Welcome, Autumn!

The first few weeks of autumn in our little state actually felt like long-lost summer days, hot and steamy like Florida. Summer hung on as Mother Nature  didn’t get the memo to transition into cooling autumn. Muggy days with temperatures in the 80’s hung thick over us, making our clothes stick to our skin. Many days when I hit the pavement, sweat poured from every pore and even though I welcome summer weather, I truly set my hopes for fall.

 

 

 

Finally weeks later it feels that fall has rushed in with a swoop of cool air accompanied with sunny and pleasant days. Most nights we have to close our windows , as the air cools right down in the 40’s and 50’s. My favorite part of the evening is when Tom lights our trusty stove. The mesmerizing scent of smoke wafts in the livingroom and the crisp smell of burned wood reminds me of my childhood years of fireplace and stove fires. Orange licks of flames shine through the stove window and I thank God that we have heat and can be cozy and warm because of it. Our cats appreciate the comfort of the hearth and soak in the heat, as their tails flick back and forth.

 

Our neighborhood during autumn.

 

 

 

 

 

Like many New Hampshire residents, I welcome autumn days. There’s something  exceptional about mustard golds, pinks, reds, and peach leaves hanging on the trees and falling with gentle breezes. The mountainous landscape becomes a natural canvas for all to gawk at and feel the immediate tranquility. Warm yet mild days give way to apple picking, pumpkin searching, football games and gathering up leaves for the jump in contest. Plummets of fall smoke fills the air, brush fires, bon fires, wood stoves crank up the heat while little critters prepare for the coming days of winter. The cool night air feels like luxury to your skin, kissing you with pleasant tingles.

 

 

 

It seems that the colors emerged earlier this year, sometime in early September. I enjoyed them but visioned immense foliage displays this month. I believe the hot days have lessened the pop and without those cold temperatures, I noticed the colors were muted and less this year. As we are immersed in late October, foliage has passed on. Despite this truth, the piles of beautiful leaves, pumpkins and scarecrows perched on porches remind me that autumn is here, my favorite time of the year!

 

 

 

Wherever you may be, notice the significant changes of season. Maybe you didn’t have foliage where you are…perhaps it’s a subtle change of temperature or lessening of the tourist deluge. A new season is a perfect time to indulge in your local foods and products. Here in the north country, apple cider is available as well as glowing orange pumpkins in farmer’s fields. Crafters set up at local fall sales as visions of upcoming holidays dance in our thoughts.

 

 

 

Embrace a new chapter in this change of season. This shift in time truly is a gift to cherish, a subtle reminder that there’s a time and place for everything. This can be your time to explore. Why not visit a new local venue or hike a trail you always have meant to? Whatever you decide to do, live in the moment and use your senses to indulge. What do you see with beckoning eyes and not a cell phone picture? What pleasant scents  appeal to you? Do you hear noises that become peaceful memories? How about touch…do you feel the rough bark of a nearby tree or the bumpy pumpkin skins on display? If you focus on the experience with your senses, it will be a warm memory to hold on to.

 

 

Happy Autumn days to all! What are your favorite fall moments?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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An Everyday Positive Intention

Okay, friends, take a gander at this beautiful scenery and you’ll know why I relish my walks in this small town in New England. It all started this summer when my mother-in-law visited and we trekked a six-mile or more hike through every corner of this hamlet. From then on, I caught the walking bug and found that I felt really great physically and emotionally when I hit the pavement. Most days I walked by myself about a mile or so. Other times I walked a few times with co-workers after school, panting and chugging the whole way. (About three or miles each time.) 

 

 

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Would you believe this used to be our view, right in our back yard? Now I walk by it with fond memories and appreciation for its majestic beauty.

 

 

A few weeks ago I took a chance and asked my neighbors to walk. We’ve lived here almost three years and unfortunately I hadn’t connected with them yet. I’m beyond blessed that I’ve made two friends in the walking process.  Anita, Irene and I walked twice a week up our road and stretching uphill towards town with friendly conversation shaping our walk. 

 

 

Another beautiful sight on our walk.

