Last December, I had the romantic notion that my partner and I should try skating again, even though it had been well over ten years since we’d donned ice skates. I went out, got myself a new pair of comfortable skates and we headed off to Prince’s Island Park for a night skate on the lagoon. Although I was never a great skater, I always enjoyed gliding around the ice, especially outdoors under the stars, so I was very excited, but more than a bit uncertain as to how I would fare.
“Carols of gladness ring from every tree.”
~ Frances Anne Kemble
Here We Come A-Wassailing…
Who knew the Danbo Brothers could sing? Tonight, they joined forces with a couple of choir mice who come around here every year to carol and they spent a glorious evening singing their little hearts out around the neighborhood. All those small voices blended together perfectly and, I have to say, they sounded very sweet, even if a bit squeaky.
The Danbo Brothers surprised me early this morning when they walked in sporting beautiful, brand new, hand-knitted hats and scarves! I just knew those guys would be able to procure some proper winter woolies!
Scene from a magical winter walk in our neighbourhood.
“Warm fire—books–comfort—safety from storm—
our cats on the rug. Moonlight,” said Barney,
“would you be any happier now if you had a million dollars?”
~ Barney Snaith, talking about winter,
from L. M. Montgomery’s The Blue Castle
Taking a Cold, Hard Look at Winter
My partner and I genuinely love winter. But we usually keep that sentiment to ourselves because it seems that most others around us do not share our enthusiasm for winter. Truth be told, this appreciation for winter is a relatively new thing. Five years ago, I discovered that I had become, like most others around me, a chronic grumbler about winter and, in all honesty, about the weather in general. It seemed that the more years that passed, the narrower became the range of weather I didn’t complain about.
My homemade marzipan balls with orange blossom water and candied orange peel, dipped in white chocolate and garnished with chopped pistachios.
Seize the moment.
Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart.
Chocolate-Covered Marzipan Balls
Chocolate and marzipan pair beautifully together. And nothing could be easier than rolling marzipan balls and dipping them into the chocolate of your choice. Make some of these, throw a few into a festive bag along with some Homemade Chocolate Truffles (see my previous post) and you’ve got a great gift.
The Danbo Brothers are fiercely independent and they not only survive on their own, they thrive. I don’t even think they are conscious of the fact that they are relatively small-statured—nothing seems to daunt them. They simply enjoy being wherever they are and doing whatever they do. But perhaps their favourite thing to do is get out and about to explore the world—they often disappear from here for long periods, apparently off to enjoy some sort of new adventure. Given their love for exploring, I was neither concerned nor surprised when, as soon as the weather warmed, I awoke to find that the brothers had vanished once again.
“All you need is love.
But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
~ Charles M. Schulz
A Fabulous Gift to Give and Receive
High quality chocolate truffles are a chocolate lover’s dream come true. Made from only a few simple but perfect ingredients—good chocolate, heavy cream and a bit of butter—truffles impart their pure chocolatey goodness in one perfect, creamy, heavenly bite. The other great thing about truffles, that you may not know, is that they are fun and easy to make—albeit somewhat of a sweet chocolatey mess (which, of course, is the kind of problem one wishes to encounter more of in life). If you can bear to give any away, these Dark Chocolate Truffles make a lovely gift.
“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”
~ Henry David Thoreau
Playing with Motion Blur
This motion blur study is the direct result of boredom and low light. I took all the shots from our moving vehicle as we cruised across the Canadian prairies on an eight hour long road trip. It was a cold, cloudy December day, the sun was low in the sky and the light was fading, but the landscape was beautiful nonetheless. The subtle beauty of the passing prairie landscape, with its muted winter colour palette, the snow-speckled fields and the starkness of the naked trees, all slowly dissolving into the pastel light of dusk, had me reaching for my camera over and over again.
The Danbo Brothers generally love to spend the whole of their days outdoors. But a recent Arctic cold snap, coupled with an inability (a temporary one, if I know the Danbos) to find suitable winter hats and scarves, has kept them housebound. Yet, to watch them happily while away their time indoors, one would never know they have such a decided preference for being outdoors. Their secret, I believe, is that they always seem to go with the flow—they simply have a knack for finding the silver lining on any clouds that drift their way.