Sunday Thoughts ~ Pieces of Heaven

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

image A New England sunrise.

Good Sunday morning, my friends.  I am so glad you could join me this morning.  It is true, isn’t it?  Pieces of Heaven are scattered all around us, just waiting for us to pause, open our eyes and see.  The magnificent beauty of this earth is incredible.  So, I hope you will enjoy the amazing ‘pieces’ I have found, as well as the thoughts and feelings of a few amazingly gifted souls.“Each moment of the year has its own beauty, and in the same fields, it beholds, every hour, a picture which was never seen before, and which shall never be seen again.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“There ought to be a way to combine “autumn” and “morning” into one word, the combination of the two is special enough to be its own entity.” ~ Terri Guillemets

coiour-my-world: “Fall on Beauty Mountain…… | J. J. Sikkila ”“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead ~ his eyes are closed. The insight into the mystery of life, coupled though it be with fear, has also given rise to religion. To know what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms ~ this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness.” ~ Albert Einstein

llovinghome: “Whitetail Deer Fawn ”

twilightsolo-photography: “Autumn Pansy Still a few pansies in bloom in my mother’s garden. ©twilightsolo-photography Instagram // Facebook // Print Shop // Patreon ”

“This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never all dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming, on seas and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.” ~ John Muir

thepreppyfox: “ #Autumn #Fall ”

Dear friends, I so appreciate your company this morning. 

Know I am wishing you and yours a beautiful and peaceful day. 

May you notice ‘Pieces of Heaven’ along your path.

And…

I hope they will leave an imprint on your heart. 

Amour,

Sandra

Images: via tumblr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Warm and Cozy ~ Early November Days

“The cup of tea on arrival at a country house is a thing which, as a rule, I particularly enjoy. I like the crackling logs, the shaded lights, the scent of buttered toast, the general atmosphere of leisured coziness.” ~ P.G. Wodehouse

Good morning, my friends.  I am so happy to see you.  Pull a chair to the fire, make yourself comfy, while I clear the table and make us some toast and tea.

“Come along inside… We’ll see if tea and buns can make the world a better place.” ~ Kenneth Grahame

Is there anything better than the feeling of comfort and warmth?  I think not.  It is such a safe feeling and is only better when shared with loved ones and friends.   

Years ago, while living in Virginia, a dear friend stopped by for a visit.  She is the type of friend one is blessed to have, never caring what you or your house looks like and if you are involved in some task, she will jump in and help.  Anyway, on this particular day, I didn’t have a treat to offer her with her tea (unusual), so I made cinnamon toast.  The way my mom did, in the oven.  As I placed the toast on the table, she began to cry, and then jumped up and gave me the biggest hug.  She explained she hadn’t had cinnamon toast since her mom made it for her, too many years ago.  I have never forgotten this time with my friend and neither has she.

Offer age-old favorites, such as Darjeeling or English Afternoon tea, for a lingerworthy service after the meal.

“A simple cup of tea is far from a simple matter.” ~ Mary Lou Heiss

“In November, the earth is growing quiet. It is making its bed, a winter bed for flowers and small creatures. The bed is white and silent, and much life can hide beneath its blankets.” ~Cynthia Rylant

.

These early days of November are marvelous days.  With the garden tucked in for her winter sleep, I can enjoy the quiet and peaceful days. 

From inside my warm and cozy home, I enjoy watching the last of the beautiful leaves fall, mornings with the frost so heavy it looks like snow, and yes, the first snowfall too.  Which, by the way, is to come our way next Monday.  It seldom is a heavy snow, just enough to let you know autumn is slowing giving way to winter.

“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, can pull everyone from bed in a fog. Food is better in November than any other time of the year.” ~ Cynthia Rylant

Cinnamon and raisin scones will certainly ‘pull everyone from bed.’  But, they are grand at any time of day ~ in my opinion.  

