8 December 2008

The signs of December

There is a distinct feel to certain times of the year. July at my home is fluffy slippers weather - cold. In July, there is soup on the stove, woollen gloves in the car and I always feel that, given a little time and help, I could mother the entire earth and make everyone warm.

December is altogether different, it's hot and humid bare arms weather. The never-fail signs of December are afternoon thunderstorms rolling in, the clinking of ice cubes in frosty glasses of lemon cordial, the ceiling fan moving slowly on hot summer nights and when I hear kids playing in the street during the day, it's a sure sign school is finished for the year, summer holidays have started and Christmas is just around the corner.

Shane and Sarndra came over for lunch on Saturday. How good it was to see them! I made up some bread rolls, salad from the garden and added a plate of local cheese and some pastrami for the meat eaters. They brought some cold brewed ginger beer and lemon, lime and bitters with them, which went well with the food. Later we all had a slice of my orange coconut cake and coffee.

We caught up on all the news and had a look at photos of their newly acquired mother hen and baby chicks. I am so thankful to see Shane so happy and content with a girl he obviously adores, and she him. There is a lot to be said for these times around the kitchen table, reconnecting and further strengthening our family ties. They seem to go hand-in-hand with Christmas and hot December weather.

Yesterday it was just Hanno and I for morning tea. I started another pair of fingerless mittens, this time in pure Merino wool, for Sarndra. I sneakily had her try on the little red pair I made for size. ; - ) I remember my own mother trying to size something for me, saying she was making it for my sister. I have no doubt Sarndra knew what I was doing, but played by the rules and didn't say a word about it. She is a good fit for our family, there is no doubt about it.

The hot weather is great for the garden but the heavy rain does a fair bit of damage. These golden nugget pumpkins are surviving, but only just. Still, there are quite a few of them out there and soon we'll be able to pick them and store them in the kitchen for eating later in the year. We've had a few more strikes of fruit fly in the tomatoes but overall there seem to be fewer of them around. Of course, it will next summer before we know if these measures we've taken are working. I'm sure there are eggs in the soil, but hopefully, as each year passes, there will be fewer.

And in the background of our lives, the animals wander in and out. Hettie sleeps in the hay in the shed, but every morning, when she hears us having tea on the verandah, she runs over to be fed some cake. The chooks are happy to roam around the backyard, scratching and pecking, searching for bugs. Heather, our salmon Faverolles girl, is broody again and spends her days on the nest where she pushes herself deep into the straw hoping no one will see her. And Alice, our Airedale, is happy to follow Hanno around while he works in the yard, or sleep on her bed in the kitchen, away from the March flies of December.

Life's good.

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