Taking a Wee Break

Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn.  ~ Elizabeth Lawrence

Good morning, dear friends. I hope this finds you well and enjoying this beautiful season ~ it moves too quickly.

Some of you may have thought that when you didn’t hear from me last week, I was ill.  Not true.  Just doing a little rethinking ~ about many things.  Such as the things I love to do, the things I need to do, and what I actually can do.  After all, I am no longer forty.  I know you have heard me say, “I no longer whirl and twirl like I once did.”  Truer words were never spoken.  

I very much enjoy writing my blog, but it does take time, as all of you know.  Cooking and trying new recipes is a total joy for me, as is our garden and reading.  Again, they all take time.  And, I am one of those strange people who enjoys keeping house and a tidy one.  Perhaps, it was all the years I worked outside our home and didn’t have the time to spend where I wanted to.

All said, I have decided to take a wee break. I want to read and enjoy your blogs and take time to make sincere comments, write notes to dear friends,  watch my stove dance, and when spring arrives, reacquaint myself with our precious garden.  I want to “sit and watch the leaves turn!”  And, when the holidays arrive, I want to sit with Mike, sip hot chocolate and enjoy Christmas music and twinkling lights.  I know you understand.  

Not to worry, I will see you “At Table” soon and we will enjoy the holidays together.  I know your blogs will be beautiful and bring me and all those who are blessed to read them,  the holiday spirit.  I hope you also will take time to “watch the leaves turn” and especially take time to enjoy all the things you love.

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 “Take rest, a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.” ~ Ovid

 

À bientôt,

Sandra

 

Images: Tumblr

 

‘Sunday Thoughts’ ~ It Is October and Time to Make Apple Butter!.

“Apple butter is not a combination of apples and butter. Let’s just get that out of the way. There is no butter in apple butter, which does make it seem like whoever named the stuff could have done a slightly better job. But if it has nothing to do with the creamy dairy product, then what is apple butter? ” ~ Bon Appétit Magazine

Good morning, dear friends.  I do hope this finds you well and enjoying these autumn days.  Life is good here in ‘The Hills.’  We have been notified Jack Frost will pay us a visit tonight ~ so we know for certain October has arrived.  I hope you will enjoy your visit, as something a bit different is in store for you. 

Along with the arrival of October comes apple butter and the Salem, WV Apple Butter Festival.  West Virginians will look for any excuse to hold a festival.  There seems to be a festival for every berry, season, and occasion.  Even ramps have a festival.    Festivals are in every town and community.  Goodies and recipes abound.  From violet jelly to . . .apple butter. 

My husband belongs to a group known as the Salem Rifle and Pistol Club.  They gather for different events at their club ~ target shooting, learning new skills from skilled and certified instructors from their club, other clubs, and members of various law enforcement agencies.  They are quite a diverse group and personally, I believe they also gather to ‘shoot the breeze.’  Their backgrounds range from educational professionals, farmers, skilled craftsmen (who can build and fix anything), retired military men, law enforcement officers, attorneys, and businessmen.  There are a few ladies in the group, who joined mainly because they want to know how to properly and safely hold and fire a weapon.  

In order to help support the club, one fundraiser each year is held and that is making apple butter ~ the old-fashioned way.    The apple butter is placed over an open fire, in its copper kettle, during the wee hours of the morning, then the members of the club take turns stirring.  The club holds two to three “Apple Butter Kettles” (and a demonstration kettle at the festival) each October in order to have enough to sell at the festival.  In addition to the festival, the apple butter is most usually sold at a local grocery store.  However, there will not be any available for sale at the grocery store this year ~ they sold out.

Mike Lambiotte stirs a demonstration kettle at the festival.

