The brilliant colors of fall leaves have faded, dried up and been blown away by crisp November winds. There are enough pine trees in the area so that the hills and valleys remain green and pleasant. The kudzu which graced the landscape all summer has turned brown. Although it is a pesky weed, I enjoyed seeing hillsides and roadsides covered with kudzu's green, sturdy leaves. It will be back next spring, stronger than ever. Out back by the shed, the camellia bush is bursting with dark red buds and will be in full bloom by Christmas. Coming from New York, it amazes me to see flowers in bloom during cold weather. Yes, there are still purple chrysanthemums blooming along the driveway, and plants in the rock garden are doing well.

The hummingbirds have left and I think the robins did, too. We read an article that advises to keep the hummingbird feeder filled through the winter because some of them do stay. Tomorrow we will fill the hummingbird feeders and hang them up again. The cardinals live here all year long and there's a variety of chickadees, sparrows and finches. A couple of weeks ago, there was a woodpecker on a telephone pole across the road. He worked with such tenacity and vigor that you could see the wood chips flying as he pecked away. I'm very aware of birds down here. Did you know that robins love to splash in the birdbath but the cardinals never do? The cardinals only drink the water, they don't seem to bathe. This morning there was a large white cat balanced on the edge of the birdbath having a drink. I love to see the squirrels hanging from the birdfeeder, their chubby little knees wrapped around the pole trying not to slide down.

We didn't have much winter last year. I never needed a heavy coat or the kidskin gloves my husband gave me for Christmas. I have a feeling it will be colder this year, but there still won't be much, if any, snow. We had dustings last winter but nothing that touched the pavement. I hope we never have snow. The house is set high on an hill and it would be a treacherous walk down the driveway to the mailbox if snow fell.

We have already lit the gas fireplace a few mornings to take the chill out of the house, but by noon the temperature rises and it actually gets warm. It was about 70 today after a morning that started out in the 30s. It's funny to see how people are dressed outside, some in heavy jackets, some in shorts and shirtsleeves. I guess it's best to dress in layers that you can peel off as the temperature rises.

Fashion styles tell you what season we're in. After a summer of light clothing in various shades of the ubiquitous green color that has been so popular, the last two months saw women sporting gold, red, orange, brown and rust-colored clothing. This week there will be another change--all the reds and greens will appear along with Christmas pins, earrings and necklaces. The ladies of the south are on the ball. Even if you didn't have a calendar, you could tell what month we're in by looking at the women in town.

May treacherous storms pass you by this winter. May it be just cold enough to enjoy a pot of stew and a cup of hot chocolate, snuggled by a roaring fire, happy and content.

By Frannie (










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