And, there is nothing which speaks warm and cozy louder than a wonderful pot of soup.  Especially if it is roasted butternut squash soup.  Visit here for the recipe.

So, dear friends, I hope you have enjoyed your visit and are now warm and cozy, ready to face the elements.  As November is a month which calls our attention to our blessings and being grateful.  Know I am grateful for your friendship, even though it may be virtual.

 

Wishing you quiet and peaceful early November days.  Enjoy the beauty of the earth as she begins her sleep.

And…

Stay warm and cozy!

oldfarmhouse: “ http://pin.it/FXqFEp0 🌿🍁🍂”

 

 

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

Images:  Victoria and tumblr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Thoughts ~ Gifts

“The only gift is a portion of thyself.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Good Sunday morning, my friends.  Well, October just flew by, didn’t she?  And once again, all too soon, the holidays will be with us.  Yesterday, I read the Christmas decorations are going up in New York.  So, I guess that is a definite sign. Please know, I am not a fan of Christmas before Thanksgiving.  However, I do want to share thoughts from an article I read from many years ago, which may give you something to consider as the holiday season approaches. 

The article was about how we seem to have lost much of the real meaning of Christmas, amid all the hustle and bustle.   It was written by a woman who decided to bring a new holiday tradition to her children and family ~ The Three Gift Christmas.  I don’t remember every detail of the article, but it certainly made me reconsider my ways.    

Perhaps, I am simply a slow learner.  Often I  need to read something in order to step back a moment and take into account my way of doing things.  During the many years I worked outside our home, I had to be organized.  And I think I often drove myself, and probably those around me, crazy trying to accomplish my tasks.  When it came to gifts for those I loved and held dear, I would wake in the morning with my head whirling, regarding the perfect gift or gifts.  But, then I read, “The Three Gift Christmas” ~ my ways changed.

The woman who wrote this article had endured years of rushing around like a crazed person during the holiday season.  Sound familiar?  She felt as though the gifts, she had driven herself mad to acquire, were not meaningful.  Perhaps, when Christmas morning arrived she was simply exhausted, who knows?  But, she decided to make changes.    

Her children were still small and she sat them down to explain that this year each of them would only receive three gifts. They could still make their lists, but she wanted them to know she had asked Santa to bring them only three gifts each.  Why three gifts?  The Baby Jesus only received three gifts.  Certainly, that would suffice for her children.

Christmas, my child, is love in action.” ~ Dale Evans

You see, this special mom wanted her children to stand in awe of a beautiful tree aglow, to sing wonderful Christmas carols, enjoy Christmas goodies and learn to see all the details of the exquisite beauty of the season.  And, she wanted them to have treasured memories of Christmas mornings and know the love behind the gifts they received.  

In reading her article, I was inspired.  I stepped out of the chaos and enjoyed, once again, the multitude of little things.  Now, this doesn’t mean I don’t love the fuss and the full days leading up to Christmas.  Because I do.  But, I have well learned, many times the simplest things are the most precious.

Source: blovelyevents.com

“For the gifts that are priceless are the ones that are heartfelt; their roots are within our soul. They are the greatest gifts, of all.” ~ Ellen J. Barrier

Dear friends, I hope you have enjoyed your visit today.  The holiday season will be upon us in a blink and none of us want this most special time to be stressful.  I do believe ‘simple’ is the key.  Because we all want to savor the moments and make memories for ourselves and those we love.  

Know I am wishing you and yours a beautiful and peaceful day. 

And…

May the month of November bring you great joy. 

 

 

Amour,

Sandra

 

 

Images:  via tumblr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Thoughts ~ Fleeting October

“In the entire circle of the year there are no days so delightful as those of a fine October, when the trees are bare to the mild heavens, and the red leaves bestrew the road, and you can feel the breath of winter morning and evening, ~ no days so calm, so tenderly solemn, and with such a reverent meekness in the air.” ~Alexander Smith, An Essay on an Old Subject
Good morning, my friends.  It is hard to imagine today is the last Sunday of glorious October, but it is.  I hope you have enjoyed this beautiful month and made many sweet memories. 

