“Earning Your Keep”

 

I think most writers discover inspiration all around them…in nature’s beauty, in the eyes of their loves, in magical books and movies that take your breath away, to name a few. I watched a movie last night on Hulu, Tumbledown with Jason Sudeikis and a quote struck me so much that I thought about it all night. The female character was looking out over a frozen lake in April set in Maine and her prolific words touched my every being. ” I love living in a place where you have to earn your keep.”

 

 

What does that really mean? I know it was a reference to  living in New England. It can be brutal here with harsh weather with loads of snow and little sun many months of the year to the point of driving many people south for a reprieve. Staying here in this sometimes unforgiving land is”earning your keep.”You have to work hard. Live hard. Love with all your being. You have to accept the seasons and love the changes that are thrust upon you.

 

 

In spring the hearty tulips emerge in patches of snow. Newly arriving robins flutter and fly while frosty snow covers the ground. That’s not what I visualize when I think of spring…yet that’s the reality here.

 

In summer the warmth and pleasant temperatures take over, a season when towns fill up  with returning snowbirds. Small hamlets come to life as economies thrive once again, counting on the hot sunshine, the cool walks in the woods and the refreshing dips in the lake that appeal to any visitor and resident.

 

The crisp fall presence is a prelude of winter but a lingering glimpse of summer. Trees are an outstanding canvas of golden, pinks, bright yellows and rich reds. Mountains call to you to explore and experience the surreal peace on the way to the top.

 

Beautiful yet unforgiving winter brings sparkling whites, glistening sheets of ice and frigid air….testing your endurance. It’s the season your will must be steady and strong. You accept the harsh reality because the splendor and beauty can be humbling yet breath-taking.

 

When I think of living in New England, I think of “earning your keep”. It takes a strong-willed person to not only stick it out, but to love all the seasons for their unique qualities. We choose to stay, to live and love the changes the seasons hand us. That’s what a New Englander does….earns his keep and loves every minute of it!

 

The older I become the more my bones ache ( possibly arthritis) and my patience with the cold waivers at times. With that said, I still love living in the north. It’s all I know and my husband as well…both of us have lived in New England all our lives and I foresee that’s the way it will always be. 

Happy Weekend to you all!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

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Stacked Wood for the Winter

A wood pile, a reassurance of warmth!

On a crisp autumn day

amid the strewn leaves in the backyard,

stacked wood logs lie waiting

for their time to shine.

In the frigid depths of winter

armfuls of wood

will be hauled to the house

along a windy snowy path.

 

The art of stacked wood appeals to me,

a sight of maple, pine and oak

all in cohesive harmony.

The horizontal canvas of cut logs

hosts a serene picture along a dirt road

and a towering apple tree.

Months of hard work lies

in the stacks,

a truth of our fortitude

towards the harsh claws of winter.

 

 

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Busy chattering chipmunks skirt the very edges

of the stacks

finding acorns here and there.

As nearby smoke cuts the crisp air,

we load wood into our wood closet.

My husband built this creative cubby to house

our logs to dry.

On the cusp of the closet is a window

where he can open

and throw wood right into the cubby.

How clever is that!

Just a few feet away stands the stove

ready to work.

 

Our wood closet with a handy shelf on top to house cleaning supplies.

This man is an innovator and a die hard

worker for our family.

Thank God for him.

Thank God for the wood and the heat

that makes our home cozy.

 

 

Where ever you are…are you ready for winter? Do you burn wood in your house? If so, are you ready with stacked cords of wood waiting?

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

November isn’t Always a Shade of Brown

 

 

 

 

 

Usually November in the north country

wears a chocolate coat of brown.

Crinkly fallen leaves adorn

a dusty dirt road.

Snappy bare tree branches sway in the wind

with scampering chipmunks racing to and fro

between stacked wood piles.

But this year I see rich greens, deep reds and burnt oranges…

so there’s hope for color this month.

But not the white stuff…not just yet.

Happy November!

The Pumpkin Patch Memory 🎃

 

 

 

Long ago fall was a time to go for a family drive to see foliage and a visit to the pumpkin patch. We happily rode down sleepy route 10 past towns with sprawling enormous houses and by Court Street in Haverhill, where I grew up. We would finally arrive in Orford, New Hampshire, at the pumpkin farm and see aisles of the orange squash, short and towering tall ones and fat busty pumpkins awaiting eager customers. The farmer always smiled and kindly told the boys that they could choose a couple of gourds.

Climbing over a plunging pile of pumpkins, the boys would gladly pose for a photo and proceed to pick their favorite. Walking the displays back and forth, the boys inspected each face. Upon seeing their prize, their face would light up and instantly a small hand grabbed the scratchy stem. Proud and plump pumpkins were tucked in the back of the SUV while we paid the farmer.

 

The week of Halloween we broke out the carving knives, bowls, big spoons and newspapers for a carving good time. Sometimes the weather cooperated and we worked outside and others we made the best of it on the kitchen floor. Either way it was always entertaining to see our different pumpkin personalities.

 

 

Following the scooping out of the slimy orange guts, we would separate the pumpkin seeds and dry them off with paper towels. Once dried, I would spread them out on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and roast for a scrumptious snack.

