Friday, November 27, 2009

The Comforts Of Home.

Winter is the time for comfort,
for good food and warmth,
for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:
it is the time for home.
~Edith Sitwell

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner ?

Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving, from our home to yours.....

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Best Of Bluegrass and Irish Music.

I need a little inspiration, as with most of us at this time of the year.
All the shopping, decorating, cooking, list-making, errand-running, it all seems to overwhelm my spirit.
Oh, I'll get there, but I need a little encouragement.
I've played this video previously, but since it does the trick, I'm playing it again.
If this doesn't get you reeling......nothing else will.
Yip !

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Videocredit: Youtube/tarodnet

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Feline Visitor.

To say I'm a cat-lover would be an understatement, I adore cats.
The first cat that I was owned by, came from a family of feral cats on my uncle's allotment.
A bundle of yellow fur, mum and I transported him home in my dolly's pram.

I had to hold him with one hand and push the pram with the other, when I arrived home, my arm was nothing short of a bloody mess, he did not take kindly to humans.
I didn't care, I had my cat.
We named him Brandy, he used up most of his nine lives, and lived to the age of nineteen.

Last year, I lost both of my dear cats to illness. I longed for another, yet despite that urge held off making the commitment.
I think I just needed down-time.

In the middle of winter sitting on the porch and enjoying the Christmas lights, I heard a faint "meow".
A small orange and white cat appeared out of nowhere. I gave him a treat, petted him endlessly, and smiled.
Those familiar feelings, made me feel whole again.
I didn't see him again until this week.

Out of the blue, same friendly greeting, only this time a grown cat. If he could speak "human", I dare say he his words would have been
" Hello, I'm back, remember me ?"
He's been here for three days.
I think he may have a family, I'm going to ask around, if not I think I may have found my next cat, or he has found me....

I call him Oliver "Ollie" for short, he doesn't seem to mind, just as long as he gets petted, and there are plenty of treats.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Home Sweet Home.

Braided rugs
Tea-filled mugs
Flowers in jugs
Familiar hugs
Heartstring tugs

Poem: Home Sweet Home by ABritinTN

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Nesting Days.

Today we had our first rainfall in almost three weeks. It's one of those dark, quiet days, the kind that begs you to nestle in the fold, put a soup in the pot, and enjoy the coziness of home.

A new potting shed wreath from recycled willow tendrils and berry vines.

Leaves to welcome the season.

Leaves that are demanding attention.

I always think better over a cup of tea ;)

Monday, November 16, 2009

An Imposter Amongst Us.

" Ladybird, ladybird fly away home,
Your house is on fire and your children are gone, "

Ladybugs or Ladybirds as they are called in England, were always considered a sign of luck, if one was to land on you.

As I am sitting here writing, there are three ladybugs (ladybirds) walking across the ceiling. These warmer than usual Autumn days, today 74 degrees would be a reasonable explanation for these cute little bugs to still be present, or so I thought.

After a fellow blogger also commented on the prolific presence of the ladybugs I started to wonder, why they are still hanging around the garden and now inside the house, daily.

It turns out that the true Ladybug bright red with spots with which we are all so familiar, is being threatened at an alarming rate, by an impostor Ladybug, The Harlequin Ladybug.

Harlequins are native to Asia but were introduced to the U.S. a quarter of a century ago to control aphid populations.
Since then they have become the country's most common species, threatening the survival of North American ladybirds and other aphid predators such as butterflies.

They were subsequently sold in continental Europe by biocontrol companies, and are believed to have arrived in Britain on plants from Holland, Belgium or France.
Unlike their red and black-spotted British counterparts, harlequins come in a rainbow of colours, most commonly orange and yellow.

They have up to 21 spots. They eat aphids, the staple diet of Britain's own ladybird species.
When those run out, they are happy to eat their competitors instead.
Even humans aren't exempt - Professor Majerus a scientist at the University of Cambridge England, said there were increasing reports of harlequins biting people in the late summer as they run out of food.

The Ladybugs have quickly become the Nuisance Pest of the Year, as thousands of Americans British and Canadians are being bombarded by and infested with ladybugs, in their homes.
As autumn approaches, the adult beetles leave their summer feeding sites in yards, fields and forests for protected places to spend the winter. Unfortunately, homes and buildings are one such location. Swarms of lady beetles typically fly to buildings in September though November depending on locale and weather conditions.
Beetle flights are heaviest on sunny days following a period of cooler weather, when temperatures return to at least the mid-60s. Consequently, most flight activity occurs in the afternoon and may vary in intensity from one day to the next.