“O’er the hills and far away, I spent my hours admiring the golds and ambers of October’s ripe deliciousness. Who’d of thought such bright skies and balmy air would greet us in such a manner that we might believe we were staring at the commencement of spring! I must be careful not to grumble as these rare pleasantries shall help to sail me comfortably into winter.” ~ Freya Turrill

“October is the month for painted leaves. Their rich glow now flashes ‘round the world. As fruits and leaves and the day itself acquire a bright tint just before they fall, so the year near its setting. October is its sunset sky; November the later twilight.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

And so,… “Sweet summer is again a memory, And lyric April a lost fairy story, This is the season of the singing tree, The winding horn of Autumn’s ambient glory.”… ~ Gladys Taber, “Song for October”

Dear friends, wherever this finds you, slow down, bask in the magnificent gifts which abound, and watch the fallen leaves dance.   Enjoy the remaining weeks of autumn.
Know I wish you and yours a beautiful and peaceful day. 
And…
May, “October, baptize you with leaves!…, tuck tiny candy bars in your pockets and carve your smile into a thousand pumpkins.” ~ Rainbow Rowell 

Amour,

Sandra

 

 

Images: via tumblr

 

Sunday Thoughts – A Lesson From The Garden

“October breathed poetry ~ beautiful and glowing.” ~ Terri Guillemets

Sweet October morning, my friends.  Welcome to ‘Sunday Thoughts.’

As many of you are probably aware, I love books.  And as I am a gardener, naturally, I enjoy gardening books.  When I find one with solid gardening information along with a little poetry or beautiful words, well, the book is simply a must-have.  Such was the case with the book, “A Garden’s Grace” by, Nancy Hutchens.  The wonderful little book, published in 1997, has become a special friend to me.  It is loaded with good gardening information, wisdom, and even a recipe or two.

Image result for a book titled a garden's grace

In straightening up the bookshelves the other day, I found my friend among the cookbooks.  Now, how did that happen?  Anyway, I had to spend a few moments with her.  In other words, I was easily distracted.  But in doing so, I found a few words of wisdom I want to share.  As it often occurs when I read this treasured book, I feel Nancy Hutchens knows me.  Because somewhere, I usually read something Hutchens tells me I should be doing.  But this time, it was her grandmother, Mamaw Tribby.  I heard her loud and clear saying,  “Sandra, it is well into October, you need to finish putting the garden to bed.  And not at your convenience.”  So for all of you who are gardeners, perhaps the following words from Hutchens and her grandmother will resonate with you as well.  But really the words are, in general, true about many things in life.

“Nature takes no account of even the most reasonable of human excuses.” ~ Joseph Wood Krutch

“When I was a girl it was my job to rake leaves in the fall, just about the time school started, bringing with it activities much more interesting than leaf raking.  I postponed the chore time and again ~ until it was too late.  Big, dry flashes of snow started falling early in November one year and didn’t stop until over a foot had accumulated.  This severe weather continued every weekend throughout the autumn.  All winter I looked out on a yard encrusted with caked and soggy leaves caused by procrastination.”

“Mamaw Tribby said this experience should teach me one of the most important lessons a gardener can learn ~ nature waits for no one.  We think we can control her, but all we can do is follow her lead.  As we puttered in her flower beds, she’d say.  “People are in awe of nature when they first start gardening and follow all the rules.  The trouble starts when they get cocky and think they can do things at their own convenience.”

“Another mild, orange~gold October day.” ~ Sylvia Plath

 

So, my friends, as much as I want to take my wonderful book and coffee in the garden on this gorgeous October day.  I must get my sweet garden put to bed and tucked in for her long sleep.  Because, “As the garden becomes a dearer and dearer friend, I’ve learned that true respect for life is without boundaries.   The garden deserves as much of my heart in winter, when its energy has descended to its roots, as in the summer, when roses and lilies are blooming.”