 

When spooky Halloween night arrived, at dusk I would place a little candle in each jack-o- lantern. The reflecting light brought each carved  squash to life as their expressions came to spooky life. It was a special glow that we gawked at once a year in the depth of October.

 

Do you visit the pumpkin patch? Have you carved a beauty lately?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💗🎃

Dylan and Tom carving on a nice fall day.

The Ghost of Halloween Past

 

As October 31st approaches just around the corner, I remember Halloween days of what seems long ago. The celebratory ghost of Halloween lingers in my thoughts…memories of our sons choosing costumes for school and trick or-treating, visiting the in-laws to see what my mother-in- law would dress up in and the passing out of a few candy bars to neighbor children before we left out into the night.

 

There was the cowboy costume that Dylan proudly wore two years in a row. The black hat, shiny cap gun and pleather holster and a handy bandanna from my drawer. Then the year Branden wore a hot pumpkin jumper and sweat beaded on his face and he ended up crying from being overtired. I didn’t post the picture of him crying out of respect but it’s comical now looking back.

 

Cousins meeting together at Halloween. Check out their expressions!

One year Dylan wanted to be a Blue Power Ranger and coincidentally his cousin Spencer was one too but with a red suit. Oh I can’t forget the simple ghost costume Branden wore and the eyes kept moving off his face…

Since we live in a small community we would trick or treat by car. Tom and I would chauffeur them to a few neighbors’ houses to be greeted with smiles and candy, for that’s what neighbors do. Afterwards we trekked over a couple of miles to our in-laws to hang out for a few hours.

My mother-in- law is known for dressing up in costumes over the years and the tradition continued with her grandchildren. Every year she wore something different to amuse the kids, but we were enjoying it too. One year Theo dressed as a clown and we got this great picture of her and Dylan.

 

Out of all these fleeting memories filled with the boys laughter and costume fun, the best thing was that they transformed into something magical for one night a year. It wasn’t always about the candy but they loved that too, because I didn’t buy candy all the time. It sure was a treat. I grew up with my dad owning grocery stores and candy and soda were easy to acquire, therefore I didn’t want our boys to get addicted to it like I did.

There’s the Halloween when the boys were 6 and 8, great ages to explore new costumes, ones that kind of reflected their personalities. Dylan chose a hunter costume, probably in tribute to his dad who is an avid hunter. Branden wanted to be a scarecrow, perhaps out of like for the infamous scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz or out of a fondness for the floppy nature of one.

 

That year my mom, their Grammy G came and made a scarecrow with us outside.

A scarecrow hanging out on the wall, ready to spook visitors.

 

Flipping through these past memories, I remember being caught up in the hustle of buying or planning costumes and being stressed about the holiday. Even so, I truly enjoyed these moments and love looking back at photos I took. I had many people tell me to capture those moments with a camera because otherwise much would be forgotten. With a grateful heart I share these with you for some smiles and perhaps they will trigger fond moments of long ago for you.

 

As I plunge back into the present, I’ll tell you that Halloween is quiet now. We haven’t had a trick or treaters for five years, yet I still purchase a small bag of candy with slight hope. This may sound sad to you, but it really isn’t to me. There’s a time and season for everything and this is the season that we are in. In the present Tom and I will keep our light on, just in case and maybe watch a movie or play Scrabble Halloween night. Looking into the future hopefully we will enjoy our trick or treating grandchildren and everything will come full circle.

As I conclude this post I wish you will enjoy neighbor romping children and indulge in a little treat or two. If your holiday is rather quiet too, try to be thankful and remember what was while looking forward to what may be.

Happy Halloween to you all. Blessings to you.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

 

 

 

 

 

Good night, Garden

Hello blogging friends and readers! Many of you probably saw my few garden posts this summer. My growing garden is my primary priority in the summer season  as I have days off from my school job to focus on the tilling, weeding and picking. Here we are in late October with colder night frosts, therefore my garden is on its way out.

 

 

 

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Some of my harvest this year.

 

We picked endless amounts of squashes, tomatoes and cucumbers this year. Our first year growing corn again was a success with three rows of healthy stalks bearing about 25 ears of corn. It wasn’t the best season for carrots and eggplant though. ( we had three eggplants compared to 25 a couple of years ago)

 

September harvest
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Earlier summer days with a visiting Monarch butterfly
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Huge lush squashes sprawled out of its space.
The colors of the garden reflect fall days.

 

Once again the growing season has flown by! Gazing at the once plot of greenery, now all there is brown corn stalks, tomato bushes deprecated by frost and memories of what once was. Despite all this, my broccoli plants still sport a healthy shade of green and are still producing broccoli sprigs.

 

Soon Tom and I will cut down the plants and throw in our compost pile out back. We could cover the garden with cut evergreen boughs but it may not be necessary. I need to stake a portion of our fence so the heavy snow won’t knock it down. Then there will be nothing else to do but dream of next year’s crop and plan changes for June 2018.

 

In some regions gardeners plant fall crops. Are you growing any plants this time of year?

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