Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Wildfires Burn

After enduring weeks of no rainfall, and consequence parched dry land, we finally had rain last night.
A gully-washer of a rain, which helped our state-wide drought, but sadly today I awoke to news about Gatlinburg, our beloved Smoky Mountain get-away is on fire.
 
Mandatory evacuations have taken place, in both Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, buildings have burned and the entire Sevier county is under a wildfire threat.
Please keep these folks and animals in your thoughts and prayers.
 
 
 
 
 Credit: Tracey Stephen Oaks.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Autumn's First Freeze

I awoke in the middle of the night, to an unfamiliar sound........rain.
Finally, the rain gods have heard our plea, and after weeks of dry, hot, weather, a gentle rain fell for close to two hours.
Moisture of any kind is a welcome relief, although sadly tonight, it changes from the wet variety, to the frozen kind........



Thursday, November 17, 2016

Sunshine Days

It's a balmy 80 degrees in our fair neck of the woods today.
Sunshine and blue skies.
Still no rain, but the weather gurus have gazed into their magic 8 balls and they tell us we are in the running for showers, possibly this weekend.
I'm doing a rain dance.
 
 
 
The Mister has headed to the creek to fish.
Savoring these last few chances to indulge, before Autumn's gentle days have disappeared.
 
 
The cats slept.
 


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Thanksgiving will be upon us next week, I have been making my menu list and checking it twice.
Ours is a low-key affair, since like most families, our little close family, now includes in-laws, and extended family members, and time has to be split between both.
That's ok too,  this way we all have a chance to enjoy family, food and fellowship, and be grateful for the many blessings.



Tuesday, November 15, 2016

First Find A Shepherd

A favorite English dish of mine is, Shepherd's Pie, a working man's staple.

A concoction of ground beef, onions, carrots, and peas cooked in a beef gravy and tomato sauce, with herbs and spices; then topped off with mashed potatoes and browned in the oven until the potatoes are nice and crusty.

I buy the Colman Shepherd's Pie mix, available through Publix grocery stores, on the English import isle.
If it's not on hand, then the gravy part is made with oxo's or beef bouillon cubes and tomato paste, rosemary, thyme, garlic, and parsley.

 
Shepherd's Pie was the first meal I cooked  as a newly wed , it remains one of my husband's  favorites to this day.




It was accompanied by boiled cabbage, mashed it with lots of butter, and fresh pepper, that's how my mum used to serve it.
Serve with a slice of pickled beetroot or a few pickled onions on the side, and a nice crusty loaf of bread.
Yum.
 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Rainless Days



Surrounding wildfires have caused the skies to become thick with smoke, the smell of burning undergrowth lingers in the night sky.
There is an air-quality alert issued for the entire state.
Still no sign of rain for the last ten weeks, I'm worried about the wildlife in the area.

I ventured out to do a little 'pre-season' Christmas shopping, but since I'm one of those who is a 'susceptible to bronchitis' type it didn't take long and I had to throw in the towel....
Cough, cough.



Saturday, November 12, 2016

Time For Tea

A dear longtime English friend stopped by for a visit yesterday, her timing couldn't have been better.
You know how it is, some days you'd just like to pull the bed-covers over your head, and let the world pass you by..........
She came bearing gifts, a lovely wool shawl, and a box of Ty-phoo tea, I'll save the shawl for winter, we both indulged in the tea-drinking.




There is something to be treasured about the ease of spending time with an old friend.
Of being in the company of someone who knows you inside and out, and you them, in the way that just seems to happen, when months turn into years, and years turn into a lifetime.
It’s like a massage for the soul. You have no idea how much tension you’re carrying around until you’re in an environment so comfortable that it all drains away.





A Cup of Tea

When the world is all at odds
And the mind is all at sea
Then cease the useless tedium
And brew a cup of tea.

There is magic in its' fragrance,
There is solace in its' taste;
And then laden moments vanish
Somehow into space.

And the world becomes a lovely thing!
There's beauty as you'll see;
All because you briefly stopped
To brew a cup of tea.


J. Jonker, Amsterdam, c.1670



Monday, November 7, 2016

Timeless Treasures

I have a fondness for English Staffordshire Ware.
 
One look at those pastoral village scenes, and I'm transported back to my grandmother's kitchen, where her cupboard displayed shelf upon shelf of these timeless treasures.
 
I can see the kitchen table covered in a freshly-starched embroidered tablecloth, the milk-jug sitting atop, awaiting the first of many pots of tea served throughout the day.
Treasured memories of gentler times........
 
 


One of my favorite collections are from the Alfred Meakin "Tintern" series.
I'm drawn to their bucolic scenes from years gone by.


 


Let's put the kettle on !
 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Warmth Of Candlelight



I'm a candle-burner.
No matter what season of the year, you'll find candles burning in my home.
I'm drawn like a moth to the flame, they comfort me, console me, wrap me in their warm glow.
Nothing says "Welcome Home" better than the soft glow of a burning spiced-candle.
Do you enjoy burning candles ?



Friday, November 4, 2016

Moongazer

After our trip through Arley Hall and Gardens, last Autumn, we stopped in at the gift shop, where I was introduced to the works of a very special lady.

Sally Anne Lambert has been illustrating books for children since 1984 when, in her final year at university, she was asked to illustrate “The Gingerbread Man” for Pavilion Books in Covent Garden. It was a wonderful introduction to publishing and she has been illustrating ever since, for a wide variety of publishers both in the UK and America.

The gift shop carried a delightful line of greeting cards, the creative works of Sally Anne, such attention to detail, and quintessential Englishness, I was happy to bring several back to Tennessee, as a reminder of  "England's Green and Pleasant Land".

                                                                       'Spellbound'
 


So bright the witching moon,
Each beam a spellbound thread:
In it's light, the hare
Lifts his listening head.
                                                                             

                                                                           *******

Take a look at these incredibly delightful illustrations, and see if you don't agree.
http://moongazercards.com/about/
The 'Rogues Gallery' made me smile...........

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Still Bloomin'

With milder than normal temperatures, these few early weeks of Autumn, the Morning Glory vines are still blooming their little hearts out.
This Grandpa Ott variety, returns year after year, without any help from the gardener.
The vines wrap their tendrils around the weathered-wood fence, and grace us with beauty, all summer long.

The flowers are a sumptuous Royal Blue trumpet with a contrasting purple star.
A strikingly beautiful combination.
Not quite the Autumn palette, yet nevertheless, we'll enjoy their presence until the first frost of the season, and then it's " show-over ".


 
 


 
 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

November Days

The leaves continue to fall.
The birds have retreated to their nests.
The geese fly south overhead.
Squirrels busily transport their overwinter stash to secret hiding places.
Wild turkeys lead their flock to the nightly roost.
A ginger kitty sleeps.