I hope you have enjoyed your visit today.  Know I am wishing you and yours a beautiful day. 

And…

May your week ahead be golden and full of joy.

 

Amour,

Sandra

 

 

Note:  The ending quote is by, Nancy Hutchens.

Images: via tumblr and pinterest

At Table ~ Mimi Thorisson

“I can’t think of a specific meal, but my favourite country for food has got to be France.” ~ Giles Foden

Good morning, my friends.  Welcome to ‘At Table.’  Today, I would like to talk about a remarkable young woman, Mimi Thorisson. There are many reasons I feel Thorisson is remarkable.  One, in particular, she is the mother of eight.  And in my opinion, that qualifies her as ‘truly remarkable.’  However, there is more ~ much more.  And just in case you are not familiar with her, I will share a little background information.

I'd also go to Norway or Sweden, get myself a delicious and talented hubby like this gorgeous woman and then abscond to France and have this life. For a few years, at least. Mimi Thorisson in her kitchen in Medoc.

I first became acquainted with Mimi Thorisson through her blog, Manger (translation, to eat).  Thorisson was born and raised in China.  Her father was Chinese and her mother was French.  She would spend summers and holidays in France with her grandmother and aunts.  It was there she learned her way around a kitchen, the love of good food, and the art of skillful preparation. Her grandmother and her aunts were all wonderful cooks and she thoroughly enjoyed learning from them.

Going forward a few years, when Thorisson and her husband, Oddur (a professional photographer from Iceland), were in their mid-30s they made a life-changing move.  A move that would lead them down many new and different roads.   They moved from their small Paris apartment to a large stone farmhouse in Médoc, France.  Médoc (French pronunciation: meˈdok) is a region of France, well known as a wine-growing region, located north of Bordeaux.    This peninsula on the Atlantic was considered one of France’s last frontiers until Thorisson arrived and her blog, Manger, captured the hearts of its readers.  In April 2013, Manger was named Saveur’s Best Regional Food Blog.  Quite an honor.

Following this award of her successful blog, her first cookbook, A Kitchen In France, was published in 2014.  Followed in 2016, by the publishing of French Country Cooking: Meals and Moments from a Village in the Vineyards.

mimi thorisson
The Thorisson’s home had previously been owned by a woman named Plantia, who, in the 1950s had run a small restaurant out of the house, a favorite of the local wine merchants.   Much of the information for her second cookbook came from recipes and photographs she found in the home which had belonged to Plantia.   
Thorisson’s culinary adventures do not end here.  Having a great fondness for Italian food, she and her family vacationed and traveled extensively in Italy. Thus, leading to their recent purchase of a home in Piemonte, Italy.  As a result of the purchase of this home, the couple plans to divide their time between Médoc and Piemonte.  Thorisson leads cooking workshops in both locations.  Should you be interested in attending, she gives dates for the workshops in both locations on her blog and already has the 2020 schedule posted.  A link to her blog is provided above.

Fresh Vegetables from the Garden

“If you are not capable of a bit of witchcraft, don’t trouble yourself with cooking.” ~ Colette
By now, you are most likely wondering, “Is she going to post recipes?”  Yes, I am, and they are wonderful.  Please pay attention to the recipes and not my photography.  I made the cabbage recipe for dinner a couple of weeks ago and my husband was beyond happy.  The recipe is not difficult but is a little time-consuming. So make it when you are not in a hurry.  Thorisson actually serves this as a first course.  But, we enjoyed it as our main course, along with fresh sliced tomatoes from our garden, a nice crusty bread, and a bottle of  Côte des Roses Rosé.  It was a lovely meal.

