Friday, October 31, 2014

All Hallows' Eve. . . . . .

Dusk will fall fast a few hours from now. 
It will be a perfect evening for donning costumes, painting faces, and walking through the neighborhood.
There are treats ready on the porch. Come little goblins, ghouls, witches and princesses. 
Dip your hand in the basket for Kit Kats, Peppermint Patties, M&M's and such ----------- before Mr. Bob eats them all!

Edited: Guess what Mr. Bob is munching on. Very few kids came - it was a trick after all!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pondside pondering. . . . . . .

In perfect October weather, in the late afternoon,
I stopped at a nearby pond. Sitting under a canopy of 
golden leaves, watching ripples in the water, I thought 
about how quickly this year is passing and wondered
 what the coming one might hold.

Edward Cucuel 1875-1954 - American-born Impressionist painter 
who lived and worked in Germany.

I love these autumnal words of Eden Phillpotts from his 
amazing book My Devon Year.

~ From orange to crimson, from amber to sea-green,
the color harmonies pass, and intermingle in
streaks and splashes and mottled jewels of all 
ruddy and golden tints that ever the sun painted ~

I have to thank my California friend Sara at her 
wonderful blog Come Away With Me for telling me about 
this book. A few years back I was able to find a copy 
online, published in 1903, complete with 38 illustrations.
Although I'm unable to see my beautiful Devon home in 
person this year, the stories in the book bring the 
memories of my favorite season closer.

The small pond near my house.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Gifts from a 'sweet' heart . . . . . .

Sometimes you get what you want!

Sometimes someone special knows just what you want would like.
I loved this mug - creamy white, free form shape, and a word, 
a perfect word, CALM - it arrived on my birthday and my coffee 
has tasted better ever since, honest! 
Let's face it, one can never have 
too many mugs, for coffee, tea, and always flowers.

But wait, there's more to the story . . . . . . . . 

Not often, but sometimes if you're lucky, that sweet someone also works
where what you would truly love to have is waiting. It's been waiting for a while
and bringing it home was considered several times.
You know how SuzAnna's Antiques has treasures anew each time I 
stop by. Sometimes I have to tell myself 'no' and keep my money tucked away 
for necessities rather than indulgences.

The 'sweet' heart worked at SuzAnna's last Sunday on my birthday. When we picked her up 
at five o'clock to enjoy a birthday supper together (her 18th was on Saturday - look HERE),
she surprised me beyond all expectations with the perfect coffee mug, and the 
beautiful dome, on a walnut base, to round off my collection.

My now complete dome collection. Left - Jasmin's fabulous birthday gift, center - an 
extra tall beauty, and right - the large gorgeous oval.

Just think of the fun I'll have with these at Christmas.
Thank you Jasmin, you've really made me a happy grandma.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Millions at last count . . . . .

There he was on my birthday morning as the sun came up, 
munching breakfast on the deck.
No, millions of grey squirrels have not invaded my 
garden - maybe just a dozen at the most recent count -
but this year is one of those bounty years for acorns. 
Millions, trillions, perhaps even a gazillion, are 
carpeting the back garden.

In the sunshine the camellias literally glow. . . . . 
. . . .the golden angel trumpets continue to open and dangle above the overgrown lantana. 
A few late hydrangea blooms wait patiently to be cut and 
dried at just the right moment when their brilliant blues 
turn rosy pink tinged with olive green.
Along the back fence the jasmine has clambered cautiously 
all summer. Here and there a golden leaf falls into a 
special little place announcing autumn's arrival.
Early clouds soon cleared leaving a cobalt sky, perfect 
weather for a birthday, or any day.
I have pansies to plant, along with bags of tulip bulbs. . . 
meanwhile I'm just enjoying these last warm, clear days of 
Thanks to each of you who sent birthday greetings, 
I was thrilled to be remembered as yet another 
year passed by and a new one began.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A little celebration. . . . . . .

Today it's my turn to have a birthday!
If you were here we could kick up our heels with a little party. 
What fun that would be.

Luncheon of the Boating Party - 1880 - Pierre Auguste Renoir

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

State Fair flowers and gardens . . . . .

Our state fairgrounds cover 344 acres in Raleigh, North Carolina's capital. Most weekends during the year a huge Flea Market is held here, but come October the annual State Fair and Agricultural Exposition, dating back to 1853, takes over for 11 days when over a million people attend. For the past few years I've been traveling at fair time so have missed visiting.

Once away from the raucous midway, the exhibitions are fun and range from livestock to fudge-making, but I have to admit my favorite on Monday was the Flower & Garden Show area.
First off, at the entrance to the gardens I was amazed by the tall yellow flowers with beautiful sprays of bright green leaves. I immediately looked for a Master Gardener (thank you Ms. Effie)to find out what they were and how could I get some. They are the Senna alata (or Cassia alata) - also called the candle bush, candelabra tree, candle tree or ringworm tree(medicinal use includes making a paste of the leaves to treat ringworm). Being a tropical plant, they are grown here in pots from seeds which require a start in a greenhouse in early spring. They will not over-winter in our horticultural zone 7b. I doubt I'll be growing any - will just make a note to come see their loveliness at the state fair next year.

More candelabra trees mixed with other tropicals, angel trumpets, roses and coleus - so pretty.

I was extremely interested in the splendid garden design section. 
There were many themed gardens, these two were my favorites - 

. . . . loved the idea for all those empty wine/water 
bottles - make a waterfall out of them - and the vertical 
wall garden is fabulous.

Bonsai ~ have you ever tried this very interesting type of gardening? The tree or shrub is dwarfed by pruning the roots and pinching back, and is grown in a pot or container and trained to produce a desired shape or effect.

Last but not least by any means, the autumn chrysanthemums in all their brilliant colors. Yes, there were plenty of pumpkins also but I know by now we've all seen as many as we can handle - until Halloween is here of course.

Hope you've enjoyed this little stroll through the 
North Carolina State Fair gardens.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

At the State Fair. . . . . . .

We hadn't been in many years and must admit it was a 
few hours of fun, even moments of nostalgia, in 
yesterday's brilliant sunshine.

We wandered through the midway rides, watched the children
having a great time, while families stuffed huge 'snacks' 
the likes of which I refuse to even describe!

At last, a more healthy 'snack', however we opted for a dish 
of maple walnut ice cream churned by a John Deere tractor!

We looked, our taste buds wondering just how yummy a scone or 
a muffin has to be to gain a blue ribbon!

For me the only real disappointment was not being able 
to get up close and personal with the livestock any longer. 
Due to animal-borne illnesses where children became 
ill some years back, state laws have changed disallowing 
handling of chicks, ducklings, bunnies etc. Hand washing 
when exiting the livestock buildings is enforced. 
This handsome young bull was the closest I came to a 
large animal - he was in the Children's Barnyard and out 
of reach to probing little hands. . .petting zoos are
now a definite no-no.

Loved the displays of arts, crafts, cookery . . . such 
talent from North Carolina's great artisans.

Next time I'll share the gardens and floral displays at 
the State Fair. 
I was greatly impressed - not quite the world famous 
Chelsea Flower Show of London, but truly beautiful, with 
colors and designs that knocked my socks off!