would be relegated to the deck for the squirrels to dismantle. Vermont squirrels were always very good at removing the seeds and leaving the outer shell to collapse. When the snow disappeared each spring, we would have a large orange splotch on the corner of the deck where the remains of the pumpkin had been. South Carolina squirrels are not quite as efficient, maybe because they are too well-fed and don't really need the seeds from a derelict pumpkin to make it through the winter.

Our pumpkins have always been chosen for their character, not necessarily because they were perfectly shaped, but maybe because they had an interesting stem or reminded us of Aunt Mildred or some other benevolent relative. Last year's specimen made me think of Ichabod Crane every time I looked at it. It was rather tall and thin and had that Sleepy Hollow look about was also a very long-lasting squash. "Ichabod" sat on the hearth until late April of this year....a record, I think, for squashes. This year's pumpkin was more rotund and jack-o-lantern-like and, although it has been a rather jolly looking character, it's longevity just has not made the grade. Last night when I was blowing out the candles next to it, I noticed with great sadness that our pumpkin has become very soft around the stem. In fact, it's grown quite moldy and will, in the next day or so, need to be removed from it's current resting place to the deck for the squirrels to work on. The unseasonably warm fall has taken it's toll on our annual decoration. Fortunately, this year we have a backup!

Posted by lsegolf at 08:49 PM | Comments (1)

November 04, 2004

Toys in the mail

Yesterday when I got home from work there was a package on the front steps. It was from Connecticut Cane and Reed and I was so excited!!! It contained more reed (something I NEED) and two sets of hoops for big baskets. One is a set of 14 inch hoops to make another large basket like the one I wasn't particularly happy with and the other is a set of 18 inch hoops to make a basket of truly mammoth proportions! I'm really looking forward to that one. I want to fill it with a large floral arrangement and put it on my hearth. If I just didn't have to go to work or class life would be so much more fun.......

Posted by lsegolf at 01:20 PM | Comments (5)