All the Seasons on my Plate

While at the grocery store recently with Colette, I stopped and stared at one wall of the store. "Look at that," I said to her. And I pointed out that on this one wall were: canning supplies from summer, Halloween candy for autumn, and Christmas candy for winter. "Three seasons on one wall!" I exclaimed. And life is feeling a bit like that around here lately. Is it at your house? It always feels like that at this time of year to me. Just a look at the calendar this week, and it echoes that wall of the grocery store. Here's what's happening (or needs to happen) on my to-do list this week:

- meet Felicity and the kids at a local farm and see the jumbo pumpkins and pick apples

- start physical therapy on my knee due to an injury that occurred in the summer (which I have been enduring/ignoring)

- launch Wonderful Life Farm's Christmas stocking collection! (coming Thursday!)

- deadhead perennials and put flower beds to bed for the winter

- plant daffodil bulbs for blooming next spring

- spearhead Halloween festivities for our local historical society

- make Christmas gifts for the grandkids (They are all getting pajamas/nightgowns and a heat sack this year. And yes, it's early, but I am determined not to spend late nights sewing away during the Christmas season all alone in my sewing room, when I could be downstairs with the family and cozy.)

What's on your to-do list this week? Is it a big mix of the seasons too?

Sabbath Rest

View from my bedroom window.

Forever, O Lord,
Your word is settled in heaven.
Your faithfulness endures to all generations;
You established the earth, and it abides.

- Psalm 119: 89-90

Caramel Apples, Candy Apples, and Toffee Apples

It's apple season! One of my favorite treats, since childhood, is a caramel apple. I just can't let the season escape without one. But we've experimented with new types, and thought you might enjoy the recipes too.

Here's a good recipe for a classic caramel apple, click here.

For a good old-fashioned candy apple, click here.

And for a British toffee apple (with optional nuts), click here.

Last Minute Halloween Costumes

Just in the nick of time for those of you who need a last minute Halloween costume, I've just listed two Revolutionary War Soldier Costumes! They are both a size M (8-10). Tomorrow is the LAST day to order in order to get it by Halloween, so don't delay! Click here.

Also, there are colonial girl's costumes in the shop too! Click here to visit the shop!

Apple Season

"...a distinct smell
which was a mixture
of the dried leaves
on the ground
and the smoke from 
the chimneys and
the sweet, ripe apples..."

- Arlene Stafford Wilson

Simple Changes

Sometimes you make simple changes, and you wonder why you never thought of it until now. Sometimes, you realize that maybe you're the last person on earth to think of this, and then you feel stupid. In writing this posting, I must admit to hoping that it doesn't fall into the last category. But I thought I'd share with you a couple of super simple changes I implemented a few months ago that have been working fabulously for us. And we're all wondering why we never thought of them before.

1.) The inside of the refrigerator was reprioritized. It was not a simple cleaning out, or a reorganization, but a switching things up entirely to reflect better priorities. I wanted the most accessible food to be the healthiest for us, so that what we see first and grab for with the most ease is the food we should be eating.
I don't normally share pictures of the inside of our refrigerator, so this seems a little strange, but here goes...

How it works:

The top shelf now contains beverages: orange juice, half-and-half, heavy whipping cream, buttermilk, cider, cordials, unfinished bottles of wine, etc.

The main shelf, the second one and the most easily accessible, contains everything healthy: fruit, yogurt, natural peanut butter, homemade pickles, chopped up vegetables for eating or tossing in salads or omelettes, hummus, and more.

The third shelf contains leftovers and eggs.

And the bottom shelf contains: bottles and jarred things pushed to the back (banana peppers, hot fudge sauce, etc.) and all breads (bread, bagels, English muffins, etc.)

It's working great to have the bread the least obvious and the healthy foods right in front of our eyes.

2.) Water bottles in bulk to go. Water is my favorite beverage...hands down! LOVE it! I am rarely without a glass of water within arm's reach at home, or without a water bottle when I'm on the go. I'd like to be one of those people who has one of those lovely Swell bottles, but truth be me stainless steel water bottles just have a metallic taste which turns my stomach. Since I don't like being without water, I usually just kept a case of water in my car. But I started to think of how much nicer it would be to just have a bin where you could grab one. So, I bought this meal bin at Target, and it's working out great!


So much easier than trying to tear the heavy plastic and stretching it until you can wrangle a water bottle out. The case comes straight out of my grocery cart, and while I'm standing in the parking lot at the grocery store, I empty the case and fill the bin. It' almost funny how frequently someone in the family says, "I love the new water bottle bin!" It's not like I invented sliced bread! ;-) Initially, we had an issue with the bin wanting to slide and tip over. But my car has these handy little rings on the side (semi-visible in this photo at the bottom right corner of the bin), and we just attached the bin to the ring with a clip, and the problem was solved. Another option would be a heavier bin, like an old, wooden crate.

If I'm not the last person on earth to think of these things, I hope you found them helpful.

Photo Shoot

It's been photo shoot week for the 2018 Stocking Collection coming to the shop soon! I just have two fabulous ones to finish up next week. Then I have to wait until a sunny day to photograph those last two. Then the collection will be listed in the shop. I can't wait to show you!...woolens, classics, antique fabrics, reproduction excited!

Pumpkin Crème Brûlée

We've been enjoying this Pumpkin Crème Brûlée during these cold, autumn evenings this week. Perfect for the season! Click here to find the recipe.

Leaf Peeping in New England

Recently, Colette and I took a day trip to Manchester, Vermont. We took the back roads, through small, New England towns and past all the glorious autumn splendor that is quintessential New England. We had the day all planned out before we left home, and part of the essentials was breakfast at one of our favorite spots, so getting there before they stopped serving breakfast was of paramount importance. Hence, we only stopped once all the way there, because...well...this! How could we not stop and take a photo?