Chou Farçi (Stuffed Cabbage) ~ Recipe from, Mimi Thorisson.
Ingredients 
1 head Savoy cabbage
unsalted butter for the pan
2 Tbls. olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 carrots, finely diced
2/3 pound ground beef
2/3 pound good quality pork sausage
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 to 3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. Rabelais spice or ground allspice (I used allspice)
good dash of salt and pepper
3/4 cup whole tomatoes, crushed with juice
1 large egg
Be sure to read my notes at the end of this recipe.  Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  Meanwhile, core the cabbage and separate the leaves, discarding any coarse outer ones.  Cook the leaves in boiling water for 8 minutes.  Drain and set aside to cool.  Generously grease the bottom and sides of a 7-inch soufflé dish or charlotte mold with butter, this gives flavor to the cabbage.   Put a large pretty cabbage leaf, domed side down, in the dish.  Top with another leaf and continue arranging the leaves, along the sides, one on top of another until the entire base and sides are covered.  You won’t use all the leaves at this point (reserve enough for 4 or 5 layers).
Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Cook the onions and carrots until softened, about 4 minutes.  Add the ground beef, sausage, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, spice and salt, and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally until the meat is browned.  Pour in the crushed tomatoes and their juices.  Simmer until nearly all the liquid has been absorbed, about 5 minutes.  Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let cool.  Note:  At this point, after the mixture was cool, I discarded the thyme and bay leaf and placed the mixture, a few large spoonfuls at a time, into a large fine-meshed strainer and squeezed out the excess grease from the beef and sausage.  Next, put a layer of meat in the cabbage-lined dish and top with a cabbage leaf.  Continue until you have used all the meat.  This will make about 4 layers ~ See Note at end of post.  Bake for 40 minutes.  To unmold, invert a plate over the top of your dish or pan and flip the plate and dish to remove the mold.  Serve immediately, cut into slices.  This recipe serves 6.

 

“No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers.” ~ Laurie Colwin

 

Pear Flognarde

A Pear Flognarde is a rustic cake with origins in the Limousin region of France.  It is rather like a big pancake filled with marvelous pears.  In the Occitan language, flognarde means “soft.”  This is a lovely and easy dessert – be sure to give it a try.

Ingredients

4 Tbls. unsalted butter, plus more for the cake pan

6 medium pears, such as Bartlett

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 Tbls. dark run

4 large eggs

1 Tbls. honey

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out and reserved

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 2/3 cup whole milk

1 Tbls. brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350.  Peel pears, cut into quarters and remove the cores.  In a large sauté pan, heat 2 Tbls. of the butter.  Add pears, sprinkle with 1 1/2 Tbls of granulated sugar, and cook, turning them once, until golden, about 8 minutes.  Sprinkle with rum and simmer for about 2 to 3 minutes.  Set aside to cool.  In a large bowl, combine the eggs, remaining sugar, honey, vanilla seeds, and salt.  Whisk until frothy.  Melt the remaining 2 Tbls. of butter and whisk into the batter, along with the flour and milk, whisking until smooth.  Scrape the pears and all of their juices into the prepared pan.  Pour the batter on top and sprinkle with brown sugar.  Bake until puffed and golden, about 35 to 40 minutes.  Let cool for at least 15 minutes on a wire rack before unmolding.  The cake will deflate gradually as it cools.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  It is quite lovely with rum ice cream or a dollop of crème fraîche.

“We all eat, and it would be a sad waste of opportunity to eat badly.” ~ Anna Thomas

 

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In closing, I hope you have enjoyed being ‘At Table’ today. 

Know how much I appreciate your visit and I do hope you will try the recipes. 

Wishing you…

Beautiful autumn days with special times, ‘At Table.’

Bon Appétit,

Sandra

 

The next post of ‘At Table’ will be November 20, 2019. 

Notes on the Chou Farçi ~ what I did differently.  I had on hand a regular head of green cabbage, so this is what I used (as you can see in the photo).  Because I do not have a Charlotte mold, I made it in a single layer.  It was about one and a half-inch thick.  However, in using a 9 inch round glass cake pan, it turned out perfectly.  The next time I make it, I will use the Savoy cabbage, as the leaves are larger, more flexible and prettier too.  Also, when you cut this, use a very sharp knife in order to prevent smashing the slices. Charlotte molds are readily available at several online sources, I think I will purchase one. 

