Thursday, November 8, 2018

Sweet Harvest

The Pumpkin

Oh,greenly and fair in the lands of the sun, 
The vines of the gourd and the rich melon run, 
And the rock and the tree and the cottage enfold, 
With broad leaves all greenness and blossoms all gold, 
Like that which o'er Nineveh's prophet once grew, 
While he waited to know that his warning was true, 
And longed for the storm-cloud, and listened in vain 
For the rush of the whirlwind and red fire-rain. 

On the banks of the Xenil the dark Spanish maiden 
Comes up with the fruit of the tangled vine laden; 
And the Creole of Cuba laughs out to behold 
Through orange-leaves shining the broad spheres of gold; 
Yet with dearer delight from his home in the North, 
On the fields of his harvest the Yankee looks forth, 
Where crook-necks are coiling and yellow fruit shines, 
And the sun of September melts down on his vines. 

Ah! on Thanksgiving day, when from East and from West, 
From North and from South come the pilgrim and guest, 
When the gray-haired New Englander sees round his board 
The old broken links of affection restored, 
When the care-wearied man seeks his mother once more, 
And the worn matron smiles where the girl smiled before, 
What moistens the lip and what brightens the eye? 
What calls back the past, like the rich Pumpkin pie? 

Oh, fruit loved of boyhood! the old days recalling, 
When wood-grapes were purpling and brown nuts were falling! 
When wild, ugly faces we carved in its skin, 
Glaring out through the dark with a candle within! 
When we laughed round the corn-heap, with hearts all in tune, 
Our chair a broad pumpkin,—our lantern the moon, 
Telling tales of the fairy who travelled like steam, 
In a pumpkin-shell coach, with two rats for her team! 

Then thanks for thy present! none sweeter or better 
E'er smoked from an oven or circled a platter! 
Fairer hands never wrought at a pastry more fine, 
Brighter eyes never watched o'er its baking, than thine! 
And the prayer, which my mouth is too full to express, 
Swells my heart that thy shadow may never be less, 
That the days of thy lot may be lengthened below, 
And the fame of thy worth like a pumpkin-vine grow, 
And thy life be as sweet, and its last sunset sky 
Golden-tinted and fair as thy own Pumpkin pie!





Whimsy and Hugs!

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Ready for the next one...


She looked for trick-or-treaters...


Here they came!


It was fun!


We had Chinese takeout!!!!


Now the holiday is Thanksgiving....    I usually wait on Christmas!





But ... I still have a couple sacks left.... Smell my feet! lolol




Whimsy and Hugs!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

"Tis Nigh

Three days of beautiful October remain... I cannot believe what speed these past 28 have shown.



Today, so windy and chilled, despite intense sunshine. I searched my mind to create  "Autumn Comfort Casserole." I started with the famous Tater Tot . Then I  had to tweak to accommodate my grocery shelf.

Autumn Comfort Casserole

Brown and crumble, drain if needed:

1 1/2 # hamburger
1 small chopped onion
1 t. minced garlic
salt and pepper

Add in:
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1-2 cans whole milk

------

In Lightly oiled, deep 13 x 9 casserole



Chop in small cubes (O'brien hash brown style) 3-4 large potatoes (wash and leave skins on)
drain 2 cans green beans, 1 can corn

Layer:

 half potatoes
half pkg. dry ranch dressing mix
half vegetables
half meat mixture

Repeat

Top with 1-1/2 c. shredded cheese

Bake at 360 degrees for 60 minutes



It was good! I made home made drop biscuits (my favorite recipe here) and marinated tomatoes...  Finally I got out my turkey flatware. (Plymouth pattern) I bought it on Pfaltzgraff a couple years ago, and .... I have YET to have one guest notice how utterly darling and seasonally satisfying my knives and forks are!!!!  Ah.... how funny...







I have to get some preparation for my hoped-for trick-or-treaters. Last year we had only one family! I live way out of town, and all my mother's carefully cultivated little masqueraders have grown up. 

Have a frightfully spooky but fun week. I am going to watch a couple from my fave Halloween movies this week: Hocus Pocus (I started this one  last night--- actually for the first time ever. P.S... last time, too. Why didn't anybody ever say it was so sad?) Practical Magic, The Three Lives of Thomasina, Bell, Book, and Candle, The Good Witch, Ladyhawke, E.T., Ghost Busters, You've Got Mail,  The Crucible, and  It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown...   As we see, I have nothing scary in my stash... (except for The Crucible)   Then it's on to the beautiful Harvest season. Time to "talk turkey." 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Driving Through

Oh, it's almost showtime... Since our weather dipped to 25 degrees, we knew our trees would begin their fiery dance with the bright palette of Autumn. I think I house the secret fear that each year might be the one that sees the leaves tumble to the earth, green and unfulfilled... but I am always "pretty sure" I can count on Missouri in the Fall.... So out we go....  I have a friend who loves to go with me on drives, no matter the season. 



