Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sunday lunch, Autumn stroll, Happy Halloween

1. Pork loin stuffed with figs, apricots, breadcrumbs, sage and garlic provided a very tasty lunch.
2. We took a walk down the back road on this perfect autumn day. Henri tugged the leash and sniffed everything, the 'kids' jumped on hay bales, and we commented on the beauty of golden mountains. Henri and I stuck to the road while the others cut through the woods and explored on the way home.
3. Fincastle's center square is filled with costumed children and families for the annual Halloween parade and Trick-or-Treat. Orange and yellow lights are strung across the streets, many homes are decorated and the entire town is festive. We watch from the sidewalk, laughing at clever costumes and cute children. I think- Norman Rockwell.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cyclocross, Pop's, Kermee

1. Cyclists gather at the starting line, a convergence of helmets, spandex and spokes. Then the clown shows up. Chad comes in the clown!
2. We're too hungry for just ice cream, so we take a booth and order from a menu of grilled cheese sandwiches. Mine is Swiss cheese with avocado, artichoke hearts, mustard and horseradish, toasted on homemade white bread.
3. Our movie for tonight and I still get a kick seeing Kermit ride the bike.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

HUGE, The sound of silence, A message from...

1. Baking potatoes that are the size of a dinner plate. I'm not sure I want to know how they grow them so big, but they will make a great meal with all the toppings added.
2. The purring sound of the engine makes my heart leap. This is how a perfect machine was intended to sound you VW dealership mechanics-who-couldn't -fix-it-so-my-husband-did.
3. When I return home tonight, I ask Steve if there were any calls for me. He says that Senator Goodlatte has called, as though for me personally and not bothering to mention that it was a robo-call.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Brightness, Mom, Helping

1. The sugar maple is flaming orange. A bright contrast even in a dreary, damp landscape.
2. In halting, somewhat slurred speech, my mom quotes the poem, "Trees" to me over the phone.
3. Tess and I study science together. I'm glad that I am still involved in her education, even though we don't home school any more.

Trees by Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest

Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,

And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear

A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;

Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,

But only God can make a tree.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Spring- NOT!, On time, What is he thinking?

1. The balmy air and sweet smell of rain and earth confuse my senses. I could swear it was spring. In the predawn darkness, it's easy to pretend.
2. I'm always very happy to get the mending and hemming projects done. I usually procrastinate and sometimes the clothing misses the season for which it was intended! Today it is done.
3.Henri and I have a long moment of staring at each other, eye to eye. What goes on in his little mind, I wonder?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Going Greener, The best part, 8pm on PBS

1. We've started recycling everything. Plastic, tin, glass, paper and non-meat food scraps. The organic compost will serve our garden and the recycling is all dumped at our local elementary school's recycling station. Very little is left for the landfill. I can now cancel our trash pick up since we'll only have a couple of bags per month and we can take that to the landfill ourselves.
2. Buttery, crunchy bread crumbs on top of creamy macaroni and cheese.
3. Antiques Roadshow- still my favorite program!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

An autumn weekend

1. A most glorious weekend of sunshine, a fall color palette, and mild temperatures. There's nothing better than being right out in it. Even a walk to the compost pile as an excuse to be outside is worth it.
2. Claire and Daniel came home for the weekend. We celebrated the upcoming arrival of their baby with friends and family.
3. I'm not into touching pregnant women's bellies, but I was eager to touch my granddaughter, so Claire helped me feel some bumps and kicks as I introduced myself.
4. To balance the nuisance ladybugs and stinkbugs, we have butterflies and wooly bears visiting the garden. One of the lavenders is still in bloom and the butterflies flock to it.
5. We share the last handful of raspberries for the season.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tess, The softest silk, Celebrate!

1. Today Tess turns fourteen. She's a little put off that she has school on her birthday. She thinks everyone should have their birthdays off. Sweet Tess, she fills my heart with love.
2. I scoop a handful of silk from a milkweed pod. It feels like kitten fur. I carry it for a while, rubbing the silkiness between my fingers and then I let the wind blow it from my hand, up and away.
3. No dinner to cook, no cake to bake! Tess has chosen to have carry-out pizza and a Bruester's ice cream pie. We all like her choices a lot.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Steamy, Funny scene, Osage Orange

1. It's a dark and rainy morning, a cozy morning for ironing. I move the ironing board to the kitchen where it's brighter, plug in an audio book and feel the steamy warmth from my work.
2. Our church house is bustling with noisy children on Wednesday nights. As I exit through the back hall, our pastor and another young man are huddled in the bathroom doorway, staring at the toilet bowl. "What did they put in there?", our pastor asks.
3. Bingo! Enough leaves have fallen to reveal the heavy Osage Oranges hanging from the branches. Tess leans out the car window and plucks one off the tree. The unique texture and bright lime green color are perfect under a glass cloche.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My favorite part, Ironing, Quality time

