Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Few Fall Favorites

 One of my favorite things about Fall is attending the historic homes tour in a nearby town.  Through the years we have had the chance to step inside many different homes that have been lovingly restored to their original beauty along with enjoying the history behind the house.  This year we even toured the former home of Elizabeth Dole's grandparents.
Unfortunately we were not allowed to take photos inside the homes, but I did take a few as we walked from house to house.
I thought this fall display was a warm welcome.
This house wasn't on the tour this year, although we did tour it in years past.
 Let me just zoom out so that you can see it better.

Pretty, isn't it.
That big wraparound porch looks like the ideal spot to enjoy the sights and sounds of an autumn afternoon.

As we waited in line to enter one of the houses, this caught my eye.
A pretty and interesting combination of colors and textures.

One of the houses sat on a corner lot.
The homeowner built this little house to resemble his own.

A cute little neighborhood lending library.
Have you ever seen this before?
I hadn't, but it sure seems like a neat idea.

 It just wouldn't seem like fall without a trip to the pumpkin patch.
This year it was even nicer to enjoy it with my favorite little pumpkin.

Of course these cooler days make the warmth of the kitchen even more appealing.  
I don't very often think to roast a whole chicken.
I'm glad I had that thought last night as it smelled so good as it baked and the meat just fell off the bones... just the way I like it.
Comfort food at it's best.

Susan Branch recently shared a recipe on her well-loved blog for a broccoli kale slaw.  The orange dressing and cranberries made it an ideal accompaniment to our roast chicken fall comfort food dinner.
Delicious and nutritious (as my mother often said :).

Just a few of my fall favorites here tonight.
There is one more that I can't really show you, although I'm sure you can conjure it up for yourselves... I just got up to let Peanut out and there it was... woodsmoke in the cool crisp air.  

Care to share any of your fall favorites?


Friday, October 17, 2014

A Patriotic Garden Palette

As I pulled into the driveway this afternoon I couldn't help but notice a patriotic little combo residing in my garden.

 Red Pentas

 The penta flowers are one of the greatest annuals for our southern climate.  They need zero care.  I've done nothing to them since I planted them last spring and they have filled in and grown super tall.  They were a source of constant color with no deadheading required.  As an extra bonus they attract hummingbirds and butterflies.
Three cheers for pentas !!!

White Camellias

The beautiful camellia sasanquas are a fall blooming plant.
Soon enough the garden flowers will be lost to frost.  Boo Hoo!
That thought makes the camellias even more welcome and appreciated.

  Heavenly Blue Morning Glory

It seems a year doesn't go by where I don't have to sneak one of these into a post.  What can I say.... love that gorgeous shade of blue.  In fact, it reminds me of...

Wasn't it nice of that jet to fly by as I pointed my camera at the blue sky?
We're in for a picture perfect weekend here.
Hoping for a lot of outside time and time to do some blog hopping.
I've fallen way behind in that department and I need to see what you've all been up to.

In the meantime, I wish you blue skies and happiness this weekend.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Look Who's Coming to Lunch

 We are officially working from home now and I have decided that it does have some definite perks... like enjoying lunch on the patio.
On this lovely autumn afternoon, we did just that and just as I was about to bite into my BLT, Brett said "look who's coming to join us."

 While we do enjoy a nice variety of birds in our backyard, I can't say we've ever watched one quite this tall before.

 He seemed completely unfazed by us and continued to mosey on over as if we'd invited him to lunch.

 As we watched him gazing into the pond, we had an instant light bulb moment.  The mystery of the disappearing goldfish had just been solved.
A while ago Brett added twelve goldfish to the pond.
We had read that it was best to not feed them as this would make them an easier target for prey if they spent a lot of time near the top of the water waiting for food.  So, we have not fed them.  Each day when we would go out to check on them we would do a head count.  At last count there were only 8.  We didn't think they were being preyed upon as we never saw any evidence.
We wondered if, perhaps, they were just hiding.
Looks like we will have to wonder no more.
Once we realized that this large bird really was coming for lunch, we started yelling and clapping to scare him away.

He wasn't too scared by our noise, but did spread his wings and make a half-hearted attempt to fly away.
Once we went back to eating he started moseying back over.
It was clearly time for the next line of defense.

 She may be small, but her yapping goes a long way.
We opened the door and let her have a shot at scaring Wilt the Stilt away.

She scared him right up to the highest peak of the house where he, no doubt, remained until we finished lunch and went back to work.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Few Fall Touches

 In the midst of my fall decorating, it seemed necessary to capture a picture of those shadows on my coffee table.  Very briefly the sun peeked out and cast her lovely rays across the room. Our sunshine has been in scarce supply since the autumn season began.

