Sunday, September 29, 2013

The pumpkin game..........................

You'd think I had nothing better to do yesterday than play outside with a camera and pumpkins! 
Actually I was transferring them to the potting shed where it will remain cool whilst we are in Europe. 
This one below is my baking pumpkin - already I can't wait to get back and cook this beauty!

Bob mowed the grass while I did a little weeding, clean up 
and pruning - always like to leave things neat and tidy. 
Neighbors keep an eye on things......and family members 
stop by to watch TV and eat our snacks make sure 
everything is secure!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

My garden this Saturday morning........

I'm as busy as this bee on the Sedum plant this morning!

Not much time for garden walks this weekend. Just 
a few quick pics on this lovely sunny morning. There's 
still lots happening out there, including Autumn
flowers blooming, hungry birds feeding....... 

.....and note we still have figs ripening even though the 
leaves of the Celeste fig are starting to dry, curl, 
and fall to the ground now.

This is how it looks this lovely weekend morning - dappled sun, warming up, so off to do a wee bit of gardening before tackling other things in the house.

Leaving on our trip Wednesday...much to do before then.
Enjoy your weekend.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Dressing for Europe...................

What does one wear in Central Europe when Summer has gone, Autumn is hopefully somewhat warm and dry, and before the deep cold of Winter arrives? 

Some of you have enjoyed sharing my packing anxieties stories for other trips I've taken to some wild places. By now you are familiar with the collapsible clothes rack - one of my more sensible purchases ever - that appears in the guest room along with a suitcase or duffel as time to leave home gets close. This way I can see what I'm facing without digging through dim closets - and everything I'd like to fold neatly stuff into that travel bag is visible.
Of course I've been given marching orders by 'he who will be hauling the luggage' now that my arms are not so good. One suitcase only - and one back pack for my soon to be seventy poor old back - wish me luck please!
Needless to say, the current mass of clothing displayed on that rack has to be pared down, and soon.
So, if you're interested, this is my plan for my October pre-birthday trip to Europe with my dear husband.

  • I've already removed the Winter coat! It's a great coat but bulky to pack, too warm to travel in (airports are always too hot).
  • So, the jacket is my dark grey J.Jill on the left of the rack. Love this jacket, it's mid-thigh length, has a hood, so protects me from rain, looks OK for evenings with a big scarf wrapped around the shoulders, and thankfully it covers my butt! 
  • Taking only black pants! Go with everything so there's minimal decision-making required for that part of the day's outfit. One pair of nice I.N.C knit skinnies, two pairs of Vera Wang knit cord heavy leggings, both to wear with boots or shoes, and of course long tops! One pair of cropped I.N.C knit pants to wear if there's a really warm day, and a more dressy pair of lightweight M&S (from England) narrow ankle pants for evening/dinner to wear with the following........
  • Cashmere, fabulous cashmere. Dream fabric for cool/cold weather snuggleness, and lightweight to pack. Sweater and cardigan twinsets in grey and black to mix and match -  casual for day, gussied up with nice earrings and scarves for evening.
  • My one purchase for this trip - because it was a $69.00 steal at Nordstrom's Rack and I loved it - the color-blocked (light grey, dark grey and black) Philosophy loose cashmere sweater in the pic above. Can wear it alone for evening - has a scoop neck, perfect for a bold silver necklace - or over a thin CuddlDud tee shirt and layered under the jacket on a cool or damp day.
  • Throwing in a couple of basic black and grey tees - always useful under a sleeveless black fleece vest - and an Eileen Fisher light grey/black striped merino wool hooded sweater, loose and nice worn over a thin layer if chilly......a bargain found on last Spring's sale rack. 
  • The dress. I'm not really a dress person, but I do have a comfy J.Jill basic black lambswool dress, more like a knee-length sweater, which works well over leggings with tall boots or flats.......this might come in useful and it's easy to pack.
  • The hat. A boiled wool cloche purchased in England last Christmas, so comfy and doesn't give me a headache like some snug hats.
  • Assorted scarves - long ones to wind and tie to warm the neck, a large printed soft wool square to wear around my shoulders as a wrap.
  • Footwear - always difficult for me when traveling! I love nice shoes and boots, and could travel with an entire suitcase of shoes if 'you know who' would allow! With all the walking expected, much over uneven cobbles, I'm forsaking any strictly dressy shoes and taking three pairs of comfortable, already broken in, walking shoes. My Frye woven Oxfords, a pair of basic black flats, and a pair of black Coach lightweight fabric sport type walkers.......also a pair of leather classic low heeled tall boots.

So dear readers, if you're bored stiff by now, and sorry you asked what I'm planning to pack - besides P.J.'s, unmentionables, electronic things with cables, jewelry, and toiletries (the latter being a whole other packing story!) - this is what's going in the bag.
Will it all fit? Probably not.
Packing tips are always welcome, thank you very much.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

"We brake for pumpkins!"