The Mountaineer is not just a mascot. It is a leader. And I will proudly lead my University and state with love and passion ~ my home among the hills,” Roush said. “I also hope to serve as an inspiration for young girls for generations to come.”  ~ Mary Roush

Mary G. Roush, West Virginia University Mascot ~ 2022~2023. “The Lady Mountaineer”

The photo above is of Mary Roush, stirring apple butter.  She is the 2022~2023, West Virginia University Lady Mountaineer and the third female in nine decades to don the buckskins and carry the rifle as the 68th Mountaineer Mascot.  She fires the rifle at athletic and other various events, and public appearances throughout the state.    For those of you who are not familiar with WVU, this is quite a coveted position.  I would imagine Roush could hold her own against any of the men in the Salem club.

 

“Aim to be the blue ribbon best. Have high standards and work to be exceptional. Develop yourself from practice to be a winner at what you do.” ~ Mark F. LaMoure

These two fine-looking gentlemen are standing in front of the blue ribbon won by the club for their outstanding apple butter. Winning a blue ribbon is quite an accomplishment, whether one is sixteen or sixty ~ you or the group represented is always proud.

“Being a festival queen is a remarkable opportunity for a young woman.  It teaches a lot of life skills.” ~ unknown

There certainly can not be a festival without a queen.  And, this gentleman looks happier helping the lovely queen stir the apple butter than he did standing with his friend in front of the blue ribbon.   Pretty girls do have an amazing effect. 

Dear friends, I hope you have enjoyed your visit.  Should you live near and may be looking for a road trip,  Go to festival.Net for a list of current fairs and festivals in the ‘Mountain State.’

Know, I wish you and yours a beautiful day and week ahead.  

And. . .

Enjoy the falling leaves!

“The greatness of a culture can be found in its festivals.” ~ Siddharth Katragadda

 

Amour,

Sandra

Note:  Inspiration for this post came from my dear friend, Janet.

Photos:  Mike Lambiotte

 

‘Sunday Thoughts’~ October Has Not Arrived With A Smile.

“On earth, there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it.” ~ Jules Renard

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here, And you must treat it as a powerful stranger, Must ask permission to know it and be known. The forest breathes. Listen. It answers, I have made this...

Good morning, dear friends.  I do hope this finds you well and under blue skies.  This morning finds my thoughts here, there, and everywhere.  As I am certain, your thoughts probably are too. I am terribly concerned for the people who have been affected by these hurricanes.  And, the situation in Ukraine continues to be beyond tragic. The lives of many in both situations are and may be forever changed.  I pray all of you are safe and that your families are also. 

With all the sadness of our current world, I thought perhaps we needed something lovely to lift our spirits.  Therefore, I hope you will enjoy the selection of photos and words I have chosen to accompany them.  I promise you, with my thoughts so scattered, they will be far better than what I could present. You might want to find a nice cup of coffee or tea.

“October had tremendous possibility. The summer’s oppressive heat was a distant memory, and the golden leaves promised a world full of beautiful adventures. They made me believe in miracles.”  ~ Sarah Guillory

BY nataabramova_

 

“Autumn teaches us a valuable lesson. During summer, all the green trees are beautiful, but there is no time of the year when the trees are more beautiful than when they are different colors. Diversity adds beauty to our world.” ~ Donald L. Hicks

“Autumn that year painted the countryside in vivid shades of scarlet, saffron, and russet, and the days were clear and crisp under the harvest skies.” ~ Sharon Kay Penman

 

“ The leaves are flying high away, and the heart flies with them… ” ~ Emily Dickenson

By kjp

 

“It was October again. . .a glorious October, all red and gold, with mellow mornings when the valleys were filled with delicate mists as if the spirit of autumn had poured them in for the sun to drain~ amethyst, pearl, silver rose, and smoke~blue.  The dews were so heaved that the fields glistened like cloth of silver and there were such heaps of rustling leaves in the hollows of many stemmed woods to run crisply through.” ~ L.M. Montgomery 

 

“October sunshine bathed the park with such a melting light that it had the dimmed impressive look of a landscape by an old master.” ~ Elizabeth Enright

 

“October, tuck tiny candy bars in my pockets and carve my smile into a thousand pumpkins… Merry October!”  ~Rainbow Rowell

 

 The trees go all red and blazing orange and gold, and wood fires burn at night so everything smells of crisp branches.  The world rolls about delightedly in a heap of cider and candy apples and pumpkins and cold stars rush by through the wispy, ragged clouds. . .” ~ Catherynne M. Valente 

 

Dear friends, I hope you have enjoyed your visit.  Know I wish you and yours a beautiful day.

