Monday, December 20, 2021

Ready For Winter

We had to celebrate early, but now that we've had our Solstice gathering, we are ready for Winter! Sometimes I am just slightly astonished at what we can accomplish. It always begins, in my head, simply enough... oh, we'll just hang out and light some fires, people can drop by, maybe some hot chocolate. La-di-da-di-da And even though we have no snow, things seem to avalanche! "Some food" turned into cooking a dinner, and "some fires" was four fire rings, plus chairs and tables, and a projector and screen, and me trying to figure out how to keep a lot of hot water on hand for the hot chocolate! I think, with a future wedding in mind, I am on the brink of ordering a hot water thingy... you know, the kind in a church basement, for serving coffee? If you have any experience, maybe you can help me choose between one made just for water, but which only heats 20 cups, or the one made for coffee, but I assume could just heat water; it makes 45 cups. I am leaning towards the 45 cup option. Wow... I can take a tagent!

Sorry. Where was I?

Oh, yes... starting simply, and then riding an avalanche! But the real point, what I actually want to share is this: It's always been worthwhile to move forward on a simple enough idea when it means seeing friends, sharing time together, and making memories. Time and time again, I have loved celebrating Winter Solstice. It always warms me up, and brings my holidays a shiny gold star.
It started in slow, then it started to grow. Leslie and Ido came with another birthday cake. I think celebrating birthdays is our new and future mandate! Bring cake, it's someone's birthday, somewhere! Brilliant, right? This was a tres leches cake! I like my world spinning shot. Probably taken between dashes to the kitchen for more hot water. We had a lot of visitors, including friends we have not seen in a long time, which is always welcome, and special. Anna B and Jacob came, and with cookies. And at long last, we got see Bobbie and Darrahl, again. We had (almost) the entire C family, including Beto, and Katie and Andy. We had a big ol' moon, and owls hooting, there was fluorescent sidewalk chalk, burning pinecones. One year, we have to do this with tents, or like Michael said, "Cowboy camping. Sleeping under the stars." Under the stars, and under a lot of warm blankets. It's just that, I am always sad the evening has to come to an end. We stayed out there until the fires died down to embers and everything was glistening with dew.
Spencer's art.
Bex drawing.
Geoff, Andy, Katie, and Paul.
Michael, Andy, Katie, Leo, Beto, and Grace.
Spencer, Simon, and Ido.

2020~ Winter Solstice... a hard one, but winter came and we made it bright.

2019~ A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes

2018~ Pretty Things

2016~ With Warmth, Welcome Winter

2015~ Happiness and Cheer

2014~ Solstice, So Far and The Party That Just Couldn't Not Happen

2013~ Friends & Winter Warmth

2012~ Happy Mayan Winter Solstice

2011~ The Great Cookie Solstice


Nicole MacPherson said...

That looks like SUCH a good time.

Sorry, can't help with the water heating thingy - I have no idea!

lilysgrannie said...

I just loved the photo of your cat with the tree in the background. As to hot pots - if you are dealing with a lot of people I think the one you described is your best choice just don't use it for coffee because the taste will never be gone. Also, they take a while to heat up. I have a Japanese hot pot that dispenses hot water all the time but has to be refilled after about 8 cups so that probably won't work for parties. It's just the two of us most of the time and we like to drink tea all day. These pots are available in large Asian markets locally or on Amazon. Have a peaceful holiday season.

Ruth said...

It's Tuesday--happy first day of winter! Looks like you had a fun early solstice party with old friends. That cake is gorgeous. Can you tell me where it's from?

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

It was a good time, Nicole. Thank you.
And thank you for chiming in about the hot water device, even if you can't help. It's enough to have someone in my corner, feeling as confused as I am! But I think Lilysgrannie knows her stuff, so yay!

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Thank you, Lily's Grannie, that's Mr Feynman. He's raised his snuggle powers up three levels, since cold weather arrived! He's like a small, round, weighted blanket.
I think you are right... the old timey church basement style coffee dispenser, but not actually for coffee. Good point about the flavor lasting. Thank you! We have a small water heater, and for the same reason, so we can make tea anytime. I love ours. It has a merry blue light that illuminates the water as it's boiling.
A peaceful holiday season is a lovely wish! Thank you. And I hope yours is peaceful, too, with lovely cups of your favorite teas.

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Happy first day of winter, Ruth! Thank you! I am just now reading your comment, and it's cheering me up. I started getting sad and frustrated about all of this new COVID stress that's spreading... like a virus. Ugh.
The solstice party was lovely, really so good, and honestly, I think it's making me a little sad, just now, because I am reminded of what we are missing, a small hint of what normal was like, and I miss it! And we have been emailing each other about our plans and feeling the strain of how to navigate these things, and stay safe, while staying connected. It's too much! Greedily, I want things to be easier... maybe it's not greedy, because I want things to be easier for everyone!
El Super! That's where Leslie and Ido get their tres leches cake! I think they go to the one in Oceanside. And I think there is one in Escondido. They love that it's reasonably priced, and not something you have to special order. Wasn't it a tres leches cake we had, the last time we were celebrating Christmas with James and Deanne? That was a lifetime ago!

Sarah said...

I have to admit I am jealous of your outdoor party in December! How wonderful to see people again. Your little kitty at the top reminds me of our grey cat Kiska, who passed away at the beginning of the year. I'll always have a soft spot for grey cats.

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Oh, Sarah, I get it... it might not make any sense, but even I am *jealous* of the gathering. I see all the evidence of the fortunate event, and I feel this longing to be there, to have more! We are all due so much time and proximity with our loved ones, and it's not possible to get enough! We have this tremendous advantage of space and fair weather, and I cannot overstate how thankful I am for those, and the loved ones we can share it with.
Kiska is a lovely sounding name, and I am sorry your kitty has passed. Feynman is our first grey kitty, and we are all smitten.

Janece said...

Feynman photo for the win. And I had such a good evening with all of you. All my blankets and clothes (and hair) smelled like a bonfire. Acorn declared that their hoodie smelled like fabric bacon. 😂

Thank you for everything you did and prepared for all of us.

As for a hot water solution -- I saw one of these used at an outdoor event recently:

It doesn't have an easy pull tab spigot - but also more portable? And, of course, I thought of these kinds of dispensers: