In the Garden, and Scrap Dance Mystery!

It is a bit unusual to have a lot to tell about the garden in the beginning of winter, but we’ve had a few surprises since my last post on the garden. We have a pair of pileated woodpeckers that live in the woods surrounding our home, and we often hear their laughing calls. Occasionally we see one, but I was surprised to see this one hanging from the suet feeder, stuffing his beak.

Last Monday, we had a wonderfully clear evening for the Great Conjunction. I set the camera on a tripod, and attempted to get a good photo. This was the best one of the more than two dozen I took.

Dawn on Christmas eve was awash in color.

More birds are stopping by now that it is colder. A pair of bluebirds visited, the male is on the squirrel baffle, and the female is on the left side of the feeder perches. A couple of goldfinches in their drab winter color share the feeder.

Pretty, isn’t he?

Then, a surprise. When I moved the iris bed, and dug up the daffodils and crocuses with them, I had too many to put in the new space. Temporarily, I put the extra daffodils in a pot, and covered it up with a lid to keep it from the sun. Then I promptly forgot about them. When we were moving some things around on the veranda, My Sweet Babboo moved the top, and I discovered they were growing. This was after a hard freeze. So, I moved this pot into the Carolina Room (a three season porch), gave them some water, and I may have some daffodils early this year.

The other plants are doing ok there, with the avocado tree now almost three feet tall.

One of the geraniums is confused as to what season it is, and bloomed again.

Then the most exciting thing! The 8-year old amaryllis is putting up three leaves!!

We were delighted on Christmas Day to wake up to winter wonderland. It was only a light half inch or so, but it was a beautiful start to the holiday. Dawn light was grey with overcast skies.

It is easier to see the land through the trees with snow on the ground. The retaining wall with the new daffodil bed is blanketed in white. Beyond it, the land drops to the small creek in the bottom of the cove dozens of feet below.

A little junco searches for a meal in the snow. I scattered some seeds for the small flock that was scratching around.

Jack showed up for a sandwich, cold and hungry this morning.

Oliver did as well, taking his treat high in a tree as his usual perch was covered in snow. Somehow he got some snow on his nose but was too busy eating to brush it off.

Behind the house, the rhododendrons were curled up and dusted with powdered sugar. It was lovely to have the snow still here yesterday as well.

Winter is a great time to hunker down indoors and sew. I know there are a few quilters out there who love scrappy mysteries, and look forward to our Scrap Dance series every January. Well, next month we will indeed have our annual mystery!! I’ve been working on it for a couple of weeks now, and once again it has come together and named itself, LOL!!

Scrap Dance Pachanga begins January 8!

In the past, I’ve done one clue a month, so you could work it around other projects. This past year, when the lockdowns began, we accelerated the pace to two clues a month. Since many of us are still stuck at home for the next couple months, I have a question for those likely to participate. Would you like to have clues once a month or twice a month? As it stands now, I have 8 steps, but that could change based on the answer to the poll. Just click on the circle next to your preference and then click submit to vote.

The Zoom Scrap Dancing class for individual sign up still has a few slots open for Wednesday this week. Class time is 1 pm Eastern Time (Noon Central time, 11 am Mountain Time and 10 am Pacific time). Class cost is $10 and runs about an hour. You will receive a Paypal invoice when you sign up, and payment needs to be made by Monday evening. Registration will close this evening or when the class is full, whichever comes first. The Meeting ID and Password for Zoom will be emailed to you on Tuesday.

Are you ready for a Scrap Dance Mystery? What are your plans for a winter project?

33 thoughts on “In the Garden, and Scrap Dance Mystery!

  1. Julie

    Ahh, so we’re not the only confused things this year, the geraniums are too! I love watching juncos dance in the snow, stirring up some seeds to munch on. You got a beautiful star shot. As per usual, we had clouds and missed the closest approach, but had one clear evening for viewing.