We got to The Copper Grouse just in time for breakfast. We love their cozy interior, with its rich paneling and warm colors. It was especially welcome this day, as it was damp and drizzly and just the sort of day you want a warm place of refuge.

After breakfast, we wandered the main roads and the back roads of Manchester. The clouds were hanging low over the hillsides and the autumn foliage was pretty close to peak. After a while, we found a parking spot and enjoyed a stroll down Manchester's marble sidewalks, the leaves crunching beneath our feet. Here are the sights we saw:

Then we drove to a local farm, where everything autumn was offered! We came seeking cider donuts (yum!), but enjoyed the hot, spiced cider too!

The drive home was breathtakingly beautiful too! This first building (this photo and the next) is one of the most intriguing buildings I've encountered in New Hampshire! It seems to be a four-story mill building...not sure if it's still used for something, or not. The stream was definitely trickling beneath the building, so it seems possible that it's still a working mill of some kind. It made me smile to see that someone has put a metal roof on this great old building...shows someone cares for its preservation.

I hope you enjoyed your tour. This weekend, we are doing so much autumnal wandering that we've named it "Autumn Fest" in our household! Those leaves are dropping fast, and we are out to enjoy it while it lasts!

Early Morning Stroll About Nantucket

Last week, Colette and I went to Nantucket for a trip scheduled prior to her spraining her ankle. (By the way, I'm happy to report that it's rapidly improving!) We had a wonderful time exploring the island from one end the other.

On our last morning there, I did my favorite thing to do on Nantucket...I took an early morning stroll. Nantucket, early morning, just me and my IS my happy place! Absolute bliss.

When I stepped outside our hotel that morning, to my great surprise, a warm breeze was whooshing over the island. A very strong, warm breeze. The sky was painted with pink-tinged clouds with golden highlights. Every fiber of my being felt alive and the breeze was invigorating. I'd never experienced Nantucket quite like this, and it made the windswept island all the more captivating and precious to me.

I love wandering and photographing all the unique features of the homes and gardens of the island. I'm drawn to their historic beauty and all the personal touches that have been added or have withstood the hand of time...doorknockers, flags, mail baskets, picket fences, mouldings, gardens secreted away beyond gates, Land Rovers collecting dust in driveways, the last of the dahlias, and on and on and on...

I do hope this woman will forgive me for invading her privacy with my zoom lens, but I think I shall never forget her. I glanced up and there she was...doing yoga on the widow's walk of her home...stories up in air...facing the rising sun...that warm, whooshing breeze brushing over her. What an experience that must be!

  1. widow's walk - a railed or balustraded platform built on a roof, originally in early New England houses, typically for providing an unimpeded view of the sea.

Eventually, I wander into the heart of the town. So wonderful to find the streets deserted still...plenty of time to admire the overflowing window boxes, peek into shop windows, and quietly greet passersby and every friendly dog.

I always know it's time to turn my feet back towards the hotel when the streets start getting busier. The hustle and bustle drives me back. The quiet of Nantucket is my happy place!

The Maine Sights

I thought I'd give you a little tour of some of the sights I've been seeing while I've been chauffeuring Colette to her job in Maine. Maine is beautiful at any time of year, but summer and autumn are definitely when it shines! Being further north than we live, there is more autumn color to be seen here. But's a wee bit early, and it's just beginning to pop everywhere.

Given almost unlimited time to myself, my first choice of activity is to go antique shopping. And Maine, especially up and down Highway 1, is loaded with intriguing shops. Give me a three-story barn full of antiques, and you could lose me for hours!

Having run through most of the antique stores in the area and lugged home a number of small items...yet another walking stick, a small iron to use as a doorstop in my sewing room, a deer antler, a dried gourd, etc., I turned my attention to exploring bakeries and small restaurants. They all need exploring, right? 

Super good, jumbo biscuits here! And they make them into sandwiches!

And I finally made it to the locally-famous, Musette, where I had a super fluffy waffle stuffed full of ham and roasted peppers and onions. Highly recommend!

Sometimes I just enjoy driving and "getting lost" in an unknown area, which is the advantage of the modern age when you can just Google Maps your way from lost to the closest bakery! Win, win! While "lost", I happened upon this scene and had to pull over. It just took my breath away...England has met New England in a glance. Just look at that view!

But by far, my favorite way to explore places is on foot. After consuming the fluffy omelette with great enthusiasm, it was time for a long stroll. The town I was in then, Cape Porpoise (which has the cutest name!) is chock full of iconic Maine sights, and it was a joy to have time to savor them.

I've visited farm stands and garden centers. This one is Snug Harbor Farm. A large, white patty pan squash and a luminous, pale green bird bottle gourd came home with me from here.

Last Saturday, because it was the weekend, a flea market was happening, and I was able to go. This carved eagle, holding the Coast Guard's motto of Semper Paratus (always prepared) in its talons, came home with me. Perfect, since our son's a Coastie! It's probably going on the gallery wall in the family room. And, yes, these trips are starting to get expensive. More walks...less shopping. 

Today, it is raining and only in the 50's. And of all days, I completely forgot a jacket. But I've been doing a bit of wandering, because autumn is too pretty not to.

But I've been trying to redeem the time too, and have been blogging, typing for hours and hours on a project for our town's historical society, returning emails, and more. I've been reading. And I'm doing all the hand sewing I can possibly do. Today, I brought our Christmas cards along, and if time allows, I will be signing all of them and addressing them. Christmas is coming!
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