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 🍁❤️

Garden Highlights

Well the gardening season is approaching it’s end in northern New Hampshire. So far we have only had a frost or two, enough to blacken and crinkle the plant leaves. I’ve been spending my time picking tomatoes, carrots and the last of the zucchini and broccoli. Every time I’m ready to bid goodbye to all the picking and vegetable gathering, a growth spurt comes out of nowhere. The sunny pleasant days are tending to the zucchini plants, still surprising me with little deep green beauties, a harvest of close to two months! ( Even with frosted leaves!) Teeny green broccoli sprigs tower above the plants, making it easy to snip them off. Carrots continue to grow and thrive, as well as the snappy healthy tops. I’ve always thought they look perfect for a garnish!

About a week ago Tom and Dylan moved the greenhouse to the garden from the back tall grass. Tom cleverly placed it over our best tomato plants. I’ve been watering them and picking as many red ones as I can. Because the season is ending soon, I’m picking the green tomatoes as well and bringing them inside. It works really well to ripen them in paper bags, then I make my homemade pasta sauce for the freezer. That way we can enjoy the taste of the garden in the long winter months!

My Butternut squash plants grew long vines which I draped over our fence. Here and there squashes grew amongst the leaves sporting a deep green color. For weeks I’ve waited for them to turn a tan color with no avail. I think this happened in previous years but I don’t remember if I left them on the vine or picked them. Any suggestions from my fellow gardeners? I do love Butternut squash and hope I can eat these!

Here is a sample of my late September harvest! The wooden tray I picked up at the annual Chelsea Flea Market held in July. It’s handy because there are two holes on each side for gathering. Next year I may fashion tough rope handles through them.

As September closes and our leaves turn red, yellow and pink, my garden is slowing turning brown and eventually everything will be put to bed. It’s been a great growing season with my favorites being cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots and fresh basil. I’ll truly miss my morning jaunts deep in the growing vines beyond our home. The bird songs, bright sunshine, buzzing busy bees and lovely Monarch Butterflies will remain in my memory as special accompaniments to the garden.

With fall here and weather changes rolling in, I succumb to the natural order of things. All good things must end, therefore my joy of gardening can be pushed aside until next May. In the meantime I’ll pour over photos and sketch a plot map for next year.

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 ❤️

Several Generations of Gardeners

This years garden in July 2019

I have sat down three different times to write this post and each time I was almost done and it got erased! It’s frustrating because I was satisfied with it yet now I begin again once more. Hopefully the last time. Has that ever happened to you?

 

 

As a young child I didn’t give a hoot about gardens. I remember being around the age of 10 and my dad proudly tried to show me his garden at our Haverhill, NH house. The plot sat in the back of our yard bordering blackberry bushes. Dad tried to put on a tour of all his vegetables and coldly and uninterested I ran away to play. Oh how I regret that with my every being! If I could turn back time I’d listen to soak in the moments as he went through his garden. But I can’t and that’s that.

Now as a mature adult, I’m a gardener like my dad. I guess it all came full circle! It took me half a lifetime to appreciate a gardens peaceful presence and it’s magical qualities. It all started with my paternal grandfather ( actually my maternal grandparents gardened too), progressed to my father and now I continue the tradition. My sister has a vegetable garden too.

Years ago Tom tilled and tended a huge garden for his employer, Mrs. Geneen. He didn’t enjoy it though, for it was his job. I didn’t have anything to do with it until one day I was strolling through the rows of growing green plants. Suddenly an interest sparked within me and from that day on I have tended our gardens. We maintained a garden at the farm for about twenty years and about five here, on our land.

The enormous garden at the farm

It’s more than a hobby, but as a profound passion  of connecting with the earth and growing and nursing vegetables for our family. Digging in the soil of the plot makes me feel alive! It’s calming as I stoop and pull weeds, check the leaves for growth or hoe the narrow rows of dirt. It’s my therapy in life, a special sanctuary to be still or to move among the plants. Sometimes I twist and turn, other times I rest and weed. Whatever I do in the garden, it’s sacred.

Tom and I at our own garden one of the first years

 As I wrap up this post, I wish to thank my dad for all his gardening advice and for our phone conversations that are focused on gardening. It’s these moments that mean very much to me, times of connections that have strengthened our relationship. Maybe he’ll see this and maybe he won’t and that doesn’t matter to me. What matters is that this hobby has brought us a little closer. I’m grateful for that.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

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 ❤️

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.🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

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 💕

Around the Yard

My window color scheme

A foggy mist hovered over our yard this morning. As I waited for the early sun to peek behind the puffy clouds, my I-Pad photos reminded me of how blessed I am with our beautiful yard. I feel every corner speaks to us in an enchanting whisper. There’s no place that I’d rather be in the summer!

I’m waiting anxiously for my Stargazer Lily to bloom!

With summer warming up and days becoming longer, I take afternoon and early strolls around the yard to see my flowers and plants progress. I think my mother- in- law told me that she used to do that.

This spring has been pretty cold and rainy until now. My purple Coneflowers are not doing well. All I see are green leaves and they’re much shorter and skimpier than last year. The flowers are nowhere in sight! I’m hoping Miracle Gro will energize them but maybe the damage has been done. There were probably too many frigid nights and wet days for them. Any suggestions?

I don’t know the name of this perennial patch but I love them! One is blossomed which means the patch will be purple soon enough. It’s a lovely addition to our yard and the humming birds love them!

I’m waiting for my Coreopsis to bloom teeny yellow flowers that brighten up my front yard. Shown here is my latest of my dad’s wood projects, the deer planter. Inside it is Johnny Jump ups that I got free from a Landaff resident. One day Tom and I were riding around and found all these pots of flowers labeled free. I passed on the tip to my daughter- in- law leading her to stop by and take a few plants gratefully.

So there it is…our little yard with annuals thriving and perennials on their way. Soon they’ll bloom and I’ll post their progress.

I hope you all are having a great week!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️