Sunday, October 31, 2010

Welcome to the Neighborhood

One of my favorite things about blog reading is the opportunity to see what life is like in your neighborhood.  Some of the places I read about I have visited, but most I have not.  Some are now on my list of "hope to visit someday" and others I'm sure I will never get to, but love to read about through your blogs.  Today I thought you might like a closer look at my little corner of the world. 
Would you like to join me on a walk through my neighborhood?  I thought we could leave through the back gate and use the walking trails today.

On a cool, crisp fall day the trail is the best place for a walk in my neighborhood.  It's fun to hear the leaves crunching underfoot as we take note of the foliage changing colors and watch the squirrels scamper up the trees and down the trees.  We'll see lots of pine cones on the ground as there are many, many pine trees in the woods along the trail.  It's such a nice day that we're bound to see a few of the neighbors out and about.  You're going to love them.  They're a great bunch of people :).

But, I must warn you that the trail gets a little spookier on Halloween.  I can assure you, however, that despite the appearance it really is a friendly neighborhood.

Well, okay ... the people are friendly, but the spiders are a bit on the big side.

I guess I should have told you that some of my neighbors are downright creepy. 
And, well, um, some of them do like to hang out in strange places.

Others are a bit ... how shall we say ... odd?

I hope my neighbors didn't scare you away.  They may look a bit questionable, but I assure you their bark is much worse than their bite.

From my neighborhood to yours we want to wish you a
Happy Halloween !!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Fall ~ Something to Smile About

While planting pansies this weekend . . .

I couldn't help but smile at the beauty of these little flowers. 

It felt good to get them all planted before the rain started this morning.  You can't beat a good rain to get your freshly planted flowers settled into their new homes.  I really want them to be happy because they make me happy with their sweet little faces.

Actually, we've been having such a nice fall that it's hard to not be happy.

The days have been perfect for porch sittin'. 
Rocking in the rocker watching the leaves fall while sipping a mug full of warm, spicy cider. :), =), :).

The Sugar Maple tree outside my kitchen window is starting to change.  It won't be long until we can sit at the table and look out at a sea of yellow and orange leaves. 

And speaking of the kitchen table, this old dough bowl filled with gourds, leaves and acorns from a backyard oak tree is making me smile too.  It's such a simple way to bring a little of the outdoors inside. 

My husband will be smiling at the breakfast table tomorrow when I serve him a pumpkin spice scone.  I must admit I partially bought these for the most adorable packaging.  But since he helped me plant all of those pansies, I think I'll roll up my sleeves and lovingly bake him some scones.

He'll never know that all I had to do was add some water and bake.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fondly Remembering 2 Special Moms

Today I am donning my pearls and apron in honor of a couple of special moms in my life.

I've taken out my mom's well loved cook book.  The cover is falling off and the pages are stained.  Notes are made in her neat handwriting and newspaper clippings, now yellowed, are taped to the insides.  It would have little value to anybody but me.  For me it brings back sweet and happy memories of my mom creating a warm and loving home for her family.  A home where the cookie jar was filled on Fridays.  Coming through the door after school the house was scented with the delicious aroma of freshly baked cookies.  Mom was there waiting to hear about our day at school.  Cookies and milk were waiting for us.  It was a simple time, but a time long remembered.  A time where a mother's kind gesture made children know, without a doubt, that they were loved.

One year ago today my mom passed away.  I thought it would be a good day to make her favorite cookies ~ oatmeal chocolate chip.  I am also planning to do a job I have been putting off for months ~ the dreaded closet cleaning.  But after I finish, I plan to sit down with a cookie and a glass of milk and remember the good times I had with my mom.  I will also take some of the cookies to the office tomorrow to share with my fellow employees.  I think mom would like that as she always tried to discourage us from being selfish. 

I will also be remembering another favorite mom ~ June Cleaver.  As a huge "Leave it to Beaver" fan, I was saddened to hear that Barbara Billingsley passed away on Saturday.  It has been so nice to hear Jerry Mathers (aka: the Beave) talk about what a nice lady she was.  It seems so refreshing compared to so much of what takes place in tv-land these days.
The people who love us and help to shape our lives may no longer be with us, but their memories live on in so many ways.  Recently I saw a lady from Ireland talking about their custom for keeping the memories of their loved ones alive at Christmastime.  She said after mass on Christmas day they pour a glass of whiskey and toast those who are no longer with them.  While I like the concept, I am not a whiskey drinker.  I'm interested to know if any of you have a custom for keeping the memory of your loved ones close at the holidays?  I would like to start a tradition like this.  Feel free to tell me about it.  I will be popping out of the closet now and then to do a little blog reading :).

One last thing I'd like to mention, as I was writing this post I received a call from Hospice.  They helped care for my mom in the last few months of her life.  They were wonderful at that time and have continued to be wonderful throughout the year.  With periodic phone calls they have let me know that they are there for me should I require someone to talk to.  What a blessing they have been.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Fall Garden Inspiration

Last weekend I attended a historic homes tour in a nearby town.  Unfortunately they wouldn't allow photos in the homes, but it was fine to take them outside.  Most of the yards and porches were decorated in their fall finery and I found lots of inspiration that day.