And. . .

May the ‘Hope of a New Day’ bring us joy and peace.

                                                                                                                                                

Amour, 

Sandra

 

Images: Tumblr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Sunday Thoughts’ ~ A Gift Tied With ‘Heartstrings’

“Surprise is the greatest gift which life can grant us.” ~ Boris Pasternak

 

Good Sunday morning, sweet friends.  I hope this finds you well and that the past week was good to you.  Life handed me a sweet blessing from above, and I am so happy, I want to share the news.

It was a lovely gift that pulled at my ‘heartstrings.’  You see, it was a beautiful and personal gift from a  friend ~ one I have never met.  Yes, you read that correctly and are probably wondering, “How can that be?”  I have learned many things over the course of this summer (one is never too old to learn).  One of the things I have learned is that the friends made in the blogging world are special and sincere.  No longer will I refer to them as virtual friends, as that seems cold and certainly not ‘kind of heart,’ as my friends are.  Perhaps, I was simply blessed and my blog spoke to these dear friends, but I believe differently.  I see God’s love and warmth in each of them.  Truly, He has had a hand in our connection.

On Friday, I was sitting in the sunroom (still going through books) and Mike brought me a package from the postman.  Immediately, I said, “I didn’t order anything.”  He replied, “Well, it is addressed to you.”  Therefore, I went about opening my unexpected package.  To my great surprise, it was a leather-bound book containing beautiful daily devotions.  Not long, but each one is so inspiring and uplifting.  Written by Sarah Young,  it is titled, “Jesus Always.” 

Written in the introduction, is a little information about the author.  She sounds like a remarkable woman, as she has been dealing with chronic health issues since 2001.  In 2013, she and her husband moved from Western Australia back to the United States and settled in Tennessee.  I hope she was young when they made that move.  Moving from Virginia to West Virginia was enough moving for me. To add to this story, since 2008, she has been dealing with vertigo.  Having dealt with vertigo myself, I can tell you, “It is a mean and ugly visitor, one you do not ever want to welcome.”

We all know God is everywhere, in everything, and everyone.  He clearly has held Ms. Young in the palm of His hand.   And, He also knows my friend that sent me this special book, along with a joyful letter.  Both, I will always treasure, as well as how they made me feel will be forever stored in my heart.  Most of all, my friend will join other bloggers who have done special things for me.  Special people I adore.  

“What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth.  They share it.” ~ C. S. Lewis

I have been richly blessed through the years with many dear friends and their sweet surprises.  My grandmother used to say to me, “Baby, I hope your life is full of sweet surprises.”  She would be most happy if I could share my stories with her. It truly is a joy to be the recipient as well as the giver.  

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Dear friends, I hope you have enjoyed your visit.  Know I wish you and yours a glorious day.

And. . .

May sweet surprises be yours ~ always.

And. . .

A sincere and special thanks to my dear friend, for your kindness and thoughtfulness.  Blessings to you and yours.

                                                                                                      

“Joy is the serious business of heaven.” ~  C. S. Lewis

 

 

Amour,

Sandra

Images:  Tumblr

‘Sunday Thoughts’ ~ Busy Times Are Approaching !

“Successful gardening is doing what has to be done, when it has to be done, the way it ought to be done, whether you want to do it or not.”  ~  Jerry Baker

 

juliamstarr: “Instagram ”Good morning, dear friends.  I hope this finds you well and enjoying the last days of summer.   Autumn will officially arrive Thursday, September 22, 2022.  I don’t know about you, but for me, life seems to get really busy in the fall.  My mind becomes a little cluttered thinking of what is ahead.  Therefore, out comes my trusty tablet and I begin to make my ‘to do’  list.  As the season moves along my list will change as I mark things from the list.

