Friday, December 29, 2023

Nesting

Winter weather has set in, cold and blustery.
There are whispers of the "s" word in the forecast, the hearth is lit, candles and twinkly lights glow.

A portly kitty sleeps.

 




"Surely everyone is aware of the divine pleasures which attend a wintry fireside; candles at four o’clock, warm hearthrugs, tea, a fair tea-maker, shutters closed, curtains flowing in ample draperies to the floor, whilst the wind and rain are raging audibly without."
 ~ Thomas De Quincey 1796 

 
 
Brambly Hedge : Illustrated by Jill Barklem

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Peace On Earth, Goodwill Toward Men

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

 


 
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

Thursday, December 21, 2023

The Longest Night

   The longest night of the year, with the Cold Moon as it's companion.

                                                       Winter arrives.

 


" Lighting one candle
from another -
Winter night "
 
~ Buson

Sunday, December 10, 2023

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

A windy and wet start to our day, the perfect opportunity to finish up the last of the decorating, and spend the day list-ticking.

As you may have seen in the news, our Middle Tennessee area was the casualty of several devastating tornadoes last night, thankfully, none within ten miles, but nevertheless, lives were lost and towns were destroyed.
Our prayers go out to those who are affected.

I'm counting my blessings twice.


 

 


 
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





 
 
 
 

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Christmas Scents

One of my favorite Christmas activities in early December, when the cold weather has set in and thoughts are turning to decorating, are to make dried orange slices for hanging on the tree.
The aroma is intoxicatingly festive, and fills the house with the fresh smell of oranges.
If you desire you can sprinkle a few with a light dusting of cinnamon, not too heavy an amount as this tends to make the oranges darker.
When they are hung from the branches and the twinkling fairy lights shine through they remind of Nature's stained-glass.

 

 

Two or three Navel oranges.
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.
Prepare your pan with nonstick spray or a baking mat. ...
Slice oranges into 1/4″ slices or thinner. ... 
Pat dry with a paper towel.
Place oranges in a single layer on the prepared pan, ensuring they do not touch.
Bake for up to 6 hours or until completely dry.
Hang from the tree with jute or ribbon.

                                                                              🎄

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Brown Paper Packages, Tied Up With String

Today I braved the masses and finished up my Christmas shopping, at least I think so.

I've still to do the final list-checking, but for once I've gotten ahead of the game, and wrapped all of the gifts.
I'm usually a Christmas-Eve wrapper, in panic mode no less.
My daughter used to help me wrap all of the gifts, but since she has her own family to take care of, I'm left to my own devices.



 
Tonight I'm taking a little time to relax.
With the winter moon high in the sky, and  the landscape covered in a rain-filled mist, I'm treating myself to an evening hearthside .
Twinkling trees, candles glowing, a lovely pot of tea and Christmas shortbread,  I'm settling in for a date with Dylan Thomas, the popular and much-loved Welsh poet.



 

A Child's Christmas in Wales film, a timeless tale, delivers with gentleness a glimpse of a child's Welsh Christmas and takes you on a journey back to the magic and marvel of boyhood " where no two moments were ever alike, and life was embraced with belief instead of doubt ."
Purely magical !
 


Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Simple Pleasures

 



"The real things haven't changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong."
                                                         ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Making A Start

The Thanksgiving dishes have been returned to the cupboard for yet another year and today i made a start on the Christmas decorating.

A little here, a little there, and before you know it, the house is transformed with the magic of Christmas.
I think we could all use a little magic right about now....



Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Thanksgiving Blessings



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

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Ode To Autumn

An overnight freeze and ground still warm from a day of sunshine started  our morning with an eerie mist.
By noon, sunshine had returned, and garden chores were undertaken. Leaf-gathering, pot cleaning, and a general all around tidy up, giving one last chance to put the garden to rest for yet another season.






"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, November 13, 2023

Cottage Love

 




cottage small be mine, with porch
Enwreathed with ivy green,
And brightsome flowers with dew-filled bells,
'Mid brown old wattles seen.

And one to wait at shut of eve,
With eyes as fountain clear,
And braided hair, and simple dress,
My homeward step to hear.

On summer eves to sing old songs,
And talk o'er early vows,
While stars look down like angels' eyes
Amid the leafy boughs.

When Spring flowers peep from flossy cells,
And bright-winged parrots call,
In forest paths be ours to rove
Till purple evenings fall.

The curtains closed, by taper clear
To read some page divine,
On winter nights, the hearth beside,
Her soft, warm hand in mine.

