Thursday, December 27, 2007

Home for the Holidays

Well, another Christmas has come and gone and I can’t help, but wonder what is in store for us in the New Year. This past Sunday, Jamie and I went to my parent’s house to do the holiday thing. My family always gathers together the Sunday before Christmas. In the past we had our dinner on Christmas Eve. Since that was the busiest day of the year for my work I never got to attend so they changed the date. It’s so close to Thanksgiving we don’t have a formal dinner, we choose to have Bar-B-Que instead. Momma cooks seven or eight Boston Butts on the smoker and boils a bunch of chicken to make hash. Lately my youngest sister has had to take over the task of preparing the meal, because Momma is getting older and it’s become too much for her to do. She’s seventy-two now and she has difficulty standing for more that a few minutes at the time. She still manages to get that big ole pot of rice cooked to go with the BBQ and hash. Even if it does wear her out… bless her heart. I’m not really sure how many of us there are anymore. I have six sisters and two brothers, most all have spouses and all have children. If I had to guess I would say there are about sixty of us now. It’s impossible to buy gifts for everyone, so we do Dirty Santa. Monday was Christmas Eve and it’s also my mother-in-laws birthday so we headed north for the day. My parent’s live in the very southern part of the state, Jamie’s live in the northern part and we live smack dab in the middle so it works our perfect for us. Our drive to the holler was a wonderful trip. It’s in the foot hills and beginnings of the Appalachian Mountains. The skies were overcast and the temperature was in the twenties so there was still frost everywhere at nine AM. As far as the eyes could see were hills and valleys of brilliant silver. It was a spectacular vision; I could see magic all around us. On our way in, we stopped at the café Jamie’s family runs and had breakfast with his mom, grandmother, and nine or ten other family members that just happened to be there when we drove up. The rest of the day was spent with his sister and brothers making Christmas/Birthday dinner for his mother. Later that evening we ate, opened presents and visited with his family. I really enjoy my visits and wouldn’t mind living in the holler at some point, even though there is absolutely nothing there other than his family. We spent Christmas day eating left over pizza and veggin’ out together on the couch watching seasonal movies. It was wonderful! It was one of the most restful days I’ve had in a long time. Hope your Christmas was great too!

This summer we were lucky enough to be chosen to host the birth of several Monarch butterflies. Below is a start to finish of the process, from the mother laying eggs to the new butterflies drying their wings. The slideshow has most likely stopped at this point if you want to see the show again click on the first image in the line and then click "yes". You can also get a description of the photo by clicking on the large image. One of the pictures is kind of blurry due to the rapid movement of the larva. It's the best of the images I took of that particular stage, that thing was wiggling like crazy.


Kylee said...

Now THAT was cool. We too, got to witness the various stages because I took one of the caterpillars into the house and it completed its life cycle there. I missed most of the chrysalis-forming stage though, even though it was happening just a few feet from me. I just got busy with something and forgot to check it. I blogged about it at the end of September and first of October.

You've documented this so well!! It's such a miracle of nature!

KC MO Garden Guy said...

Sounds like you all had a wonderful Christmas. We did also. Scott didn't go with me to my family this year because we have a new puppy and we were afraid my mother might trip over her. She had already fallen on the ice a couple of weeks before and hurt her ankle. But all is better now.
Love the slide show of the monarch. we plant parsley every year just so the caterpillar's have something to eat on. Great set, thanks for sharing!!
Hope you have a Happy New Year!!

Jan Goldfield said...

Randy, Jamie, loved the monarch photos. We miss you at the gumbo. Are you vacationing?