Winter solstice at Crow's Foot Farm.

Yesterday was Yule, or the winter solstice.  I love the winter solstice for many reasons.  It’s the first day of winter, and I truly love winter.  It’s a time of quiet reflection, when we spend more time inside our home because of the cold and blustery weather.  At least, that’s what the winter weather is like in this area of south central Pennsylvania. 

The darkness comes early, making the house feel cozy.  The aroma of hearty soups and stews, cooked to warm up our insides, brings back thoughts of my childhood.  The glow of the woodstove and many candles creates an ambiance that appeals to me.  Our home becomes a safe place where I find comfort and protection.

But the best part of the winter solstice is that, although it is the first day of winter, the daylight will now grow longer each day until the summer solstice on or about June 21st.  This is the concept of yin and yang. 

Yin [the dark] is characterized as slow, soft, yielding, diffuse, cold, wet, and passive; and is associated with water, earth, the moon, femininity, and nighttime.

Yang [the light] by contrast, is fast, hard, solid, focused, hot, dry, and aggressive; and is associated with fire, sky, the sun, masculinity and daytime.

So, for those of you who don’t love winter like I do, remember that the yang element of light is returning each day now.  Summer is coming!

I promised to take a photo of the small houses I have made over the years, which I set up with small trees to form a Christmas-y village on my kitchen counter top.  We also decorate a small tree, which is set into the top of a dry sink.  This is the perfect way to keep it out of reach of our three male dogs [!] and to protect the 100 year-old ornaments that have been passed down through my family.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and inside our cozy home filled with holiday decorations.

A small portion of the Christmas village.

A small portion of the Christmas village.

Our tree in its place of safety.  No dogs allowed!

Our tree in its place of safety.  No dogs allowed!

Many of these century-old ornaments are almost paint-less, but they are still precious to me.

Many of these century-old ornaments are almost paint-less, but they are still precious to me.

More old ornaments, but the pickle is a newbie.  Every tree needs a pickle!

More old ornaments, but the pickle is a newbie.  Every tree needs a pickle!

I've had this ceramic Santa since my childhood.  That definitely makes it an antique!

I've had this ceramic Santa since my childhood.  That definitely makes it an antique!