Nature is such an important part of our life. We have such a connection to nature, to animals and the trees and the earth around us, that I don’t like to let a solstice go by without some sort of acknowledgement. This year Wyatt and I were able to turn it into a bit of a science lesson as well, albeit a fun one. When we woke up, I talked about how the day ahead was the shortest day of the year, with the longest night, and that the next day would signal the return of the sun, and that gradually, slowly, slowly, the days would become longer and the dark and night would become shorter.
To celebrate during the day, Wyatt and I read Bear Noel and The Animals’ Santa. We had a lot of fun reading them both, but we added a bit of fun to our reading of Bear Noel, with sound effects and participation. I think we might continue this as a tradition, at least for another year if Wyatt lets me. Then we decided to be a bit of an animals’ Santa ourselves, and make gifts for the outdoor animals near us. The birds and the squirrels and the porch opossum, although I haven’t seen the latter in a week or two which makes me nervous. Neither of us like to get sticky fingers so we skipped any ideas that involved goopy peanut butter or even worse, lard. However, dried apples and oranges were just our speed, so we (I) dried the fruit slices in our oven and when they were dry, Wyatt turned them into hanging fruit ornaments to put outside. I also threw some pecans out there as well, for a little added treat.
After our activity, we both had a little quiet time. I read my book and he played a bit. Eventually it became time to make dinner so I switched on some music (Alexa, play Taylor Swift Folklore..) and got to cooking. Every year I want to make sun bread and never remember. This year included. But I did make Greek Lemon Chicken and Rice in a skillet, which was delicious. With lemon to celebrate the sun! Then..we had my ugly cake. I had planned to make cranberry cake which is amazing and delicious. However, I found I didn’t have any sugar! How did this happen! Thankfully we had a spare cake. Lol. The Sunday before solstice we had celebrated my brother’s 40th birthday; I was supposed to make the cake. It was a bit of a baking disaster though, and we deemed it too ugly to take to the party, so we bought one at Kroger on the way instead. My brother was appalled though, and told me I should have just brought the cake anyway. Well, it worked out for solstice because what is a celebration without dessert?
A not great photo of my not great looking cake. At this point I wasn’t sure what was going on with it so I just threw some plastic over it, not caring much about preserving the frosting. It wasn’t too bad though, removing it, we still had plenty somehow. It was actually quite yummy!
After dinner, we moved into the den and read two more books, The Shortest Day and The Longest Night (we absolutely love this one). We talked about some of our favorite nature memories this year – Billy’s camping trip for him, our trip up north with the old Cedar Forest trail and the picnic among the wildflowers, swimming in the lake. My monarchs. Tomato sandwiches, made with tomatoes from our garden. The trolls. So many wonderful moments this year.
That morning, we started the day with two songs – Here Comes the Sun which is Wyatt’s favorite, and Morning has Broken, one of my favorites.
It was a wonderful start to the holiday season! A little tiny celebration before the happy chaos of Christmas.