 

 

Anita has taught me that it’s healthy to set a positive intention everyday. In the mere hours of a quiet morn, I sit still and reflect on the coming day. At this time I also pray to God for the people in my life and for ones in need. In the peace of these moments, I’ve started to set a positive intention to focus on for the day.

 

 

 

My intention is to focus on something new everyday and breathe positive air into my corner of the world. The first positive intention was calm. That day whenever something stressful appeared , I focused and breathed of calm. The next day my positive intention was confidence. I have fought low self-esteem much of my life, especially at work when I have to be on top of my game. Although I had a rough day, my lesson was that I need to be confident with whatever life throws at me. Fastball zingers happen and it’s up to me to stay strong and take them as they come. 

 

The grown up road side bordering a local farm.

 

As the autumn season rushes in, our daylight is diminishing. Walks may be less frequent and more spontaneous on weekends and such.  As I reflect on this, I am extremely grateful for our country walks with fresh air and mountain scenery, fit for a postcard. A nearby pasture hosts curious cows watching our steps down the road with keen interest. Trees shed leaves of crimson and mustard yellows, wind swirling them in squalls. These nature strolls are even richer with the company of two really nice people!

 

I challenge you to try to set a positive intention everyday. Some ideas to focus on are peace, calm, giving, listening, smiling more and forgiveness. Meditate in a quiet spot in the morning before you plunge into your day. Write your intention down and how it could help you grow. It’s been a healthy practice for me and an inspirational way to stay positive in a chaotic world.

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💗

” A Blast from the Past”

This post is dedicated to all classic car enthusiasts who long for the thrill of restoring a gem to what it once was. 

 

 

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A look at Gary’s gem, a 1965 Chevy Impala SS with a 4 speed.

 

 

 

Spontaneity is the spice of life, don’t you agree? With that said, much of my adult life has been just the opposite. I plan, plan, plan and Tom goes along with it and in the end, we always have fun on our little excursions. About a month ago my son’s girlfriend  Alexis asked us  if we wished to go to a car cruise with them on Saturday afternoon. It was a work of spontaneity and fun! We were excited to jump on board, but didn’t know what to expect, only that there would be classic cars involved.

 

 

 

Gary Schoolcraft, a long time resident of beautiful Peacham, Vermont is the event’s organizer. Lexie knows him and his wife, Claudette and introduced us to him. Gary is generous enough to share his classic car , with Dylan and Lexie, letting them take it for weekends and such. This time he let Dylan drive the 1965 Chevy Impala while Alexis sat in the front seat and Tom and I lounged in the back. The weekend event was another fun excuse to dive back in time. Tom and I wish to thank Alexis and Dylan for asking us to tag along. We also want to thank Gary for his hospitality and making us feel welcome during the ride.

 

 

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This was the poster generated for the event.

 

 

 

The gorgeous 1965 Chevy Impala SS has a 396 engine with a four speed. This red as an apple beauty is completely original including the paint. The interior is a shiny red and sparkling. It rides comfortably and purrs like a kitten.

 

 

I thought of what a beautiful outing this was , as we perched on the vinyl seats with windows wide open to fresh Vermont air. The rushing air through the open window was exhilarating while it caressed my thick locks of hair. What’s the sense in taking a thrill ride  without letting everything flutter in the breeze?

 

 

While we waited for other  cars and their owners, we surveyed the vehicles before us in the blazing heat. The sweltering sun cooked up a hot steamy September day. After about 15 cars arrived at the first stop, we were all on our cruise down route 5 to the next stop, Wells River, Vermont. There many other classic cars  roared in, jumping in line for the parade of sorts.

 

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This is the car that Gary drove, a 1974 Corvette with a 454, a 4 speed. Pretty sharp!

 

 

Passing by little towns like Bradford and Fairlee, we saw people waving and smiling widely. I guess you don’t see classic cars like these everyday and it’s always a joy to be launched back in time! Our last stop before the drive-in movie was at Wings Market in Fairlee where we all parked askew all over the parking lot and raided the ice cream stand. As the line snaked out and people laughed while waiting , a familiar voice came from the crowd. Our nephew, Luke was there! What a coincidence…Luke was driving his friend’s classic car and spotted us in line. You never really know who you will bump into on a given adventure!