 

“If you tickle the earth with a hoe, she laughs with a harvest.” ~ Douglas William Jerrold

The first, rather large and time-consuming activity, is telling the garden, ” Enjoy your sleep, dear friend.”  “And, thank you for your amazing beauty.” Depending on where you live, this will require your attention anywhere from September to the first part of November.  Your dear friend will let you know when she is ready for her long sleep.  She will look tired and a little weary.  That time is now in North Central West Virginia.   The peonies need to be cut back (62 of them), pots need to be emptied and placed in the garage, grass seed needs spreading, and plants need to be checked to see if they are healthy.  And perhaps add a little food to carry them through the winter.  Also, should you be unhappy or your plant is unhappy with its current home, now is the time to give them a new home.

This is a job that “needs to be done, whether you want to do it or not.”  However, when this job is complete, a gardener’s heart always sings.

“I can see the woods in their autumn dress, the oaks purple, the hickories washed with gold, the maples and the sumacs luminous with crimson fires.” ~ Mark Twain

 

 

In October, the leaves begin to dance.  They are such a happy sight as they float down from the trees and dance along the streets and yards.  However, happy as they appear, they have to be raked.  A job many do not enjoy, but depending on the weather and one’s mindset, raking leaves can turn into special memories.

“November comes and November goes, with the last red berries and the first white snows.  With night coming early, and dawn coming late, and ice in the bucket, and frost at the gate.  The fires burn and the kettles sing, and earth sinks to rest until next spring.” ~ Clyde Watson

November has always been a favorite month of mine.  Perhaps, it is because of Thanksgiving, which I love.  But to me, it seems so special to have a day set aside to count our blessings.  No matter how large or small, we all have blessings we can count.  Often they are right in front of us and we may not see them, but they are there.  And to me, I count our home as a special blessing.  I always like to give her a thorough cleaning,  especially before the Christmas Decorations emerge from their hiding places.

In November, the smell of food is different.  It is an orange smell. A squash and pumpkin smell.  It tastes like cinnamon and can fill up a house in the morning.” ~ Cynthia Ryland

 

“The days are getting colder, have a warm heart.” ~ Unknown

 

In closing, dear friends, as you can see I am speaking about busy times from late September through November.  I haven’t included everything whirling about in my head, such as wee gifts to make for neighbors and friends, special gifts for those we love, or cards to be written.  However, it is time for these things to be in our thoughts, not to mention the little touches we all do ~ unique only to us. 

Please know,  I am not mentioning thoughts about December and Christmas.  That, my friends, is for another day.  Because we must savor the glorious moments of autumn.  We mustn’t find ourselves in a crazy whirl and miss the beauty of the season.

 

Know, I wish you and yours a beautiful day and an autumn full of golden moments.

 

“Autumn is the hush before winter.” ~ French Proverb

 

Amour,

Sandra

 

Images: Tumblr

 

‘Sunday Thoughts’ ~ A Few Lovely Things

“Beauty in things exists in the mind which contemplates them.” ~ David Hume

A talented gardener’s vision and skilled hands.

Good morning, dear friends.  I hope this finds you well and enjoying nice weather.   I read that much of the south was to have heavy rain and possible flooding.  Should you be in the South or West, you are in my thoughts.    We are to have rain this evening and a little tomorrow.  We are fortunate ~ nothing serious. 

When I was going through photos for this post, I came upon so many lovely images that I couldn’t choose.  Therefore, I decided to include several and thought you may enjoy them also.  As you know, I am drawn to images of nature in all her glory.  However, I also found a few pretty exteriors and some other things.  So, find your coffee/tea and come along with me for a wee tour of  ‘A Few Lovely Things.’