Rabelais spice is a mix of allspice, nutmeg, and curry ~ a traditional spice in France since 1820.

Both recipes given today are from Thorisson’s book, A Kitchen In France.

 

Images:  Pinterest, tumblr, S. Lambiotte

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Thoughts ~ October 13, 2019

“If I had influence with the good fairy, I would ask her gift to each child be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life.” ~ Rachel Carson

missfairyblossom: “http://ourbeautifulworldanduniverse.com/ ”

Good Sunday morning, my friends.  We finally had rain and now are enjoying cooler temperatures.  I do hope you are enjoying the same.

When I looked out of the window this morning, I saw the huge old maple on the street behind us.  She is golden and is inviting all the other trees to hurry and get dressed in their autumn finest. Looking at this lovely tree, my thoughts turned to my dear mom and how I will be forever grateful to her for instilling in me, “an indestructible sense of wonder.”

I do try to pay attention to even the smallest of things.  Although, sometimes I forget, and something as small and lovely as an acorn will once again capture my attention and my heart.  

“Some of the greatest poetry is revealing to the reader the beauty in something that was so simple you had taken it for granted.”
~ Neil deGrasse Tyson

“We are perishing for want of wonder, not for want of wonders.” ~ G.K. Chesterton

Château de Sully sur Loire, France - instagram.com Château de Sully sur Loire, France

Nature is not the only thing that makes me stand in awe.  Breathtaking architecture does also.  Such as  Château de Sully, built in the early thirteenth century.  To me, it is incredible how something so beautiful was constructed at this time in history.  Just imagine the primitive tools, by today’s standards,  these craftsmen used to create such beauty.   Amazing, isn’t it?

“Cherish sunsets, wild creatures, and wild places. Have a love affair with the wonder and beauty of the earth.” ~ Stewart Udall

etxtraveler: “ A picture that instantly screams “this is Texas”! Photo from Quitman, Texas (Wood County). 📸by Cheryl Chaney ” Windmill against a glorious sunset, Quitman, Texas.

Above all the many wonders of this earth, it is always the magnificent beauty of God’s brushstrokes that will steal my heart.  A rainbow, a sunrise or a sunset, all are so amazingly beautiful. 

“I walk the world in wonder.” ~ Oscar Wilde

Dahlia 'Cafe au Lait' Dahlia, Café au Lait’

 

Dear Friends, thank you so much for visiting this morning.  

And…

Until we meet again, I hope your path will be lined with things that will cause you to pause and wonder. 

Wishing you and yours a beautiful day.

Amour,

Sandra 

 

Images: Pinterest and tumblr

Sunday Thoughts ~ October 6, 2019

“Aflame, October’s leaves adore the wind.” ~ Carol Ann Duffy

     Good Sunday morning, my friends.  I hope this finds you enjoying a lovely autumn morning.  We have cooler temperatures this morning, but certainly not like the October mornings I remember from past years.
     In our area, we are in desperate need of rain.   Our governor has declared a “State of Emergency,” for our entire state, due to our extremely dry conditions, “no outside burning or fires of any kind.”  With the majority of “Wild and Wonderful West Virginia” being heavily forested land, and the Appalachian Mountain System covering nearly two-thirds of our state, dry weather can be a huge factor in forest fires. 
     Speaking of the weather, here is something else to ponder.  Old mountain folklore tells us, “Your winter will be as cold as your summer was hot.”  I don’t know about you, but right now, a long cold winter sounds quite lovely. 
“The early days of a lovely autumn come back to me. I remember the avenue of maples, the delicate smell of the fallen leaves, and the scent of autumn apples ~ that mix of honey and fall freshness.” ~ Ivan Bunin
Image result for photos of blackwater falls in autumn
Even though our seasons are changing,  we can carry our memories of past autumns in our hearts, can’t we?  Times of walking along, under a brilliant blue sky and kicking the leaves.  Wearing sweaters, corduroy skirts, and wool jackets.  And, who remembers hay rides?  They were even better than high school football games, at least in my opinion.  Such fun.
☾Autumn Wonderland☽
Yes, “October had tremendous possibility…the golden leaves promised a world full of beautiful adventures.  They made me believe in miracles.” ~ Sarah Guillory
Dear friends, know how much I appreciate your visit.
And…

