Monday, October 24, 2016

The Durrells In Corfu

Our local Public Broadcasting Service station was off the air for ten days......ten long days.
The broadcasting tower required maintenance, which apparently can  only be undertaken by a few specialized technicians..
One thing that appeased it's regular viewers was the offer of watching most of it's content online, you didn't have to have the prestigious PASSPORT code, which is issued to it's contributing members, so programs like Poldark, Downtown Abbey, and the new series The Durrells in Corfu were available if you had internet access.
The Durrells in Corfu is now my latest love from Masterpiece Theatre.

Keeley Hawes (Upstairs Downstairs) stars as an intrepid widow who decamps from dreary England to a sun-dappled Greek island with her four recalcitrant children, ages 11 to 21, on this six-part adaptation of Gerald Durrell’s My Family and Other Animals and its two sequels. The Durrells in Corfu airs Sundays, October 16th - November 20th, 2016 at the special time of 8pm ET on MASTERPIECE on PBS.

Treat yourself to a fun-filled hour on Sunday nights, it's a lovely escape.


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Soup's On

Our first cold night of the season last night.
It's the perfect time to warm up with a hearty bowl of homemade soup.

Cabbage and Bean Soup

Navy or Northern Beans
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.


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Scarlet Ball


"October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came-
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band."

~ October's Party, George Cooper.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Older Than Dirt

I've been busy giving some of the Blue Willow and Staffordshire Ware pieces a bath.
I'm not sure why, it seems I often get the urge to spring clean in the fall.
I think it has something to do with the changing seasons, the coolness of the Autumn air, the heady scent of spiced-mix candles magically weaving their spell.

This gathering of antique 'blues' are collectively over a half millennium in age. They are still beautiful after all their years of service, and oh, what stories they could tell !
I often find myself wondering what tales the little creamers could tell, if only they could talk.
Sitting around a Victorian ladies tea table, listening to the latest fashion news from Europe.
Or quietly displayed in the cabinet of a fine Southern Antebellum home laying in wait to be used for a special dinner, in celebration of a loved one, returning home from some foreign war.

Lots more to go.....

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Home Sweet Home

                                                 " A person travels the whole world over
   in search of what he needs
   and returns home to find it. "

           ~George Moore

Monday, October 17, 2016

Rain Dancing

No rain in over a month now, the ground is parched and cracked.
Normally this time of the year, we are having a peak show of color, when the trees magical transform from summer greens to their brilliant fall palette, but signs of brown, dead leaves are all around.
I've noticed the deer have been venturing closer to the house, they hear the splutter of the pond pump, and it must sound mighty inviting right about now.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Shine On Harvest Moon

It is the Harvest Moon! On gilded vanes
And roofs of villages, on woodland crests
And their aerial neighborhoods of nests
Deserted, on the curtained window-panes
Of rooms where children sleep, on country lanes
And harvest-fields, its mystic splendor rests!
Gone are the birds that were our summer guests,
With the last sheaves return the laboring wains!
All things are symbols: the external shows
Of Nature have their image in the mind,
As flowers and fruits and falling of the leaves;
The song-birds leave us at the summer's close,
Only the empty nests are left behind,
And pipings of the quail among the sheaves.

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807)

Friday, October 14, 2016

Slowly Changing

The days are noticeably shorter, morning mists linger.
The leaves are beginning their annual show of colors, slowly turning from greens to brilliant reds, yellows and oranges. 
Sweaters and trousers will soon replace flip-flops and shorts,
And heavy blankets return to the foot of our beds.
The nesting season is upon us.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Simple Pleasures

" The best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a porch swing with, never say a word, then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation that you ever had."


Monday, October 10, 2016

Mother Nature's Stained-Glass Creation

The Monarch butterflies have been prolific this year.

With more than 80 percent of the world’s flowering plants relying on pollinators, their importance to natural ecosystems and agriculture cannot be overstated. However, populations of pollinators, including bird, bat, butterfly, beetle and bee species, have been declining around the world.    Monarch butterflies complete incredible migrations of hundreds to thousands of miles each year across North America. Along their migratory paths, Monarchs rely on habitats that contain milkweed species, which is the only plant that they lay their eggs on. Monarch caterpillars feed exclusively on milkweed, which contains chemical compounds that make them poisonous to potential predators.

