Tag Archives: snow

Loving Winter’s Chill – The Best Bits of Winter

Winter is the season of warmth and chill –
the warmth of sharing and loving and the chill of blizzards.

loving-winters-chill-the-best-bits-of-winter-the-last-krystallos

Night Sky and Scented Candles…
I love it when the clocks go back… Night draws in and the stars twinkle with winter diamonds, and this winter Venus has sparkled like a gem in the sky. Inside, I burn scented candles: Cherry Vanilla, Chocolate, Berry Trifle, Honey Clementine, and the sweet aroma of Macaroon, Apple Strudel, and Snowflake Cookie waft down the stairs from my daughters’ rooms…

night-sky-and-scented-candles-the-best-bits-of-winter-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Frosted Leaves and Winter Trees…
I adore the bling that Jack Frost brings, sifting icing sugar across nature.
Leaves fall from trees, leaving them bare, and swathe the ground in glittered jewels.
Moss, the emerald survivor of the season, carpets the forest floor
and adorns the naked trees, clothing them in winter beauty.

frosted-leaves-and-winter-trees-the-best-bits-of-winter-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Warm Boots, Hats, Gloves, Scarves, and Cosy Blankets…
Don your best boots, wrap a cosy scarf about your neck, pull on a hat, and slip your hands into fleecy gloves – and you’re all set to wander out in the winter wonderland. If that doesn’t entice you, then snuggle down beneath a warm blanket and enjoy the central heating!

winter-boots-hats-gloves-scarves-and-soft-cosy-blankets-the-best-bits-of-winter-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Woodland Walks and Winter Landscapes…
The skies are a mixture of clear and frosty, rainy and dull, and rolling mist and fog,
enjoy those late sunrises and early sunsets and warm up with a walk.

woodland-walks-and-winter-landscapes-the-best-bits-of-winter-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Hot Chocolate and Winter Baking…
Baking takes centre stage with Christmas on the cards
from cookies, cakes, and pastries to hearty soups and winter cuisine.
Enjoy homemade fayre and settle with a steaming mug of creamy hot chocolate…

hot-chocolate-and-winter-baking-the-best-bits-of-winter-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Winter Flowers…
Delicate fairy-bell snowdrops peep through the snow or push through the soil to bring
new growth to the dormant season, accompanied by the beauty of hellebores.
Let winter flowers bring colour and hope.

winter-flowers-the-best-bits-of-winter-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Ruby Red Berries…
Like flowers, red berries, often associated with Christmas, shine bright like rubies, especially against the frost and snow, and they’re great sustenance for birds coping with the cold.

ruby-red-berries-the-best-bits-of-winter-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Christmas Joys…
My favourite holiday season is Christmas; it’s filled with so much joy and so much meaning. There are a multitude of celebrations during winter, all wrapped in lights, warmth, and love.
I love the Christmas cake, decorations, gifts, giving, food, and family time –
a time for peace and goodwill to all…

christmas-joys-the-best-bits-of-winter-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

All That Glitters…
Glitter everywhere – frost, snow, jewellery, stars, Christmas decorations, lights.
December glistens with Christmas sparkle,
and the rest of winter embraces the shimmer of nature
and the crackle of fire in the hearth.

all-that-glitters-the-best-bits-of-winter-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

A Crystalline Carpet of Snow…
When it snows I hurry to my window to watch the fluffy white stuff then rush outside to let it fall around me! That moment when you wake up and look outside and see a blanket of snow sparkling in the early morning sun is pure magic.

winter-snow-the-best-bits-of-winter-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

How is your Winter and what do you love about it most?

loving-winters-chill-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Check out The Best Bits of Autumn

Ten Winter Wonders of Nature

Jack Frost creates a winter wonderland as the temperature drops,
and nature still has a few gems up her sleeve as you don a scarf and hat…

Ten Winter Wonders of Nature | The Last Krystallos

This year hasn’t given us as much frost and lacy webs as I’d have liked;
it’s been a warm and rainy winter so far, but there’s still magic…

holly and ivy, the holly and the ivy, Ten Winter Wonders of Nature, the last krystallos,

© Lisa Shambrook

Holly and Ivy: two of the most iconic plants of winter and abundant at Christmas. Immortalised in song and gracing many, especially Victorian, Christmas cards.
Holly, with its red berries, is often pictured with robins, though an interesting fact shows it is rather the mistle thrush that is known for vigorously guarding the berries of holly in winter, to prevent other birds from eating them.  The tree was seen as a fertility symbol and a charm against witches, goblins and the devil. It was also thought to be unlucky to cut down a holly tree.
Ivy is a popular groundcover plant and found throughout woods and forests, climbing trees and weaving through the undergrowth.

