Saturday, October 31, 2009

Golden, Taste the Tradition, Halloween

1. The hairdresser enjoys working with Audrey's hair, satin gold that it is. I watch as she trims, sculpts, and plays with it for over an hour. Audrey certainly doesn't get her straight, golden hair from my side of the family. Perhaps this is why her hair intrigues me.
2. I spend the morning cooking meatballs and sauce as my mother and grandmother did. My treat is to fry the last few meatballs in the olive oil until they are crispy on the outside and eat them like this, sans sauce. As a kid, I hovered around the kitchen as my mother made the meatballs, waiting for the last ones to be fried and then shared with my dad.
3. After dark, we meet up with friends to "trick-or-treat". Groups of children materialize out of nowhere, building in numbers and creating a festive air. Parents stand and visit in the streets while the children march this way and that to houses promising them candy. We comment on the warm evening, cute costumes and heavy bags laden with candy.

Friday, October 30, 2009

When October Goes

A beautiful, sad song, but ever so worth sharing. The stills in this video capture the essence of winters in New York. When October Goes...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Lemon Pound cake, Daylight, Shopping Day

1. Lemon pound cake brushed with lemony glaze. I like brushing the glaze over the cracked top of the cake, watching it seep down into the moist nooks and crannies. This will be the tastiest part of each slice.
2. We hold dinner late so Tess can play outside, using up every last part of daylight.
3. I write my shopping list for Friday. I thumb through recipes, planning our meals for the week with all sorts of ambition. I can't wait to try new recipes people have recommended and the excitement builds for shopping day!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Raindrops, Clearing, Roaming the Fields

1. I fell asleep to the sound of raindrops on the window last night. It was so peaceful that I've remembered it all day.
2. When these rainy weather fronts move out of the mountains, they create beautiful landscapes and skies. Pockets of mist settle in the valleys while bright mountain peaks shine above. I'm glad I was out early so I could see this.
3. The kids go marching off through the fields, bright orange vests announcing their presence.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bluebirds, Well-Stocked, Giggles

1. My bluebird friends were visiting the garden today, en masse! I routinely see one or two, but today there were six or seven!
2. I need to bring a refreshment with us tonight. I go to the pantry and pluck the ingredients from the shelf with great satisfaction. Nothing beats a well-stocked pantry when you're in a pinch.
3. Little baby, only 15 weeks old, laughs and giggles at Tess' antics. We are amazed that such a young life can produce such a belly laugh. Of course, we keep the silliness going for as long as she is willing to laugh.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pumpkins, Saxophone, Wild Things

1. Chelsea and Tess carve pumpkins. Each time I pass by the table, I smell the nutty, fresh pumpkins.
2. It's a porch-sitting day with wonderful sunshine. Steve likes to play his saxophone out there. The closed door muffles the loudness just enough for those of us inside. I'm not sure what the neighbors think, or the cows, but I like it today.
3. We all head to Roanoke to finish celebrating Tess' birthday with Where the Wild things Are. We are first in the movie theater and have our choice of seats.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

South Wind, Energized, Henri

1. The air was soft and balmy, unusually warm for late October. The warmth and rain released earthy scents from the woods and fields.
2. At first I thought my aggressive laundry plans were shot when the washer broke. I turned my energy to cooking and redeemed the day by cooking- a lot!
3. Henri gets ready to pounce. His chin is on the ground while his fanny is raised high. My view is from the rear and I have to burst out laughing at his comical stance.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fallen Leaves, Red Balloons, Cozy

1. The road is covered in fallen leaves. We watch them flutter and twirl in the wake of the car.
2. A simple cluster of balloons amuses the children. Laughing and shouting, they dash to keep them airborne.
3. I go through the house, lighting lamps and candles early to chase away the damp day.
I am not what I ought to be. I am not what I want to be. I am not what I hope to be. But still, I am not what I used to be. And by the grace of God, I am what I am.
John Newton

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sunrise, Ladybug, Ladybug, Holly

1. Our sunrise was the deepest pink. Followed by lighter pinks, purple, orange and yellows. Such a sunrise just has to usher in a glorious day.
2. Cleaning and tying up loose ends in the garden feels good.
3. The ladybug invasion is significantly light this year. I can't describe how harassing these little beetles can be and anyone who has had them will know what I mean. So, when I have to vacuum them only once today, it is something to celebrate!
4. A gift of a holly bush was left in our driveway. (Ibex "Liberty" to be exact). I treasure each and every planting I can make on our property. Now, where to plant it...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tess, Illuminated, Looking Good

1. A day of celebration for sweet Tess. Today she turns 13!
2. We turn off every light so that the candles on the cake glow brightly. Only Tess is illuminated in the room.
3. My skills at making a cake look pretty are quite a gamble. I love to bake, my baking always tastes good, but a pretty birthday cake is not my forté. So when today's cake turns out looking good, I feel like I've beat the odds.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Praying Mantis, Cauliflower, Billions and Billions