  2. Rheanna

    I am excited for the scrap mystery. I think I would only be able to keep up with one clue per month. I will be trying to finish up some of my Unfinished Objects over the next few months. I have a few table runners to quilt and a baby quilt to finish.

  3. Enjoyed all your nature pictures. I always do. I can see that Oliver and Jack were counting on your winter kindness! I really enjoyed last year’s scrap dance mystery so I plan to join in again this year. Your steps are well organized and easy to follow. Thanks for doing it.

  4. Rhonda P

    You certainly are surrounded by beauty! I just love looking at your pictures. Those woodpeckers are fabulous. I have flickers, harry’s and downey’s but the pileated woodpeckers do not care for my location. My brother-in-law have a place in the woods and they have a pair also. I do have lots of juncos – they are so cute. They and the chickadees devoured the 6 ornaments I hung in a bush outside my office window, it is fun to watch them all.

    I voted on the quilt above but see most people want to go with twice a month. I just started the halo medallion pattern that’s been on my list for a few years now. It’s a 12 month pattern and so it might be hard for me to keep up if that’s the route we go, but I’ll do my best!

  5. Rita C.

    I love all the graden photos and surprises! You got a great shot of the conjunction (ours was 100% clouded over). The bluebirds are gorgeous (so is the woodpecker). Happy surprise with the daffodils! We had a very white and blustery cold Christmas with about 4″ in the city, 7 on the hilltops – perfect for staying inside (or sledding for the young ones).
    I’ve started UNdecorating, but keeping a winter vibe with greens, silvers and golds…..

  6. Darci Marshall

    Aww, Oliver looks so cozy eating his sandwich! We also put out the suet for the bluebirds, they refuse to nest in our boxes but will come pilfer all the suet!
    I’d rather the once monthly scrap dance !

  7. thedarlingdogwood

    That’s a great photo of the conjunction! We did a family outing for it (to a grocery store parking lot!) and had a lot of fun. My husband tried to get pictures through the binoculars but it required 3 hands so I had to press the button–easy it wasn’t, and I’m not sure they came out at all. Jealous of your dusting of snow!

  8. Ah, snow for Christmas! It makes everything fresh and pretty. I traditionally use January to finish up and clean up, so I will be working on as many UFOs as I can! Will enjoy following along the mystery and cheer readers’ progress. Looking forward to the class on Wednesday.

  9. Jutta Braun

    I’m a newbie here! My own little quilt guild is on pandemic hold, and is not very good at Zoom, so I am hoping to join along here. I work full-time from home, so may not always be able to keep up, but I’ll do my best!
    Love the animals and the wonderful scenery!

  10. Pat Featherston

    I am new to your site but would love to join the group. Could you explain exactly how it works. I vote for one a month.

  11. Sharon Vrooman

    We had a lot of snow (3 feet) and then it poured! Most our county and several others were in evacuation mode Christmas Morning because of flooding. 2020 just doesn’t want to let go. I can’t wait for the blue birds and robins to return. A new mystery sounds like a great start to a new year.

  12. Brenda @ Songbird Designs

    Very nice surprises indeed, Carole! Little Oliver and Jack are so cute, especially Oliver with his plump little self and snow on his nose!! I think you have friends for life there!! I wish we had gotten a good dusting of snow, but alas, only a flurry and not much of that in our area! But, that’s ok as my kids were driving home from Disney on Christmas Eve. They had a couple of wildlife sightings as well…an alligator and a beautiful bald eagle! They had never seen an eagle in the wild and were fascinated by it’s beauty.

  13. Susan Salo

    All your pictures are wonderful and I’m jealous of your pileated and bluebirds! We often have a pair of bluebirds feed for a day or two in the spring but we don’t have a house for them so it’s fleeting. We woke up to an inch or so of snow on Christmas- good for the soul somehow, and it’s still on the ground. But it was cloudy the whole week of conjunction, so no live pic. Thanks for yours! I am not sure about participating this year as I have a goal to finish up my UFOs, but we’ll see. I would prefer once a month at any rate. Thanks for doing these!