“Love of beauty is taste.  The creation of beauty is art.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

The above arrangement is, in my opinion, truly a work of art.

oldfarmhouse: “ 🌼🔆🍂By #Floretflower @instagram ”

I feel certain something special is planned for these white cosmos.

image

This dazzling pot of lavender in its vintage container just speaks, “Don’t you think I am pretty?”  I think it is marvelous ~ how about you?

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A special vase of flowers placed just so can add much to a room and to one’s day.

“A short story is what you see when you look out of the window.” ~ Mavis Gallant

Old windows have always held my interest.  To me, they are often so pretty and unique.  I always think of something I read in one of Alexandra Stoddard’s books.  She said, “When you look out of every window of your home you should see something of beauty.”

Maybe the sweet kitty sees something he/she thinks is beautiful.

“And all the lives we ever lived and all the lives to be are full of trees and changing leaves.” ~ Virginia Woolf

amazinglybeautifulphotography: “Muir Woods [OC] [1818x1228] - Author: _jpizzle_bear on Reddit ”

“And all at once, summer collapsed into fall.” ~ Oscar Wilde

” I only deepen the wounds of the world when I neglect to give thanks for early light dappled through the leaves. . .” ~ Ann Voskamp

 

aestheticnatureofbeauty: “ cristinailao ”

 

 

halljavalge: “https://vintage-house.blogspot.com/ ”

Dappled light often takes my breath away.  It cast such enchanting shadows.  To me, a masterpiece of the heavens.

Things are beautiful if you love them.” ~ Jean Anouilh

In closing, I hope you have enjoyed your wee tour of  ‘A few lovely things.’  There is one last thing  I came upon I would like to share.  One of our favorite artists is Roger Mühl (1929~2008).   He lived and painted in Mougins, France.  Periodically, I have tried to do a little research on the village, but have always had limited success, until today.  And look what I found.  Mike and I have always wanted to visit the village (Mougins is in the south of France) where he lived and created such beauty ~ perhaps, one day.

Directly below the village street scene is a piece Mühl painted that we own and enjoy.  As art is such a personal thing, you may or may not appreciate his style.  What I can tell you is, that you have to stand in front of one of his paintings to see the light which radiates from the painting.  Truly, it is amazing.  

La sublime ruelle des artistes de Mougins, France.    Translates, The sublime alley of the artists of Mougins, France.

 

Art – Beauty and Light ! | Art by, Roger Mühl, ” Beauty and Light.”

 

 

Dear friends, know I wish you and yours a most beautiful day and week ahead.  

And. . .

May joy and love follow you all along your path.

image

 

“It is not the language of painters but the language of Nature that one should listen to. ” ~ Vincent Van Gogh

 

Amour,

Sandra

 

Images: Tumblr and Pinterest

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Sunday Thoughts’ ~ The Joy of Books and Reading

“Bookstores always remind me that there are good things in this world” ~ Vincent van Gogh

 

Good morning, sweet friends.  I hope this finds you well and looking forward to things you enjoy this Labor Day Weekend.  This past week was rather busy for us.  Every day, other than one, I had an appointment or someplace I had to be.  Not my idea of a lovely week.  However, we survived.

During the first few weeks when I was home from the hospital and didn’t have the strength to do too much, I worked a bit on my books.  By that I mean, sorting through them ~ keepers and those to donate.  Such a difficult task.  Our Senior Center has a book club and is always delighted to receive books and magazines.  I feel they are in good hands there and readers will enjoy them.  Mike delivered one overflowing box this week and many more to come.  Our bookcases are stacked to the brim, therefore, this job ‘had to be tackled.

I have read from many of my dear blogging friends how many of you also struggle with this conundrum and I have listened to the tips you shared in dealing with this challenge.  And a challenge it truly is!   I will tell you, “If I had not had books to read when I was sick, I would be having tea with the folks in the ‘white coats.’ And, Mike would have moved to the attic in the garage living with the squirrels and butterflies.

