Some years, I’m imbued with Christmas Spirit. Other years I have to be dragged to the storage shed that holds the decorations. Why that is, I haven’t a clue. This year I got everything together early, humming and singing carols,  and enjoying the nostalgia of Christmases past. I invited the neighbors in for soup. Unfortunately, considerable wind damage up the hill prevented everyone from coming. The kiosk at Big Trees State Park was destroyed by a tree. Trees were blown onto several homes, others blocked driveways and the highway. Fires erupted and the winds fanned the flames. Power was out for 13 hours in some places and 26 hours in other places. Some still don’t have power. Yikes!

We sipped and nibbled. Karen, knowing I was tired of apples after my trees provided a bountiful harvest, brought me a gift.

The last apple on the tree. As you can see, it isn’t much bigger than a cashew nut.  It was a two-biter and I ate the darn thing while everyone laughed.

The Italian sausage soup was delicious and the decorations cheerful. Though missing several people, we enjoyed our time together.

I like to decorate several small trees that can be stored with their decorations intact. Our main tree is lit with candles on Christmas Eve.

The next day, with power restored,  I brought soup up to Quyles Kiln and we had lunch in the work room. Her showroom was dizzy with customers for about two hours before we got a chance to eat. While waiting, I crossed the driveway to Bryce Station Winery Tasting Room, and chatted with Pam’s sister Dolores, pouring their estate wines.

She, too, was busy, but had a small break.

I poked around the blacksmith shop and noticed two very young apprentices, a  girl and a boy.  Pam and Dolores’ father died several months ago and Eden, his first female blacksmith student, is now running the forge.

This is Eden with a young 12-year-old boy. Smithing is a fading craft, kept alive in little pockets like this one. It is basically a non-profit.

This couple told us stories of their exploits in Japan. They bought five Japanese sushi plates and a chopstick rest. Pam has that quality where her customers become instant friends.

Pam reminded me that I took video of her son’s first steps as a toddler. He is now 21 years old.  It is hard to believe we’ve been friends for so many years. While there, a guy from Copperopolis, Mark Viola, discovered the kiln and the printing presses that reside there. He was blown away that so much activity is close by and he had never seen it.  If you get a chance, Quyles Kilns  it is a great place to visit.


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