  14. Linda B

    Great pictures, esp of the conjunction. Very smart to use a tripod! We had clear nights fortunately, but with just holding the binoculars it was hard to study the sight. But could definitely see the two planets. Very cool. Fun to start looking ahead to 2021!

  15. Mary Ed Williams

    Love your pictures! I am so looking forward to Wednesday- a lot of DOQers taking it , too. Are we going to be sewing?

  16. Such a lovely start to my day with a tour of the garden and critters visiting. My my Oliver has quite the Buddha belly going on 🙂 Our Oliver and Chip have been our faithful visitors devouring every peanut I put out for them. No matter what I have tried they always find a way to eat the bird food 😦 We have a magnificent Heron who has been hanging about which has been a real treat. You had a glorious Christmas with the perfect dusting of snow. We had snow on the Solstice which was magical and still around for Christmas.

  17. sharon

    Would prefer once a month. Have done several of your previous Scrap Dances and enjoy them as fillers in between other projects, so once a month is good for me. Thank you for all your patterns and ideas!

  18. My paperwhites are very confused this year, as they are starting to bloom in December!!! Very strange. I’m delighted to see your garden pictures and know you are feeding the birds. Sadly, I read an article this week which reported that too many sweet birds are actually dying from starvation this year.

  19. kathyinozarks

    Good morning, I enjoyed all of your photos-loved the pileated woodpecker-I always enjoyed watching them at the woods house.

  20. We’ve had a lot of goldfinches on our thistle feeder lately – the ones here are getting yellower now – we’re wondering if it’s already getting toward mating season for them. Seems early, though! We did get to see the Great Conjunction, too and Mike got a photo like yours – I was excited to see that. I don’t know if I’ll join in with the Scrap Dance mystery – I’m always interested, but don’t know if I gave the right fabric choices.

  21. Oliver may be Olivia! Squirrels have their young in the winter and bring them out of the nest in the spring when they are about three months old. Another litter in late summer. I do NOT feed our squirrels as they are a nuisance digging up flower bulbs and eating dog food if the dogs turn their backs! 😂

  22. Joan Sheppard

    Love seeing your pictures and the animals and the snow! Chicago got nothing. The pic of Oliver with the snow is prize worthy! Wish we could feed the squirrels but it seems to attract coyotes and raccoons instead. Cute but not at my house.
    Pachanga! Sounds like a fun one for sure.
    Thanks for all the pictures, like a National Geographic piece.

  23. Cheryl Ann Dixon

    Such nice pictures of the birds and animals in your backyard garden. Daffodils sprouting how wonderful to have them to look forward to a little bit early. There is nothing like flowers to brighten things up. Not much happening in my yard. Lots of squirrels running through the snow and one lone coyote wandered through the back yard. I hear the chickadee and cardinal but don’t see them often but don’t have a feeder set up this year. Looking forward to your scrap dance mystery. Right now I’m attempting to get some wip’s finished. Have a wonderful afternoon.

  24. Birds and squirrels love the winter garden. Unfortunately, an armadillo has shown up in the cold weather and dug a bunch of holes. They are such aggravating pests. Yay, for the 8 year old amaryllis!

  25. I do enjoy hearing what Oliver and Jack are up to, and seeing the birds! I am thinking I’ll participate in Scrap Dance this year, assuming I get some things finished this week!

  26. I was delighted to see your photo of the pileated woodpecker! I’ve only seen one in my entire life. What a thrill last year when one came to our backyard for just a few minutes!

  27. Elizabeth Brown

    Carole: I work on Wednesdays, so I can’t join. Would it be on another day/evening? Thanks. Liz in snowy Naples,Ny

  28. Ron & Becky Pike

    Just found your blog and will keep following so I can attempt the mystery. And thanks for the pics…they gave me an idea on making our bird feeders safe from the squirrels that won’t stay in their own feeding area.

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