1. The kids comment about the abundance of carrots in the stir fry. I tell them it's fine if they don't like them, I put all the extra in for me.
2. I iron colored leaves in waxed paper, leave them for a few days, then remove the paper. The wax coating preserves them long enough for decorating purposes. I like how the wax paper melts and crisps together as I glide the iron over it.
3. It's dark too early for her to have time to ride the horses. I look out into the dusk and see her lounging on one horse while the other stands with them, the three of them just hanging out together.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Echoes, Indian Summer, Content

1. A very still morning except for the raucous calls of the crows. They make the landscape sound lonely and prehistoric.
2. Jacket mornings and T-shirt afternoons.
3. A day in the company of Baby. At fifteen months old, she happily chatters to herself, to me, to the dog, and through the glass door to the horses. It reminds me of what my mom used to tell me; that babies need to be happy with themselves.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Not for breakfast, Thank you, Personalities

1. Platters of Blue Collar Joe's donuts that are cut into bite size wedges. This way, one can sample three or four flavors and have only eaten half a donut!
2. Beautiful autumn weather continues. We've appreciated one more afternoon on the porch, knowing these days are numbered.
3. When I enter the kitchen first thing this morning, I notice carved pumpkins lined up in a row on the counter. I can tell who carved each one.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fincastle Fall Run, Young Folks, Older Folks

1. We find a sunny corner near the courthouse in town, keeping warm while we wait for the runners to appear. Smiles break out on their faces when they hear us clap and cheer.
2. Kids and their friends are coming and going throughout the day. They drive off to fall festivals, pumpkin patches, apple butter making and bonfires. They are young and adventuresome. One young friend talks about his hike on the Pacific Crest Trail, another young lady who grew up in S. Africa will soon be leaving for Ecuador. Three of them have won and placed in the 5K this morning! They are all in their early twenties and the world is spread out before them.
3. Steve and I mostly stayed home today. Contentedly so.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Saving me from boredom, Penny rug, Fragile night sky

1. I decided to listen to the audio book I had saved for my canceled NY trip titled, Saving CeeCeeHoneycutt. I listen while I cook, sew, drive and wait for Tess at piano. I'm glad to have it and it's an interesting story.
2. The wool felt circles are saved in a cigar box. When I take them out to work on them, the aroma of cedar and cigars gently wafts out.
3. Tonight, the sky was a piece of deep blue stained glass, framed in black with a faint light glowing behind it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


We said goodbye to Gunner today. He was the most faithful of dogs, big-hearted, kind and loyal. His name, G√ľnnar means "brave", but he was really a big baby. He loved romping in the fields, getting into mischief with his buddy, Remington, eating Milkbones, popcorn, ice cream cartons or anything for that matter. He would let a child poke his face, nostrils, eyes and ears while he tried to nap. He slobbered when he drank his water, shed incessantly, and went berserk at the UPS truck. He liked to sit with his chin on the windowsill, watching the world outside. He wagged his tail until the end, allowed us to love him in all our imperfect ways and he loved us unconditionally in return. I am very thankful to have had the best dog.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A gift, Lost at once, Duct tape

1. I shopped for Tess' birthday gifts today. I like shopping with someone special in mind. I think of her while I search and I get excited when I find just the right thing.
2. When I got home at 4:00, Steve reminded me by phone, that he would be late. I scrapped the dinner menu and the girls and I ate leftovers.
3. A breeze rattles the crab apple tree and all its leaves tumble down at once.
4. She has used duct tape to patch the hole in the crotch of her jeans. It doesn't want to come off and I wonder (not seriously) if I should just leave it rather than patch them.

Monday, October 11, 2010

I posted over here today.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bittersweet, Warm October, A delicious pound cake

1. I didn't find any pretty, colored leaves, but I did find a new source of Bittersweet vine closer to my house.
2. The weather was so mild this weekend that we were back on the porch for a Sunday afternoon.
3. Claire sent me a recipe for pound cake, knowing that I am on an everlasting search for the "perfect" pound cake. She said it was the best she's ever tasted, so I baked one today. Yes, this is my favorite so far. I love almond flavoring, but you could easily change it to lemon, vanilla, orange or anything. I wasn't crazy about the frosting since a glaze, or none at all, would better suit a pound cake. But this was a big hit with everyone.

Barbara's Pound Cake

3 c. sugar (just do it)
2 sticks butter, room temperature
1/2 c. Crisco
6 eggs, room temperature
3 c. flour
1/2 tea. baking powder
1/4 tea. salt
8 oz. sour cream
1/4 c. buttermilk
2 tea. almond extract

Cream together sugar, butter and Crisco. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
Slowly add half of the flour mixture to the wet until blended. Add in sour cream, buttermilk and almond extract. Then slowly add remaining flour mixture. Mix thoroughly.
Pour into greased and floured 10-inch angel food cake pan.
Bake at 325 F, for about 1 hour 20 minutes or until done when tested with toothpick. Let cool completely before icing.

