The day after the company party, we went into Gruene, Texas. What a great little town! We got there just as they were opening up their seasonal market days so the Heritage Riders were there re-enacting the jobs of the Pony Express. They brought a proclamation from the Governor officially opening the markets days in Gruene. There are quite a few artists in the area, so the open air market had so much to see. It was a cold day, so hot cocoa was in order from the local coffee house. We explored the market and then ate sandwiches at the Gristmill. It is an old cotton mill turned into restaurant and it was good! There are probably at least 10 dining rooms, not to mention all the outside patios. We sat near a roaring fire in one of the several fireplaces in the building and treated ourselves. Not really having money to spend on things like this, it is extra special when we can.
After Gruene we came back to our town and saw Santa at the library. Xi was quite shy, but Lola explained how we saw a Santa in Gruene who had a cowboy hat on and how he must be an imposter. Our library Santa gently explained that he has many helpers and no one is trying to fool the kids on purpose..haha! That made both of them much happier.
We returned home to garden sadness though. The night before had been our first hard freeze and we covered all that we felt needed it. The rest were on their own and were just going to have to go through the seasonal changes. My father in law explained to me to just leave all the plants looking like they do and not cut anything except the annuals. From what I’ve learned, the frozen bits on the plants act like insulation for the rest of the plant and keeps the inside protected until Spring. Right after the last frost of the year is when we will prune everything and hopefully Spring will see an explosion of most of it returning. We need to mulch, mulch, mulch, which we are in the middle of doing. Today is warm, above 70! Wierd weather. Some things made it through just fine of course, so there still is quite a bit of green going on.
The days are spent preparing for my favorite time of year. I love the Winter festivals so much. The girls put their slippers out for St. Nick on the 5th and woke up to fresh oranges, new Nutcrackers and bendy doll winter sprites. They were thrilled.
We make all our gifts not only because of financial necessity, but mainly because I do believe these are the best gifts to give. I love creating things for family and friends, putting love into each stitch or stroke of the paintbrush. This year the girls are getting their annual sweaters as well as some homemade toys and dolls. One neighbor gave me a scroll saw and another gave me some really nice wood scraps, so I am going to try my hand at toy making today..yay! I love the wooden figures from Germany, but cannot afford them. This way I can make the girls and William some heirloom toys that they can pass down. We are all decorated, ready to bake, continuing our projects and preparations for Christmas. We are all having fun doing it all too!