Friday, November 24, 2017

Resting, Restorative November and Revolving Doors


     November is a vastly changing month here in Virginia. It starts out on the mild side with colorful leaves still on the trees and green grass in the fields. Then it whisks up frosty mornings and wind that blows the trees bare and brings the smell of winter at its back. In between, it fluctuates between days that are bright and mild and others that are bleak and gray with cold rain that seeps into our bones.November prepares us for winter.
     Knowing that snowflakes may fly anytime now, I feel an urgency to prepare the yard for winter. I mowed the lawn for the final time last weekend and emptied the dead flowers from their pots. In unceremonious fashion, I ate the last holdover tomato from the garden. (The poor tomato didn't taste like summer as I expected it might. I think the cold weather shocked all the flavor out of it.) We try and hold onto fall as long as we can but, Steve has begun to feed the wood stove in the basement and we're talking about Christmas dinner menus.
     Our diet has changed to fall harvested foods with an occasional grilled hamburger as the weather allows. There are two recipes that I have particularly enjoyed this season. The first is a Butternut Squash Soup recipe that Chelsea made for us in New Hampshire. It comes out of a Martha Stewart Food magazine and it uses fresh butternut squash and fresh ginger. We topped it with roasted, spicy pumpkin seeds as the recipe recommends. It is outstanding (if you like butternut squash and ginger) and super healthy. I have used other recipes for butternut squash soup that call for apples and chicken stock. While those are equally as good, I love the ginger in this recipe. The second recipe is for Maple Dijon Cream Dressing . It is fabulous on salads of greens with apple slices, crumbled Camembert cheese and toasted walnuts. Click on the recipe names and it will take you to the website with the recipes. Enjoy!
     We enjoyed these Thanksgiving days of rest from the regular routine. Even though the long weekend was busy, busy, it still felt restorative by being off of the usual routine. We have big changes coming up for December and January. There will be a crowd here for Christmas, thus the push to finish the basement project, which I will post about separately. Tess will be moving out of state for college and I will have to end the denial phase in which I currently reside. With her move out, we may have three more bodies moving in, temporarily. Audrey and her little family are selling their home and plan to purchase land and build a new place for themselves. So, we offered them the newly emptying upstairs as a layover instead of them renting a place. It's a regular, revolving door around here. As long as bodies don't mind sleeping on the floor, we have no problem.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Happiness Is Rubber Boots and Incredibles Suits

     Having grandchildren who live far away is made more bearable by modern technology. These two photos are a very small example of the many that brighten our day.
     As I was falling asleep the other night, these images popped into my mind. I went on to have a wide range of thoughts and emotions as I thought about our grandchildren and prayed for all of them and their parents. At some point I must have fallen asleep, but these images have remained with me and have continued to make me smile through the following days. The locations are almost eight hundred miles apart but the children they represent all reside in the same tender spot in my heart.

Saturday, November 4, 2017


There can never be too many maples. I think Virginia needs more maples. Even on this rainy day the maples in the front yard are bright. 

Earlier in the week, it was sunny and mild. Here are things around the yard from those sunnier days. 

Oh those maples! This is the maple in the side yard with the sun filtering through the leaves. : ) 

 The begonias and ivy geranium are still happily blooming. We did have a hard frost, but these are close to the house, so they weren't touched by it yet. I'm sure they won't be with us much longer.

     I have my usual reading chair in the corner of the dining area. There's a window next to it with a view of the maples. Besides reading, I daydream and nap in that chair. Recently, when I looked out the window at everything colorful and growing, I pictured all the cells that make up each leaf and blade of grass grass and bark; the cells in the dahlias, the birds and the insects that are hidden from sight. I imagined the dirt under the grass and how it teems with organisms, worms and bugs. All of these things our eyes scan every day and we glance over all of it without a second thought. I thought about how every type of cell is different, every one unique in its function, yet all working together. Maple leaf cells, earthworm cells, geranium flower cells, brain cells, how complex yet beautifully simple and perfect.
     I look out the window at the mind boggling, smallness and bigness of it all and it's impossible not to see God. Whatever more proof could man need. If life, simple or complex, can spontaneously create itself, then I seriously need to see that happen. I am confident it can never be. All of the patterns in nature are bound by the laws of nature to follow a pattern. Physics and chemistry and math allow us to see a stability and order to the universe. A leaf cell will never grow a pig's heart and an earthworm will never grow a human brain. It's thoughtful and planned and very much under control. Just for grins, I read some discussion boards on quantum mechanics and the subject of randomness. ("Randomness" is slightly off subject, but I couldn't help it.) It's like hanging out with Spock and Sheldon at the same time.
"Randomness is just a word to compensate our lack of proper understanding. It's logical that actions cause reaction. Everywhere and always." 

     And this is why the house isn't dusted... I need to stop looking at the maple trees.