Welcome to our 1864 farmhouse…life is good!

Friday, December 22, 2023

2 days, 6 hours, 25 minutes, and 18 seconds...

That's what the Christmas Countdown on my phone tells me...am I ready?

Well, I still have wrapping to do and stockings to fill...but other than that, I do think I'm ready. While I felt earlier this month as if I was running behind, somehow, it's all come together...and that's good. 

Christmas should not be a season of holiday humbug. It's a time best spent gazing out the window wishing for Christmas snow, delighting in the sounds of familiar carols, savoring the aromas of traditional foods, sipping hot chocolate, and listening to a crackling fire. A season of comfort & joy.

While our tree has been up since Thanksgiving, other than lights and the garland, I held off on decorating it until my son was home from college so we could all do it together - now it's glowing with all the sentimental, familiar ornaments.

No, it doesn't look like it belongs in a shop window; however, for me, it's perfect...filled with memories. 

We all get caught up in it sometimes, don't we? The feeling that the holidays are a comparison of how "perfectly perfect" everything is...our gifts, our tree, our decorations. But here's the truth...how much I decorated (or didn't), how beautiful my gift wrapping is (or isn't - I am a big believer in gift bags!), and how photo-worthy my tree is (or isn't) doesn't matter. GASP!

We all know what to do, but sometimes forget: keep it simple, be there, enjoy every moment. 

Here's a look at a few of my favorite ornaments:

because my daughter loves popcorn,

and my son loves hot & spicy foods,

and yes, we're Dr. Who fans!

little newborn footprints,

places we've visited, 

and sweet wreaths made in Kindergarten.

this is my favorite Santa...he's keeping watch from on top of the Boone cupboard in the kitchen

we also have a tall, skinny tree that's filled with old-fashioned ornaments...

postcards of vintage homes decorated for Christmas,

knit stockings and rusty snowflakes,

hand-stitched candy canes,

and Popsicle stick trees made by little hands. 

And so, with my remaining 2 days, 6 hours, 25 minutes, and 18 seconds, I'd better take my own advice and focus on being present...I'm off to bake some more cookies, watch favorite movies, and curl up beside a snoozing dog!

Sending heartfelt wishes for you to have a wonderful, cozy, joy-filled Christmas.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

readying for Christmas!

December is here and full of the promise of snowflakes & surprises, music & memory-making, traditions & tree-trimming. Without a doubt, there's a busyness to December, but there's also time for quiet reflection and cozy evenings.

I've loved visiting your blogs and reading up on how you're spending your days;  however, I'm afraid I've fallen behind in my own writing...where does the time go?

Here's a little catch-up:

We celebrated my son's 20th birthday in November...yikes, no more teenagers? When did that happen?! 

The Saturday after Thanksgiving we visited our favorite tree farm to bring home the Christmas tree. The weather was ideal...blue skies and sunshine with just enough of a chill in the air to feel like Christmas. (And believe me, there's nothing like trudging through the mud, rain, ice, and facing bitterly cold winds to take the fun out the day). 

And while the tree farm generously provides hand saws, let me be honest and say a dull saw blade will absolutely put a damper on cutting down your own Christmas tree. I'll spare you the details...I'm sure you can imagine for yourself...weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth.  

And so, the last few years, we've followed the saying: Work smarter, not harder. 
Now we bring along a chainsaw!

After the kids found a tree that was just right, heads together, they pulled it down the hill. Soon we were back in the lodge by a roaring fire enjoying a simple lunch before going home with the "perfect" tree. 

December was Cookie Month in the "not shop, shop" and it kept me busy...

Tomorrow I'll deliver the last of the Christmas goodies, then I'll take a couple of months off to plot & plan for next year. 

College finals are wrapping up tomorrow, and soon, as the kids say, "the balance will be restored" with everyone home. I love the laughter I hear, the movie marathons, the sneaky surprises, the fun of s'mores made in the fireplace, and again realizing that the kitchen draws everyone like a magnet...with a fire going in the fireplace and Christmas carols in the background, it's the coziest room in the house.

While we all find ourselves busily making lists and mailing cards, let's also try to slow down enough and take time to ponder the blessings of being where we are at this time...and pause gratefully.

It's time to enjoy the simple pleasures of the season...the sound of church bells, the fragrance of fresh balsam, watching a gathering of snowbirds, and discovering deer tracks in the snow. 

It's a magic we're never too old to enjoy.

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Monday, November 20, 2023

thoughts of harvest...

Colorful pumpkins and squash line the steps signaling that harvest-time is here. Jars of jams, jellies, and pickles made in summer now line the pantry shelves, geraniums are overwintering in the cellar, and fields, once filled with corn, are now bare. There is a sense of quiet and rest.

It's a time to catch our breaths, this time between Thanksgiving and Christmas - it's a short time, and should be enjoyed. Below are just a few photos of what it's like in my corner of the world...toss another log on the fire, settle in with a cup of tea, and listen to some sweet violin music  "e're the winter storms begin."

Even in October, the geraniums were lovely...

and quilts were drying on the clothesline.

Evenings have had the prettiest skies, 

and afternoons were spent discovering old barns; all with stories to tell, I'm sure...a different time, fueled by oats and hay, not gasoline, but still lovely to me.

I love the small-town faith of roadside stands with honesty boxes:

An old lilac tree - which usually blooms in May, gifted us with a few new blooms,
unheard of in October!

Even Bailey is ready for a long winter's nap!

Sending you heartfelt good wishes this Thanksgiving, wherever you may be. 


Sunday, November 05, 2023

a catch-up...

Last week there was a hint that Old Man Winter would shortly be paying a visit. Nighttime temperatures were in the 20's, while the mornings brought the prettiest blue skies with a moon still visible in the early morning. Opening the mudroom door, it seems it's always a toss-up on who's louder...Tinkerbell, the cat on the porch waiting for breakfast, or the crows in the fields. (I just discovered a grouping of crows is called a Murder...yikes, how Halloween-esque!) 

And as my to-do list is whittled down, I think maybe, just maybe, that I'm ready. Okay, well, there are probably a few more things...I can always find something else I feel needs doing!

The garden's been put to bed, and for me, that's a sure sign I can step back, breathe, and see what I've ignored during this time (dust bunnies, I'm coming for you.)

And so today's post is a catch-up on what's been happening while harvest has been in full swing...

pumpkins buckled up for a safe ride home
from a little roadside farm stand

along with the last of the summer blooms

what's been for sale at the
"not shop" shop

a visit to the season's last county fair...
look at the weight of that prize-winning pumpkin:
530 pounds!

blue-ribbon roosters,

and goat mama & kid

my favorite Halloween gal...
this witch just makes me smile!

decorations are simple...
nothing to be afraid of here!

my daughter and I hiked a trail I'd been looking forward to:
the Butternut Trail
no special reason, other than I loved the name!

We packed a lunch and soon were rewarded with
lovely views along the way.

the last of the garden harvest...
I just couldn't let those green tomatoes freeze,

so I pulled out a handwritten recipe of my grandmother's
for Dilly Green Tomatoes:

Now I have a gallon of them to enjoy!

I'll post about my grandmother sometime...every time I hear Taylor Swift's song, Marjorie  I'm reminded of her...I think she's why I do so much of what I do. 

Well here's to a new month and a new week...hoping for beautiful blue autumn skies, trees with coppery leaves, and that unmistakable hint of Fall in the air, maybe even the first fire in the fireplace. Truly, my favorite season! 

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