daffodils, ten winter wonders of nature, the last krystallos,

© Lisa Shambrook

Early daffodils and Narcissi (Narcissus): This year, with the warmth and rain, daffodils are flowering early. Generally small narcissi flower first, heralding spring and paving the way for the daffodils and their huge trumpets of colour, but this year in February they’re already throwing out their glorious golden trumpets to brighten the gloomy days.

frost evergreens, ten winter wonders of nature, the last krystallos,

Frosted EvergreensNothing delights me more in winter than gazing at the garden decorated in icing sugar frost. Spider webs are encrusted with diamonds and sugar strands and glitter as the sun dances. Leaves and trees are dipped in ice and create a true winter wonderland. And last year’s Christmas tree grows a few more inches!

cyclamen, ten winter wonders of nature, the last krystallos,

© Lisa Shambrook

Cyclamen: I’ve tried growing these as houseplants, but I’m not good at keeping plants alive indoors… I struggle a bit with cyclamen outside too, I don’t think they like my damp, clay soil! Still, I persevere every year because they’re so delicate and pretty with their bright red or pink, pastel pink, or white blooms and dark, heart-shaped leaves… One day I’d love a patch of naturalised cyclamen coum to cheer up winter.

hellebore, ten winter wonders of nature, the last krystallos,

Hellebore: also known as the Christmas or Lenten Rose, are stunning additions in any winter garden. They grow into large clumps and can be divided or you can plant the little babies that grow from seed around the parent plant. I love their simplicity and beauty as they grace the garden with slightly drooping heads that, when lifted, often show a freckled face. I love the pinks, deep reds, and almost black flowers, but I particularly love the pure white with a lime green hint staining their petals.

Viburnum Bodnantense Dawn, ten winter wonders of nature, the last krystallos,

© Lisa Shambrook

Viburnum Bodnantense Dawn: This is a favourite of mine as it flowers in clumps of pink blossom on bare, dark stems as winter progresses into spring. Strangely the leaves have a pungent smell which I rather dislike when touched, but the flowers have the most divine heady fragrance which makes up for the leaves.

moss and lichen, ten winter wonders of nature, the last krystallos,

© Lisa Shambrook

Moss and Lichen: on bare branches and stone. When the season becomes sparse, and flowers are hard to find, if you look closer you can delight in the intricacies of lichen and moss. Grab a magnifying glass and search out the smaller pleasures of nature. There are numerous varieties of both; in the UK there are over 1,700 species of lichen and over 18,000 species worldwide. I love the curl and sage colour of common lichen found on trees and enhanced in winter on bare branches. Moss delights me, I cannot resist brushing my hand across a carpet of peridot moss, and they offer me my favourite colour! Rainy Wales and our woodlands are the most amazing places for moss. (I love moss so much I may well do a separate post in the future for it!)

bronze fennel, frosted fennel, fennel seedhead, ten winter wonders of nature,the last krystallos,

© Lisa Shambrook

Fennel: I grow bronze fennel in my garden for the haze of purple it gives me in the summer. It grows tall and feathery, and then gives long stems and stunning seedheads in winter. When Jack Frost visits he always decorates the seedheads, creating even more works of art in my winter garden.

red berries, cotoneaster, ten winter wonders of nature,the last krystallos,

Red Berries Cotoneaster: Cotoneaster comes in many varieties, from trees to shrubs and ground-cover. Red berries are the epitome of winter and every garden should have some!

snowdrop, ten winter wonders of nature, the last krystallos,

© Lisa Shambrook

Snowdrop (Galanthus): I’ve said it before, I adore the tiny British Snowdrop, I look forward to its little nodding head and vibrant green marks. It’s a sign that winter is beginning to draw to a close. It generally flowers before the vernal equinox marking the arrival of spring in the middle of March, but can flower from midwinter on. One of the most beautiful winter sights to me is a patch of snowdrops peeping through a fresh coating of snow…offering new growth and hope.

What are your favourite winter flowers?

What inspires you to wander winter’s woodlands and
what flora do you search out as Jack Frost bites?

Visual Dare: Precocious Spirit

Mists swirled and danced, and Qilaq kept moving despite the sugared ice flurries that numbed her nose. The road was long and she tightened her fingers around the wagon’s rope. Her arms burned, but her snowy white llama sat as still as could be. She moved steadfastly on, followed, as always, by her faithful animals.