We have hit the roads and parks two days this week, and it is only Tuesday! She doesn't enjoy driving any more, so she is a passenger through time. We've been friends for 38 years... quite a few memories slip in among the leaves. 



I cannot help remembering other autumn rides with my dear Mama. Oh, how she loved to get in my car, go through Amish country, and see the countryside. I remember reading once that someone felt she missed her loved ones most at the cusp of a new season... I'm not sure, but possibly it does spark more longing. It is hard to say because I honestly miss my parents so much I think I might just break down and "beller" like a "bawl-baby."  (Mom's words, of course.) I don't go around telling this because I am not the only person who has lost a loved one. 



I have plenty to be glad about, and life offered me a good long journey with my dad and an even longer, more intensive walk with Mama. I am grateful. I just honestly wish for them to slip back into our daily round and work up their collections and take back their home.... and ... well, how silly...!!!



I belong to an awesome planner group called Planner Perfect. Its motto is to write a better story. I truly believe in the power of positive thought and taking thoughts captive as mentioned in the Bible. Therefore, I honestly don't allow my poor little mind out to wander too far alone. I just let it gaze out the window at melancholy sunsets for a little while each day. That's enough.


I think the trips through the countryside are fun early like this because each time we spot  a vivid tree, it's really a show stopper.  The two pictures below are my friend's favorite house, front and back views. We have to drive by every time and slow down or stop... She loves everything about this house from the porch decorations to the flags to the back yard pool...  Sometimes she spouts out silliness like.... "Where could I find me a husband who would buy me this house?" Where indeed? At the Husband Shop, no doubt... I think this house is pretty, but... she takes the prize for wishing...



It is grand, though. Isn't it?



This house looks like more work than I could do.... I have a ton of things to do already... and it seems as if the main time I'm inspired to do them is late at night.... when I secretly know I am not gonna haul my "Parky carcass" out of bed to work on anything... except maybe getting a snack or a glass of ice water if I am feeling especially kind to myself. It is the ultimate mid night pleasure to wake up thirsty to a sippy cup (aka metal travel thermos) filled with icy water. I think I am the Queen of England or something if I have that beside my pillow and don't have to gulp down hot, stale Diet Coke from a warm can left sitting in the dark....  Geez Louise, this post is filled with too much information! 



  
Not that I can get out of bed without WW3 anyway. My cat likes to nail down my covers on the side of the bed I get out.... She is so much asleep that I have to shake her like the dickens to get her to move...  I think the secret word is "cat chow." She will move for that only... or..."Want some cheese?" That's too funny... I ain't a gonna holler that at 3 a.m..... I hate to lie to her, ya know?



She has had a rough week. I don't think she likes it when everybody is gone. She takes after me and honestly seems to be a stress eater. If she's alone any length of time, her bowl is empty... Or perhaps she has guests come over? I sure don't have a kitty cam. The renter had his huge combine in to harvest his soybeans on the 50 acres he rents from me. Callie hates "motors" of all kinds.



Well. I hope you have an Autumn to remember with joy... both this year and from your past... 



I saw a quote this week that said, "If you don't have time to do what's important, stop doing the things that aren't."  Great advice... We all have days we like to revisit from our past. May we write the stories that create more of these in our present.   I am, as always, "hoping for the best." Today was one of those... 


Looking forward... looking back. Thanks for reading my blog. 

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Brrrrrrrr.......

Whimsy and Hugs!

Tonight expecting a low of 25 degrees! I am convinced it is still Fall, but it feels a bit wintry around the edges. I asked my son if he knew what this weather meant...  "Chili!" he laughed. I have been trying not to make chili as often as I did last year, but it is my go-to comfort food, I think. So tomorrow it is gonna happen!


Spent this sunny, blustery Saturday inside, fiddling around with the last of the Halloween decor and doing laundry.... and basically seemed to accomplish more today than all week (which isn't saying much.) I have noticed a disturbing trend... (disturbing to me, I guess.) I watch quite a bit of those life style YouTube videos with Fall Tours and Halloween reveals...  and much like retail, they are taking down their Fall and putting up Christmas...  I know it is their business, but I can't imagine taking down decor before the holiday we decorated for...  although I admit I have wanted to at times...  (My mom would quickly tell me if this is all I have to be worried about, I am doing pretty good...  her code words to "shuddupaboutit"....)