” Books should go where they will be most appreciated, and not sit unread, gathering dust on a forgotten shelf . . .”  ~ Christopher Paolini

“I am simply a ‘book drunkard.’ Books have the same irresistible temptation for me that liquor has for its devotee.  I cannot withstand them.” ~ L.M. Montgomery.

thequeensenglish: “ “I am simply a ‘book drunkard.’ Books have the same irresistible temptation for me that liquor has for its devotee. I cannot withstand them.” ~L.M. Montgomery.OBE ”
I pretty much agree with Montgomery.  They are irresistible, however, that is truer in a bookshop more so than on Amazon.  In a bookshop, I have the feeling that I may not find the book again.  This is especially true if it is an old book.  It is always interesting to me to think about who originally owned the books and how they ended up in a certain bookshop.  I always write my name somewhere on the books I donate.  Personally, I feel it gives them a little provenance, in case others wonder about such things as I do.
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“For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.” ~ Anne Lamott

The words of Anne Lamott are, in my opinion, so very true.  Through reading, I have gained enormous empathy for others and I do wonder about the fearless courage of humans, young and old,  and how they managed to endure the many horrors of war and their lives after.  I honestly don’t know if I would be so brave, however, I guess we never know what we are made of until the specific time shows itself.  When that happens, we truly learn what “community and friendship” mean.

“Books are not made for furniture, but there is nothing else that so beautifully furnishes a house.” ~ Henry Ward Beecher

I'd like to hang out here for quite a while. I believe I could be quite busy.
There are books in most of the rooms of our home.  I do try to keep them somewhat contained, however, they seem to have a mind of their own and creep around here and there.  I do think they add personality and warmth to a room.

“Reading should not be presented to children as a chore, a duty. It should be offered as a gift.” ~ Kate DiCamillo

In closing, a cause that is near and dear to my heart and one I would possibly be involved in if I was perhaps forty, is Children’s Literacy.  Not just in our country, but around the world.  So many little ones miss out on the joy of reading and not to mention the importance of understanding what they read, and how it may affect their lives.  

Did you know that in Iceland there is a Christmas Eve tradition called “Jolabokaflod?”  Jaolabokaflod translates into ‘Christmas Book Flood.’  It is one of the most unique Icelandic Christmas traditions.  The tradition is to give or receive new books on Christmas Eve.  One theory is the tradition began as a way to promote literacy in Iceland, as a study revealed in the late 1800s only 50% of the population could read.   It is not just about the giving, it is also about the reading.

The best moments in reading are when you come across something ~ a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things ~ which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours.” ~ Alan Bennett

Dear friends, I do hope you have enjoyed your visit and perhaps you join me in my love of books and the idea of making sure they are placed in good hands for their next life.

Know, I wish you and yours a beautiful day, a safe Labor Day Weekend, and a lovely week ahead.  Stay well!

 

 

Amour,

Sandra

 

 

 

 

Images:: Tumblr and Pinterest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Sunday Thoughts’ ~ About August

“It takes years for shallow August to melt into September.” ~Alice Jones

earthanthem: “(via 1344 by boxx2genetica on DeviantArt) ”

Good morning, dear friends.  I hope this finds you doing well and looking forward to nice autumn days.  

It is difficult to believe that this is the last Sunday of August.  How did we get here so fast?  Personally, August has always seemed like a hectic month to me and not my favorite.  In Virginia, there was always much to do in the garden(vegetable),  the flower garden was wearing her tired hat, and there was an enormous amount of work to do in order to prepare for the opening of school (students and teachers returning).  To further complicate matters, the hurricanes most often arrived around Labor Day weekend, adding extreme chaos to the mix.  Especially, when your school was an emergency shelter.  Not to mention it was hot ~ really hot.  However, I no longer worry about a large vegetable garden, the opening of school, or hurricanes,  and I am happy those were days of my other life. 

In thinking about this post and going through my things, I found many talented people who wrote lovely things about August.  So, without any further chatter, I thought I would share a few of my favorites.