And so to glide through busy life,
Like some small brook alone,
That winds its way 'mid grassy knolls,
Its music all its own.

Love in a Cottage ~ Daniel Henry Deniehy 1828-1865
                                                            

Thursday, November 9, 2023

The Turning Of The Leaf

Finally, a little Autumn color has crept in.

Just in time for a blustery wind, to blanket the ground with autumn brilliance.
Raking leaves now sits at the top of the "to-do" list.
And a portly kitty spends her days chasing them.
 

 
 

  
 
 


 


...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, "
 

Sunday, November 5, 2023

Fall Back

 

 

Last night at exactly 2 am our semi-annual clock fiddling took place once again.
An hour backwards from Daylight Saving Time, affording an extra hour of sleep on these colder mornings.
Just enough time to remind us, that the year is winding down, and soon, a long sleepy winter will be our companion.
A time to regenerate our weary souls, and make new plans for the coming year ahead.
A time to dream.



 

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

November

Our first Autumn freeze has blanketed the fields whilst we slept.
Thankfully the Chrysanthemums had been covered, and the remaining tomatoes gathered off the vines.
Tonight, more of the same predicted, and then back to our days being filled with sunshine and blue skies.
The lingering smell of wood-smoke fills the morning air.

 




 "The hazy, cloudless skies of Indian Summer.
Leaves scurrying down the street before the wind.
The cold shiver from an arctic blast.
Indian Summer. The last warmth of the sun.
Chilly mornings and glorious warm afternoons.
The Harvest Moon. The Hunter's Moon. The Rainy Season.
Dry corn stalks clattering in the wind.
The touch of frost on grass and window pane.
The smell of burning leaves."


~ Keith C. Heidorn

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Trick Or Treat

 We'll leave the light on for you.

 


" By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes,
Open, locks,
Whoever knocks ".
 
Shakespeare / Macbeth 1606

 
 
 

 

Saturday, October 28, 2023

In The Spirit

  A little early decorating.

Just to get in the "spirit" of things.

                                                                   👻 👻👻

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Autumn Muskiness



“It was one of those sumptuous days when the world is full of autumn muskiness and tangy, crisp perfection: vivid blue sky, deep green fields, leaves in a thousand luminous hues. It is a truly astounding sight when every tree in a landscape becomes individual, when each winding back highway and plump hillside is suddenly and infinitely splashed with every sharp shade that nature can bestow - flaming scarlet, lustrous gold, throbbing vermilion, fiery orange.”
        ~ Bill Bryson

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Rainless Days

We have been without significant rainfall for over a month.

Usually by mid-October, we are surrounded by brilliant orange, and red leaves on the trees, but sadly they are turning brown, and falling to the ground.
Interesting, since we had a wet spring and summer, and now a dry, brown Autumn.
The Autumn Joy Sedum however, is turning a delicious shade of crimson.
 
 


Saturday, October 14, 2023

Silence


Some days it's good to do nothing. No deadlines to meet, no chores to complete, no lists to check twice.
Bliss.

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Indian Summer

Indian Summer is upon us. Balmy warm days, and 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


Saturday, October 7, 2023

October Days

We had our first real taste of Autumn weather last night, tonight down in the mid forties and snugly blankets will once again return to the beds.
The sound of distant laughter can be heard from giggly school children enjoying their Fall break, and down on Main Street Oktoberfest's are in full swing.



"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, October 5, 2023

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 during my last trip home. 
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.

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Early Autumn Days

These first few days of Autumn, a little decorating, a little gardening, a little relaxing 

Nights are drawing in fast, dark before the clock strikes seven now.
Our days are still seasonally warm in these southern United States, giving the opportunity to finish those end of summer chores, before Old Man Winter sets in.
Leaves are beginning to gather, hummingbirds are making their way deeper South, the rhythm of life is noticeably slowing.
The smell of wood-smoke fills the night air.






Friday, September 29, 2023

Shine On Harvest Moon

The Harvest Moon brightened up the night sky as soon as the sun set.

For several days before and after the full moon, the moon hangs in the sky like a great, glowing lantern and prolongs the light far after sunset. It rises about the time the sun sets, but more importantly, at this time of year, instead of rising at its normal average of 40 minutes later each day, the moon seems to rise at nearly the same time each night.
This results in an abundance of bright moonlight early in the evening, which was a traditional aide to farmers and crews harvesting their summer-grown crops. Hence, the name "Harvest" Moon. 
Simply magical !





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