A hawk swept by, disturbing the roiling mists, crying as it circled, “Keee-arr, keee-arr…follow, follow…”

Qilaq glanced up and grinned.

A tear slipped down her cheek, turning crystalline, and for a moment she paused. Her heart ached – especially where the bear’s claws had torn through so many layers – and sorrow filled her, but her journey was almost finished. The next life was within sight and as her spirit-guide, her beloved hawk, soared through the narrow mountain pass, Qilaq quickened her pace, heading for the light that beckoned her. Heading for Spring as her Winter passed.

(150 words)

00. VisDare Badge

 

I loved this picture as soon as I saw it and wanted to write…take a look at the other few tales over at Anonymous Legacy and Visual Dare.

AMMC: Winter Hope

This is for AMMC a Christmas Anthology set up by Laura, Missy and Nick.

Winter Hope © Lisa Shambrook

Genre: Fantasy
Author: Lisa Shambrook
eBook: Yes
Dedication: With love to my family who humour my excitement at Christmas!
Winter Hope

Gossamer threads hung, decorated with frozen diamonds, and beneath the lacy webs Winter rested her head on the stony floor. Swirls of vapour rose from her nostrils and tiny blue flames licked across her tongue. She sighed.

An amber glow suffused the sky with light, banishing the indigo skyline over the horizon, and the vista smouldered beneath an ethereal haze. Snow clothed the valleys, and ice clung to every rock and ridge. Icing-sugared trees blended the woods together, evergreens bathed in a blanket of white and leafless trees stood dipped in sherbet. A cotton-wool carpet covered the grass before the cave and red berries shone like rubies peeping through earth’s crystal mantle. Lakes shone like glass, and early-rising village folk danced across the sheets of ice.

Winter yawned, and those below who glanced up at the ridge watched billowing mist spiral down the precipice, collecting in pockets of cloud across the valley. Those early morning folk pulled their woolly hats down over their pink-tipped ears and shivered.

As dawn spread her fingers of light across the horizon, Winter smiled to herself. She recalled her preceding season’s hibernation, and the delight of the valley people as she’d arrived one late November day, bringing swathes of white and an energising, but bitter, wind. They’d hurried out of their houses, clothed in colours so bright, and the wondrous noise of joy had risen high into the echoing mountains. As she’d twirled and soared, she’d conjured blizzards, and flurries, and danced all day long. That night she’d flown across the inky sky frosting the skeletal forests and sifting snow atop everything in sight.

Now the dragon kept watch, and waited.

As the sun rose, she basked in its warmth then she stood and stretched. Her scales clattered as she shook herself and glitter showered the mountain, the breeze catching and swirling it across the hills and vales. Impatience flicked her tail and she shook out her wings. Huge wings, overlaid with intricate and elaborate frosted filigree, fanned and fluttered. Winter lifted her head, gazed across the land, and memories of solstice, the recent longest night, made her heart leap and a deep pink blush rippled across her body. Her smile grew and anticipation tingled. Just one more night and he’d be home.

She waited.

Dusk fell and the sky turned as red as the holly berries before dipping behind the mountain range. Winter could barely contain her excitement, and she launched away from the cliff, floating across the sapphire sky. The dragon blew gently, clearing the clouds, leaving the sky full only of glittering stars. She glided silently past each house; her own smoke mingling with the spiralling plumes from chimneys everywhere. She watched children hang stockings on their bedposts or on the mantelpiece. She smiled at last minute gift wrapping, and inhaled the delicious fragrance of wood smoke, mulled wine and cinnamon. She drifted across the night breathing out fresh flurries of snow, and painting windows with the most delicate lattice curls of ice.

Stars glimmered as she retired back to her cave, and just once she thought she heard bells tinkling, but maybe it was the frost on her scales.

It was early, not even dawn had stirred, when bells did indeed chime and Winter woke. She snorted and her scales quivered as she moved swiftly from her bed of oak leaves to the mouth of her grotto. There on the snowy ridge, stood several reindeer, antlers draped with moss and holly, and Winter’s heart leaped.

The dragon danced in the snow and the reindeer eyed her warily. More reindeer wandered, moving off into the forest, and from the woods came a deep chuckle. Winter moved forward, her heart pounding within her chest and a man stepped out of the trees.

Father Winter stood before her in one of his many guises, and she spread her wings whipping up a blizzard. The tempest flew about the stout man, snowflakes settled on his face and in his beard, coating his figure and turning him momentarily into a snowman.

