“…while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.” The famous sugar plums spoken about in Clement Clark Moore’s beloved poem, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas were actually sugar-coated coriander. Later the recipe changed and came to include other spices and dried fruit. Chris of Alice & Chris fame sent us a quartet of these sugar plums, along with the recipe. I followed this recipe and made my own batch of sugar plums. They were really easy to make. We’ll bring these confections to share at Smokin’ Joe’s annual Christmas cookie party, where guests bring a plate to share. Everyone also decorates cookies and then at the end of the night, we will all load up our plates with the party’s bounty. I am also looking forward with seeing many of my friends and former colleagues again. This year will be the 30th rendition of this party.
Look up! The heavens above us are amazing. This year has been especially good for sky photography. I finally was able to take a presentable photograph of the milky way. I got to see the northern lights again and I saw my second total solar eclipse. I saw plenty of sunrises and sunsets, plus a few rainbows in-between and don’t forget about the clouds, especially the big fluffy white ones. As I said, there were plenty of amazing sights above us this year.
After I dropped Anne off at school this morning, I drove up to the Riverlands. I got there not too long after dawn. The Mississippi was high, but wasn’t in flood. This seemed strange, since we have been experiencing red flag warning for the last couple of days. These warnings result from a combination of dry tinder, low humidity and high winds, similar conditions to those in California, except for no spark yet. I didn’t see any ice on the river, but the inland sloughs were halfway covered. There was a myriad of swans, geese and other water fowl on these waters. The Trumpeter swans roost overnight on these sloughs, but come dawn they fly off to the surrounding cornfields, in search of fodder. Most of the trails in the Riverlands are closed to the public at this time of the year, giving winter migratory birds plenty of sanctuary, but you can still see plenty from the road.