Cool winter mornings seem to have the best colors, especially if there are some clouds around, and this Christmas morning sure was a pretty one!
It's hard to believe that this is our 5th Christmas in the RV already, but off course that first one was only a month after we started.
Just like last year, some of the 'Snowbird' ladies put together a Christmas Potluck. This year they took care of the decorating as well and as you can see they did a great job!
As usual, at these potlucks, there was food for an army and it was all very, very good!
Merlin has been such a good boy this year; only one 'Tree incident' so far!
He loves to snuggle up close to James in the evening, on one of the big throw-pillows, to watch TV.
And what were they watching? Off course, a Christmas classic (and Holiday tradition):
Since it's hard to get my hands on a traditional (Dutch/German) 'Kerststol' here in the States (in Holland you can buy them everywhere) I decided to bake one myself this year.
The Internet didn't disappoint in giving me thousands of recipes to choose from. The hardest thing was to pick the best one!
The actual making and baking turned out to be fairly easy also, and it came out looking just like the real thing! Even better ... it tasted just as great!
Just for fun, I also baked an apple-cranberry pie, another tradition, which was, as always, equally delicious!
Although there's no way it could possibly make up for all the food we ate, we went for several short hikes. 'To walk it off'. Yeah, right ....
Most of the desert vegetation is dormant at the moment and everything looks rather grey and washed out.
These Yuccas were a nice surprise, they were actually sending up some colorful flower stalks! In December?
And what about those Ocotillos! The cold nights have turned their tiny leaves a fiery red. When the morning (or evening) sun hits them just right, they practically glow!
Amazing how something so nasty and thorny can be quite pretty!
And besides that, they're just the right spot for the desert's 'Little Brown Birds', to perch on.
I think that's a Song Sparrow on the left and the pretty guy on the right is my good friend the Loggerhead Shrike.
I might have talked about the Shrike's nasty habit of impaling its prey on thorns or barbed wire before eating it, because it does not have the talons of the larger birds of prey, which has earned him the nickname 'butcher bird'.
I'd never seen any evidence of that firsthand though, until this week, when we came across this:
Yes, ... very enticing indeed! Yuck!
Another surprising encounter, on one of our early morning hikes, came in the form of this small group of Javelinas!
I was hoping to see some little ones, since December is the time for them to be born (here in the south), and as it happened, we were in luck:
I thought they would have a whole bunch of them, like pigs, but apparently they have only one or two at the time.
The more proof, I guess, that they're not pigs!
What a cutey!
Well, that will do it for today.
For some reason I just lost half of the text and had to re-type it 'all' (@#!$%&!) so I'm going to post this real quick! Forgive me for any typos!
Since I started with a sunrise, I'll close with a 'set'!