Monday, October 23, 2017

A new little one - - - - - -

 A big question for us has always been "why do we never see any baby squirrels in
 our garden?". 
We have dozens of these furry creatures who nest in our big oaks, then appear
 at the feeders, chase one another up, down and around tree trunks, sit on our
 deck rails gnawing through iron-hard hickory nuts, bury acorns hither and thither, 
drink from the birdbaths, clatter across the cottage roof etc. . . . . . but they're 
always fully grown, some very old with battle scars and sometimes even
 open wounds. . . . . . we've just never seen a cute little new one. . . . . 

It's hard to show a size comparison because this little guy always comes to eat
 alone - no parents, siblings or buddies apparently.  He/she is about half the
 size of the adults so I'm presuming perhaps several months old. I can walk up
 close while it nibbles on bird seed and crumbled suet cake (have not seen it try
 to tackle the feeders yet!), then it runs to this tree trunk and hangs out until I 
move away, then back to nibble the seeds. Talking to it doesn't scare it away
 either, it seems to listen intently to all I say!

This cutie is the perfect little bright-eyed grey squirrel - no cuts, scrapes, 
missing chunks of fur . . . . . . . and sports a beautiful bushy tail.

Of course I know it will grow larger and look just like all the other squirrels out
 there - but I do hope I can continue to recognize it and that it will stay in our garden.
I'm scattering a few tasty nuts under the feeder - perhaps it will then
know it's very welcome.

I'm thinking of a name for this new visitor - any suggestions?

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Pumpkin Squash Pasta. . . . . . . . .

Friday I made a great, quick and easy dish calling for pumpkin or squash.
I actually used what I'm calling a 'pumpkin squash', a bit of a rogue harvested
 from the fields of our farm friends, the Johnsons, where we visited a few weeks ago.

Apparently this year, one of their regular pumpkins also grows this curvaceous beauty
on the same vine!  Similar to a butternut squash but easier to cut through for me.
All seeds are in the bulbous end so with such a long neck you get a lot of
flesh from there. The flavor is mild so I roasted along with chopped garlic, 
red onion and a couple of slightly hot peppers from my neighbor's garden.
Tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper, 40mins. in the oven brought all the
flavors together nicely.

I cooked a short pasta, Garafolo brand from Naples which I really like, added just 
enough of the excellent pumpkin and butternut squash sauce - a real steal from
 Aldi - freshly chopped parsley still being snipped from the garden, toasted
 chopped walnuts, topped with creamy burrata cheese and course some
grated parmigiano reggiano.

We enjoyed this meal immensely - along with a robust red wine - in the gazebo on
 what was a perfect autumn evening. Nothing stirring but the numerous late diners
 at the bird feeders, a few squirrels enjoying the seeds on the ground, and the
 sunset glowing in the west beyond our huge oaks.

We have a new little friend in the garden - I'll share some photos soon. 
Last evening, while relaxing on the front porch at dusk, we had a huge rabbit
 sitting in the center of the lawn when a young fox passed by within yards of it,
 not even giving the rabbit a second glance, thankfully!

Hope you're enjoying your weekend and have good weather to
get outside and revel in autumn's beauty. We worked endlessly in the 
garden both Friday and Saturday in what currently is perfect weather, so 
evening relaxation has been extra special here at the cottage.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Scarves, wraps = elegant, inexpensive warmth. . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . a new season of dressing has arrived.

My neighbor and friend said she was busy
 "getting her scarves out" which made me realize
 those cozy necessities for autumn/winter days
 and evenings are longing to be pulled from drawers
 or storage boxes NOW!  
So I'm packing away my light silk and linen scarves 
of summertime, and organizing the pile of pashmina,
 woven wool, hand knit, and cashmere.
Makes me happy - nothing lovelier than a beautiful
warm scarf to wrap, wind, toss about the neck,
 around the shoulders, even over a jacket or coat.
Here are a few new favorites I would love to have.

Are you a scarf person?  
About how many do you have?
Own up now - I must have at least fifty - and always want more!
Thankfully, inexpensive beauties can be found, although every 
gal needs at least one in pure cashmere - add to your 
wish list now!

Do you knit scarves?  They are my go to cool weather
craft - always have one easy pattern (so I don't have to look
 too closely) on my knitting needles so I can do something
 worthwhile when watching TV, and keep my old fingers moving.
How about you?

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Scribble Picnic. . . . . . . Fill in the Blank

. . . . . . . . I craved one for a while. 
Then I wanted grey. 
Now, I'm not up for a kitchen remodel/upheaval at all - so will stay with 
my original natural wood cabinets, enjoy them, save thousands. . . . . 
and guess what, brown wood is being loved again!

This week's theme for Michael's Scribble Picnic is
Fill in the Blank.  There's a choice of two shapes, as my screen shot
above shows (I'm using the version on the right), and you get to see our 
 handsome host Michael too!
Like me, he's a British ex-pat so we have a lot in common, despite
  the fact I'm old enough to be his grandma! We love, tea, toast, marmalade
Victoria sponge cake ~ and Bob and I are hoping next year to meet up with
 Michael and his lovely, talented illustrator wife Alexandra, to sip and nibble
 while we talk about England.

Come and join us on Scribble Picnic days - you don't have to be
 an artist per se. I'm definitely not, just give your creative side a little push,
 it's fun, and you meet other creative people from around the world,
 thanks to Michael!

A chill in the evening air. . . . . . . . .

Midtowne, Raleigh, NC 

Last evening the sunset was amazing.
Walking to a restaurant, then doing a 
little shopping in our neighborhood, we
at last felt a difference in the air.
Bring on autumn. . . . . . . sweaters, jackets, harvest moons,
pumpkins, goblins, falling leaves, warm and fuzzy friends, 

~ via Anthropologie ~

~ via Anthropologie ~

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