In August, the large masses of berries, which, when in flower, had attracted many wild bees, gradually assumed their bright velvety crimson hue, and by their weight again bent down and broke their tender limbs.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

 

August” by Mary Oliver

When the blackberries hang
swollen in the woods, in the brambles
nobody owns, I spend

all day among the high
branches, reaching
my ripped arms, thinking

of nothing, cramming
the black honey of summer
into my mouth; all day my body

accepts what it is. In the dark
creeks that run by there is
the thick paw of my life darting among

the black bells, the leaves; there is
the happy tongue.

 

“The quiet August noon has come; A slumberous silence fills the sky; The winds are still, the trees are dumb, In glassy sleep the waters lie.”  ~ William Cullen Bryant

“Whilst August yet wears her golden crown, Ripening fields lush ~ bright with promise; Summer waxes long, then wanes, quietly passing Her fading green glory on to riotous Autumn.” ~ Michelle L. Thieme

 

 

 

“It is difficult to think of anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.” ~ Lewis Grizzard

In closing, one of my favorite things about late summer is tomatoes.  I know I am not the only one who adores them.  A gentleman who lives on the golf course where Mike plays golf used to place a bucket of tomatoes and a salt shaker on his fence for the golfers to take as they drove by in their carts.  In thinking of Mike’s friend and this scrumptious fruit, I thought I would share a great and easy recipe ~ you will thank me for this one.    The recipe is from Ina Garten.

 

 

Summer Garden Pasta

4 pints cherry tomatoes, halved

Good olive oil

2 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves)

18 large basil leaves, julienned, plus extra for serving

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 pound dried angel hair pasta or pasta of your choice

1½ cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

Combine the cherry tomatoes, ½ cup olive oil, garlic, basil leaves, red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt, and the pepper in a large bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature for about 4 hours.  It will not hurt to let it set longer.

Just before you’re ready to serve, bring a large pot of water with a splash of olive oil and 2 tablespoons salt to a boil and add the pasta.  Cook al dente according to the directions on the package.  Drain the pasta well and add to the bowl with the cherry tomatoes.  Add the cheese and some extra fresh basil leaves and toss well.  Serve in big bowls with extra cheese on each serving.

 

Dear friends, know I wish you and yours a beautiful day 

And. . .

A glorious September.  Be well !  

 

“The summer air is now laced with autumn breezes. Time is passing.” ~ Victoria Erickson

 

Amour,

Sandra

 

Images: Tumblr

 

 

 

‘Sunday Thoughts’ ~ “With Heart and Hands”

” . . .but I also think of hands as the instruments of our love and creativity.  With our hands, we put our heart, spirit, and thoughts into action.” ~ Alexandra Stoddard

 

Good Sunday morning, dear friends.  August is moving along, so I do hope this finds you enjoying these last days of summer.  Especially, I hope it finds you doing the little things you love.

” It’s as interesting and as difficult to say a thing as well as to paint it.  There is the art of lines and colors, but the art of words exists too, and will never be less important.” ~ Vincent van Gogh

As many of you may be aware, I am a great fan of Alexandra Stoddard.  Her words continue to inspire me and I have read her book Gracious Living In a New World too many times to count.  Published in 1997, and quite relevant today, it serves as a guide to living well when the world around you is not pretty and is changing by leaps and bounds.  I urge you to see if you can find a copy of this motivating book.  You will not be disappointed. 

In re-reading this treasure the other day,  there was one chapter that was particularly touching and thought-provoking ~ “With Heart and Hands.” It brought to my attention, once again, the importance and the power of little things, such as writing letters.  Alexandra tells us, “All well-meaning letters are love letters.”  How true and what a beautiful thought.  When we write a letter, we reach out and connect with another.  Often, it is someone we care about and have had in our thoughts.  And, think for a moment how special it is to receive something hand-written in the stack of mostly worthless mail.   Actually, one can almost become giddy at the sight.

Should you be interested, Alexandra writes a lovely monthly newsletter ~ visit here.   The newsletter is often a bit lengthy but always a worthy read.

