Nature Friday ~ December 18, 2020

Welcome to Friday where we join our friends, Rosy, her little sister Sunny, as well as her brothers Arty and Jakey from over at LLB in our Backyard to take a gander from around Blogville to see what Mother Nature served up this week. And what a busy week it’s been. We’re busy trying to get ready for the big day next week, baking up a storm and trying to get a couple of photo shoots in between. Not much success and Elsa and I are singing in two-part harmony on both fronts. Hrmph!


In true 2020 form, the baking hasn’t gone quite as planned. I threw out a tray of gingerbread cookies this morning that more than slightly resembled holly leaf bricks-ugh. I’m new to baking gingerbread despite having gobs of Christmas cookie cutters and misjudged the timing they needed to bake. Plus (as seems typical of gingerbread and probably why I haven’t made them in the past, too crunchy for my tastes.

We had another small snow storm blow through earlier this week but nothing like the Nor’Easter that dumped on the east coast a couple of days ago. We hope everyone is safe and staying warm. Ole Man Winter may swing by later today but I suspect the forecast has been oversold as the next storm scheduled to arrive later today. Still, we managed to see a little bit of the local landscape around the neighborhood to see how nature is faring.

We pass by this house every day on our walks. It’s a haven for birds but alas, they are the little tiny ones who flit in and out long before a cell phone can even begin to focus on them. But it’s a charming spot which the owners nurture nature with plenty of bird seed, suet and water for a variety of birds who must compete with rascally squirrels looking for their next free lunch. Norman and Elsa find the squirrel action more than a bit enticing and I’ve had to pull them down from the retaining wall (not in view here) around this large Ponderosa pine which has been turned into quite a festive site. I nearly ran into the low hanging ornaments the first day.


On the morning of our most recent storm, the ornaments were frosted with accumulating snow.


We hope you have a fantastic Friday and hope any holiday baking you do goes better than mine has. And if you’re not baking or decorating, I hope you can get out and see what nature has to offer when you ‘run into it.’ Happy weekend!

Live, love, bark! 🐾


63 thoughts on “Nature Friday ~ December 18, 2020

  1. My cooking and baking efforts mostly went well this Christmas. Indeed, I was really stoked to pull off roast chicken with gravy, potatoes baked in duck fat and damper rolls with onion and fresh thyme and get the timings all right. Getting the gravy right is always a challenge for me so I was relieved and surprised it worked out. I had a minor mishap on the baking front. I was making the Honey Biscuits and noticed the dough was a bit dry. I had a support worker here and she’s good at baking and she suggested adding milk and we got it going and into the fridge. Then, I noticed the egg yolks in a mug on the bench that I’d left out. The worker worked them into the dough for me. I haven’t baked them yet, because I decided I wanted the real McCoy for Mum and Dad on Christmas Day and I served them straight out of the oven warm and fresh. They were divine. I thought I’d leave a link to the recipe here.a Honey Biscuits are cake-like and not spicy. Quite different to gingerbread of Lebkuchen.
    Best wishes,

  2. Mee-yow Miss Monika wee sympaffize with you ’bout THE baking!! LadyMew ackshully burned her chipss when shee made fish an chipss fore suppurr 2 nitess ago. Shee reefusess to even try to bake…shee sayss shee iss a deesaster inn THE makin!
    Yore nayburrss place lookss so festive an purrty…..
    Elsa mee feelss sum humbug too…Chanukkah dun an nowhere to go….
    Wee had a bit of snow butt now it iss just grey an cold….
    **purrss** an Meowy Catmass BellaDharma an ((huggiess)) LadyMew

    Pee S: Aunty Mary-Ellen iss enjoyin yore bloggie aLOT! An shee iss toetallee inn <3 LOVE <3 with you Norman!! Yore doin Therapee werk 'reemotely'!!

  3. You’d like my gingerbread recipe as they are soft like molasses cookies – well, the thicker ones are πŸ˜‰
    I love the sting of the spices.
    Happy Saturday! (since I’m late)

    1. Oooh, I’d love it if you would share (at a convenient time). Those bricks require Royal icing to even be partially palatable and Royal icing ain’t all that great either. And a happy Saturday to you as well!

      1. Lemme find my old recipe from my Victoria Magazine… I will more than gladly share with you! (they don’t need no icing to be tasty)
        And Thank you! Today is tree-trimming day!

        1. Thank you! I just haven’t had it in me to do a tree (course with that gigantic pile of fur asleep at my feet right now) I’d be afraid to put one up for fear he’d crash into it! LOL πŸŽ„

          1. I wasn’t even going to put one up at all. Figured why bother? Just for me, really. The boys don’t care. But then… it is for ME!

  4. The frosted ornaments are adorable! Once, Mom made gingerbread men and they were so hard that she had to hang them on the tree. Cute, but inedible. Now she has an awesome baking friend who makes them for her every year (They’re actually soft and chewy!!). This year, Mom had no hope of gingerbread (which is her favorite food), because of quarantine. But – surprise – her friend baked them and mailed them!! YAY! She saved Christmas!