Spirals of star-studded smoke wreathed the snow laden figure, and his reindeer took off into the sky. Smoke and fire fizzed and crackled, and Winter’s own ice blue flames sparked amid her roiling, swirling snowflakes. The smoky column intensified and coiled up into the sky and then in an explosion of snow and ice, and fireworks, a crimson dragon burst forth from the smoke.

His scales gleamed and his wings shuddered as he stepped forward and extended his flared nostrils to Winter, his mate.

Now free from Yuletide obligation, Father Winter returned to his favourite form. His eyes roamed across Winter, his breath caught and smoke eddied as he exhaled. As dawn whispered and church bells rang down in the valley, two dragons with wings the colours of mistletoe and holly berries, rose into the sky and the season of goodwill began.

(817 Words)

Read Spring’s and Autumn’s tales: Spring Symphony and Autumn Flame.

12 Days of Christmas: Snow

This is written for the 12 Days Of Christmas Blog Hop with Rowanwolf over at A Jar of Fireflies. The theme is Gifts and each of the twelve days represents a month: January – Snow:

Photograph by Lisa Shambrook (Please do not use without permission)
Snow
As the snow fell, swirling and eddying, Cerys danced around her parents. She pirouetted and twirled, and leaped and flew around the garden, circling her mum and dad. 
The snow slipped through her fingers, its glitter coating everything else it touched, and she tilted her head, raising her face to the blizzard, trying to absorb the flakes that fell. 
Mum and dad stood oblivious to anything but themselves, their arms wrapped tightly around each other. Nothing Cerys did caught their attention, so she became wilder, twirling like a tornado, her arms outstretched, and flurries of snow spinning around her like a cyclone. 
Still nothing impacted her parents.
They stood in silence, her mother’s head resting upon her husband’s shoulder. Her eyes were closed and her nose was red, and the grey tracks of mascara upon her cheeks now tainted his cream fleece.  His eyes were as red as her nose and his arms ached as he held his wife as close as he could, and they stood amid the squall oblivious to their daughter’s efforts.  
Cerys danced and frolicked in the snowfall, and dressed in white, decorated with a million tiny, silver snowflakes, and fur-lined, white boots, she was a sight they could not behold.
She moved as gracefully and as invisible as the wind, but she was there, dancing her heart out…
Their grief and loss blinded them, but she danced still…she danced and danced until her mother’s freezing breath finally gasped, as tiny childlike footprints emerged in the snow. Footprints that danced and danced, and then were gone…
(260 words)

Visual Dare: Disobey

Anonymous Legacy’s Visual Dare #32

Disobey
It was her self-assured smile that caught me… 
No one had ever caught more than a glimpse before, let alone actually snare me. 
I, the elusive ghost of the night, the wild and dark spirit that troubled those who thought they saw me, those whose fear kept them trapped by their own limits.
It was a small girl, with power unseen and an indomitable belief in her dreams that tamed me.
She ignored every warning and waited in the snow, and when I was more than a shadow she smiled, and when winter’s icing sugar snow revealed me, I followed…
(100 Words)

Christmas Snow…


Snow at Christmas…hasn’t happened for years here in West Wales, but this year we got to enjoy my favourite holiday season with lots of the white stuff!
Roxy loved it, racing and ploughing through it and skating on the ice…
This is the best time of the year!
I love spending time with my family, enjoying the extended holidays from school (last Christmas the children had two extra weeks off school due to snow and this year a good selection of days across December due to early snow!), decorating the tree, the baking…and the giving.
This year we made a big Christmas pudding and four small ones, the mini ones were delivered to our neighbours and some of our favourite people on Christmas Eve.
Vince has two weeks off work and I love the uninterrupted bliss as a family…late nights and late mornings, Christmas films, snowy walks, chocolates and the appreciation of Christmas gifts.
This year the boys went tech mad, X-Box 360 for Dan and a much longed for ipad for Vince…we wouldn’t see alot of them over the next few days! Us girls went a bit Pandora mad…the beads are pretty addictive, and very expensive if you go the official route! So we cheated and went the fairly inexpensive ebay route! Got the most beautiful beads to make up our own, very individual bracelets and necklaces… We were all very happy with our Christmas gifts!
So, now here we are…enjoying an excess of chocolates, roast dinners, lovely desserts…(namely roulades, profiteroles, cheesecakes and trifles), pretty decorations and time together…which is, after all, the most important thing to do during this magical season…

‘And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger…’ (Luke 2:7)