Nights have been clear and frosty, here, with temps hovering around 30 at night. Not cold, but certainly chilly. Going out in the morning shows a fascinating world of tiny ice crystals.

Freesia leaves

Lantana branch

Dead Sycamore leaf on grass

Fence rails

It's beautiful. I like when the sun hits the fence rails, and then they start to steam. I wonder how the tiny hummingbirds make it through the night, or any birds, really. How do they stay warm? But somehow they do it, because they start visiting the fountain very early. Today, I watched an Anna's Hummingbird feed from the Manzanita, then take a drink from the water feature.

You can see his pink throat, top left. He's just landing at the fountain.

I also watched the Lesser Goldfinches drink and bathe, and the Black-Capped Chickadees eat from the feeders.

Later, a whole flock of Titmice and Pygmy Nuthatches came by for the seed. They were too quick and shy for my fumbling photography skills.

But I was able to capture an industrious native bumble bee sipping from the Manzanita blossoms. This is a queen, just living on her own until spring, when she can make pollen loaves underground and lay one egg on each loaf.

I seem to have a lot of different kinds of Inky Cap mushrooms in my yard. This group came up in a moist, shady section, appearing to be dusted with powdered sugar.

The frost has killed many flowers, most of them non-natives.

I won't cut them back, even though they are ugly, until threat of frost is over - the more dead stuff I leave, the more protection the plants will have through further frost.

On the flip side, lots of plants are thriving:

Blueberry bush

Asian Braising Greens

Rainbow Chard


Red Russian Kale

Sugar Snap Peas





The colder temperatures feel right, and make being outside exhilarating. The views are clear and the sky is a beautiful blue, and all our December rain made the earth green.

Can you find the clump of mistletoe?

Now, we need more rain.