 

 

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Another beauty with on lookers including Alexis, Tom and Dylan.

 

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Dylan drove the Chevy Impala for the day. He was an outstanding chauffeur!

 

Arriving at the Fairlee drive-in I experienced a bit of nostalgia from my childhood. My parents and one time my brothers brought my sister and I to the drive-in to see movies. Back then they sold the mosquito coil that you would burn on your dash but they would end up scorching holes in it. The smoke would fill up the car and  yet the mosquitoes still were attracted to us. We would take the old metal speaker and latch it on the windows to hear the show. Now they give you the radio station to tune in to, to hear the audio.

 

 

All the classic cars paraded into the drive-in of all colors and makes. I would guess that maybe 40 or 50 cars were there. You could hear people visiting and laughing and engines roaring in, to celebrate days of old. After a quick dinner of hamburgers and soft drinks, it was time to settle in for the movie. While Dylan and Alexis sat in the front, Tom and I sat like two teenagers in the back in luxury.

 

It was so much fun seeing the movie with the kids and experiencing this day with them. It felt like we were immersed in a time capsule and thrust back to the 60’s for one special day. Riding in such a beauty was a magical experience but what really topped it off was to be surrounded by the nicest people! All the crowd had one thing in common….a desire to gawk at all the amazing automobiles and honor all the work and sweat poured into each frame.

 

 

 

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It was getting dark and we were ready for the movie, American Graffiti. 

 

 

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Mary

 

 

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Inktober Art

 

With my son’s permission, I’m sharing his art work for Inktober. I guess this is a widespread event that he’s participating in. I’ve noticed that other bloggers are jumping on board and excited to see their work throughout the month. 

The first day’s theme is swift and here is Branden’s unique version. I love it as it has character and captures my son’s artistic talent and couples with his humorous personality. 

Happy days to you all and good luck to all the artists and bloggers participating in Inktober!

Swift

Thank you, Dad!

Look at my beautiful moose that my dad made me in his workshop! I stained it a few coats and then he was ready for placement.

 

 

 

 

This guy stood proudly in my new garden this summer as I walked by everyday with lots of love for my dad. He gave this to me on Easter and made a Golden Retriever plaque for my sister. It meant so much that he made these treasures for us but it’s not the first. In the past Dad has made me a wall clock, my sons’ bookcase, a tv stand, a jewelry box when I was in my early twenties, a clock bearing my name, a bed, a New Hampshire plaque, a deer picture, a deer house sign and now my beautiful moose. All these hand-made goods were made with skill but also with love. They all mean so much to me for he made them with his two hands and that means much more than a store bought gift.

 

My dad with my sister on the left and I am on the right.

 

 

Thank you, dear Dad for creating beautiful pieces of art for me! 

I love you,

Mary

How blessed I am that both my parents are artists in their own way. My dad is a wood worker and my mom is an artist of painting with oils and acrylics.

That Sassy Seagull!

 

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Let’s name this guy Sassy Sam, a fitting name for a new little friend that wouldn’t leave us alone.

 

On a mid-September jaunt to the beach

frigid Atlantic waves crashed in

towards beach goers.

An endless canvas of a pale blue sky

mirrored the stretching sea.

 

Mysterious footprints mazed around the sandy beach,

each treading a unique and personal story.

Sea gulls dotted the landscape, some squawking with a deep seated

desire for fish.

Others repeatedly circled beach sun bathers,

searching and snoopin’ for snacks,

any that would curb their cravings.

Perhaps they would stumble upon kernels of popcorn from a plastic snack bag or a

snippet of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich from a busy little

toddler.

As the sun stood high in the sky and

afternoon prepared it’s reign,

the resting couple from higher elevations of NH

dug their toes in the smooth warm sand.

The male peered in his trusty binocs

at the wide world of sea before him

and skimmed a hunter’s magazine.

The lady breathed the salty air and listened to the waves

soothing her mind.

She read a book quietly

until a nosy and mischievious sea gull

sprung to action!

Sassy Sam snuck

between the metal chairs in a covert operation,

while other sea gull mates stood by to inspect

his work.

With a snap of his beak, he pulled a chip bag

from the beach bag!

The lounging lady followed him

and hung out until he was done browsing

in the sack.