Mix together:
4 c. powdered sugar
1 stick butter, room temperature
2 tea. almond extract
Enough milk or cream to make proper consistency

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Packaging, How to relax, An easy meal that feeds a crowd

1. I like how the bottle of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce is wrapped in paper. I remember my mom using tins of anchovies that were wrapped in paper, too. I recall many products that came with a paper wrapping. I think it makes a product more appealing.
2. Mom asks me what I'm doing. "Oh, just laundry, cooking and cleaning. You know, relaxing around the house." And it's true. As long as I don't have to drive all over kingdom come and I'm home, then it's relaxing to me.
3. I like cooking up a pork shoulder for BBQ. It pretty much cooks itself in the oven for four hours, the meat falls into shreds (I love this part), and then I add my favorite recipe of barbecue sauce. Sunday dinner will be easy when all I have to add are some toasted buns and coleslaw.

Friday, October 8, 2010

A new day, Love the green signs, Clear and mild

1. Woke up feeling much better with hopes that the day might actually be normal.
2. He drives, I navigate using the GPS on his Blackberry. "I don't like this thing, can't I just watch the roadside for interstate signs?" I look up and there they are! The old-fashioned way still works and I relax in my seat, feeling comforted.
3. Beautiful, bright stars in a black sky.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


1. It's nice to have beautiful things right at the beginning of day. Coffee is always my first pleasure. Sunrise is a close second. Today's sunrise was exceptional. I knew the color would be fleeting, so I took Tess' camera, left it on automatic and clicked.
2. Changing from blue jeans and shoes to sweat pants and slippers.
3. Steve goes to the drugstore for me. He brings home medicine and a hot water bottle. But first he wants to compare the dog's pills to mine; they are identical. "Why can't you just take his pills?" he asks.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It's here!, Telling of the day, Babies

1. Dramatic clouds are my visual entertainment of the day. Deep, dark and huge, they billow over the horizon and fill the sky. The sun shines through breaks of clouds, illuminating the green earth in bright contrast.
2. I feel my cheeks turn rosy in the autumn air. A chain saw buzzes somewhere over the hill and the scent of wood smoke is in the air. Autumn is here! I am thankful for outside work today.
3. The girls take turns telling school stories, grades and assignments. There is so much to tell.
4. Claire sends me a link to a photographer they have engaged. I can't help but cry when I see these sweet pictures. Baby photography has come a long way since my girls were born.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Kind to animals, Organized, Silliness lightens it up

OK, some days are just plain hard. Like today. But if we think about it, we'll still find beauty in the midst of it all:
1. I admire the way veterinarians handle a dog. I'm the, "Ew vomit, ew slobber, ew smelly" kind of person. But the vet expertly handles a sick dog while sweet-talking to the poor thing.
2. A mom flips through her two boys' homework folders and book bags, cramming study time in during their wait. She drills the little guy on his geography and he recites the answers spit spot. I smile at him and he is very proud of himself.
3. "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein". It helps a bit.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Good earth, Nicely done, Best medicine

1. The potatoes smell like dirt while I peel them.
2. Chocolate/coffee punch with floating ice cream balls, pretty cupcakes on tiered stands, little round cucumber hors d'oeuvres, and other treats create an appealing reception table.
3. We play a charades- type game with friends which results in plenty of laughing at ourselves.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Radford Highlands Festival

We will take these pitchforks and throw a 16 lb. sack over the 22

I will fling it backwards, the method that works best.

My favorite cute dog of the day.

Warpipes of Roanoke getting ready to march.

Enter the Haggis

This band is great! Love the fiddle.
My daughters stand the same way : )

A day of picture-perfect weather, men in kilts, games, cute dogs, bagpipes, And Enter the Haggis.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Colors of autumn, You've GOT to be kidding, 9:00 Bedtime

1. All sizes, shapes and colors of gourds and pumpkins are available at the garden store. Even though I love the colors of autumn, I choose all white pumpkins and gourds.
2.At the market, the bagger forgot to put my roast in the shopping cart and I didn't realize it was missing until I got home. I was in a time crunch, but I had to make the forty-two (I wish I were kidding) mile round trip to get it back. I popped "happy" music into my CD player and went for it. The kind manager at Kroger gave me my roast, the $16 cost of the roast, and a gift card for $10. That's the way to run a business and I will still drive the distance to shop there.
3. It's Friday evening, the weekend is wide open and the stress of the week begins to melt away.