The Art of Stacked Wood

It’s hot and steamy July, a month when one usually doesn’t think of frigid New England winters. Yet soon enough it will be upon us and that’s my husband’s mindset. He knows how frigid and snowy it becomes here and his steadfast winter preparedness drives him to find wood.

Recently Tom bought wood from his friend Mike, cut from his land in our town. He’s been hauling in it, cutting it on the wood splitter and stacking it neatly. So far he has accumulated about three or four cords. We will probably need at least three or four more, enough to last about ten months. We primarily heat our house with our trusty wood stove besides the little kerosene monitor we have in the kitchen.

This is what Tom is expecting next year! Gotta have plenty of wood!

In the last few summers I enjoy going out and working with Tom. He cuts and I stack, which is an excellent work-out for me. Last summer I spotted a huge black and yellow snake living in the wood pile and since then I’m a bit jumpy and nervous about helping. We have far too many snakes on our property and they creep me out!

When we go on our summer country rides and back dirt roads I appreciate spotting stacked wood piles. It means someone else is planning ahead! It’s amazing to see who still burn wood here. With that said, I’ve heard that many have resorted to burning pellets. It may be convenient and maybe cheaper but you can’t stack bags nor admire their beauty in someone’s yard, right?

Forgive the picture quality, it was through a closed window. See what visited us the other morning? We were having our coffee in the living room and spotted a couple of does in our side yard. They’re so graceful and fun to watch this time of year! I feel beyond blessed to live with these beauties!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

The Challenges of Walking the Cat

Smokey getting used to the leash last summer.

When walking the cat you never yank on the leash

or ELSE!

When walking the cat you prepare

for a hissy fit or

a snotty hiss

if he doesn’t get his way!

When walking the cat be ready for skittish jumps

as loud raging motorcycles race by

When walking the cat hope that baby birds,

snakes or chipmunks aren’t within close range!

Be quiet and calm when walking the cat

Never run beside them

not sure why this threatens him but it does

Be ready for stops along the way for

the cat to rest in tall grass

Or in the sultry heat

of the greenhouse

( my cat adores the greenhouse)

When walking the cat

definitely have a sense of humor

because you never know what’s going to happen!

The safest thing to do

is to cuddle with your cat in the blankets!

Out precious Smokey❤️

On a side note we started walking our cat Smokey last year because he was obsessively licking off his fur in patches. We thought it was a skin condition but the vet thought he had anxiety. Maybe his stress was from not being able to go outside. Our daughter- in- law suggested taking him for walks on a leash, like she does for her cat Smokey Joe.

Over the years we lost two cats to coydogs and one was hit by a car by our driveway. We don’t want to go through that again and so our two kitties were always stay in cats. In March we lost our oldest cat Katy to kidney disease. Now poor Smokey is alone most days when we work. I imagine he sleeps most of the day. I have the summer off so I’m here to keep him company but even so, he’s a cat so he sleeps most of the morning. After lunch we walk around the yard, sometimes twice a day if he’s in a good mood and he behaves on the leash!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 😽

Turning Fifty!

My friends and family. My daughter in law Lexi on the far left, friend Irene and my friend ( her sister) Anita, me, my sister Barb, back row left my brother in law Pat, co- worker and friend Beth, co- worker and friend Stacie, friend Kathy, friend Michelle, back row, son Dylan, Toms friend Mike, my husband Tom and Kathy’s boyfriend Bob.

A few weeks ago I turned fifty and I really have no problem with it! People I chat with about it almost compare it to going up a tedious hill and how it’s the start of the aging process. Sure, I guess I am closer to retirement now within 15 years and perhaps I’ll start seeing physical and mental changes. But maybe I won’t! Maybe I’ll continue to feel great physically and keep learning about myself and be stronger than I ever have been! That’s all I can strive for, to climb that mountain easily and smile because I conquered it!

Months ago I decided that I wanted us to go on a milestone trip marking the big 50. So we traveled to Las Vegas and had quite an adventure! Next Tom will turn 60 next July and he’s thinking of where he wants us to go to. I also wished to have a little get together with some family members, friends and co-workers to celebrate. It was a great party with my music coming from Dylan’s speakers, good food such as meatballs, a vegetable tray, quinoa salad from my friend Anita, guacamole and tortilla chips, macaroni and pasta salads.

I feel blessed to be as healthy as I am, happily married to a wonderful man who is my friend and a mom to two amazing sons who have conquered the world with hard work and humility. Even though my age is half a century, I still feel like a 22 year- old but with an aged mind and a whole lot of life experience that has brought me wisdom. I wouldn’t trade that for anything. All the stupid mistakes I’ve made have seasoned me and have propelled me to learn and grow.