    Love and licks,

  5. You can make more cake-like gingerbread men by adding an egg and a bit of baking soda. Bake 8-10 min for large ones, less for small. I always add extra spice, too. πŸ˜‰
    This year I’m making candy – Candied orange peel (some dipped in dark chocolate, yum) and almond peppermint bark. Both are nearly gone, so I guess I’ll be making more!

    1. Thanks for the tips-I’ll definitely keep that in mind. Those candy items sound wonderful! I might need to try something like that ‘next’ time. πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ³

  6. Temp got a little warmer today ,,, better the next couple before dropping again next week. Historically, Cincinnati has an 18% chance for a white Christmas – but right now, forecasters are hedging that way. Oh well – time will tell.

    1. I doubt all of our snow will be melted by Christmas so I continue to hope more of the white stuff falls though the forecast isn’t leaning in that direction. β˜ƒοΈβ„οΈβ˜ƒοΈ

    1. There are a number of recipes I’ve made over the years that are much better. The gingerbread is quite tasty and very flavorful, but I’m just not a fan of crunchy cookies, preferring buttery soft, tasty ones instead.

  7. Poor little Elsa! (Adorable pic, though!) I am not a seasoned baker either, Monika, but it’s fun to try sometimes! Hope those cookies are tasty! We decorated an outdoor cedar tree with small clear lights this year. It’s less than 2 feet tall, and so cute! Love the ornaments you have hung on your big tree! Happy holidays to the lot of ya! 🌞

    1. She really hates having her image taken. Luckily Norman makes up for it being quite the model.

      Normally I’m a great cookie baker. This year however has been multiple failures. Not sure why but it bums me out. I make up little boxes of goodies for all the neighbors and would like for them to be tasty and attractive. Maybe they won’t mind the ugly ones. LOL Happy ‘howlidays!’

  8. What a beautiful tree…and the combo of snow, ornament and greenery in your last shot is just gorgeous!

    1. Anytime, John. On the few occasions when I’ve actually seen a couple of blue birds in those trees, the contract between the orange bark, dark green needles and blue feathers is absolutely stunning. I have no illusion I’ll ever be able to photograph them, but they sure are wonderful to catch a quick (and I do mean QUICK) glimpse.

  9. I’m not thinking Elsa likes this dress up stuff one bit.

    Love that tree and love the decorations. Beautiful.

    Have a fabulous day and weekend and let me know when the cookies are done. I’ll be right over. β™₯

    1. You would be correcta-mundo. She’s starting to run and hide whenever I pull any hats out.

  10. Baking is definitely not my strong point but I am “aces” at biscotti ! Does that count? Anyway, I am one of those who buys those “logs” of cookie dough and slices them and puts them on the tray and bakes them and takes the easy way out. That tree is amazing – HUGE and decorated so beautifully. Love it.

    Hugs, Pam

    1. The sad part is I’ve been baking some of these cookie recipes for the past 50 years. How they all turned out so badly is beyond me. πŸ₯΄

      1. I’m stubborn about it too – finally a few years ago I resorted to those “tubes” of sugar cookie dough and buying all those sprinkles, etc. Still once in a while I burn a batch! HAHAHAHA

        1. Stubborn…I guess you could call me that…I’m in for a penny, in for a pound. Today’s project will be biscotti (your recipe, too) so wish me luck! πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ³

            1. I see it now…”One Spoiled Cat Biscotti Shop” in assorted flavors. A 5-⭐️ biscotti establishment! I’ve made it a number of times and no one complains! πŸ˜‹

    1. One thing I know, I’m not a fan of gingerbread cookies (even if successfully baked) A nice snickerdoodle sounds divine πŸ˜‹

        1. Gingerbread is great for building houses, but as cookies go, they’re just too hard for my tastes.

  11. I like gingerbread cookies when they are made in the style of thick chewy oatmeal raisin cookies and contain no trace of gingerbread at all. Bah humbug? Cheer up, Elsa-pup!

  12. OH Elsa, sorry you still look really cute, even when you say Bah Humbug! πŸ™‚
    Sorry about the baking, sounds like when I bake. LOL!
    I love the snow on the ornaments.
    Happy Weekend!

    1. Normally I’m a decent baker. This year, every single thing I’ve attempted has been less than stellar. *Sigh

      But now covered ornaments are lovely and make up for crummy baking.

  13. I absolutely love when people decorate their trees outside. As for gingerbread, not a huge fan which is great because I’m huge enough!! I have a passion for Christmas butter/sugar cookies!

    1. Those are my jam too. Gingerbread is too crunchy, I like soft, buttery cookies but wanted to try making something different for my neighbors’ treat boxes that I bake. Baking this year is par with the panDAMNic. Blech!

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