Shades of Grey outline the posturing Cormorants.

Shades of Grey outline the posturing Cormorants.

Water and raindrops collect in a small dip in the ground at Neck Point.

Water and raindrops collect in a small dip in the ground at Neck Point.

Yesterday was the shortest day of the year. The day when the Northern Hemisphere is furthest from the Sun. I noticed it yesterday more than other years because it was also a heavily overcast day.  Drizzling and grey were not conducive to lightness and joy!  Today is just like yesterday – still short – still drizzling!

Yesterday morning started with a walk on the Wild Side at Neck Point.  We saw sea-lions, loons, harlequin ducks, cormorants and Pacific Oyster Catchers.

Black Oyster Catcher at Neck Point

Black Oyster Catcher at Neck Point

The Oyster Catchers are particular favorites.  The contrast of their bright orange bills and very black body; and the hooting sound they make always bring a smile to my face.  This morning we walked at Bowen Park, a very sedate park, but with its own wild side.

Salmon - the big one was at least 18 inches long.

Salmon – the big one was at least 18 inches long.

For the first time ever I saw salmon in the stream – in the little side stream that the city has created to encourage the salmon – we saw two salmon, resting on the gravel.   As we walked further up-stream I saw a couple of black squirrels bounding through the bare branches, stopping to eat the seed pods and scold us as we walked below them.

Squirrel highlighted and annoyed!

Squirrel highlighted and annoyed!

Grey and Drizzling is not going to stop me from celebrating the season with joy!

I am celebrating the days of this grey Solstice with verve and determination!  Yesterday, I started with shopping for gifts – I love purchasing gifts for others; moved on to baking for others (myself as well) – I made Rum Balls for a friend.  I had never made Rum Balls before – I quite like the process and will make them again!  I also baked more Shortbread – my Grannies Traditional Pan Shortbread and Walnut Shortbread Cookies.

Stacks of Christmas tins filled with goodies.

Stacks of Christmas tins filled with goodies.

I started a quick, sparkly Christmas Gift for a very young friend – Kianna is five and loves sparkly!

Kianna's Solstice Mittens.

Kianna’s Solstice Mittens.

I will have to knit fast – these need to be done for Tuesday evening!  The pattern is my Beaded Pulse Warmer pattern.  They are based on Nordic pulse warmers.

We finished yesterday with a wonderful evening with friends.  There is nothing better than time spent with friends, a quiet evening of laughter and shared stories sets the tone for a wonderful Holiday Season.

I have a special thing for Pansy's.  They are my favorite flower.  Debbie saw this beautiful petit point and thought of me!

I have a special thing for Pansy’s. They are my favorite flower. Debbie saw this beautiful petit point and thought of me!

As a bonus my friend surprised me with a “just because” or “I saw it and thought of you” gift.  The best kind!

Today is still grey, but it is “tart” day; mince meat tarts, big and small; and butter tarts are made and ready for the next week of visitors and visiting.  It is starting to look and smell a lot like Christmas around here.

Rich Butter Tarts

In one medium size bowl mix, 1 cup demarra brown sugar, 1 cup golden raisins, and 1 cup chopped walnuts.

In a small bow lightly beat one egg and 2 Tbsp’s milk together, add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. and mix.

Melt 1/3 to 1/2 cup butter and add to mixture.  Line your tart tins with your favorite pastry ( I like a sweet butter pastry) and spoon butter tart mix into each tart.

Bake in a 375° for about 15 to 20 min or until lightly browned.

Todays tarts cooling off before going into storage!

Todays tarts cooling off before going into storage!

Do you have special celebrations and/or food that come out only at this time of year?  Or do you celebrate every day with goodies and memories?

This afternoon is reserved for some serious knitting on Kianna’s Solstice Fingerless Pulse warmers.

Happy Holidays

Lynette