Besides just being pesky, the Asian Lady Beetle also emits a distinct odor when they are disturbed (such as when you try to swat at them in your house) or when they gather in groups. They also can leave behind a yellowish liquid that can stain carpets or other surfaces.

Turns out they're not so "lucky" after all.
Photocredit: University of Cambridge

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Little Home.

The Little Home
Edgar A. Guest

The little house is not too small
To shelter friends who come to call.
Though low the roof and small its space
It holds the Lord's abounding grace,
And every simple room may be
Endowed with happy memory.
The little house, severely plain,
A wealth of beauty may contain.
Within it those who dwell may find
High faith which makes for peace of mind,
And that sweet understanding which
Can make the poorest cottage rich.
The little house can hold all things
From which the soul's contentment springs.
'Tis not too small for love to grow,
For all the joys that mortals know,
For mirth and song and that delight
Which make the humblest dwelling bright.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Signs Of The Times.

At least two signs captured my attention and made me smile, whilst driving the country backroads.....

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Out And About.

Yesterday, I found myself running the back roads.
I had errands to take care of in the next County, and the quickest way of getting there would have been to take the interstate.
I really don't care much for interstate traveling, despite the convenience and time saving of it all, I find myself in a nervous frenzy when I arrive at my destination. There is just something unnerving about traveling down the highway at seventy miles an hour, in the 'rocking chair' of four eighteen -wheelers.
Instead I usually opt to take the country roads. The scenery is much more friendly, and if I see something of interest, I have the luxury of enjoying it, and even pulling off to the side for a picture or two.

Along the highway.
Old abandoned country church

The deer visitors return in the afternoon.

Lest We Not Forget.

"The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it."~ Thucydides

Remembrance Day – also known as Poppy Day, Armistice Day (the event it commemorates) or Veterans Day – is a day to commemorate the sacrifices of members of the armed forces and of civilians in times of war, specifically since the First World War.
It is observed on 11 November to recall the end of World War I on that date in 1918.

Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice. The day was specifically dedicated by King George V, on 7 November 1919, to the observance of members of the armed forces who were killed during war.

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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.

Video credit: Youtube/DJJetplane/ Music: Dropkick Murphys/The Green Fields of France.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Old Barn.

Just down the road…around the bend,
Stands an old empty barn; nearing the end.
It has sheltered no animals for many years;
No dairy cows, no horses, no sheep, no steers.
The neigh of a horse; the low of a cow;
Those sounds have been absent for some time now.
There was a time when the loft was full of hay,
And the resounding laughter of children at play.
At one time the paint was a bold shade of red;
Gradually faded by weather and the sun overhead.
The doors swing in the wind…the hinges are loose;
Windows and siding have taken a lot of abuse.
The fork, rope and pulleys lifted hay to the mow;
A task that always brought sweat to the brow.
But those good days are gone; forever it seems,
And that old barn now stands with sagging beams.
It is now home to pigeons, rats and mice;
The interior is tattered and doesn’t look very nice.
Old, abandoned barns have become a trend,
Just down the road….around the bend.
~Vance Oliphant, c. 1999.

(Click to enlarge)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Ode To Autumn.

"How innocent were these Trees, that in
Mist-green May, blown by a prospering breeze,
Stood garlanded and gay;
Who now in sundown glow
Of serious colour clad confront me with their show
As though resigned and sad,
Trees, who unwhispering stand umber, bronze, gold;
Pavilioning the land for one grown tired and old;
Elm, chestnut, aspen and pine, I am merged in you,
Who tell once more in tones of time,
Your foliaged farewell."-

~October Trees: Siegfried Sassoon.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Remember, Remember The 5th Of November.

Each November 5th there is a celebration in Britain named Guy Fawkes Night or Bonfire Night..
In 1605 Guy Fawkes and his conspirators placed barrels of gunpowder in the cellar of the Houses of Parliament, their intention being, to kill the English King James, and his supporters.

" Remember, remember the fifth of November,
The gunpowder treason and plot,
I know of no reason
Why the gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot "

The event is accompanied by firework displays, the lighting of bonfires and the ceremonial effigy-burning of one Guy Fawkes. The origin of this celebration stems from events which took place in 1605 and was a conspiracy known as "The Gunpowder Plot," intended to take place on November 5th of that year (the day set for the opening of Parliament).
The object of The Gunpowder Plot was to blow up English Parliament along with the ruling monarch, King James I. It was hoped that such a disaster would initiate a great uprising of English Catholics, who were distressed by the increased severity of penal laws against the practice of their religion.

