Sunday, December 10, 2017

A Mid-December Stroll

Snowflakes fell from the sky, unusual for this time of the year, in Tennessee.
No accumulations, just gently falling, like a dusting of confectioners sugar on a bare landscape.
 
 



" The rapid nightfall of mid-December had quite beset the little villages they approached on soft feet over a first thin fall of powdery snow.
Little was visible but squares of a dusky orange-red on either side of the street, where the firelight or lamplight of each cottage overflowed through the casements into the dark world without.
Most of the low latticed windows were innocent of blinds, and moving from one to another, the lookers-in, so far from home themselves, watched a cat being stroked, a sleepy child picked up and huddled off to bed, or a tired man stretch and knock out his pipe on the end of a smouldering log."


Ratty and Mole, In The Village. ~ Wind in the Willows


Friday, December 8, 2017

English Christmas Cracker Traditions





 
Each year as I'm busying myself with the Christmas decorating, my thoughts turn to home.
The traditions at Christmas that have stood the test of time throughout many English households.

The partaking of mince pies, raspberry trifle, sausage rolls, steamed plum pudding, and Christmas cake laden with dried fruit , marzipan and Royal Icing...hard as a rock.
Gathering around the television or the radio and listening to the Queen's Speech.
Afterwards a tipple of traditional sherry, or port, toasting the season and good health to all !

The pulling of the Christmas crackers before eating turkey dinner, wearing the paper party hats, laughing at the silly paper jokes inside, and delighting in the small prizes, most often magic tricks, or plastic trinkets.

Happy times, that are gratefully forever etched in our memories ..........


Thursday, December 7, 2017

Christmas Magic

One of my all-time favorite Christmas cards, from the American Humane Association.
It just melts my heart.
 



Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Sleepy Days

Just as predicted, cold weather is upon us.
I requested the help of two kitties in finishing a little decorating, so far this is the response.
It appears I am on my own.

 

Monday, December 4, 2017

Woolly Socks And Flip-Flops

We've been spoiled up until this point, with warmer than usual days, many not requiring the wearing of a jacket.
Today the high is 72 degrees.
Those last few pleasant days of Autumn, with sunshine aplenty.
 
Later this week, the  temperatures will cool and fall into the twenties, no more flip-flops, now the winter boots and woolly socks appear.
The birds have taken to their nests, the turkeys lead their flocks to the nightly roost.
Winter days will soon be here,  but in just 87 short days, Spring will once again return.
 
 

 
 




Saturday, December 2, 2017

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

 


 
Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat
Please put a penny in the old man's hat
If you haven't got a penny, a ha'penny will do
If you haven't got a ha'penny, then God bless you!


~ Tradition English nursery rhyme



 
 
 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Say Cheese



My home county of Cheshire, England is known for being the birthplace of famous author Lewis Carroll, of Alice in Wonderland fame.
It also holds the bragging rights to making some of the best cheese in the land, Cheshire Cheese.
The making of the cheese dates back to the early 16th century, and is considered the oldest in Great Britain.

Cheese was mostly stored in a cheese-keeper, as refrigerators were uncommon.
My grandmother's cheese-dish sat on her kitchen table, always with a nice piece of Cheshire cheese beneath, and a jar of pickled onions close by.

I fell in love and purchased this Royal Winton cheese-dish some thirty years ago, at an antique sale in Cheshire.
It's from the 'Country Diary Collection' and the delicate display of flowers reminds me of my grandmothers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheshire

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Making A Start



The Christmas decorating has begun.
A little here, a little there, and before you know it, the house is transformed with the magic of Christmas.
Later this evening, the tree will get decorated, sparkly faerie lights, dried apples and orange slices, baubles and red wooden-bead garlands.
Rust-colored Christmas bells, and  grape-vine mini wreaths.
Ornaments from seasons past,  reminding of treasured memories.




The hearth is lit, and the hot chocolate is simmering.
Two portly felines watch with interest.
"Tis the season.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Countdown To Thanksgiving



Count your blessings instead of your crosses;
Count your gains instead of your losses.
Count your joys instead of your woes;
Count your friends instead of your foes.
Count your smiles instead of your tears;
Count your courage instead of your fears.
Count your full years instead of your lean;
Count your kind deeds instead of your mean.
Count your health instead of your wealth;
Count on God instead of yourself.