Monday we took a country drive in the Autumn sunshine. We were on a mission out of town which was partly accomplished, but the best part, as usual, were the unplanned stops we made along the way due to wonderful surprises. You know how that get home and, as you unwind, you sigh and say, "Wow what a lovely day this has been".

My annual pumpkin purchasing had not even started because I'd not yet found the grey-green beauties I love for indoor decor.  "Hey, look, stop, turn around, go back - green pumpkins!" Sure enough, there beyond a colorful riot of hundreds of orange beauties, I spied white ones, mottled ones, gold ones, and many shades of green. Pumpkin heaven on a North Carolina country roadside!

A quick U-turn up the road and we were back in the driveway. I was out of the car before the engine was off, befriending a sweet black cat, a gentle dog, and two of the nicest farmers in North Carolina. 
The Johnsons planted 7 acres of pumpkin seeds this year, all by hand! When the drowning rains came this past Spring, Doug's homemade seeding tool had luckily set them deep enough in the ground.........thankfully they didn't wash away. 

Freda shared enjoyable pumpkin stories with Bob as I toddled about overwhelmed and unable to choose out of so many beautiful veggies. I would have brought home the entire harvest IF I'd had a tractor-trailer!

I ended up with the three grey-green ones, a lime green one, and a pale orange-green one for inside decor, and brought back the 'jazzy' looking deep orange and green one in front of the price sign, for Jasmin. Once I get time to decorate I'll show you mine in the house.

Then I asked Freda if she had any good roasting pumpkins. These green and gold ones above are her favorites for eating (all pumpkins are edible though) and she picked out a good one for me - third one back on the left. Bob has promised to hack cut this monster open for me when we get back from Europe and I have time to roast it! I also bought their just-picked butternut squash and will be cooking them this week.

I loved this family farm of 200+ acres. Besides pumpkins they grow corn and wheat, have a herd of cattle, and adorable miniature ponies out in the pasture.

The pumpkin prices were very affordable and the selection 
the best I've ever seen around here.

Freda and Doug, hope you read this and everyone comes over to purchase your wonderful pumpkins. I know how hard farmers work to bring food to our table..............and you also offer the makings of a perfect Autumn to share with those of us who enjoy decorating for the season.  
Thank you ~ we'll see you next time.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Travel to old Europe....................

This is not us! I loved this painting when I saw it hanging in SuzAnna's Antiques some years back. Today I found it in my iPhoto archive and once again it spoke to me. It illustrates how I'm feeling right now about flying off next week to a part of Europe I've never seen. I think the cloche hat and airy scarf, both items I'll be wearing, already have me excited at thoughts of riding the trains, treading the old cobblestone streets and alleys, tiptoeing down cathedral aisles, sighing at the architecture of old palaces and historic buildings. Throw in perhaps a river cruise on the Danube, and wandering across timeworn bridges to the strains of Mozart. Sampling scrumptious pastries with coffee or hot chocolate in an historic old cafe if the days are chilly, or even if they're not!

First stop will be London - but just to change planes for Hungary for a few days in beautiful Budapest. Then a train to lovely Vienna, Austria for a couple more days before boarding the train to the Czech Republic, and there I'll have several days in Prague.....a city I've been longing to visit for ages.

More than likely I'll take a gazillion photos. Will post if possible. Plan to come back with stories of these three wonderful cities to share with you.
What am I packing? I'm working on that - come back to see!

Linking this post to Jeanne's blog Collage of Life - where a new Bowerbird Friends party is in progress. Hope you'll go visit.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

My southeast Autumn garden......................

A few nights ago I awoke in the darkness, long before dawn, to pelting, pouring rain. After the previous dreary overcast day I was not really surprised. It seemed the skies suddenly decided to get over their sadness and let all their tears fall heavily through the dark night.

Early next morning, brilliant sunshine poured through the windows and heaped itself in bright pools upon the dining room table. Beyond, in the still very green garden, it illuminated the colors of the many birds eating at the feeder and splashing in the old concrete bath topped up with fresh rainwater. On the back deck it warmed the furry squirrels, already fattening up for Winter, as they cracked open and crunched their breakfast on the rail.

Pink and purple petals are gone from the clematis, but how pretty their seed heads are in lime green. Yellow angel trumpets are blooming profusely, and beneath their dozens of pendulous flowers, the parsley, now gone to seed, glows gold and gorgeous. 

Some rain, some sunshine...........and all is lovely in these 
early days of Autumn.

Monday, September 23, 2013

SuzAnna's in Autumn....................

Yesterday was beautiful - our first Autumn day didn't 
disappoint in any way.
 Late afternoon I headed to the Vintage Village - second 
visit in a few days as I was there for the fun Fall Festival 
held on Thursday evening.
I wanted to look around, take a few photos to share with 
all my treasure hunting friends, and then take 
granddaughter Jasmin home from her job at SuzAnna's Antiques.

So, come join me in my little walk around SuzAnna's, inside 
and out, see what caught my eye, and celebrate Autumn in North Carolina.