Tom and I in the 99 degree heat at Hoover Dam!

I’m in the Fifty club now and it’s entirely okay! I look forward to coming years as I age. Hopefully I can remain healthy and happy!

All My Best,

Mary

An Easy 4th of July Dessert

Cream Horn Medallions

Thanks to my cousin Holly for bringing these yummy gems to our cousin reunion. I’m sharing her idea with you…they’re so easy and delicious!

You need:

Two or three packages cream horns

Strawberry slices

Blueberries

Cut up cream horns in 1- 1 1/2 inch medallions. Each one should have cream filling in it. Add a strawberry slice and a blueberry on top. It’s that easy but a delicious treat that I HAD to INDULGE in a few. It’s sweet with the filling but fresh and fruity too!

From Betsylife.com

Last year I made a blueberry pie to celebrate the Fourth of July. It wasn’t the prettiest I’ve made but I remember that Tom loved it and that’s what matters to me! How about attempting this beauty? Simply cut stars in the crust, revealing a deep pool of blue fruit! I’m going to bake this and will share later! Wish me luck!

What scrumptious holiday desserts are you making this year? We will be having my blueberry pie.

Tom and I aren’t doing much tomorrow, on the 4th of July…fishing, a cook- out for us two and fireworks later. Maybe someday again we will have big plans for the day but the last few years it’s quiet and that’s okay with us!

Happy Fourth of July my friends! Despite the negative media stories, I still love this land and our rich history! God Bless America.🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

A Fun Cousin Reunion

July 1, 2019

From left to right me, my cousin Mary ( who had the same first and last name as me), my cousin Carmen, my cousins Michelle and Lisa, my sister Barb and my cousin Holly in the back row)

My sister and I rode South today to our cousin Lisa’s beautiful home in Ashland, New Hampshire for a cousin’s reunion. The day was steamy and sunny, perfect for sitting on the screened porch. We all caught up over iced tea and lemonade, appetizers such as Artichoke dip and tortillas, a delicious Quinoa salad my sister made ( made with quinoa, feta cheese, avodaco, tomatoes), a beautiful cheese and cracker tray with Fontina and Pepper Jack, Michelle’s chocolate peanut butter cups, my oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and Holly’s cream horn medallions( recipe to follow on my next post).

A delicious glimpse of desserts, cream horn bites and chocolate peanut butter cups.

We didn’t have all the cousins there as many live far away. The cousins who could come caught up with our stories, ones of our family and careers, getting older and the dread of finding white and gray hairs and about nostalgic memories at Grammy and Grampa Doyle’s house. We reminisced of Grampa or Poppy (as my cousin Mary calls him) would lay on the couch and grab us children and begin the tickle war. He would stick his tongue out and laugh with such glee. My Grammy had a grinder business ( sub sandwiches for those of you who have never heard of the term) in her house and I remember once or twice seeing her make them. There were races sledding down the hill when you couldn’t stop and banging hard on the out of tune piano on the porch. We all have fond memories of those days on the hill in West Fairlee, Vermont.

My Uncle Mel brought boxes of pictures for us to look at and encouraged us to keep a few if we wished. It was fun thumbing through our dad’s photos and his family growing up. In the photo above my dad is the tallest boy on the right. I didn’t recognize him at first but we decided it truly was him. It does my heart good to see these precious moments captured and I’m thankful Uncle Mel brought them.

Uncle Mel

So it turned out to be a fun successful day celebrating cousins. Many of us have been busy raising families and haven’t always connected. Even so, we have our childhood memories and our blood lineage to connect us. Perhaps we will have this event again and maybe even more Doyle cousins will attend. It’s something special to look forward to and maybe when all of us have grandchildren they will come too!

All My Best,

Mary ❤️

Runaway Watermelon!

The runaway culprit that produced a good chuckle and it’s still intact!

Now I know I have your attention with that title! There are many amusing occurrences in this life, moments that stop time and trigger a good and hearty belly laugh. This happened the other day when I came home with a car load of groceries. I hurriedly opened up the hatch and started grabbing bags to bring inside. Tom was helping too and came in the kitchen and asked me what I was doing with the watermelon. Huh? What do you mean what am I doing with it? He told me to go back outside and check it out. There on the cusp of our gravel driveway and the tarred road was the watermelon. It laid lopsided several feet away from the car. Apparently it took a rolling ride out of the back of the car. A runaway watermelon! Ha! I must say it made my day!🤣🤣🤣🤣

Thankfully it didn’t burst open!

Have you had something hilarious happen to you lately?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 🍉