*

*

Monday, December 31, 2012

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 2013 filled with the same !

To friends and family alike
Many Blessings,
x

Friday, December 28, 2012

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



Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Catnip Dreams

No longer able to withstand the festivites, and many sniffs of cat-nip later,
Oliver ops for a cat nap.

Monday, December 24, 2012

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. Hendicks



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

Sunday, December 23, 2012

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

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Is Coming



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

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

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  finished, except for a few dried orange slices and cinnamon sticks.

 



The silver is polished





The Christmas crackers await eager hands






On the porch, the old wooden sleds have been decorated with boughs of fresh Cedar.
The birds have decided to make it their nightly roost.
'Tis the season for sharing...

Monday, December 17, 2012

What The Dickens ?



Several years ago, our small town, was graced by a visit from Gerald Charles Dickens, great-great grandson of the author 'A Christmas Carol '.

It was the highlight of the town's Victorian Christmas Festival, a seventy -five minute on stage performance and one-man show of a descendant of the beloved author Charles Dickens.

Gerald Dickens performed the dramatization with just a chair, a hat stand, a candle, his top hat, and a walking stick for props. The rest of the show was brought to life with his voice, facial expression, mannerisms, and energy.
Since the story is so well known, Dickens said he didn't have to worry too much about explaining the plot.

Everyone loved the story, and a closeness and camaraderie developed in the audience as we watched a talented storyteller enact his great-great grandfather's story with love and passion.
Fortunately for me, the audience struggled to understand the actor's Cockney accent. It created dead silence voids, where an appropriate applauding should have followed a punch line.
Mr. Dickens had been making note of this, and asked if I would accompany him on stage and help the audience participation, with a few prompting gestures.
*Gulp*
Would I accompany him on stage ?

Needless to say it was the best Christmas gift I could have received, and dare say, everyone in this town, is still talking about it to this very day.......
I know I am
*Wink*.

"I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year."
A Christmas Carol ~Charles Dickens, Ebeneezer Scrooge,



"To Josephine
 my Warrington friend".

~ Gerald Charles Dickens.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

In The Arms Of An Angel, Fly Away


God Rest their sweet little souls........

Monday, December 10, 2012

And The Rains Came

We have been deluged with rain today.
Cold, wind-driven rain, the ground is soaked, the creeks are overflowing their banks.
Winter is in the air....



Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A 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.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Sunshine And Shadows

The calendar reads December, but with sunshine and balmy breezes today, it feels more like Summertime.




The Vinca has decided to bloom one more time, despite earlier freezes.
It's such a hardy little vine.


Oliver couldn't resist a late afternoon snooze.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Through Bare Trees.

 
 
"Through bare trees
I can see all the rickety lean-tos
and sheds, and the outhouse
with the half-moon on the door,
once modestly covered in
summer's greenery.

Through bare trees
I can watch the hawk
perched on a distant branch,
black silhouetted wings
shaking feathers and snow,
and so can its prey.

Through bare trees
I can be winter's innocence,
unashamed needfulness,
the thin and reaching limbs of a beggar,
longing to touch
but the hem of the sun."-

~ Lisa Lindsey, Bare Trees

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Favorite Paintings


I've always shared a love of old Victorian paintings, in particular paintings that depict scenes of children with their pets in playful settings.
The popular work of English artist Sir Arthur Elsley ( 1860-1952 ) being one of my most favorites.

All of his paintings feature children with animals, dogs, horses, kittens and puppies, and are true to life situations.
His works were so popular during his lifetime that many of his paintings were reproduced as prints, and were often used in calendars, advertisements, books and magazines.

Playtime


A Helping Hand


Hard Pressed Time To Get Up


Wait A Minute

Monday, November 26, 2012

Turkey Trot

It's been a dark and dismal 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 thirty 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.
Funnily enough, I didn't see them whatsoever, the week of Thanksgiving !








Saturday, November 24, 2012

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.

This year, the front porch has been decorated with a fresh Balsam Fir wreath, and the doorway draped with a fresh-cut garland, both sharing their intoxicating heady scents of woodland.
Antique wooden sleds stand sentry on either side of the door, awaiting the arrival of our first snowfall.
Simple decorations shared from Nature's bounty.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Stressed ?

Oliver has mastered the art of relaxation to purrfection.




We should all take lessons ........

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Turkey Talk

I happened upon this Johnson Brothers Barnyard King plate at one of the local antique shops several months ago.

One plate all by itself, I could only imagine what an entire dinner service would look 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.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Soup's On


A dark and dreary day.
We awoke to a freezing fog, the landscape blanketed with a hoar frost.
The perfect time to warm up with a hearty bowl of homemade soup.

Navy or Northern Beans
Cabbage
Onions
Carrots
Celery
Ham Hock
Smoked sausage or Kielbasa sliced
Chicken Stock
Bay Leaf
Salt and Pepper
Rosemary 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, continue to simmer for an additional hour and a half.
Add water if needed.

Serve with buttermilk cornbread.
Yum !

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Lest We Forget


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.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

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, November 5, 2012

A Simple Day


Some days it's good to do nothing.
No deadlines to meet, no chores to complete, no lists to check twice.
A day to lounge in the comfort of your pajamas and woolly socks, to gaze out of the window and watch the falling leaves drift slowly to the ground.
A day for sipping cups of tea and curling up by the fireside with a portly feline at your side.
A simple day.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

November Days



"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

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Last Rose

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.



'Tis the last rose of summer
Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone;

No flower of her kindred,
No rosebud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes,
To give sigh for sigh.

I'll not leave thee, thou lone one!
To pine on the stem;
Since the lovely are sleeping,
Go, sleep thou with them.

Thus kindly I scatter,
Thy leaves o'er the bed,
Where thy mates of the garden
Lie scentless and dead.

So soon may I follow,
When friendships decay,
From Love's shining circle
The gems drop away.

When true hearts lie withered
And fond ones are flown,
Oh! who would inhabit,
This bleak world alone?


The Last Rose of Summer:  Thomas Moore 1805

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Bewitching Night



Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg, and owlet's wing,—
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.

Macbeth ~ William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Autumn Path



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.

~To Autumn : John Clare

Monday, October 22, 2012

Time Worn



The creaking silence of age.

I like Old.
Great Depression
worn-in (not worn-out)
favorite quilt
classic car.

I like the way Old feels.
Sheets washed a thousand times
frayed around the stitching
busting from stories.

I like the way Old sounds.
Creaky wooden floors
heaters that pop and snap
doors that slam like they really mean it!

I like the way Old looks.
chipped paint
worn corners
rust
not from neglect or carelessness, but from use.

I'd live in an Old house
with a big Old front porch.
One that heaves to tell me someone is home
and echos of little feet running across it.
I like Old.

~Holy Glasgow

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Silence


The old wooden garden bench, half-crumbling away, sits silently
with only a blanket of lichen as it's companion.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Woolly Socks And Flip-Flops

We've been gifted with glorious Autumn weather the past few weeks , warm breezy days, and cool window-opening nights.
Despite the season's first frost a few days earlier, tomorrow is scheduled to be a balmy 82 degrees.

It's the time of year, when you step outside in the morning wearing your woolly socks and warm jacket, and by late afternoon, you've returned to your flip-flops and short-sleeved shirt.
The Morning Glory vines are loving it.