Wherever you are, I hope the sun rises and sets on a beautiful day for you and yours.

 

“It was the perfect autumn day…cool and crisp, bright sun against a brilliant blue sky, smoke curling out of chimneys, leaves swirling…The ideal day for a trip to a pumpkin patch, then to a tiny cafe for cups of hot cider…Then home with the memories of a perfect day, to enjoy a good book in the beautiful late afternoon golden fall light.” ~ Vicki Chicago-Marsh

Amour,

Sandra

 

 

Images: via tumblr

 

 

Enjoying Home

“It was one of those sumptuous days when the world is full of autumn muskiness and tangy, crisp perfection: vivid blue sky, deep green fields, leaves in a thousand luminous hues. It is a truly astounding sight when every tree in a landscape becomes individual, when each winding back highway and plump hillside is suddenly and infinitely splashed with every sharp shade that nature can bestow – flaming scarlet, lustrous gold, throbbing vermilion, fiery orange.” ~ Bill Bryson

Good morning, dear friends.  Now that October has arrived, it is time to prepare our sweet home for the cooler days of autumn.  Here in North Central West Virginia, we are beginning to see cooler night-time temperatures and the hills are taking on a lovely golden hue.  That is my signal to get busy, prepare the garden for her long winter nap, and ‘feather our dear nest.’

“Somewhere between the buzz of Indian Summer locusts and the deafening silence of new fallen snow is a fleeting, exhilarating bliss known as Autumn. It arrives in radiant splendour, summoning our primal urges to feather our nests. The aroma of tea and soup is more enticing and we find a hundred ways to savour an apple. Cords of seasoned hickory are stacked outside in anticipation of a roaring hearth as we greet the longer nights with cozy bedclothes. The moon demands more attention, and masquerades appease our hunger for intrigue. We stock up on candles, sensing the dramatic excitement that rivals the energy of those scurrying bushy tails.” ~ Melissa Rolston

In preparation for chilly mornings and evenings, I enjoy placing a few stacks of quilts around.  They stand ready to conquer a chill and comfort our souls on a rainy afternoon. Quilts are a perfect companion for a cup of tea and a good book. And, I must not forget a little treat, such as a slice of fresh gingerbread (see recipe at the end of this post). 

“Come, let us have some tea and continue to talk about happy things.” ~ Chaim Potok

A cup of hot tea is a quick and assured remedy for a chill.  Everyone who enjoys tea most likely has a favorite, or favorites.   Mine happens to be Mariage Frères, Earl Grey French Blue.   For those of you who live in larger towns or cities, this tea may be easy for you to locate.  However, if you are unable to find it, I purchase it from Amazon.com.  It is a little pricey, but every cup is a marvelous treat.

“In October any wonderful unexpected thing might be possible.” ~ Elizabeth George Speare

See what you can do with just a bunch of beautiful Fall leaves!

I adore a few glorious autumn branches placed in a simple urn, vase or pitcher.  Often, I think simplicity makes the most impact.

Of course, nothing quite speaks ‘cozy’ like a warm fire.  Whether the fire is wood or gas burning logs, both are wonderful, taking the chill from a room as well as ourselves.  This photo reminds me of the fireplace in our home in Virginia.  It was 4 ft. tall and 5 ft. wide, complete with a trammel and hook.  Our current home, built in 1939, has three fireplaces.  There are traces where all three burned wood in earlier years, today all have gas logs.  We are certainly grateful for the warmth and beauty they add to our home.

