Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ring Out The Old, Ring In The New


A Happy New Year! Grant that I
May bring no tear to any eye
When this New Year in time shall end
Let it be said I've played the friend,
Have lived and loved and labored here,
And made of it a happy year.

~Edgar Guest


I truly wish each and every one of you, a New Year filled with much love, peace and happiness.
Your friendships have encouraged, enlightened, and made me laugh my frock off throughout this past year.
Here's to a 2012 filled with the same !

To friends and family alike
Many Blessings,
Jo
x

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Winter Friendships

Taking a few days off to catch up on overdue visits with dear friends.
Share a cup of tea, a piece of homemade Christmas cake, and swap Christmas gifts.
Be well !



"Winter, a lingering season,
is a time to gather golden moments,
embark upon a sentimental journey, and enjoy every idle hour. "

~John Boswell

Ratty, and Mole visiting Badger ~ Wind in the Willows

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Peace On Earth Goodwill To All Men

Christmas is upon us.......

I've so enjoyed our visits back and forth throughout the year, all the sweet comments written, and well-wishes when a word of encouragement was needed.
We truly wish each and every one of you, friends and family, near and far, all the blessings of a Joyous and Merry Christmas.





May you have the gladness of Christmas which is hope;
The spirit of Christmas which is peace;
The heart of Christmas which is love."



~ Ada V. Hendricks





Turn off the PLAYLIST at the bottom of the page by clicking the LARGE round button before playing the video

Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward Men
From our home to yours.......

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Memories


When Christmas bells are swinging above the fields of snow,
We hear sweet voices ringing from lands of long ago,
And etched on vacant places
Are half-forgotten faces
Of friends we used to cherish,
And loves we used to know.


~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Finishing Touches

I managed to do the Christmas decorating without dragging a single box out of the attic.
Fresh greenery, pip-berry vines and dried fruits, it all looks pleasingly festive.














My favorite Christmas dinnerware is the Pflatzgraff Winterberry pattern, I'd like more pieces (hint, hint )


The 'goodies' arrived today, Walkers plum pudding, simply the best.




"Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful."


~Norman Vincent Peale

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Let The Merriment Begin

We've had the strangest warm weather the past few days.
Here it is, the middle of December and the temperature reached a balmy 70 degrees today, folks were running around town, in shorts and flip-flops !

This afternoon, I accomplished a little inside decorating.
Our tree is an Alpine Tree, tall and skinny, and doesn't require any furniture to be moved around.
The mantle is almost finished, I'm going to add a few dried orange slices and cinnamon sticks.

The English Christmas crackers await eager hands









The silver has been polished



The dining table is set









I've hung a fresh evergreen wreath on the porch, and added two vintage wooden sleds, decorated with boughs of fresh Cedar.
The birds have already decided to make it their nightly roost.
'Tis the season for sharing....

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Bringing Home The Tree



"Christmas--that magic blanket that wraps itself about us,
that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance.
It may weave a spell of nostalgia.
Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer,
but always it will be a day of remembrance
--a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved."


~ Augusta E. Rundell

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Making A Start

I've decided to go minimal on the Christmas decorating this year, at least that's my intentions.
I do seem to have trouble knowing where to stop, once I've started.

For many years, I would hang twinkly faerie lights from every eave of the house, every tree in the yard, even the bird houses would get a mini-set of twinkle.
I would be the crazy neighbor, hanging lights from the porch long after dark, whilst the rest of the world snuggled inside.

I'm going green, please wish me luck !

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

And The Rains Came

We have been deluged with rain these past few days.
Cold, wind-driven rain, mixed with snow flurries here and there.
The creeks are overflowing their banks, Winter is in the air....



Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Spirit-Lifter

When the weather turns chilly, and I'm looking for something to stir my Christmas spirit, I make a batch of Spiced Tea.
The combination of oranges, cinnamon and cloves are a delight to the senses, perfect for sipping fireside late evening, and watching the Christmas tree twinkling in the dark...


