Thursday, December 1, 2011

Twelfth Month

The yard was white at bedtime last night. It was a quiet surprise. While watching To Catch A Thief (and pondering the cycle of fashion which refreshes looks for new generations of wearers - see red polka dot neck scarf Gregory Peck sports in the film, then flip forward fifty five years to the Fall 2011 style pages) it had begun gently to snow.

The dusting gives the first of December a clean sparkling note. A skim of new snow can look very inviting.

November was pleasant as entered into the weather books. The month ran five degrees above normal. Temperatures continued above average for a sixth straight month. Parkas remain in the back of the closet.

We've been encouraged to water trees and shrubbery before winter. Fall precipitation didn't occur. It's been a dry spell going back as far as this summer. One can wish regular replenishment for the ground and greenery. On the other hand the lovely sunny late fall days have been thoroughly enjoyed.

The grocery trip made yesterday took me on a local road that bisects wooded tracts of land. Fallen leaves have collected into random piles in the woods which are deeply leaf-strewn.

In their spiraling descent, or as determined by the scattering proclivities of our strong fall winds, the leaves have come to settle like drifts against the bases of tree trunks. Leaf drifts today. Snow drifts tomorrow. This was my thought as the woods with their autumn tones registered on me.

Today's light snow cover makes me glad for the moment of extra attention paid to the November woods.

It's time to look ahead to holiday baking and other seasonal preparations. Mexican wedding cakes and cranberry bread are favorites out of the oven at our house as the chill of the seasonal air descends on us.

Other yummy things get made too as the weeks fill with festivity. Ideas for treats for sharing have me checking the cupboard for requisite ingredients as a new grocery list takes shape.

Holiday Shopping goes in large letters at the top. It's not that the purpose of the list will be forgotten. It simply affirms to me that I'm putting down important stuff.

The sweetness of the season is in this list. Blended, stirred and baked as cookies, bars or bread, or as stovetop candy confections dropped by heaping spoonfuls onto yards of waxed paper, the tasty results speak for themselves.

Wrap the gifts, trim the tree, pass the plate of goodies. Listen to your heart's song as the carolers greet merrily. December, twelfth month, is here.

Mexican Wedding Cakes

1 cup butter, softened,
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup chopped walnuts.

Form the dough (chilling dough in refrigerator helps with this first step) into small balls, about 1 inch in diameter. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 10 minutes. Remove to cooling rack. While wedding cakes are still warm gently shake, a few at a time, in paper sack of powdered sugar. Repeat process later again when cool.

Ro Giencke - December 1, 2011

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