Soon they will be returning to their home in Mexico, where they will spend their winter hibernation clustered in small areas of the Reserva de la Biosfera Mariposa Monarca (Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve), a national protected area and nature preserve that covers more than 200-square-miles.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Indian Summer

Indian Summer is upon us. Balmy warm days, mist-laden nights.
One last chance to indulge in fleeting Summer pleasures.

An early American writer described Indian Summer well when he wrote, "The air is perfectly quiescent and all is stillness, as if Nature, after her exertions during the Summer, were now at rest."
      ~ John Bradbury 1817

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Autumn Sunset


...I see
the turning of a leaf
dancing in an autumn sun,
and brilliant shades of crimson
glowing when a day is done...

~Hazelmarie "Mattie" Elliott, "

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Garden Chores Await

 Remington the Horticulturist ~ Charles Wysocki
"Spring flowers are long since gone.
Summer's bloom hangs limp on every terrace.
The gardener's feet drag a bit on the dusty path and the hinge in his back is full of creaks."-

~Louise Seymour Jones

Monday, October 3, 2016

English Country Folk

A little treasure from the Royal Doulton, Beswick, English Country Folk Collection,
Mrs Rabbit Baker.
I found her on one of our many trips to the antique shops in England last Autumn.
She reminds me of my grandma Elizabeth Jane, who owned one of the towns local bakeries.

" No matter what time you call in at Mrs. Rabbit's homely* cottage, you're sure to find her hard at work in the cozy, wood-panelled kitchen.
Whether a traditional Sunday roast, delicious cakes, or her famous homemade scones, Mrs Rabbit's care and skill make every mouthful a special treat."

* for American readers the use of the word 'homely' in England means cozy and comfortable.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Cats Sleep Anywhere

Cats sleep anywhere,any table, any chair.
Top of piano, window-ledge, in the middle,on the edge,
Open drawer, empty shoe, anybody's lap will do.
Fitted in a cardboard box, in the cupboard with your frocks.
Anywhere! They don't care! Cats sleep anywhere.

~ Eleanor Farjeon (1881)


Friday, September 30, 2016

To Autumn

Mother Nature must have heard our pleas for cooler temperatures and obliged.
The calendar had no sooner changed from summer to autumn and we were blessed with cool mist-filled mornings, and even cooler, crisp-laden nights, the likes of which had not been seen since early spring.
The trees are beginning their changing of color, yellows, oranges and reds.
Pumpkins are now decorating porches and gardens.
The songbirds busily returning to their winter homes.
Autumn has arrived.

"Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells."

~ John Keats

Monday, September 26, 2016

Visiting Days

I'm taking some time off to catch up with old friends, an entire year has passed, and our visits have been few and far between.
There will be much tea-drinking, and giggling and maybe a few tall tales to tell.
Stay well dear ones.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Goodbye Summer

" When summer gathers up her robes of glory, and like a dream of beauty glides away. "
~Sarah Helen Power Whitman

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Ferry 'Cross The Mersey

My roots run deep with the grand old maritime city of Liverpool.
It being my paternal grandmother's birth place and despite moving away as a young adult, the allure and vibrancy of the city always drew her home.
Each Monday we would board the bus, and take the trip into the city to take care of the banking business for her bakery, and inevitably would always take the time to enjoy a ferry ride on the River Mersey.
Last October when I was home, my brother shared those nostalgic memories with us, by spending the afternoon at the Royal Albert Docks, a once vibrant, seafaring port importing and exporting goods and passengers to the 'new world' and beyond. The old warehouses have now been converted for modern day use, housing shops, cafes,  office space and the city's tribute to their famous sons.....The Beatles Museum.
Liverpool remains a bustling metropolitan city, with breathtakingly beautiful architecture, that so effortlessly blends the old with the new.

Picture created from jelly beans






Friday, September 16, 2016

Summer's Last Smile

The last of the Summer flowers are giving us one final show.
The temperatures fell into the fifties last night.
Sweater-grabbing crisp air, the likes of which has not been seen since early Spring.