Come along with me and perhaps you will be inspired too.

~ Photos should enlarge if you click on them ~

It was fun to see how the homeowners brought touches of fall to their gardens.  I like the looks of the plump pumpkin's reflection in the pond.  I have always wanted a pond in my garden.  If I ever add one, I'm keeping this picture to remind me of this idea.
I love what they did with this window box.
I want one of those too.  Right under my garage window. Don't know if I'll ever get around to adding one, but if I do this idea will be in my inspiration file.

This fence ran parallel to the driveway of this house.  Every few feet they added a happy harvest vignette.  I don't know where they got their gourds and pumpkins, but they were so interesting.

Surely pleasant dreams would be found after laying your head on a pillow of mums.

Here's a simple idea.  Nestle a gourd into your potted plants.  This could work with the houseplants too.

I love the different textures in this grouping.

I would have never thought to put this combination of plants together, but it works well.  I also like the idea of sinking the pots into the ground a bit.

Potted pansies are always pretty.  Adding a clump of twigs to the center gives them much more vertical interest and how cute to hang the pinecones from the twigs.  It might even be fun to roll some of the pine cones in peanut butter and bird seed to attract a few feathered friends.

Wouldn't you love to be a guest staying in this little cottage?
It was behind the main home and housed a guest bedroom and workout room.  I must admit the temptation to break the no photos in the house rule was strong, but I obeyed and settled for this outside photo.  Still a very pretty little place, wouldn't you say?

I found a lot of clever ideas for my fall garden and hope you did too.  This guy was one of my favorite things I saw that day.  His eyes, nose and mouth are made of metal that poked into the pumpkin.  I would love to know where to find them.  Now that my kids have flown the nest the thoughts of carving a jack- o- lantern aren't as appealing as they once were.  This idea makes a cute pumpkin face without the carving.  If anybody reading this knows of a source for these metal pumpkin faces, please enlighten me.

It's the weekend!!  Woo Hoo~~ stir up a little fall fun.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

An Autumn Afternoon

When the skies are blue, the clouds are few and the air is fresh and cool, autumn has truly arrived.  This is the perfect time of year to be outside enjoying the beauty of the season.

After reading an ad in the paper one morning, my husband and I decided to take a little drive to the apple orchard we saw advertised.  It was a bit of a drive, but not too far.  After completing a few household jobs we headed for the hills.  Quite literally, as this orchard was located in the mountains.

  After sampling an apple cider slushee and a slice of homemade apple cake, it was decided that we would pick our own apples rather than buy those that were already picked. 

We figured a bit of walking atop that mountain might help burn a few apple cake calories.  Reaching up to pluck an apple from the tree, I couldn't help but pause and absorb the beauty of the clear, blue sky.  Around here it's referred to as Carolina blue.
After picking our apples and purchasing 2 gallons of cider, we hit the country back roads for a leisurely afternoon drive back home. 

Now and then we'd stop for a photo-op.

Nothing fancy

Just ordinary things ...

you might expect to see ...

driving along a country road ...

on an autumn afternoon.

Thank you for your kind comments during my blogging break.  My heart is singing with happiness to be back in the place I have come to love.  My wish is that you are all able to enjoy the beauty of an autumn afternoon.  If not an afternoon, then at least a moment or two. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fingers Crossed . . .

A week or so ago I was contemplating how I would fare should I decide to try going for an entire day without turning my computer on.  As I write this, I will admit that it sounds a bit ridiculous to think it would be difficult to accomplish this ~ I mean, one day ~ how hard could that be?  I considered trying it, but to be honest I didn't like the thoughts of being away from all of you.  You all add so much to my days.  So the contemplating remained a mere thought.

A mere thought until Saturday night when it became reality.  That was when my husband let me know that the laptop had a virus.  We went to bed as the computer was being scanned for evil invaders.  Sunday morning I got up with high hopes, but they were quickly dashed when the problems were discovered, but not solved.  Egads, Sunday was a looong day :).

Monday I happily went to work and could hardly wait for lunchtime so that I could check e-mails and do a bit of blogging.  Thankfully a computer savvy co-worker offered to see if he could solve the problem. 

Tuesday I was home and the computer was still at the office being worked on.  Seems the problem is a big one, but cheerful co-worker is still working on it.  Meanwhile, on the home front I am keeping busy, but feeling a bit cut off from the world.  That would be the blog world to be precise :).  Miss you all.  I was also surprised at how often I jump on the internet to look up a recipe, look for an address, etc.  I think I discovered I'm more dependent on the computer than I thought.  Yikes!!  This can't be good, can it?

Here we are at Wednesday night and I was at the office today so I caught up a bit at lunch, but I had to leave the computer at work again.  Friendly co-worker is trying something else that has to run through the night.  I have my fingers crossed that order will be restored tomorrow and Mr. Laptop will be returning home.  I am using my son's computer for this post.

I now know that I can get through a day or two or three without the computer, but ... I would prefer not to.

I'm hoping to be back to regular blogging soon ~ fingers crossed.