“I was aware that the sun was sinking behind me, golden in the October afternoon.” ~ D.H. Lawrence

Late afternoon calls me to the kitchen to begin preparations for dinner.  To me, the kitchen is a grand place to enjoy puttering on cool autumn days. 

Pumpkin soup with sage & bacon. I'd like to try this without the potato, and I sure as hell am not cutting up a pumpkin the hard way. But the general idea is pretty good. :)

“Soup is the song of the hearth… and the home.” ~ Louis Pullig De Gouy

October usually begins my soup extravaganza.  I can almost hear my stockpot calling me …”Fill me with delights, to the brim, so the aroma fills every room.” Is there anything more wonderful than coming home to the smell of something heavenly simmering on the stove?  Soup makes me happy and I could be quite happy with it several times a week.  Hubby, not so much.  However, he doesn’t fuss and seems to enjoy it as long as there is plenty.  And with soup there always is.

A requirement for soup, nice crusty bread.  Sliced and toasted is true perfection.

“The days are shorter and colder, but our hearts are alive with the season’s glow.  The warmth, the comfort, and that sense of home that autumn brings.” ~ Unknown

*

 

Dear friends, thank you so much for your visit.  I do hope autumn finds you invigorated by the cooler temperatures, delighting in the things you love, and soaking up all the beauty surrounding you.   Stay close to everyone and everything you hold dear.  Enjoy your home. 

And…

Remember to ~ bake some gingerbread!

 

 

Amour,

Sandra

 

Gingerbread Loaves

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup butter, softened

2 eggs

1 cup dark molasses

1 cup boiling water

1 tsp. baking soda

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

4 tsp. ginger

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. allspice

1 tsp. cloves

1/4 tsp. salt

Glaze

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1-2 Tbls. lemon juice

Mix together until smooth.

Heat oven to 350.  Grease two 8×4 inch loaf pans.  In a large bowl, combine brown sugar and butter; beat until light and fluffy.  Add eggs; beat well.  In a small bowl, combine molasses, water, and baking soda; mix well.  Beat into brown sugar mixture.  Gradually add flour and remaining ingredients;  mix well.  Spoon batter into greased pans.  Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes.  Remove from pans; cool completely.  Drizzle glaze over cooled loaves.

Note:  Often, I have not prepared the glaze and simply dusted the loaves with powdered sugar.  Either way is perfect.

 

Images: Pinterest and tumblr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Thoughts ~ September 29, 2019

“America, America, God shed His grace on thee…” ~ Katharine Lee Bates, 1893

Good Sunday morning, dear friends.  Once again, we have witnessed another chaotic week in our beautiful land.  Truly, turbulent times.  I found myself shaking my head after one too many news reports and thinking, “America, what has happened to our America, and what will it take to repair the wounds?”  

In 1893, when Katharine Bates wrote the beautiful poem, “America The Beautiful,” she couldn’t have imagined America could possibly be in such turmoil in 2019. I think she would be quite sad and disappointed.  Somehow, someway we must right the ship.  Perhaps, praying for “God to shed His grace” is a good beginning.

“America The Beautiful,” Katharine Lee Bates

“O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, 
For purple mountain majesties, above the fruited plain! 
America, America, God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for Pilgrim feet, whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat, Across the wilderness!
America, America, God mend thine every flaw, 
Confirm thy soul in self-control, Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved, in liberating strife, 
Who more than self their country loved, and mercy more than life! 
America, America, May God they gold refine, 
Till all success be nobleness, and every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream, that sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam, undimmed by human tears! 
America, America, God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea!”

Wishing you and yours a beautiful and peaceful day.

And…

May your week ahead be filled with kindness and joy.

 

Amour,

Sandra

 

Image: viatumblr