And Christmas Begins



When rose the eastern star, the birds came from a-far,
in that full might of glory.
With one melodious voice they sweetly did rejoice
and sang the wonderous story,
sang, praising God on high, enthroned above the sky,
and his fair mother Mary.

The eagle left his lair, came winging through the air,
his message loud arising.
And to his joyous cry the sparrow made reply,
his answer sweetly voicing.
“Overcome are death and strife, this night is born new life”,
the robin sang rejoicing.
When rose the eastern star, the birds came from a-far.
                                      The Carol of the Birds

Yesterday the thermometer made it up to 60 degrees, but I went out to bring in the greens and arrange my annual 12 foot ‘swag’ above the big south windows in our living room.  One year I realized I had a number of Christmas tree bird ornaments – which deserved more attention. Some birds are feathered (and I use the word loosely) bought at Michael’s craft store, some are hand carved and painted by a man in our church and some are sparkly birds with brushy tails. Some are tiny, and some are quite large/life size. I’ve hung a few sparkly pine cones ornaments as well. Aside from our tree this constitutes the major part of our holiday decoration.

And so the Christmas preparations begin. I have an extra celebration on December 6, the Feast of St. Nicholas, when instead of cookies or a shoe full of coal some lucky gardener will win Nan Ondra’s new book, The Perennial Care Manual, and 2 dozen CowPots.  You still have a chance to leave a comment, and tell me about one of your favorite books, or seed starting tip.  Entries close at midnight tomorrow.

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. Rose

    I like this idea for a swag! I’ve seen little Christmas trees with a bird theme, but this seems so appropriate to give them a higher perch.

    I’m all for giveaways, and I’ve seen some of Nan Ondra’s other books, so the winner of this one will be very lucky indeed! My favorite books? I assume you don’t mean Jane Eyre or To Kill a Mockingbird. A year ago I bought “Perennials for Midwestern Gardens” by Anthony Kahtz. It’s been a great reference book for me and has beautiful color photos of all the plants. It would make a great gift for a beginning Midwestern gardener.

  2. Tinky

    Okay, you’ve inspired me, the lights and greens go up TODAY! I haven’t quite made it to the carols (I’ve been humming “Two Sleepy People”), but I’m working on them.

    My favorite book is The Fannie Farmer Cookbook; she talks about produce, but I’m not sure it counts as a gardening book!

  3. SJ

    CW, I’ve been salivating over that new book by Nancy Ondra – I saw it at the bookstore a couple of weeks ago, it would make a lovely addition my other favorite gardening book Caring for Perennials – What to Do and When to Do It by longtime professional gardener Janet Macunovich. I had chance to personally Janet over the summer and talk shop and other garden chit chat. Janet is the Nancy Ondra of the Midwest so to have that book would make a great pairing as I love gardens of the East coast and so much of what they grow and the techniques to keeping them looking their best is very relevant to my region (Chicago) as well.

  4. Gail

    Hi, I wandered over here from a google search about peahens. One has discovered my garden and I see that you’ve had a visitor, too!

    My favorite garden book is Wildflowers of the Central South by Thos. Hemmerly. The flowers are all indigenous to Nashville and the Central Basin…where I garden. It’s an out of print book, but very helpful for locals!

    I love the poem,
    clay and limestone

  5. Michelle D.

    I’m curious, what is a cow pot ?
    A pot that looks like a cow ?
    A pot that a cow uses to drink from ? … maybe not, that would be a trough and those would be pretty big, especially 12 of ’em.
    I’m so curious. do tell.
    Michelle D.

  6. commonweeder

    Rose – my swag has gotten many compliments over the past few years. And that’s a good suggestion for many gardeners.
    Tinky – Fannie Farmer has been one of my favorite cookbooks for 50 years. Terrifying thought. And since it includes vegetables and fruits I think it counts as being a good book for a gardener.
    Gail – We didn’t see that peahen last year, but it was a Heath mystery for a couple of years. Sometimes people can find out of print books on Amazon without too much trouble. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. It’s hard to pick just one favorite gardening book, so I’ll give a seed starting tip. For those who live in colder climates, winter is a good time to sow those annual Peonyflowered Poppy seeds outside. Just sprinkle them on the snow.

  8. what a lovely drawing. Thanks! I, too, am planning a garden gift giveaway, to start soon with a red wiggler worm starter bin and some worm “castings” (poop). I love the creating and making of stuff at Christmas. Hopefully this year I won’t be tie-dying t-shirts on Christmas Eve for everyone on my list! (although, it was fun!) Jeannie

  9. admin

    Michelle – A CowPot is like a peat pot, but made of composted manure, not quite like a cow plop. And just think, no peat bogs depleted, and the seedlings get a boost that lasts when it is planted.
    MMD – I’ve never tried the seeds on snow technique, but you have inspired me. Thanks.
    Jeannnie – You can bet I’ll be visiting your Giveaway.
    SJ – Nan’s book would make a good pairing with Janet’s book. Good luck to you all.

  10. Jeannine Atkins

    Pat, thanks for finding my blog via BJ’s and for your sweet comments and for leading me over here where everything looks beautiful! I’ve spent the last few days clipping greens with plenty of dried flower and grasses browns, too, for wreaths; and making cake with rosemary, which is a favorite scent.

    Favorite book related to plants and the season? Really I’d like with your blog title “I’m no Martha but” … I’m going to go with The Sweet Breathing of Plants: Women Writing on the Green World. Not practical, but oh so inspirational.

  11. admin

    Jeannine – so good to be in touch again. I’ve got two new tiny Great-Granddaughters who will be in need of your books soon. I don’t know Sweet Breathing of Plants, but I will seek it out.

  12. Lisa at Greenbow

    I have a bird swag too. I also have a swag with garden theme. Fun…

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