2 cups Sugar
2 cups Tang
3/4 cup instant tea
1 envelope Kool-Aid Lemonade
1 tsp. cinnamon
1-1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1-1/2 tsp. ground ginger


Combine sugar, tea, tang, lemonade mix, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in a medium mixing bowl; stir well.
Pour into a 1-pint wide-mouth jar with tight-fitting lid.
Use 2-3 teaspoons in a cup of boiling water.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Double Trouble

For the cat-lovers amongst us....the latest Simon's Cat video >^..^<

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Comfort Food

When the weather turns cold, we crave foods that stick to our bones and bring warmth and satisfaction to our bodies.....
I made a hearty homemade beef stew today, chocked full of vegetables, with an aromatic tomato base, and spices.
It's a Southern recipe, easy, and delicious.


Always best accompanied by a skillet of buttermilk cornbread, or it just wouldn't be fitting.


Nothing fancy, just basic:

Beef and Vegetable Stew.
I use stewing beef ( or cut up steak )
A Large onion
Two ribs of celery
Cut up potatoes
Cut up carrots
A large can of whole peeled tomatoes chopped up in bite sized pieces
Can of chili beans with the sauce
Can of green beans
Can of peas
Can of corn if I have it.
Chili powder
Bay leaves (2)
Garlic powder
Parsley leaves ( or dried )
Most anything you like to throw in the pot....sometimes I add cabbage.

Southern CornBread
1 1/3 cups of buttermilk or milk
1/3 cup of vegetable oil or solid shortening (melt if solid shortening)
2 cups of buttermilk cornmeal mix
1teaspoon of sugar (optional)
1 ounce of melted butter
1 egg

Oven temp 450 degrees

Place a cast iron skillet, or cake pan with a small amount of shortening inside the oven until the shortening melts and pan is hot.
Add mixture, bake for 15 / 20 minutes until golden brown.



Monday, November 28, 2011

Nesting Season


A bitter-cold night, ground laden with a hoar frost.
There's whispers of snowfall by morning light.
The kind of evening that lends itself to staying indoors, finishing the Christmas cards, and watching old movies on the television.
A time to nest.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Celebration Of Life



They say a testament to a man's worth is how many people go to his funeral. ...

Over the past two days, we have shed tears, laughed, hugged family and friends alike, and said our goodbye's to one of the finest gentleman you would ever wish to meet.
From the moment the funeral home opened it's doors for visitation, until laying our beloved Jimmy to rest, a steady stream of visitors said their goodbyes, shared their stories, and offered their condolences.

Although our hearts were heavy, there was a feeling of peace and tranquility throughout the entire service.
His casket chosen to represent his love of the outdoors was hand-crafted by the Amish, using the wood from native trees, hickory, ash, cedar, oak, maple and poplar and was fittingly named Tennessee Woods.

The pastor, filled our hearts by sharing Jimmy's favorite passages from the bible, and even made us laugh, more than once.
His granddaughter wrote a heartfelt tribute to her grandpa, and found the strength to read it out loud.

At the graveside, the pastor asked if there was ONE word, which described Jimmy, shout it out, and a never-ending stream of words poured from the mouths of friends and family members:

Generous
Loving
Brotherly
Genuine
Compassionate
Fair
Godly
Forgiving
Gentleman
Friend
Unselfish
Honest
Loyal

Our granddaughter honored her grandpa's last request, and as we all gathered around his burial plot, the official state song of Tennessee "Rocky Top", played in the background.
A song adopted by his beloved University of Tennessee Volunteers "Big Orange" football team as their rallying song, a song full of fighting spirit, just like Jimmy.
Go rest high on that mountain, Son your work on earth,is done...


Please scroll to the bottom of the page and turn off the PLAYLIST by clicking the LARGE round button, before playing the video.




God didn't promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

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 Happy Thanksgiving from our home to yours .......

There's A New Angel In Heaven



Our beloved family member Jimmy was called to his heavenly home, late yesterday afternoon.
He fought a long and courageous battle with his cancer, and was surrounded by his family and friends, when he quietly slipped away to be with the Lord.
It's a sad occasion, one is never prepared to say their goodbyes to a loved one.

When I first posted about Jimmy's illness back in 2009 http://abritintn.blogspot.com/2009/03/sad-event_25.html we were given very little hope, and yet he would never give up, always the positive one and grateful for each day he could spend with his beloved family.

As you go about your Thanksgiving plans, sharing a meal and enjoying family time, please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we prepare to lay our loved one to rest.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Rainy Days And Mondays


We are having our fair share of rain these past few days, and warmer than normal temperatures for November.
Tomorrow it's predicted to reach a balmy 73 degrees !
Oliver couldn't resist spending time chasing the squirrels, when he had finally called it a day, he was one soaked puddy cat.