My favorite method for changing the decor up for the seasons...
Soft Hits station playing on the satellite TV.  Gotta love those oldies that I can sing along to.  Rest assured the windows and doors are closed so nobody other than Peanut is privvy to the concert.
You can see how Peanut is tolerating it as she is passed out on the chair.  Poor dog!

The decor doesn't change much from year to year, but it always seems to includes books, birds...

squirrels and vintage pottery.
 I've been editing my decor keeping just enough to celebrate the seasonal shifts.  The thoughts of carting bins in and out of the attic is becoming less and less enticing as the years go by.

On occasion the books come decorated for fall as is the case with this old copy of Heidi.
Now that I like ~ dual purpose decorating.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Time to Cozy Up in the Kitchen

In two more days the calendar will confirm the official start of the autumn season.
That first nip of cooler air always turns my thoughts to cozy kitchen time.
After the heat of the summer, it feels good to turn the oven on once again and spend the day cooking and baking as the wind whips and the leaves whirl outside.

Now is a good time to put some thought into which cooler season recipes are worth re-visiting or which new recipes will be tried for the first time.
Maybe a nice moist apple sheet cake or perhaps a pan of brownies.
Decisions, delicious decisions :-).

When it comes to cookie baking, the choices seem endless.
Ginger Snaps and Snickerdoodles offer that touch of autumn spiciness that I find so appealing right about now.  Oatmeal raisin just plain seems like something direct from grandma's warm and loving kitchen and chocolate chip... in my book you can never go wrong with chocolate chip cookies.  Which brings to mind a very dear blog friend who bakes them at the drop of a hat to share with friends and neighbors and even her dentist.

 Despite my love for fall baking, I try to limit my sweet intake more these days.
Maybe one day I'll whip up an angel food cake and top it with some fruit.

Of course the cozy fall kitchen doesn't just mean baking.
It's also fun and appealing to create delicious, tummy warming meals on the stove top.  I'm looking forward to soups and stews and chili again.

In the midst of all the creating in the kitchen it's important to pause now and then for a restoring break.  A warm cup of tea works well.  One of my favorite teas for this time of year is Constant Comment.  How about you, do you have a favorite fall time tea?

As the autumn season moves along it will be more important than ever to take those restorative breaks because... ahem... I think we all know that turkey time will be here before we know it.


This year I received an unexpected surprise in the mail that has made me more excited than ever for my fall baking and cooking.
That dear blog friend I mentioned earlier sent me every one of the baking pans you see featured above.
She even sent that darling tea pot which was something I had once seen in an antique shop and reluctantly passed up.  I had kind of regretted that decision ever since.
  Each time I look at these sweet treasures from the past, I will be reminded of the kindness of Karen.  I've been reading her blog, Life Is Good ever since I started blogging.  She inspires me every day to get outside and walk more, to treat others with kindness and most of all to look for the good and happy things in life.  If you've never visited Karen's blog, I invite you to do so.  

Thank you, Karen for adding a heaping helping of sweetness to my kitchen!!

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Fruit Flies Have Met Their Demise

 For the past week we've been noticing fruit flies in the kitchen.
They seem to multiply by the hour.
Last night I stumbled upon a home remedy for this problem on the internet.
I figured I had nothing to lose by trying it, so I poured the ingredients into a glass, set it on the counter and went to bed.

 The ingredient list was simple:
  • Fill a glass 1/3 full with apple cider vinegar.
  • Add 2-3 drops of Dawn dish detergent. 

In the morning I was pleasantly surprised to see that this simple idea was a success.

 Just thought I'd share in case you, too, are facing the fruit fly battle.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Gifts from Nature

 My little collection of bird's eggs were scattered here and there.  Some tucked into drawers, some inside flower pots, a few were in a vintage birdie nest that I was putting away for the season.
Through the years I have found them on the ground or left behind in the nest boxes.  All but one are empty which makes them very fragile. 
Today I decided to find a better home for them.
Somewhere that I could appreciate their beauty and they would be safe from being broken.

This wee cloche seemed like just what I had in mind.
 It occurs to me that some people might not get the whole bird egg collecting thing.
So, as long as I'm admitting to that, I'll also admit to finding a little bird feather collection in one of my drawers.  Only four of them and they are all blue.  I considered tossing them, but decided to add them to my vignette instead.

I guess it's no secret that I am a bit of a bird lover :-).
I also like to incorporate a few touches of nature into the decor.
Pretty and the price can't be beat.