Friday, September 30, 2011

All the Autumn's Joys ~ Early Autumn Garden~

It's been a very full and stressful week. 
Now finally- Friday.
The weather forecaster is calling for rain for the next week beginning tomorrow.
Time for a quiet meander through the garden while I can.

The sun peeked out from time to time.
Without it there is a chill, but with it an embracing warmth. So very Fall.

There are still a few flowers brightening things here and there.

And the leaves are just beginning their Autumn show to brighten things further.

Funny how they turn at different paces. . . this one is just starting.

While this now half-bare.

The 'killer fur-balls' were obviously inside thus allowing other fury company.

My veggies are still way behind- green tomatoes; green red bell peppers.
And my pumpkins are microscopic. They'll be Christmas gourds at this rate.

Things are quiet in the human world this morning. 

Quiet and calm. Nurturing.
How nice to look about and see the beginnings of the colorful performance soon to take place.

A while from now . . . Autumn will reign.


Don't forget to enter my little giveaway over here! I'm extending it until Monday, October 3rd.
Looks like there were some problems with the comments earlier, but I think I have them fixed. If for some reason it doesn't work be sure to email me at and I'll put you in! 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

All the Autumn's Joys ~ Small Autumn Giveaway~

I bought this picture a few years ago at a little thrift store near my home. I love it.
I put it out each September.
The scene is of a family picking a bushel of apples.
(click on the picture to see all the detail)

I've never actually gone apple picking, so without any experience perhaps it's a more of an idealistic than realistic scene- but I probably wouldn't like it so much if it was realistic anyhow. I much prefer the sense of peace the ideal brings instead of the back-of-the-mind thoughts of a Husband falling from the ladder or two certain boys pelting each other with apples.

And so I come to these . . .

These sweet little guys are also among the idealistic as they are always perfectly ripe and never rot! Each of these were hand painted and fired by my Grammie about ten to fifteen years ago (that long?) They also come out each September to be enjoyed throughout the season. 

And you know what? 

As I was cleaning out the guestroom-soon-to-be-son's-room I found a little something from ages ago way in the back in the corner in the very last box . . .
a wrapped up ziplock bag of apples! 
To be exact, two more sets that she had given me ages ago.
 And so . . .

. . . as a little Autumn treat, I am giving away these sweet little sets of apples!

All you need to do if you are interested is to leave a comment on this post sharing what your favorite Fall comfort food is. I will draw one winner for each set this Saturday, October 1st ( I don't have a specific time; it will be when I get to it) - a fun way to celebrate the opening of new month! I'm afraid I'll have to keep this in the U.S. only :( sorry! - Things are tight and I don't want to bite off more than I can chew!   hee! hee!

Each apple is a hollow ceramic, hand painted with love and precision. They are quite small (as you can see from the photo of me holding one) and will look charming and festive just about anywhere you put them! Good Luck- and feel free to share this post with anyone you think may enjoy them too!


Monday, September 26, 2011

All the Autumn's Joys ~ Comfort Food ~

Today started out rainy and cozy- our first 'official' rainy day of Fall. Wishing I had baking on the horizon, but as it is well into the afternoon and no dishes or laundry has yet been done and we are on the last roll of t.p. and I have an open house to attend tonight, I believe the homey smells of cookies in the oven will have wait.
However . . .
We did enjoy one of our favorite meals just last night.
This is a beloved family meal always eagerly anticipated once Fall rolls around. 
I adapted it from my most favorite cookbook of all time, written by the wonderful  Susan Branch-

This was my first cookbook- see how much it's been loved?

Susan's original recipe uses pork chops, but as a 'non porker'  I use turkey.

So yesterday evening I tied on an apron, put some George Winston on the c.d. player and made some culinary coziness in the kitchen.

I peeled and boiled the sweet potatoes.

 And peeled the Granny Smith's 
(always going for the one continuous 'peel' but never quite making it)

I fried up the turkey chops, not forgetting to salt and pepper them.

Then after arranging them in a large pan . . .

. . .  sprinkled a plethora of homemade stuffing all over the top.
Dinner was then covered, slipped into a 400 degree oven, and allowed to fill the house with yummy smells for the next hour.

Then just as the sky was darkening, the table was set and the food swiftly enjoyed by all.

Of course, with my family's appetite, the days when a meal of this size and heartiness meant lots of leftovers have now passed. But all the contented sighs of 'fullness' certainly make it worth it!

~ On a side note: Be sure to stop by tomorrow for a little Autumn Giveaway!~


<Edited to add: Check out the comment from my Mom below. You can find the link directly to the recipe there! Thanks Mom~>

Saturday, September 24, 2011

All the Autumn's Joys ~Fireside Fun~

There is nothing like being out in the autumn air in the evening.
It has it's own unique feel and smell. Right now there is just a hint of chill and earthiness mixed with far off wood smoke. Delight!

So, it's time to make an 'autumn night' of it by celebrating with a fire outdoors.
This is what an outdoor fire looks like for our family.
 (this is another place where Husband is USEFUL)

Perhaps for you it's a bonfire in your field, the charcoal grill on your deck full of glowing coals, or a simple candle lit on your balcony. It's really all about ambiance. :)

And don't forget the s'mores.
- fireside, marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers are all meant to be enjoyed simultaneously. 