1. Our resident monster praying mantis made an appearance today. Sometimes on the window screen, sometimes on the steps or among the bushes. This creepy, alien looking insect fascinates us by the way it turns its head with human-like movements.
2. Cauliflower sprinkled with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted to perfection.
3. The landscape was crisp and frosted this morning. Henri-the-Schnoodle took me outside at 6:00am while it was still pitch dark. The stars were thick in the black sky and I was dizzy trying to focus my eyes on the depth of it all.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Afternnon Movie, Light Heart, Trivial News

1. The plans are to see the movie, Seraphine. But a projector malfunction changes the plan and I see Bright Star. It is a beautiful and moving story about the poet, Keats.
2. She recalls stories that make herself laugh and chuckle. I like to hear my mom laugh.
3. The girls phone and we all ask each other, "How was your weekend?"

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Rock Gathering

1. We took all back roads to Blacksburg and even though the day was gray, the landscape was still beautiful. Miles away from our destination, we saw a smoke plume and Steve guessed it must be John burning the cedars. We followed the smoke and sure enough, there was John.
2. Our expedition was for rock gathering. Our source- an ancient pile dumped over decades of farming where the land "grew" the rocks up and out. I sit on the pile, scavenging the right shapes and sizes for our project while Steve hauls and loads. This cool, fall day is perfect for the work.
3. I smell the hint of smoke from down the mountain. Mixed with the autumn air and fallen leaves, perfect!
4. An old abandoned farmhouse stands guard facing the mountain. The windows are broken and the paint peeled, yet a tattered, red vinyl kitchen chair sits on the front porch as though someone is coming right back.

Friday, October 16, 2009

For the Drive, Call From a Friend, Free Day

1. Music for the car ride today is Jon and Vangelis.
2. Lea phones and we catch up on things. (We have been friends since our home schooling days in NY when our girls were little.) I am always excited to hear what her girls are up to. Here is Cicely.
3. Co-op classes were canceled, so we are presented with a free day!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Apple Tart Mold, Rain Stream, Ahhh

1. I baked apple tarts with the apple-shaped mold that Claire gave me from Williams Sonoma. These little pastries are so cute with their crimped edges.
2. I hear the rain falling on the leaves and it sounds like a stream rushing in the woods.
3. A special cup of coffee this evening with my apple tart. I used a butter pastry and they are delicious.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Heat, America, Soft pillow

1. Today I am feeling plain and simply thankful. Mostly for the heat in our home and the heater in my car. What a damp and bitter day it would be without heat.
2. I am thankful I live in America. This is where God plopped me and I cannot complain. My grandparents worked hard to immigrate here, my dad worked and fought hard to raise his family here and am thankful for their sacrifices.
3. Many nights I give a heartfelt thanks for a soft pillow and warm bed to lie down in at the end of the day. There are people who don't even have this most basic of creature comforts and I will always be thankful that God gave me this today.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pink, Red, Sweet

1. The hanging geranium on the wall out the back door is still blooming in full splendor. The pink flowers are out of place in an autumn-colored palette, but I enjoy this flash of bright, summery pink.
2. The most beautiful maple tree is the one our friend John planted here the year we built our house. It is just now beginning to tinge with color and it usually turns to the most brilliant red.
3. I wasn't in the mood to bake, but everyone wanted a little something sweet. So, we made Muddy Buddies. Gosh, these silly things are addictive.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Snow White, Good Finds, Cows

1. I have an hour to sit and wait, parked in a wooded driveway. I sit there unnoticed with wildlife teeming all around me. Blue jays, cardinals, two kinds of woodpeckers, two frisky squirrels and a chipmunk! Their antics are entertaining.
2. Tess and I poke around some thrift shops. I go slowly so I don't miss anything good.
3. The cows are returned to the pasture across the road. The horses stare at them all day and at times it looks like they're all having a staring contest..

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Devil's Marble Yard

1. Our family spent this perfect autumn day on a hike to the Devil's Marble Yard. An impressive mountainside full of huge boulders. The hike/climb was rewarded at the top with a pretty view.
2. The sandwiches we carried tasted like a feast. We even backpacked a jar of Claire's pickles all the way up.
3. Back home in the evening, we had our usual rounds of Badminton. We ate Marie's delicious recipe of Apple Hazelnut Brown Betty and felt satisfied about our day well spent.

