Terri Farley
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December 1

The holidays are my absolute favorite time of year. And not just because of the presents (although those are okay, too), but because I just love the winter. Everything about this time of year makes me happy.

Winter in Nevada is the most beautiful sight. I wait the rest of the brown year to see the hills covered in white, and Blaze's paw prints in the powdery snow. I love seeing the horses snort plumes of steam like they're dragons. I like it that Cougar cuddles under my quilt at night, purring. I even like bundling up in long underwear, two sweaters, a coat, gloves and the scarf that Gram knitted me. After my usual chores -- okay, to be honest it's no fun breaking the ice on the watering troughs, but at least the horses don't get icy lips! -- nothing's better than starting the afternoon off with a good snowball fight with Jake if he's around. I usually get the last hit before we go inside for soup that Gram makes in huge batches, and grilled cheese sandwiches. And cookies fresh from the oven. Oh, yum.

Gram's been teaching me how to needlepoint. I made Dad an ornament for the tree and if I do say so myself, it looks a lot like Blue Wings, his favorite horse. Now Gram wants to teach me to knit. I insisted one sewing skill was enough, but she didn't agree. Still, she included Brynna in the "class" and that makes it a little better because Brynna's even worse with a needle than I am. She's knitting something for Dad. I'm not sure even she knows what it is! By the time Christmas rolls around, I'll have a hot pink and tangerine scarf for Jen, and an extra large one for Ace to wear around the barn. Not really. Tempest would eat it and no way do I have the patience to stick with knitting something huge. In fact, I bet Jen would be a lot more excited if I photographed Silly and had the picture made into a poster for her wall, instead! I wonder how much that would cost.

Aunt Sue is coming for Christmas and I figure she'll be better prepared for the snow this time! It's not like San Francisco has the most pleasant weather year-round, but their winters are nothing like ours. She's promised to bring me loads of books (and smuggle me a little junk food). I can't wait!

The best thing of all will be Christmas Eve. I don't really believe the animals talk on the night before Christmas, but they look like they're about to, when I close the barn door that night. And, I've heard rustling in the rafters overhead, and when I looked up, there wasn't a single nesting dove or pigeon. I didn't see an angel, either, but I got the strongest, warmest feeling of a real Merry Christmas!