December 20, 2022

A Cycle of Bountiful Beauty

January 2022 sunset

Seasons in the New York Finger Lakes go from frigid cold in mid winter to blistering hot in summer, but each month brings gifts of beauty.


January 2022 sunset
February 2022 (Willow and Disco)









I was thrilled to spot the first bluebirds in March and see my son David at his home in April.

April 2022 with my son David
March 2022 when the bluebirds return









In May, the spring ephemerals bloom in the forest. In June, the bluebirds lay a second clutch of eggs.

May 2022, trout lilies in the forest
June 2022, bluebird eggs









In July and August, butterflies join me in the flower garden and Monarch butterfly nursery.

July 2022, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
August 2022, Monarch enjoying Zinnia nectar









In September and October, the nectar sippers fuel up on food for the winter or for a long migration

September 2022, Bees enjoying Coneflowers
October 2022, Monarchs on a cool morning









November was mild, but in December, we cycled back to snow and cold. I look forward to longer days and a peaceful world in 2023.

November 2022, my son Anthony planting daffodils
December 2022, a Snow Angel in the forest









Wishing you a Joyful Holiday and Bountiful New Year with love and prayers for our struggling world. 



  1. December 23, 2022 at 11:02 am

    susan scott


    Just beautiful Elaine thank you! A blessed Christmas and new year – how wonderful to be spending it with your sons. Your light lengthens, here down south it lessens. May there be an increase of Peace in 2023.

    1. December 24, 2022 at 9:38 am

      Elaine Mansfield


      “Baby, it’s cold outside,” but it will be warmer in a few days. I’m grateful my sons have been here and we could celebrate Solstice together. We skipped our usual winter hikes, but we cooked together and ate well. I hope your holidays were spent with family and everyone is taking good care of you.
      I pray and hope for peace. May we humans see that we have to get along to save ourselves and the earth. Sending love to you on the warm side of the earth.

  2. December 23, 2022 at 10:24 am

    Aladin Fazel


    Dear Elaine, what a tremendous and beautiful calendar view of the almost passing year. I am thrilled to see you have enjoyed it, and thank you so much for sharing it with us. I wish you, among your beloved ones, a leisurely and peaceful season. By the way, I have heard that in the US, a horribly cold winter is on marching; I hope it doesn’t come to your area. Please take care. Blessing.

    1. December 24, 2022 at 9:33 am

      Elaine Mansfield


      The weather is difficult now with 3 degrees F, windy, and windchill of 30 degrees below 0–about -35 Celcius. It’s too much even for the dogs who spend as much time near the woodstove and as little time outside as possible. My younger son was flying to join friends in Mexico today, but most flights are cancelled. It’s warm enough inside with all the heat sources going and some extra clothing. My son who lives a 10 hour drive from here (in the photo with a horse) has been here during this blast and he and his dogs add warmth to the house. My other son lives nearby and he’s here often with his partner. We’re all cooking, eating, loading logs in the woodstove and waiting for the weather to change. It should get warmer every day this week, and the ice will begin melting later in the week. I know I’m fortunate to have heat and food–and I don’t live in Ukraine or Iran.

  3. December 21, 2022 at 9:28 am

    Lynne Taetzsch



    I always enjoy your photographs and posts on Facebook–your engagement with nature is inspiring!

    All my best to you for the New Year!


    1. December 21, 2022 at 11:01 am

      Elaine Mansfield


      Thank you, Lynne. I’m grateful for the beauty that surrounds me, although I think the next few days will be a weather challenge of cold, wet, and wind. Blessed Solstice and Joyful New Year’s anyway. I’m grateful for my warm home and a small family gathering.

  4. December 20, 2022 at 9:26 pm

    Marian Beaman


    On a blog break now, but I must say I have enjoyed your photo review of the year!
    Blessings, dear Elaine.

    1. December 21, 2022 at 10:58 am

      Elaine Mansfield


      I’m honored you’d interupt your blog-break for me. Blessed Christmas and New Year’s, Marian.

  5. December 20, 2022 at 10:06 am

    Deborah Gregory


    Oh, your beautiful photos chart the months and seasons of 2022 so well! Thank you so much dear Elaine for sharing this cycle of beauty with us. Wishing you Winter Solstice blessings, a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year. Thank you so much my dear friend, my soror mystica, for the love, friendship and support you’ve gifted me this year.

    I hope your butterfly book is slowly and steadily progressing, Willow is fully recovered now from her recent illness and your log pile is stocked high for the winter. Hoping Christmas is a relaxing, restful and restorative time for you with plenty of good books and good laughs. Looking forward to catching up with you in the New Year. Love and light, Deborah.

    1. December 21, 2022 at 10:42 am

      Elaine Mansfield


      Thank you, Deborah. I love looking for beauty every day and this morning’s sunshine makes that easier. Tonight is Solstice, but since one son won’t arrive until tonight, we’ll create our Solstice ritual tomorrow. I have friends visiting New Year’s weekend, but other than that, my mind will be on butterflies and reviewing the latest draft for repeated or forgotten stories. Willow is showing her age. She doesn’t worry about the future, although I do.
      I wish you and Lin a blessed Solstice, Christmas, and New Years–with just the right amount of Bailey’s and not too much.

      1. December 21, 2022 at 11:44 am

        Deborah Gregory


        Enjoy your festive gatherings, family and friends alike. Oh, winter writing is the best, is it not! As for Baileys, my favourite tipple, lol, our glasses will be full! Thank you again my dear friend, for not only sharing these beautiful photos, but all the wonderful photos you share throughout the year, all 365 of them via Facebook. x

        1. December 22, 2022 at 9:45 am

          Elaine Mansfield


          We have a wild storm on the way, so this morning I gathered candles, flashlights with batteries, and buckets of water in case the power goes out. 10 degrees Farenheit and 50 mile an hour wind gusts without much snow. I can’t remember a colder forecast here so I’m grateful for my woodstove that doesn’t depend on electricity. The dogs are already snuggling by the hearth. Disco changed her allegiance to my son’s big dog Jade who puts up with Disco’s endless desire to relate and play. (Thank you, Jade.) Last night my son’s were drinking fancy beer here. It’s time to bake my pie crust while I still have power. Blessed Solstice and a Fat and Full Year on the way for you.

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