 

“The tomatoes I planted and later picked from the garden are now ripening on the window ledge ~ my hands have played a role in every stage, even now at this final stage when I slice them to make a delicious tomato and basil salad to serve to a friend.” ~ Alexandra Stoddard

These little things we do in our chaotic world hold power, give fond memories and make our hearts happy.  Who among you has sat on the porch with a loved one and snapped beans?  Goodness, I can’t count the times I sat with my grandmother on her porch swing and did just that. Our ‘hearts and ‘hands were in this endeavor.  Those memories are ones I will always treasure.

farmgirlatheart: “pinterest ”

 

soolmaz2001: “Had to share this @WeHeartIt ”

Back a few years, when I was still working. it was just before Christmas and there were around fifty ladies in the office.  Having been in a school office for twenty-seven years prior to going to the central office, I was accustomed to giving a wee gift to the office staff (around ten).  There is a big difference between fifty and ten.  Therefore, after a great deal of thought, I came up with cranberry jelly.  So, one Saturday, with my ingredients and equipment all in order, I spent the better part of the day making the jelly.  It turned out perfect.  Then I dressed the jars with little white doilies, and tiny Canadian Hemlock pine cones (gathered from Mom’s trees in WV) and tied them with red and green ribbons.  The jars were so pretty.  And oh, the joy they brought.  You see, the ladies were not accustomed to receiving a little gift and that made it all the more special.  A bit of love and appreciation in a jar ~ made with my ‘heart and hands.’

Dear friends, I hope you have enjoyed your visit.  And perhaps received a bit of inspiration toward the joy of things made with our ‘heart and hand.’  They mean so much in our current world.  In fact, they have almost become a rarity.  Even sharing a little basket of your hand-picked blueberries is an amazing sweet thought. 

Know I wish you and yours a beautiful day and week ahead.  

And. . .

May someone’s ‘heart and hand’ touch your life.

 

“If nature has made you for a giver, your hands are born open and so is your heart.” ~ Frances Hodgson Burnett

 

Amour,

Sandra

 

Images: Tumblr

‘Sunday Thoughts’ ~ Beauty, Wonder and Awe!

“For beauty, truth, and goodness are not obsolete:  they spring eternal in the breast of man.”~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

gardenprincessana: “ unsplash ”

 

Good morning, dear friends.  I do hope this finds you well and under blue skies filled with bird song.  We have been blessed with a little rain in the evenings and cooler temperatures during the day.  Certainly not August weather.  However, often I have seen September arrive with August temperatures.  This time of year, I always begin to look forward to autumn. How about you?   

As you probably know, I can only endure so much of the daily news.  Then I turn to the beauty of the garden, words of marvelously talented writers, and the comfort of our loving sweet home.  In going through my quotes and in reading, it seems as though life through the years has often been filled with troubling times.  Perhaps,  that is why there is so much written about the beauty of the world and nature.  There is peace in the simple joys of life.  So, I thought today I would share with you some of these things, a little respite from the daily news.

“The individual human is still the creature who can wonder, who can be enchanted by a sonata, who can place symbols together to make poetry to gladden our heart, who can view a sunrise with a sense of majesty and awe.”~ Rollo May

earthporn: “The crystal clear water of Lake Michigan at Cave Point Park at sunrise. [1067x1600] [OC] by: nickargiresphoto ”Sunrise and the clear water of Lake Michigan’s Cave Point Park.  Photo, Nick Argires

“If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.” ~ Vincent Van Gogh

“Sometimes happiness lies amongst the flowers. . .  Sometimes that’s all it takes to find happiness; is to open our eyes to the simplest of wonders.” ~ Nicole Addison

 

“Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.” ~ Vincent van Gogh

cottaqecore: “source ”

 

“There is not a particle of life that does not bear poetry within it.” ~Gustave Flaubert

 

Dear friends, I hope you have received a brief respite from the chaos of our world.

Know I wish you and yours a beautiful day and week ahead.

And . . .

“May you take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention.”  ~ John O’Donohue 

 

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Amour,

Sandra

 

 

Images: Tumblr