Have you ever seen these? Anyone know what they are? They immediately caught my attention - you know how I love pairs of things. They came home with me..........the pair, and another smaller one which Susie generously threw in the bag. Already I've been asked what I will do with them by 'you know who'! 
Who knows.......maybe outside in the garden, on the deck or porch, perhaps even inside....somewhere!
I can see doing something pretty for the Holiday season using candles, ivy etc.

Jasmin enjoys working at SuzAnna's Antiques so much.
It's not always easy for young teens to find a pleasant job.  

When I hear her chatting with customers, answering their decorating questions, making suggestions as to what may work in their home on their budget, learning the art of display, I feel proud seeing how far she has come in the few years of working here on weekends. I thank owners Susie and Jenny (lovely mom and daughter) for giving her the opportunity to work, have more confidence in herself, make some money of her own, learn a fun business, and more important, to be an honest and responsible employee.

Tell us what you would have brought home from SuzAnna's on a such a bright, sunshiny Autumn day.

Seattle scenes...........

No, I'm not here right now - but I was this past Summer, 
and several Summers before that!
Exciting city, beautiful views - go visit if you haven't yet.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A trip and a birthday..............

Sunflowers, all flowers, who brightened our days of Summer with beautiful color and fragrance......we will miss you.

Yesterday I spent several hours working on the plans for an upcoming trip. It was that kind of day - not one of the brilliant sunshiny days of Summer, a season officially leaving us later today - just a dreary, overcast grey day where you feel like doing nothing much, going nowhere, just filling in the hours doing chores, reading a good book, organizing your photos, daydreaming and such.
I should be thrilled about going away again, and if truth be known I really am. However, DH is away for the weekend - a high school reunion 'up North', and I just feel a bit lonely and sorry for myself.

This trip will be special. My dearest is taking me away to celebrate my birthday, one of those newsworthy ones ending in an easy to remember, big fat zero! When these roll around signaling the start of another decade, suddenly one sounds so much older than the previous number ending in a nine. Actually we're going on the trip early so I'll still end in '9' when I return! Anyway, whilst pounding the cobblestones and admiring the sights and sounds of three fabulous old world European cities, I plan to forget about numbers and just have fun!  
Oh yes, where are we going? Tell you soon.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Autumn's arrival...............

...well not actually today, but tomorrow, September 22, 
at 4:44 PM, the Autumnal Equinox is marked on my calendar and 
it will officially become Autumn here in the Northern Hemisphere. 
The temperatures will start to drop and the 
days will become shorter than the nights.

Welcome beautiful season..........full of glorious color.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Owl and the Pussy-cat..................

Beautiful framed print of an owl seen recently at 
The Antique Tobacco Barn, Asheville, NC.

A neighbor's marmalade cat, Bella, who came to visit 
my front porch, took a liking to the Autumn decor.....and 
enjoyed looking at her reflection in the mirror. 

Have you ever wondered what happened to the original 
owl and pussycat?
"The owl and the pussy-cat went to sea 
in a beautiful pea green boat......."

Above, British author Edward Lear's illustration from 
his book published in 1871.

Generations have grown up reciting this 
'nonsense poem'............and I just 
discovered some big news. British author,
Julia Donaldson, published a book last month titled 
The Further Adventures of The Owl and the Pussy-cat.

via Penguin Children's Books

What a delightful poetry book duo this will 
make for youngsters who love having poems and 
stories read out loud to them........then 
enjoy reading them later by themselves.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

September Note Cards..........French Country.

I'm joining Vee's monthly note card party today.
Being a first-timer here I hope I'm getting it right!
Sharing four views I captured in the South of France 
which I think would make an attractive set of 
all occasion note cards.

I can't believe it's almost five years since I was in France! Where has that long span of time gone? 
What a lot of photos I've taken around the world since I took these back then with my little Canon point and shoot.

October drapes the vineyards in still warm and beautiful weather - mornings are misty with the landscape so beautifully dressed in Autumn foliage. The perimeters of the fields display plenty of juicy berries for hungry birds. I think this may have been my favorite time of year to visit France.

All this beauty surrounds my family's French home. Walking was pleasant and easy, except on one occasion when a pair of rifle toting wild boar hunters came out of the vines and surprised us........"bonjour" was exchanged, and thankfully they walked on across the fields to enjoy the hunting season.

Wild clematis, known as "Old Man's Beard", clambers up 
and drapes itself wherever an upright wall or fence is handy.

Although the grape harvest was just over, we still 
found missed bunches of grapes along the lower 
vines......and the leaves were magnificent colors.

I've shared these photos previously.....
here again is just a reminder of Autumn's glory in 
the French vineyards. I'll drink to that!


May I sneak this in please Vee?
Not another note card, but the cover for the box 
I'd like to hold the cards if they were printed!

Hope you'll visit Vee's party HERE - lots of beautiful 
note cards to view.