Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Autumn Musings...

The warm days of fall will soon be fading into winter. We finally received some much needed (still not enough) rain... and more is on the way. The winds have definitely been picked and we had quite the line of storms move through this morning.  The wind was wicked!  Gonna be a blustery day!  I always call them the "winds of change" this time of year. We have plenty of firewood, so I can enjoy one of my favorite fall and winter pastimes... sitting in the comfy living room chair in front of a crackling fire w/ a good book, magazine or a movie!
One of our many woodpiles

My Favorite Golden Maple
 The leaves are turning quite nicely despite the lack of rain... the landscape is painted golden, red, brown - earthy. Pumpkins are everywhere... apples are a frequent staple in my salads and snacks. Cider, well of course I am enjoying cider from my favorite orchard.  So many rich blessings of fall!  I have traded in the outdoor grill for my stockpot & crockpot! (although we have been known to grill a steak or chicken breast on a snowy evening!)

For the most part we have put the garden to bed for the winter. There are still a few turnips to be pulled (I peel them, cut them in chunks, toss in olive oil, sprinkle w/ kosher salt and cracked pepper and roast at 350 degrees until golden brown. They have been a wonderful addition to our fall meals.

Brussels Sprout Plant
 The Brussels sprouts plants still stand tall waiting for the Thanksgiving harvest. Each year the day before Thanksgiving Jim cuts down the plants (this year we have 4 plant), we remove the sprouts, soak them in salt water overnight to get rid of any critters (grin) and we enjoy a nice dish of steamed, fresh Brussels sprouts tossed in butter and salt on the Thanksgiving table.  I am so thankful that my Grandmother inspired me to garden, that Jim's mom inspired him to garden.  We truly are blessed to have fresh veggies all summer long and into the winter months.  When I open a can of tomatoes I put up from the garden bounty, it's like a taste of summer in the middle of winter. 

One of my favs this year!
We still have quite a bit to do around the house in order to batten down the hatches for a long winter's nap!  The windows have been washed, the storm windows washed and put into place to keep out the cold and wind.  We have pulled the faded summer flowers from their pots, thrown them into the compost and stored the pots in the barn until spring.  This weekend we will store the patio furniture away *sigh* I love to relax on the patio... thank the Lord for my comfy chair in the living room!  The flower beds and landscaped areas are cleaned out, the peonies cut down and we have been raking, raking, raking leaves.  Did I mention we have quite a few trees?  AND our neighbors have quite a few trees.  I do believe all of our neighbor's leaves end up in our yard!  We purchased some gorgeous mums this year - they are in pots right now, however I would like to get them in the ground and  hopefully they will come back next year! 

The bird feeders are overflowing w/ seed so our feathered friends (and the furry ones - squirrels) have been quite happy.  I love watching the birds flit around enjoying the seeds.  Nuthatch, Titmouse, Chickadee, Cardinals, Junkos (Snowbirds), Wrens... oh and our woodpeckers!  We have quite a variety of woodpeckers each year!  The bird book and the binoculars are ready for use at all times! 

The inside of my house is ready for fall as well.  Fall decorations are up, throws are placed back on the sofa and chairs to cuddle up when it gets chilly.  Pumpkin scented candles are burning.... the color scheme of my house definitely shines this time of year!  I waxed and polished the hardwoods this past weekend. (our floors aren't sealed - so I still use old fashioned Bruce's floor wax).  The windows are also washed inside and the blinds are clean!  I have cleaned out the closets, donated items and organized!  My pantry is cleaned out, organized and ready for the winter stock up! 

OK, so I have rambled on too long about our fall/winter preparations! I hope you are enjoying this season!  Pumpkins, apples, leaves, sweatshirts, bulky sweaters, football, cider and hot cocoa!  What's not to love!!!  What have you been doing around your house this autumn? 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Feathering my Nest...

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf's a flower" ~ Albert Camus

I love this time of year... as the year matures into the beauty of autumn. We have already enjoyed our first fire in our fireplace... I was snuggled into my favorite fall/winter spot - my comfy chair next to a crackling fire. There is something about the change into fall that seems to say slow down, savor and enjoy this season.  I prefer this time of year much more so than the heat, humidity and the lack of rain we endured in Indy this summer.

I love to feather my nest, especially in the fall, and prepare for crisp evenings and the cold of winter. I embrace it... I can't change the fact that winter follows as I am not the one in charge of the seasons, the temps etc.  I leave that to God! ;)  I have found I am in much better spirits and more fun to be around if I don't grumble about what I cannot control! 

 I found these tips on the Better Homes and Gardens website and thought I would share them with you all!  I hope they offer you an opportunity to cozy up your home so you can enjoy when the change of seasons keeps you indoors.

Add a Throw Blanket

Nubby knits are an ideal companion for chilly nights at home with a movie. Plus, they temporarily add seasonal pattern and color to your home.
Get Cozy: Place throw blankets over your sofa and chairs, and even keep a few folded for the floor.

Pile Up Pillows

Paired with a warm blanket, pillows become snuggle buddies during on-the-sofa homework help or bill paying.
Get Cozy: Look for pillows with a lot of texture so they'll stand up to all the touching, snuggling, and (maybe!) throwing. Then pile them on the sofa and think about investing in or making larger ones for the floor.

Gather Around the Hearth

A crackling fire naturally draws people to it, so accommodate that with extra seating around your hearth.
Get Cozy: Rearrange your furniture to shift your conversation area to the fireplace. Add a stack of books to encourage much-needed relaxation time

Line Tables with Fabric

Bare tables, while perfect for breezy summers, are too stark for fall. Cover them up with seasonally appropriate runners.
Get Cozy: Tablecloths are expected, but a runner is an even easier way to dress up a table. Get creative and use a long scarf, a fabric remnant, or a thin blanket as a runner.

Carve Out a Reading Nook

Forget summer reading lists. Fall is the time to pull out your favorite tomes and lose yourself for hours in a good book.
Get Cozy: Pick a well-lit corner of your home, either by natural light or a lamp, and shove a comfy armchair in it. Place a table nearby, stacked with your favorite books and reading lists.

Try an Area Rug

Nothing heralds the pending arrival of winter quite like a cold floor on bare feet.
Get Cozy: Fend off icy toes by placing area rugs in well-traveled spots in the home. And put on a pair of house slippers!

Hang Heavier Drapes

Heavy drapes keep out drafts and lend an opulence to the room, especially if you let them pool an inch or so on the ground.
Get Cozy: Switch out summer sheers for pattern drapes, layering fabrics for extra warmth if you want it.

So what types of changes/ additions do you make to your home in the fall/winter to make it cozy and comfy!  What do you look forward to the most as the seasons turn!  (no negatives about how you hate winter please... remember, we don't want grumbling !  [ grin] )

Savor this season friends... the landscape shines in the rich colors God has provided!  Soak in His majesty and the ordinary miracles many overlook as they go about their day.  Take a walk, sip some cider, visit an apple orchard and pick your own apples, bake a pie or an apple crisp!  Snuggle up with a good book, your bible or a movie! 

"Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn."
- Elizabeth Lawrence