imbolc is february 2nd. yeah, groundhog day. but since it's a little silly to me to celebrate a completely idiotic superstition, mama decided that imbolc, being a time of transitioning out of winter and preparing for spring's arrival, would make an ideal time to transition the wintry bough from inside decoration back to its natural place--outside in nature.
(see a post from last year for an explanation about what the hell i'm talking about.)
the only pathetic image of this year's wintry bough. apparently the only thing hanging on it here is the packaging from the new crock pot we got, aka khary's "wreath." trust me, it looked better than this before we were finished.
last year's bough was much more pleasing to the eye, no?:
the pinecones, from which we would make bird feeders and transform our wintry bough into a gift for nature:
we gathered these pinecones on an unusually warm january day at franklin park in prairie village. then we had to take them home and dry them in the over for an our or two to get them to open up. (the smell was HEAVENLY!)
khary preferred to use his hands to spread the shortening on the pine cones. to his credit, he got about 5 finished before being bored to tears and quitting. mama did the rest. you can see the big ole baking sheet full of birdseed, in which we rolled the shortening-covered cones.
khary was meticulous about pinecone placement, as well.
the boys decided to ride bikes and khalil apparently chose to start training for soccer. (this is the first time he's chosen to kick the ball around on his own & was enthralled for a full 10 minutes!)
and finally, the transformed wintry bough, now serving birdseed pinecones to the neighborhood birds (and squirrels).
we've enjoyed watching the birds and squirrels get their fill over the past month. it was a heck of a month for cold weather, so i think it was greatly appreciated.
it was also fun as a ceremony. we take a nature hike and gather the bough, then take it inside and decorate it to warm our cold, stark winter. then we play outdoors and gather pinecones to make birdfeeders, then use them to adorn the bough when we give it back to nature. the remnants of the branch sit with other sticks and branches next to our compost pile, by the way. they will likely help me in labeling garden rows in a few weeks, or staking the plants later in the spring. or be made into impromptu swords.