Minutes after Sassy Sam’s persistence shined,

as he tugged with full force on the lady’s towel.

Never underestimate the strength of a hungry

seagull!

 

 

 

A few weekends ago Tom and I ventured down the route 93 into Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It was a Friday late afternoon and cars were hustling everywhere, possibly from commutes from work or other vacationers seeking peace on weeks end. Once we pass the majestic metal bridge into Kittery, Maine, we’re home free. It’s about a half hour on a good day and maybe 40 minutes other days up route 1 into York and then Ogunquit, Maine.

 

 

We ate delicious seafood meals and stayed in a little quaint motel called Towne Lyne Motel. There we were fortunate enough to have a private cozy porch off our room, where we watched the river and had little Dixie cups of berry wine.

 

It was heaven exploring the infamous Marginal Way, starting at the Perkins Cove. We parked there and followed the trail above the craggy cliffs and watched breaking waves crashing against the rocks with a vigor that’s unmatched. While walking I greeted most walkers and even talked with a few including a nice couple from Chicago. We reveled in unison of the majestic beauty there and soaked in the sunny day with all our might.

 

 

It was a glorious and relaxing weekend away for us! If you haven’t visited Ogunquit, Maine, check it out! There are quaint antique and unique shops, great restaurants and many accomodations for your needs.

 

Have a happy week everyone!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

 

 

 

 

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Can you tell Sassy Sam just DOESN”T want his picture taken?

 

 

 

 

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Lunch Lady Brownies

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Oh so chocolately, oh my!

 

 

 

When I mention lunch ladies, what comes to your mind? Long ago memories fleeting by of hairnets and flowery aprons? Sometimes kind and sweet ladies but many times grumpy stressed ladies stood before you to serve what you thought was food but you weren’t really sure  of it’s contents. I remember one lunch lady from elementary school, Mary Allbee. She always smiled at me and made me feel warm inside. I sure appreciated that during a hectic day of school and peer pressure, even in fifth and sixth grades.

 

 

 

When I remnisce about Mary, I think of the plain white bread she served with smooth and sweet peanut butter topping. It just was bread but the peanut butter sure tasted much better than ours at home. What was her secret? To this day I don’t know but it was delicous and that ‘s one of the few elementary lunch memories I have, besides the soggy limp carrot sticks my mom lovingly packed in my brown paper sack.

 

 

 

This Lunch Lady brownies recipe was shared on Facebook a few weeks back in the depth of summer. At first I thought, hmmm, I never remember great brownies baked by the lunch ladies, but maybe there were at other schools. The recipe intrigued me and I read the ingredients with a restrained awe. Then I tried them, baked them for my family and frosted them with the yummy chocolate buttercream frosting. I think the frosting made them even more delicous but I refrain from thinking that they would be good bake sale items. The frosting may be too messy to sell but great at home. The brownies are just as delicious without the frosting as well!

 

 

I share this recipe with you in hopes that you have good lunch lady memories and if you don’t, perhaps these delicious brownies can soothe your wounds. I stumbled upon this delicious recipe on Life-in-the-Lofthouse.com. Holly Lofthouse is the owner, wife and mother and has a great collection of recipes. Check it out!

 

Lunch Lady Brownies

 

1  cup butter, melted

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups granulated sugar

4 large eggs

4 teaspoons vanilla

 

Chocolate Frosting, if desired
1/4 cup softened butter
1/4 cup milk ( I used Lactose free but you could use 1 or 2%)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups powdered sugar

 

 

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish and set aside.

Combine  melted butter and cocoa powder. I mix them together with a hand mixer.

Add the flour and sugar. Beat together then add eggs and vanilla. Mix just until combined. Don’t over mix. (Batter will be thick)

 

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Pour batter into prepared baking dish and spread out evenly.

 

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Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove brownies from oven and let stand 15 minutes before frosting. You want the brownies still warm when you frost them!

 

Chocolate Frosting:

Beat together all the frosting ingredients until smooth. Pour and spread over warm brownies. Let cool completely before cutting and serving.

Enjoy this little dose of chocolate…for we all know that women have to have their chocolate!
All My Best,
Heart and Soul