Report: 2020 Winter Solstice Olio.

The solstice and the first day of the Northern Hemisphere winter have arrived. For the first time in eight hundred years, Jupiter and Saturn have cozied up. They must be glad to see each other, for they are shamelessly cohabiting up there in the evening southwestern sky.

Lesson: Never let moons or rings get in the way of a good time!

Our first real snow has come and (almost) gone. On the mainland, the snowstorm was one of the earlier and larger storms in Northeastern US weather history. But here on this island? Not so much. The storm’s snow got off to a good start in the late afternoon, and we had almost four inches of it on the deck when we went to bed. We did have some strong winds from the ocean, though.

But by morning it was different. The greater part of the storm overnight had turned to rain, and temperatures had risen to well above freezing. No snowplow, just shovels, were needed to clear our road. A few hours of work from the arms and backs of an old man and a young man were enough to clean the hilly sections, to sand the slippery spots, to shovel paths to the homes of the neighborhood elderly, and to sweep the snow off those elder’s cars.

Later that day, inside, we swept too — accumulations of Coquinadoghair from corners and underneaths..

As of yesterday, little snow was left anywhere.

Or dog hair.

But Coquina is working on that.

Her winter coat has come in.

We went to the beach a day or two later, and saw an apparition.

There be monsters in the melting snowcover.

You know that not every tompostpilepost is able to focus on a single subject.

Sometimes what gets writ is an olio.

Welcome to my olio.

Olla, eh? What’s cooking? Futsu japanese winter squash is one of the things that’s cooking. We cut one open last week. Here’s what a futsu looks like inside. They are delicious when baked. Their flavor improves with storage.

Futsu is a number one squash, for sure.


Futsu squash. Ichiban!

There are still a few things available in the Wishetwurra Farm garden. In the photo below are a December 14th picking of celery and celeriac. The celeriac found its way into last night’s (and the previous night’s) soup, and heavens it was tasty. There is parsley, and there are leeks in the outside garden, well mulched, so that we may continue to pluck and dig them in the coming months. Maybe come January I’ll revive the Wishetwurra Farm garden reports.

December 14th: celery and celeriac.

These long-nighted days make for time to look at piles of papers and the like.

In one such pile I found a photo of a little me, from about seventy years ago.

Little Tom, in front of “post”s, about 1950.

You know, I can still remember that construction project. The digging of the hole for the foundation. The smell of the exposed dirt. The smell of the fresh-cut wood. The blanket covering the opening from the old part of the house into the new addition. I got to help paint it, too!

My parents gave me a paintbrush and a pot of water, and let me paint the outside of the new part of the house. Painting with water is fun…the wood changes color when wet, so you can tell you’ve done something when you’ve put it on. And when it dries, you can tell that something has happened. That’s a good lesson.

Fast away the old year passes.

We have a Christmas tree in this house for the first time in years. The arrival of Covid last spring meant an end to our usual patterns, and we have moved to Wishetwurra Farm for the duration. So we’re here instead of at Frogside for the holidays.

This week I went and cut off the top of a white spruce from behind the horse barn. Percy and Dick Burt planted that tree in 1950, before my family bought this place. It was the third time I have topped this spruce in order to get a Christmas tree…each time it regrows. Every ten or fifteen years we can cut another one. There were twelve rings in this year’s cut.

2020 “Christmas Tree Number Three”, seen at night from outside the house.

The end of this post will be on a reflective note.

Dog and I walked the dam end of Priesters Pond yesterday.

For the first day of winter, it was warm, calm, and peaceful.

Let’s hope that “peaceful” is what 2021 will be.

One response to “Report: 2020 Winter Solstice Olio.

  1. Those futsu squash are gorgeous! I celebrated the approaching solstice at a Zoom sing with 120 other women from across the country (sign of the times). Solstice is a time of turning, and I’m taking a lot of hope from that. (Like there’s an alternative? 😉 ) Happy solstice and new year to you all, and Tam Lin says “woooo” to Coquina.

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