Note: other perfect fireside companions for a fall evening outdoors include: mulled cider, hot cocoa or a glass of wine.
 -or beer; Husband would insist that the ideal for any occasion would be a pint of frothy IPA- 
(think Oktoberfest.)

So to be specific we have: extra large marshmallows that had to be cut in half, honey grahams, and dark chocolate with sea salt and caramel. 

The quality of the evening goes up with the quality of the ingredients- trust me. ;)

Now to gather the family.
 Or your loved one. Or a good friend. Or your neighbor. Or your cat, if he'll come- though, he may prefer a bite of roasted hot dog to marshmallow and chocolate.
(or beer; our cats will drink beer. sigh.)

Or you could even just gather up yourself for a perfect evening of  fireside reflection with the stars.

And then let the toasting begin!

Some people around here insist on 'the perfect toast'- it's all about the sides getting brown with even  crispness while the inside is filled with soft, springy goo.

Others of us happen to be more interested in the state of the gourmet chocolate that seems to be melting this close to the fire. I'm all about rescue in this case. ;)

(note: after warning those gathered over and over about how hot the marshmallows are after toasting, DO NOT proceed to carelessly grab your own marshmallow and severely burn your left three middle fingers and spend the rest of the lovely evening icing them. Just a thought.)

As the evening darkens, you may find yourself looking up and taking in any stars that may be found.
 And as you sit, warm and toasty by the fire (or in a soft cable knit sweater if your fire isn't so big) you may find the inspiration for some story telling. And if this sounds at all uncomfortable to you, all I can say is despite some 'looks' from guests over the years, we have yet to find anyone who hasn't enjoyed the storytelling once the 'shock' has worn off! ;)

Sometimes we tell them 'spooky' or sometimes 'goofy', but everyone gets a turn.

But be forewarned- there may be a certain member of your fireside party that on their story telling turn comes up with a tale entitled 'The Dead Squirrel on 20th Street'- which has lots of references to said squirrel 'looking for his nuts' and ' His nuts were not above. His nuts were not below. ' and so on. And then your cozy evening may end in endless giggling and constant references to 'nuts'. 
That. Doesn't. End.
Oh yes, it could happen.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Autumn's Arrival~

"Every leaf a miracle" - Walt Whitman

~Happy Autumn to all~

Fall is my most favorite season, and I have been eagerly anticipating it's first 'official' day. And so, this morning  I pulled out my oldest, and most treasured mug to celebrate the day's arrival.

Filled it up with steaming English Breakfast and sat quietly for the beginning of the day.

Read. Prayed. Sipped.
(if you click on the picture to see it larger, you'll notice the quote from above is on the bottom of the mug. Love it!_

 Watched the room go from dark and flat . . .

. . . to sun-filled and glowing.

Oh, how much I love the light!

' The LORD turns my darkness into light '

A fitting reminder, as I've been struggling inside all week. 
But, I'm not alone, and I know it's for my good. So, there you go.

Later in the morning, when it was time for the 'hard stuff', I whipped out this baby:

I absolutely love all sorts of leaves, and then to have one to find at the bottom of your coffee mug is simply perfect. 
Here it is full of tasty wakefulness.

Aaaaaaaaahhh! Now the brain is finally clicking- or, I suppose, creaking in my case.

One last thing I want to share is a little brainstorm I recently had. (yes- the brain does work on occasion)

As much as the Fall is my favorite time of year, it seems the older I get (and my kids get, let's be honest), there seems to be less opportunity to enjoy the moments of the season. 
I have already intentionally taken this entire semester of school off from any volunteering positions or extra 'groups'  or responsibilities other than homeschooling, in order to be more available to my family and to the things I need to let grow for myself. 

So for me, this is a season of home, which is really where my heart is anyway. And in this time set aside right now, I want to be making a point of enjoying this season and making good memories within it.

What I'm leading up to is this: each day (or as often as I can), I am going to post about the joys of fall- from now, until Thanksgiving. I'm calling it 'All the Autumn's Joys' and I'm hoping it will be keeping me watchful and grateful as each day unfolds. I plan on having all sorts of pictures, poems, memories, recipes, crafts, traditions and ideas to share that give a glance into what fall is like here in the Pacific Northwest, and specifically for my family.

 And throughout, I would be so happy to hear from anyone who wants to share any nuances of what Fall is like in their neck of the woods. 
I'm hoping you'll be inspired to celebrate these simple things with me!

~ a beautiful day to all~

Monday, September 19, 2011

~Autumn Sneaking In~

The season is changing in our neck of the woods . . .

. . . is it sneaking in to yours, too?


Friday, September 16, 2011

This is Quinn~

Quin loves his chair . . .

. . . and he loves to stretch . . .

. . . and scratch!

Quinn loves his brother . . .

. . . and he loves the Younger.

But more than anything, what do you think?-

he loves the sink!

 The sink? 

 You got it- the mudroom sink.

Now that's a happy kitty.

And a happy weekend to you- and any other four-legged furry beings who love odd things.