Sunday, November 20, 2011

My Life As A Turkey

I have spent this drizzly Sunday afternoon, watching one of the most heartwarming stories of animal and human imprinting.

After a local farmer left a bowl of eggs on Joe Hutto’s front porch, his life was forever changed.
Hutto, possessing a broad background in the natural sciences and an interest in imprinting young animals, incubated the eggs and waited for them to hatch. As the chicks emerged from their shells, they locked eyes with an unusual but dedicated mother.

Deep in the wilds of Florida’s Flatlands, Hutto spent each day living as a turkey mother, taking on the full-time job of raising sixteen turkey chicks. Hutto dutifully cared for his family around the clock, roosting with them, taking them foraging, and immersing himself in their world. In the process, they revealed their charming curiosity and surprising intellect. There was little he could teach them that they did not already know, but he showed them the lay of the land and protected them from the dangers of the forest as best he could. In return, they taught him how to see the world through their eyes.
Enjoy....

Before watching the movie, please scroll to the bottom of the page, to the playlist and click the LARGE ROUND BUTTON, to turn off the music.
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/episodes/my-life-as-a-turkey/introduction/7268/


Watch My Life as a Turkey on PBS. See more from NATURE.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Turkey Trot

It's been a dark and rainy day here in our middle Tennessee valley.
Not a day to be out and about, instead a day to be spent inside, indulging in a little fluffing and cooking.

Around about three in the afternoon each day, the wild turkeys appear.
A flock of twenty or more, spend the better part of an hour feeding and foraging and then head towards the trees to their nightly roost.

They have become quite accustomed to my appearance, and boldly trot on over to the bird -feeders close to the porch.
















Sunday, November 13, 2011

Autumn Meadows

To Autumn

Come, pensive Autumn, with thy clouds, and storms,
And falling leaves, and pastures lost to flowers;
A luscious charm hangs on thy faded forms,
More sweet than Summer in her loveliest hours,
Who, in her blooming uniform of green,
Delights with samely and continued joy:
But give me, Autumn, where thy hand hath been,
For there is wildness that can never cloy, -
The russet hue of fields left bare, and all
The tints of leaves and blossoms ere they fall.
In thy dull days of clouds a pleasure comes,
Wild music softens in thy hollow winds;
And in thy fading woods a beauty blooms,
That's more than dear to melancholy minds.

~ John Clare 1821

Friday, November 11, 2011

11.11.11.11.


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

In Flanders Fields ~ Lt.-Col. John McCrae (1872 - 1918)


Dedicated to all the brave men and women whose unselfish sacrifices and bravery shall never be forgotten.

Thank You.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

November Days

Oliver and I stayed outside until daylight had diminished.
Dark at five fifteen now that we have returned to daylight shifting time.

I captured a few more flowers in bloom on this warm November day, the Coreopsis added to the Autumn palette, and is full of tiny black seeds.


Over the arbor, the climbing antique rose has several new blooms, The canes are filled with new buds just waiting to burst open, but sadly after Wednesday's predicted freeze they will have lost their chance.


Ever faithful Petunias still blooming their little hearts out.





And let me introduce you to Albert, my potting shed butler.....
He doubles as my Halloween candy server, with eyes which move left and right, and an entire repertoire of English butler sayings to his credit.
It's quite a surprise when the door to the potting shed is opened, and Albert introduces himself !



Monday, November 7, 2011

November In Bloom

It's been a balmy 72 degrees on this November day.
Oliver and I took advantage of what is to be the last warm days of Autumn, with a hard freeze predicted by mid-week.

There are still plenty of Summer blooms around to enjoy, although not quite the Autumn palette



The Knock-Out Roses have grown by leaps and bounds this second year, I'll be sad to see them perish.


And guess what decided to treat us to one last showing of color ?
The Foxgloves......in November !
Curiouser and curiouser


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pottering Days

We were gifted with yet, another perfect Autumn day.
Blue skies and sunshine.

A day spent pottering about the garden, stacking plant pots, arranging shelves in the potting shed, dipping fallen-leaves out of the pond.







The geese flew south overhead.
Squirrels busily transported their overwinter stash to secret hiding places.
Birds feathered their nests.
Wild turkeys led their flock to the nightly roost.



Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.
~William Cullen Bryant