Winter Wonderland

The last few days have been snowy and icy here. It’s a good thing I didn’t plan on any trips on my school vacation, the first week I was busy preparing for Christmas and this week I’m just hanging out. Tom has been in and out plowing, for our town and his driveway clients. He leaves in the wee hours of the morning before the sun rises and I never quite know when he will return. I am sure of one thing…he will return especially for a quick hot meal and the warm bed eventually.

I’ve been happily sleeping until I wake without the obtrusive alarm clock squawking at me. I rise when I rise…whether it be 5 or 6 am, it doesn’t matter. I bundle up in my comfy chair and sip my coffee. The first thing I do upon coming downstairs is turn on my Christmas tree, it is still up! I love having it lit in the early morning and in the evening. It stretches the holiday out for me and I can’t think of a better way to relax in my living room than in front of a colorful pine beauty.

While I’m on vacation it can snow and pile up for I have nowhere to be but here. It’s beautiful to walk in the woods and up our dirt road, an enchanting mass of trees frosted white and glowing in what little sun we have. I do love winter and the change of season. Now if you ask me in late February I may have a negative answer instead.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 😘

Why I love October!

In October it truly feels like autumn, my favorite season of the year. There is a chill in the air early in the morning and late in the evening sending goosebumps up my spine. Even so, the days are pleasant and bright with sometimes radiating warmth on my skin. Lovely leaves change to deep reds, brilliant oranges and bright yellows while verdant grass and plant life loses its brilliance of green, giving way to the season. Soon all will be rusty brown to be coated with a white blanket once snow falls.

A passing wind storm ripped through our region last week, stripping all the crinkly leaves from their spindly branches. All the trees in our yard are bare, ready for winter and the ice and snow covering. Tom and I spent a weekend vigorously raking them in heaping piles. We loaded them in wheelbarrow loads and on a tarp to dispose of in our compost pile out back. It felt good to be working together as a team taking care of our yard. We labored quietly as the rake scraped scratchy leaves. Chipmunks squeaked back and forth, probably a warning that humans were around. Crows cawed in the distance, a true sign of fall.

October is a time of soaking in the best of the season. Hay bales, propped up scarecrows with straw plunging out, yellow and red mums in crude pots decorate front yards. Pumpkins and gourds lay strewn everywhere while fields are freshly cut of corn and tall grass. Apples fall with a patter from trees, feeding wild turkeys and deer. Little gray wisps thrust from chimneys, leaving a fall smokey scent in the air. It’s one of my favorites as it reminds me of my grandfather’s camp.

Apple cider making is under way as well as fresh baked pumpkin goods. It’s time for fall festivals and church bazaars, fun places to visit and pick up baked goods, grown vegetables and fruits or handmade crafts.

As fall progresses my thoughts are on a festive Thanksgiving and joyous Christmas soon after that. I look forward to spending ample time in my kitchen baking and smelling the fragrant aromas of my labor.

Right now I’m battling something medical with my kidney and bladder. I’m going to a urologist at a local hospital but have been told that there’s a waiting list. I have a firm faith that all will be well. I am strong and able to deal with it. It’s just a challenge to continue to work while this is going on.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💕

A Glimpse of Fall

Beautiful serene Lake Willoughby in Westmore, Vermont

It’s a warm pleasant morning in the 50’s with the sun coming up to gift us a new day. October is well under way bringing a crinkled up mosaic of leaves in ambers, yellows, pinks and deep reds. Everywhere you venture in this land you see a patchwork of colors, immersing you in a new world other than rich greens. There’s no place I’d rather be than here in my home state in October!

My back yard showing the season.

Every October Tom and I indulge in a foliage ride in either New Hampshire or beautiful neighboring Vermont. Last year we ventured down the infamous Kangamangus highway through Lincoln into Waterville Valley, NH. Cars and people were everywhere, an indication of all the mystical beauty surrounding us. This year Tom mapped our journey ahead, planning to go through Dalton NH across the covered bridge into Vermont. We went through Lunenburg VT up north and stumbled upon lovely Lake Willoughby in Westmore, Vermont.

During our Sunday ride, the warm sun beat on us through the windshield. All we saw where idyllic farm lands, cows grazing in pastures, country dirt roads, as seasonal turned leaves lit the way as we rode. We didn’t pass many stores, gas stations nor restaurants. This ride held lost north country lands and homes that host quiet rural living. It was the perfect foliage ride of peace and exploration!

Upon entering Westmore, Vermont we were greeted by massive cliffs with surreal views. A sprawling Lake Willoughby was on our left as we explored the winding road parallel to it. We came upon a small beach where a few families eagerly snapped photos, as we did. A lone canoe and a small kayak were parked on the beach, beckoning one to venture out on the lake. Across the road a quaint country store stood with a small campground beyond. Hiking trails wound through the woods, appealing to nature enthusiasts.

Tom and I decided that we would visit Lake Willoughby again in the future and trek up one of the trails. It’s peaceful and tranquil gorgeousness spoke to our souls. It’s not often that we find such peace, one that can’t be described in mere words. Silence does it justice for this level of tranquility needs no words, just paying homage to it’s beauty.