Houses of Parliament.

Guy Fawkes.

The conspirators, who began plotting early in 1604, eventually expanded their members to a point where secrecy was impossible. One of their number, Thomas Percy (who had contacts at the Court of King James), hired a cellar beneath the House of Lords. Within this cellar were secretly stored 36 barrels (almost two tons) of gunpowder, overlaid with iron bars and firewood.

The plan went awry, however, by way of a mysterious letter received by Lord Monteagle on October 26th (10 days prior to the opening of Parliament). Monteagle, brother-in-law of Francis Tresham (another of the conspirators and likely author of the correspondence...although this was never proven), was urged in the letter not to attend Parliament on opening day. When the message was revealed to the First Earl of Salisbury and others, they took steps which led to the discovery of the hidden cache and the arrest of Guy Fawkes on the night of November 4th as he entered the cellar.
The majority of the other conspirators, either overtaken as they attempted to flee or seized shortly thereafter, were killed outright, imprisoned or executed. While the plot itself was the work of a small number of men, it provoked hostility against all British Catholics and led to an increase in the harshness of laws against them. Even to this day, it is the law that no Roman Catholic may hold the office of monarch and the reigning king or queen remains Supreme Head of the Church of England.

Today, one of the ceremonies which accompanies the opening of a new session of Parliament is a traditional searching of the basement by the Yeoman of the Guard. It has been said that for superstitious reasons, no State Opening of Parliament has or ever will be held again on November 5th. This, however, is a fallacy since on at least one occasion (in 1957), Parliament did indeed open on November 5th.

The actual cellar employed for the storage of the gunpowder in 1605 by the conspirators was damaged by fire in 1834 and totally destroyed during the rebuilding of the Palace of Westminster in the Nineteenth Century. Portions of the original cellar are on display at Sir John Soane's Museum in Lincoln's Inn Fields, is the lantern which was carried by Guy Fawkes in 1605.

Also known as "Firework Night" and "Bonfire Night," November 5th was designated by King James I (via an Act of Parliament) as a day of thanksgiving for "the joyful day of deliverance." This Act remained in force until 1859. On the very night of the thwarted Gunpowder Plot, it is said that the populace of London celebrated the defeat by lighting fires and engaging in street festivities. It would appear that similar celebrations took place on each anniversary and, over the years, became a tradition. In many areas, a holiday was observed, although it is not celebrated in Northern Ireland.

Remembering when I was a young girl, the school children would spend weeks preparing for this event. Collecting bonfire wood, saving money for fireworks, with children and parents alike, participating in the celebrations.
Our pockets would be filled with potatoes, used to throw in the bonfire, and devour once they were cooked......ashes and all.

Sausages on sticks, trays of treacle toffee, toffee apples, and Parkin a traditional English Hearth Cake would all be part of the treats for the taking.
School children would chase each other around the bonfire with handfuls of "sparklers".
It's a magical time on a cool November evening....

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Watermelon Moon Farm .

We seem to be having a run of bad luck lately.
You know, the kind that comes in threes.
I desperately felt the need for a "lift", and upon opening my e-mail box this morning, there is was.....
An invitation to my favorite Antebellum home Watermelon Moon Farm, all gloriously decked out for it's Christmas Open House, and just begging visitors to enter through it's doors and step back in time.

Emily and Harold the most gracious proprietors, will no doubt be serving their specialty hors d' oeuvres and copious amounts of Spiced Tea.
The rooms will be brimming, with unique Christmas gifts all hand selected by Emily herself.
As an added treat, there will be a guest author, Candy Paull, author of several nationally published books, including her latest The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year.

I have written about this gem in the countryside previously. It's historical home , cottage industry, working farm and bed and breakfast, are truly a delight for the soul.

I'm marking my calendar as I type.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Heiress Presumptive.

On February 2, 1952 Elizabeth Alexandra Mary ( Elizabeth ll ) became the Queen of the United Kingdom, upon the death of her father.
She was twenty five years old.
Throughout her reign, her connection with America, and it's presidents has always been a personable one.
She will soon be approaching her 58th year in public office.
Long live the Queen......