Preparations for a Homemade Holiday

Author: Meera, December 20, 2012


Water frozen in patterns due to the wind

Frozen water in geometric patterns



When you are renovating a house, you don’t welcome freezing weather. When I heard frost warnings for the overnight hours, I turned off my outdoor fountain. At the stroke of 7:00 a.m., I slipped into my knee-high rubber boots and trotted outside. There I found the water in the fountain frozen in a fractured geometric pattern, due most likely to the wind blowing across the water as it was freezing. If it’s going to freeze in Northern California, I guess this is the right time of year for it to happen.


Carlos balances on a ladder to work on the wire tree

Carlos balances on a ladder to work on the wire tree


My husband and I have been laboring away for over two years on this little half acre farmette and cottage and are a long way from being finished. With just the two of us doing all the work, it could take years–a sobering thought. Already the close of 2012 approaches. Christmas is five days away.


Driving to the local do-it-yourself (DIY) store in our little red truck to buy materials and tools, we are visually reminded of the time of year and the season, too, with outdoor decorations, lights, and Christmas trees covered in ornaments displayed in living room windows for miles.


I refuse to buy a cut tree. First of all, I’d really rather have a living tree in a pot or rosemary or some other herb sheared into a cone than to support the cutting and harvesting of a living tree such as the pine and spruce, so beloved as Christmas trees.


Sorry, it this offends, but my philosophy is that the trees we have on Earth are our planet’s lungs. Trees take carbon dioxide out of the air. They store carbon in their wood. They give off life-giving oxygen that each human needs.



Wire tree with lights

Wire tree with lights


But beyond my philosophizing, I look around my tiny, unfinished house and see no good place to park a tree of any type. So my husband, ever the architect, dreams up a plan to build a holiday tree on the back lawn and cover it with energy-efficient led lights.


He hammered a tall pole into the ground and then stretched wire from the pole top to 16 ground stakes. Using a board to draw a perfect circle around the base of the tree, he drove the stakes along the circle line. Each of the metal stakes had a slot or hole at the top through which the wire could be slipped through and tied off. From top to bottom, he strung the lights.


We can see our holiday tree through the glass patio door. Our little farmhouse now feels a little more festive, even without interior decorations. It also smells good inside with all the baking I’ve been doing. This year, we’re putting together baskets for gift giving.


We’ll fill the egg gathering baskets with jars of my summer stone-fruit jams, homemade cookies, loaves of pumpkin spiced bread and banana nut bread, fresh oranges and tangerines from our trees, and mini jars of honey tied up with gingham fabric and ribbon. Our baskets of homemade itemsĀ  find resonance with the way farmers of my grandmother’s era gave gifts. Somehow, the holiday seemed less commercial back then. So from our hearts to yours, we wish you have a lovely holiday season and a fantastic year ahead. As for us, the renovation goes on.


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