Coming home we were fortunate to be able to see fall colors in our own yard, solidifying our love for our land. Going on a foliage road trip is exciting, especially when you explore a new place you’ve never seen before. The only perfect ending to that scenario is returning to the subtle serenity of the place where you belong, home.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 🍁❤️

Nature’s Perfume

Thanks to my honey Tom I have an Oriental Lily in my garden greeting every visitor at the cusp of the door. This thoughtful man gifted it to me on my birthday. Last week I was surprised when two opened up wide and two days later another two bloomed. It’s aromatic presence entices and soothes your olfaction receptors. Ah, a beautiful scent! I can even smell it inside the kitchen through the window screen!

You may remember from a post a few weeks ago that my Coneflowers weren’t doing so well from the late cool start. Now they all have blossomed and are doing well. I noticed they aren’t as tall as I’d like but I imagine they will grow taller every year, weather providing.

All My Best,

Mary ❤️🥰

Where Are the Corn Ears?

It’s early August and at this point of the summer I go out twice to my garden. First in the morning it’s weeding and hoeing work between rows in the fresh air. Next I haul the hose over and water it if it hasn’t rained recently. Later in the afternoon I saunter out in the bright sunshine with my new garden tray I bought at a flea market. With scissors in hand I walk the plot with intentions of finding veggies that are ready for picking. Lately we are getting deep green zucchini, cilantro, basil, lettuce ( it’s actually going by now), cucumbers, some spinach and green beans.

I’ve noticed our sweet corn is tall and seems to be crowning with tassels but there appears to be hardly any ears of corn! Why do you think this would happen, poor irrigation? Pollination problems? Anyway usually our corn is ready by late August so I’m predicting that’s not enough time for them to grow, right? Now that I’ve discovered this, I’m reminded that every year something doesn’t grow as planned and that forces me to become an investigator of sorts to solve the problem.

Yesterday I broke the news to my husband, the man whose total garden focus is corn. He went right out there inspecting the stalks and remains hopeful that some will grow, just later than usual. If we don’t yield corn I’ll stop by the local farmer’s market and stock up or the freezer. That will be a bummer so I pray that we have our own!

Has this ever happened to you before? Do you have any suggestions for me? Thank you in advance for your insight.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Oh, Green Beans!

While I was on hands and knees a few days ago, suddenly I spotted a green bean swaying ever so gently in the breeze. It’s always like unwrapping a present and a surprise reveals itself. I know I’m meant to garden and dig in the soil, for I never tire of nature’s gifts. I’d rather spend my summer kneeling in the patch rather than being anywhere else.

When I think of green beans, one vivid memory comes to mind. Years ago, when my son Dylan was a little boy, he discovered snapping off beans and eating them right away! He frequented the plot with one main intention…to pick green beans. Picture a young boy with no shirt, barefoot strolling through the patch in the blazing heat of the day.

To this day Dylan will take a sandwich bag of snappy green beans to munch on. Last year I gave him and his wife Lexi a bag for their dinner and he ate them all on the way home! Today once again he asked kindly for his green beans and I obliged with love. I love my son and the fact that he loves green beans! Here are some ways I use my fresh green beans:

Toss them in a salad

Sauté with olive oil and slivered almonds  

Serve with sausage and potatoes

Have green beans with cooked ham and mashed potatoes

Goes great in a stir-fry

It doesn’t matter how you use them for these versatile veggies are wholesome , healthy and delicious straight from the garden!

Do you grow green beans and are they ready now?

Yesterdays bounty, green lettuce, cucumbers, basil, thyme, green beans, zucchini

All My Best,

Heart and Soul❤️

Good Morning! 🌞😃

This photo was taken by accident but it spoke to me and fit with this post!

Good Morning world!

As I open my door a burst of birdsongs delight me

The sun’s glow tickles my skin

Off goes my shoes in one swoop

The grass feels cool and refreshing

and dew squishes between my toes

No car traffic exists this early

A hushed stillness speaks to me

It’s calming to just be here

To relish in the wee hours

of a brand new day

God’s gift with many possibilities

How precious this morning is

and I’m extremely grateful to be able to

Witness the miracles of a new day!

Thank you God for all the blessings of a new day and for my health, for my family and my happiness. Amen🙏

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

Collage of Colors

It’s mid July in our neck of the woods, a season of sultry sun and bursts of fresh rain. Amid the hundreds of insects flying and crawling, flowers bloom eagerly as if to say, “ I’m here! Look at me.” A collage of colors surrounds us, ever changing all the time so I don’t blink but capture each moment.

Glowing golden Coreopsis shows it’s face in front of my house. Wispy Catmint sports purple blossoms.

My window boxes are flowing now with deep reds, perky pinks and subtle white Bicopas drape over its edges. Oh how I love them!

Lavender purples plume upward as buzzing bees visit often and enjoy them as much as I do!

This is my east corner of the house, a shady spot where my Astilbe grow as well as spring blooming Lily of the Valley.

I hope your yard is immersed in many colors! Don’t you think they make us happy?

All My Best,

Mary 💜

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 ❤️

At the End of the Day

At the end of the day…

the small hamlet

is as hushed as a whisper

yet nearby peepers rattle their tunes

breaking the silence

lulling me to slumber

At the end of the day…

whatever negative occurrences

that happened don’t seem to matter

What remains are the beautiful moments

The warm peachy sunset promises

a bright new day ahead

A chance to commence anew

to rid all of your resentments

A cleansing and renewal

of sorts

At the end of the day

I thank God for the chance to live

and love.

My son Dylan and husband Tom. You can tell it’s at the end of the day…Tom looks pretty tired! God bless them!

All My Best,

Mary 💕