~Author Unknown

 
A Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving from our home to yours............

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Turkey Talk

I came across this Johnson Brothers Barnyard King plate at one of the local antique shops several years ago.
One plate all by itself, I could only imagine what an entire dinner service would have looked like.



I'm going to display it for the Thanksgiving season, the colors on this picture do not do the piece justice, they are all hand engraved and made in England.

Barnyard King, what could be a more fitting name.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Wind

We have a wind advisory out today, blustery and menacing.
Birds were literally flying sideways.
 
 
 
Oliver cat and Tom -Tilly have spent hours chasing swirling leaves, now they are snuggled in their beds, wore out from the day's fun.
 
 

 
My granddaughter came bearing gifts.
Sweet little wool Christmas ornaments, guess who they resemble.....
I couldn't be more tickled.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Soup's On



A dark and dreary day.
Rain is falling.
The perfect time to warm up with a hearty bowl of homemade soup.

Cabbage and Bean Soup

Navy or Northern Beans
Cabbage
Onions
Carrots
Celery
Ham Hock
Smoked sausage or Kielbasa sliced
Chicken Stock
28oz can of whole tomatoes
Bay Leaf
Salt and Pepper
Basil and thyme to taste.

Soak beans overnight, discard water, add chicken stock, ham hock, smoked sausage, herbs, and seasoning, bring to the boil and then simmer for one hour.

Add chopped cabbage, onions, carrots, celery, chopped tomatoes,  continue to simmer for an additional hour and a half.
Add water if needed.

Serve with buttermilk cornbread, or a nice crusty French loaf.

Yum

Monday, November 13, 2017

Salt Box Houses

Primitive New England saltbox houses.
I do seem to have a soft spot for them.


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Lest We Forget

They fell, but o'er their glorious grave
Floats free the banner of the cause they died to save.

~Francis Marion Crawford

 

God Bless  all the service men and women, without whose unselfish commitment, our lives would be forever changed.

 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Oliver Love

Eight years ago, on a cold November day,  this handsome, ginger boy stopped by our house and said hello.
I gave him a handful of treats, and then he disappeared as mysteriously as he came.
He returned the following spring, and despite my best effort to try and find his family he decided to call our humble abode, home.
We couldn't be more blessed.
 
 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Holding On

The trees were just beginning their Autumn show, a little over a month ago.
And when we were finally receiving some much needed rain, we had our first freeze of the season.
Everything seemed to stop.
 
 


Yesterday, we awoke to an incredible sunrise, it cast an orange hue across the landscape. The difference a month makes, between changing landscapes.
 The grass has now gone to bed until Spring.
Leaf-raking begins.

 
 
 
We still have color on the trees, and more to come, from the late-comers of the woods.

 

 


There's talk of an upcoming power outage on social media.
In reality, this is a regular drill used by the Army Military Auxiliary Radio System also known as MARS to test what would happen if there ever were a large scale power or communications outage.

A statement released by the defense department says:
“The exercise will simulate a power outage scenario, it will not impact public or private communications. There will be no power outages of communication systems. This exercise is designed to improve readiness, build cooperation and public awareness, and better prepared to defend the nation.”

In the event, things do not go as planned. I'll see you on the other side.
The best of luck to us all.
 

 
 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Pottering Days



Ooh, it's been a glorious day......
A breezy porch-sitting day.
The temperatures have warmed, not too much though, the kind of day, where you can wear your flip-flops without getting cold feet.
A day to busy myself doing chores, and putting a summer's garden to rest.
Pumpkin bread bakes, the aroma is intoxicatingly delicious, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger.



Autumn, a favorite season.
 
 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Silence




"When everything that ticked has stopped,
And space stares, all around,
Or grisly frosts, first autumn morns,
Repeal the beating ground."



 Emily Dickinson, Time and Eternity, LXXV

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Trick Or Treat

We'll leave the light on for you.



" By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes,
Open, locks,
Whoever knocks ".
 
Shakespeare / Macbeth 1606

 
 
 

Saturday, October 28, 2017

For The Love Of A Cat

Oliver came bearing gifts this morning.
A squirmy snake......
Trick or treat.
🐍
 
 


"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains un-awakened"
 
~Anatole France