A friend of mine, actually the custodian at the school where I used to teach...  This is his home all decked out for Halloween. He loves to go all out with those big inflatables, and he usually stands out there most evenings... I think he has to protect them from vandals with cigarettes...  Isn't that a crock? He has a haunted yard maze for trick-or-treaters and hands out cold pop. 


Well, think I will cozy in for some extra sleep tonight. I made popcorn with apples and brownies, but I failed to realize what  convection oven does to really thin brownies... My son said they were "crunchy but good." I feared for my already compromised dental situation... Wow...


Enjoy whatever season you want to... I officially am minding my own bee's wax.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Two Days in a Row


I recently got out my fairy collection and put it in a cupboard in my bedroom...  They were just a little miffed about spending three months in a dark box...  I hope I don't make them mad..  Fairies are a bit delicate and can be trouble when their hackles are rising... I need to refold those quilts.






Gotta run...  Hope to be back tomorrow...  WE shall see...

Whimsy and Hugs!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

October's Muse


Good morning!  I am finally writing another post after all these weeks. It seems as if I have fallen off the face of the earth, actually. I would like you to think I've been just that busy...  but...  those of you who know me realize that just isn't true.  I have just been AWOL. It seems as if I just got my old sleigh full of Whoville's treasures about half way up Mt. Crumpet to dump it... and it slid down around my ears. My Mom used to say, "I need to light a fire under you."  Well, yes. Yes, that fire needs to be lit, for sure.  

I tell you what happened if you have a minute.  I got the main body of the house presentable...  and then I have been sitting on my.... laurels (another of Mom's wise observations.) However, this crisp Autumn that has arrived is firing my senses, and I am raring to get more done.  Our temperatures this week are dipping into the mid 30's.  It fires me up. 

Where do I start?  Want a quick recipe? I made enchiladas the quick way for Sunday's lunch and served them with chips, sour cream, salsa, and a salad...  

Quick Enchiladas

1 1/2 # ground beef, cooked and drained

Mix in large bowl with

1 pkg. taco seasoning
1/2 bottle taco sauce (not salsa)
2 c. shredded cheese, Mexican style
1 -2 cans green chiles

This is my short cut. The real enchilada recipes layer all these ingredients, but I just moosh them together and fill the tortilla...  It seems not to matter to my family. I try to get sauce all the way out to the ends of the side of the tortilla that will be layered in the roll, so it isn't just a dry clump of dough.

Roll two large Serving Spoons of this into large flour tortillas.  I don't pinch in sides but put about 10 in a 9 x 13 pan.  I put 7 lengthwise and 3 across the end.

Pour 2 cans red Enchilada sauce over the top.  I added a drained can of Ro-tel, but I wasn't a fan of the extra tomato taste although I got no complaints! 

Top with a substantial amount of grated Mexican cheese.

Bake one hour in 350 oven


Did you ever have a string of things that made you just want to get cranky? Well, I think that's a sign that something is wrong with me when that happens.  My Mom told a story about a mother who watched a high school band go by.  Her son was named John and he was stomping quite energetically on his right foot when everyone else was clearly on "their Left, their left they had a good home but they Left." Mom said the mother of John watched them pass and turned to her friends around her and said, "Oh, my! Everyone's out of step but my Johnny." ....  yeah, that's how it has seemed at times lately. 

 I just painted my own little witch dancing in the moonlight...  It's what you call "Primitive."



I get up fairly early, sometimes really before I have to. Often I work on editing a book for a friend's husband. On this particular morning I was able to capture the blue hour...That's the kind of thing I had in mind when my son suggested we enlarge the kitchen and I decided to move the table to the windows...  I love to watch the rains come in, and soon.....  that four-letter word, SNOW...  





I made some potato soup yesterday, the first I've made since I used to make it for Mama. It was her favorite. 



Right now I think I will just enjoy this cup of Cinnamon Apple coffee and get ready to play chauffeur for a friend of mine. Have a good Thursday! I had this cup made with a photo enhanced of our old barn that is rapidly disintegrating before our eyes.  It was my grandfather's barn, and we need to have it torn down...   See you tomorrow.


Whimsy and Hugs!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Happy Autumn

Happy Autumn!

Our weather has decided it is suddenly fall. Perfect for snuggling and planning.


I have been awol from house overhaul... Just enjoying the progress and decorations, crocheting, and dreaming.


We had a few days of high temps... But Friday night dipped into the 40's






I just needed to officially welcome this new season. Weekends seem so short, even to this retired teacher. My son agrees as he hits the road five days a week. 

I have been compiling a list of fall activities/foods for 2018. You share yours first! Have a great season!