Christmas trees divide the masses - some say 'too soon', and then there are Christmas tragics like the Red Cardinals, who love to have the tree in full display for, Oh, around six weeks. At least.
This is the beauty of a faux tree.
After consultation with Little Aussie, the tree once again includes a display of woodland and other animals around the base, and on the lower branches.
He also wanted 'snow', so we are going with a white garland.
As ever, there are quite a few little red Cardinals on there too...
Adjacent to the tree I placed some snowy white orchids, a thank you from my friend M, who had a rather special birthday party recently..
And speaking of snow, there was a dump of about ten inches at my daugher's house in Ottawa, only four weeks after we were there enjoying the Fall...
Little Aussie wants to go visit.....
Our youngest grandson, formerly known as the Little Bebe, is now seven, and has original ideas on ergonomics...
The youthful Jacaranda has increased its percentage of blooms this year, the third year of flowering. We long for it to get to the stage of spreading its wings in one big purple embrace. Might be a while yet..
Now for some serious news.
This is the view from our deck, the one which is usually verdant and green. That is smoke, and it surrounds us from every direction.
Trees and plants are dying, as we face the earliest bush-fire season ever.
It is not officially the beginning of Summer until December 1st.
The Winter was mostly mild, just a few cold snaps, and very little rain all year.
Australia has been suffering dozens of fires, with some loss of life and homes, for several weeks, with no end in sight.
This is the map today:
We get the odd day of lower temps and cooling winds, then whoosh, up go the temperatures and the hot winds fan the flames. There is no prospect of rain any time soon.
I have watched smoke on the next hill again today. We are not in immediate danger but there are acreage housing areas surrounding us, all tinder dry. We all pray for rain, and that no idle spark sets off fires in our valley.
Our thoughts go out to the brave firefighters, facing incredible walls of flame.
The loss of wildlife including our beloved koalas is catastrophic.
On what must have been a difficult day for them,
Happy Anniversary to Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip.
Seventy-two years together! Well done, Ma'am and Sir..
Also a special salute to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, here with husband Prince Charles in New Zealand.
That is a very smart navy jumpsuit - and I for one, am very impressed.
Why not follow the fashion?
Well played, Camilla.