Tuesday, January 24, 2017


All that glitters might just be snow.

Every year for the past few years, we've taken a trip up to the mountains for one of the granddaughter's birthdays. We rent a cabin, make a big fire in the fireplace, and spend some time shoving kids down hills on sleds. This year was no different, with one exception -- there was significant snow up there this year. And then there was sleet, rain, soft powdery snow, and snow like little rocks. The power went out in the cabin, one of the two vehicles we took up had to be towed out, and a pretty big chunk of time went to digging things out of snow, like shovels, and cars, and drinks hidden in snow banks. One thing I love best about the snow, and particularly while it's actively snowing, is the quiet. There's nothing ever so peaceful as a world blanketed in snow, that is, unless you need to be somewhere. There was a moment, in the dark, when the soft yellow light from the cabin window shone down on the mound of snow on the back deck, that the snow glittered and sparkled, like tiny diamonds. It was great up there, and I didn't take a single picture.

I had hoped while up there I'd be able to do a bit of wild harvesting, but the depth of the snow was a huge deterrent, and the fact that I didn't have much in the way of snow gear. I was also a bit disheartened to see the wee cabin surrounded by dead pine trees, victims of both the drought and beetle blight. Enough trees are dead and brown up there that they will keep the local logging industry alive for at least another five or six years. And the landscape won't ever be the same, at least not in my lifetime.

The Plum Palace is coming along beautifully. Despite the strings of days of rain we've been having here lately, the foundation has been laid, and the walls of the ground floor put in. It's funny how the bare earth with trenches and plumbing poking out of the ground looks so small, and then when the foundation and walls have been put up, suddenly the square footage appears. We've picked out a dwarf manzanita to put in the front of the house because of it's showy spring flowers and deliciously maroon colored bark. The bark of the tree will match the color of the shutters on the Plum Palace.

Yesterday, I spent some time with the oldest grandchild. She's a dancer, an accomplished artist, a singer, actor, and she carries a 3.8 GPA and takes college courses while still a junior in high school. She's one little determined bundle of woman. Her art is fabulous, mostly drawings, but she's moving toward painting and hopes to work with watercolors. I've commissioned some art from her for the new house. Crows and still life drawings of things she finds interesting. I can't wait to see what she comes up with.

I haven't worked on the new incense in a couple of days, but I have been burning a lot lately. Right now I have some of my reserve stash of Amber Rose warming in the heater, and it smells amazing, if I do say so myself (and I do). The new incense, after allowing it to meld for a few days, smells of myrrh and roses. I like it, but I do plan to sweeten it up a bit with some sandalwood, and then it might be done and ready to form. Even though it's "just incense", it still needs time to mature, time to show the incenseur which direction it plans on moving toward. When this newest batch was first formulated, it leaned toward rose, and now it's leaning heavily toward myrrh. My intention is to get it done this week, but like I said, it needs time to reveal itself. 

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