Devil's Marble Yard, If you click on the top photo, you will see Chelsea and Chad at the top, on a boulder

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Autumn Scent, Brussels Sprouts, Home

1. It smelled so good on my walk this morning. The damp leaves and fall air made that spicy, pungent odor that I wish I could bottle.
2. I like preparing brussels sprouts. Trimming off the tiny outer leaves, slicing them in half, then sautéing them to nutty goodness in olive oil and a bit of garlic, salt and pepper.
3. It's all about the food today... the aroma of pork roast, topped with a rub of rosemary, Dijon, garlic and olive oil, surrounded by carrots, potatoes and onions. The house smelled heavenly.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Slight Hand, Coupons, Flocking

1. One of the young students asks to be taken to the ladies' room. I feel her slip her little hand into mine as we enter the hallway.
2. I despise clipping coupons, but I go ahead and play the game. I reason that it would be like throwing money away not to use them. I'm pleased at the grocery checkout to see how much it took off my bill.
3. A flock of birds rises up over the tree line. They keep coming and coming and we can see no end to the thousands of black specks moving like a school of fish. Very impressive!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pink Morning, Golden Day, White Night

1. Sunrise lights up the clouds from beneath and creates a pink, bumpy sky canopy.
2. Another beautiful, golden day. I grab an hour outside before dark and catch up on some gardening chores.
3. Steve and I rummage in the basement for canning jars. Just when I think I have none left, I find a box the movers packed in 2000. I unwrap the paper with reverence, remembering our home and garden in New York.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Jeckyl & Hyde Weather, Shopping, Dim

1. Six a.m. the wind is howling at the windows and rain pelting the glass. I was sure we were in for a nasty day. By sunrise, the world was bright and beautiful. We had a gorgeous day.
2. We made a marathon day of shopping and errands. We came home feeling the victorious conquerors, hunting and gathering everything on the list and not giving up until it was found.
3. As we began our drive home in the dark, I couldn't figure out why our headlights and dashboard were so dim. I became concerned that the car was malfunctioning and it would be a difficult drive home. Then I realized I had my sunglasses on! We had a good belly laugh. Seems like I'm the only thing getting dim.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Precious, Cornmeal Coated, Subdued Light

1. Baby's head on my shoulder. Warm, soft, downy hair to my cheek.
2. Cornmeal breaded fish fillets laid out on the platter, ready to fry.
3. It turned into a quiet, drizzly-rain sort of day. But I liked it.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Acorn, The Vineyard, Please Be Well

1. Audrey brings me a big, chubby acorn for my collection.
2. I pause at the back hill to look across at the Gibb's vineyard. The rows of grape vines are neat and tidy and the lines they form are pleasing to my eye.
3. My heart leaps with joy to receive an email from my far away friend who is battling cancer. I am relieved to know she is OK.
But, she is still fighting. How I wish her well...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Bright Moon, Carrot Cake, Stay Awake

1. Outside before dawn, I turn and see the large, full moon hovering just inches above the trees in the woods. It is blinding white like a headlamp.
2. Carrot cake for dessert.
3. Steve and I continue watching the John Adams series. Audrey observes that I fall asleep during the "good" movies, but I stay wide awake during these boring ones.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Done, Moved Indoors, Do Ahead

1. Hallelujah, I got the skirt sewn onto the slipcover today! I had a major mental block to finish this slipcover for a year. All but the skirt was complete for a whole, entire year (!) and for some reason I could not face it. But today marks the end and I am ecstatic. Now I can move forward.
By the way, this rugged, yet attractive- enough slipcover, is made from painter's drop cloths for around $50.
2. Potted plants from the porch are carried indoors to their winter homes.
3. Dinner and dessert for tomorrow are prepared today. It gives me a boost to know that tomorrow will be entirely free to do as I please. (And with no slipcover to sew, yahoo!)

Music, Dance and Fun

1. Our Willow Tree Gala Contra Dance that we co-hosted with friends is a huge success. Spirits are high as dancers laugh and clap throughout the evening. There is a camaraderie with strangers of all nationalities and ages as our individual movements interweave to create pretty dance formations.
2. Violin and fiddle are my favorite instruments. The music is happy and light as the band and dance caller work expertly together for the first time! Our caller is dressed in French Colonial garb and adds the background history to each dance as he instructs. Allemande, promenade, shasay, and do sa do are given their French pronunciations.
3. Some of the guests do not speak English, but it makes no matter in the dance.
4. Tess wears a pretty lavender gown with ribbon in her hair. She is on her own with friends and I spot her on the dance floor having a great time.

* The link is an example of a contra dance in Vermont. Each region has it's own flavor of music and dance. But I thought this was a good example.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Smell That Air, Finished, Bunny Housekeeping

1. 6:30 am. It's cold and it smells like leaves and smoke outside. Could it be October?!
2. I get all my hand sewing finished and it feels good to have that done.
3. All of the bedding and straw has been pushed through the hole into the "wrong" side of the rabbit hutch. Leelee looks guilty, but her expression says, "So what?" With a sigh, I sweep it all back through the hole to the "right" side. She scrambles over and shoves it all back out again, grumbling at me. Then she stretches herself out and lies on top of it. I think the rabbit just won.