Thursday, November 16, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Welcome to Foodie Friday and Everything Else, where good recipes and great ideas are always on the menu. I'm pleased to share highlights from last week's party.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Slice of Life

Simplifying and minimizing are the key words for 2018, but I'm not waiting for January1st. The last six weeks have been filled with household organizing and purging: I'm bringing order to every cupboard, closet, and drawer. Today, I'm getting the kitchen and pantry ready for heavy duty holiday cooking, and this weekend, I'll focus on the garage, creating zones for garden equipment and bird feeding supplies. 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Thanks for stopping by Foodie Friday and Everything Else. 
As the year hurtles to a close, I keep circling around two goals: simplifying, and self-nurturing. The new year will mark a decade of blogging, and already I am reviewing the journey, taking note of lessons learned and focusing on new paths. I'm excited about the possibilities.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Lessons from Nature

"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

The speed of modern life makes it easy to overlook mysteries and magic in my own backyard. But when I bend close to the rock wall, I am amazed by the pluck and perseverance of moss. It is rootless, yet it grows in the most inhospitable places, on rocks and rooftops, impervious to the elements. 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

When I wasn't looking, November arrived. It's a feast month, a time to fill our hearts with gratitude, and yet, December always seems to be the boss. Even if we want to savor the last moments of autumn, the 12th month reminds us to sweep away leaves and pumpkins and bring out pine swags and Yule cakes. As the year winds down, I'm thinking about lessons learned and daring to look ahead to 2018. It's good to know that I'm not alone--we inspire and help each other every day.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

November Notes

"November comes
      And November goes,
      With the last red berries
      And the first white snows.
With night coming early,
      And dawn coming late,
      And ice in the bucket
      And frost by the gate.
The fires burn
      And the kettles sing,
      And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring."
-- Elizabeth Coatsworth (1893–1986)

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Thanksgiving Tablescape Blog Hop

This week I'm participating in a week-long Thanksgiving tablescape blog hop, organized by Chloe at Celebrate and Decorate, and I'm looking forward to a daily dose of inspiration. You'll find links to the participating bloggers at the end of the post.

Friday, October 27, 2017

The Howling

Like many Terrier owners, I'm a tad obsessed with our Scottie . . . and smitten.  

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Foodie Friday and Everything Else
Welcome to the last party in October. November is creeping ahead, and it won't be long until we're thinking about Christmas. I was in HomeGoods the other day, and the aisles were filled with holiday goodies. And people were filling their carts. Me, I made a beeline for the pet section.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Welcome to Foodie Friday and Everything Else. I hope you're enjoying October's whimsical temperatures and beguiling sunlight. Before we know it, Halloween will be here. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Edge of Wildness

I know a place on the edge of wildness, where brambles twist up from the ground, green and alive, welded to the barbed wire. Just beyond the old fence, you'll find a world untouched by developers.

Friday, October 13, 2017

She Shed Diaries: The Ugly Wall

I've always liked exterior brick walls. They are downright pretty, adding texture and subtle color, creating a pleasing backdrop to vines, hydrangeas, or trellises. Also, they can be wonderfully neutral. Never in my life did I think about sprucing up an exterior wall, not until I began working on the She Shed.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Welcome to Foodie Friday and Everything Else. I'm looking forward to your ideas and recipes. I'm working on the She Shed--this time, the makeover centers around an ugly exterior wall--and I'll have an update this Saturday.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Along the Path

I've been meaning to paint inside the She Shed, but it's just too hot. Still, there's plenty to do outside the little house. Want to join me for a brainstorming session?

Monday, October 9, 2017

October Evening in the Butterfly Garden

I love October's temperature extremes. A hot-as-blazes day can turn into a crisp evening, prompting me to reach for a lightweight sweater. This is the month to play in the yard, to relish the pure joy of being home on a sweet night. What could be better than a marshmallow roast?

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Autumn Casts a Spell

"There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on the feelings, as now in October." 
-- Nathaniel Hawthorne
The slightest breeze sends great drifts of leaves falling in the back yard. I wouldn't dream of sweeping them away--that's the same as sweeping away charm. I am enchanted by October, hoping to savor every leaf.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Welcome to our first party in October. I'm glad you're here. Pull up a chair, grab a cinnamon donut and a mug of hot apple cider.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A Room of Your Own

I haven't had a dedicated writing room since the late 80s and early 90s. It was a narrow space with a built-in desk and white cabinets. Through the north-facing window, I saw chips of blue sky. Tulip-covered wallpaper gave me the garden I'd always craved, and long Formica counters offered plenty of space to spread out my papers. In this quiet spot, writer's block didn't exist. Words broke loose like ice sheets from a glacier, falling into a warm, bubbling cauldron.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Spiders and Pumpkins: A Halloween Party

Every October, I pull out the Halloween goodies and decorate the house with childlike delight. When the boys were small, I put up spooky trees and iced spider web cookies, loving every moment. One year, I froze punch in surgical gloves, and when I peeled them, icy fingers adorned the punch bowl. On Halloween night, I always made chili--with chili dogs for the boys--and we'd watch a movie marathon. All these years later, I still enjoy the playful side of Halloween. I'm not the only one--this week, I'm partying with a group of darling, talented bloggers for a Halloween Tablescape Blog Hop.

Monday, October 2, 2017

One Pot Meals: Southern-Style Pinto Beans

When crisp, chilly October days arrive in Tennessee, I start dreaming of one-pot meals. They're for homebodies. However, one-pot meals aren't for exhausted cooks. When you are frayed and weary, the thing to do is have food brought to you--pizza or take-out Sweet and Sour Pork. But for cooks with a tad of energy, a pot of pinto beans can be a salvation. Dress them up with a loaf of deli bread and a tossed salad. Serve a cobbler and red wine if you'd like a fancy touch. Either way, you can't lose.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Part 2 of A Pool House-into-a-She Shed: 1 Week Later

A week ago, I was in the middle of a long overdue DIY project: transforming a 70s era pool house into a She Shed. I plodded along, working diligently and passionately, if ineptly. The rest of the little cottage is waiting for another coat of paint and brainstorming, but I wanted to share my progress.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Foodie Friday and Everything Else
The other day I looked at the calendar, and I couldn't believe that September was on the wane. I don't know about you, but I've barely had time to adjust to the new season--my favorite season, I might add. Just yesterday, the temperature inched up to 90 degrees, and I set aside plans to cook hearty soups. The next time I see you, we'll be in the golden month of October. . . I hope the month takes its time, 31 long, meandering days.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Barks and Recreation

Last weekend, I grabbed the camera and followed Jasper and Tyler around the yard. My goal is to create a puppy journal, but it's a challenge to take photos of a fast-moving Scottie. Usually, after a long "walkie," he's ready for the puparazzi. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Pool House into a She Shed-- The Beginning

For a long time, I'd had my eye on the pool house. It was private, yet close to the house. Best of all it was self-contained, with heating, air, sinks, a fridge, and a bathroom. It felt like a quiet, simple retreat, a place to write and tinker. In 2015, we added cedar shingles, white trim, and bronze gutters. But it would be two more years before I turned my attention to the interior.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

It's always a pleasure to see you at Foodie Friday and Everything Else. Can't wait to see what you've brought to the party! 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Autumn Lessons

"Every leaf speaks bliss to me,
Fluttering from the autumn tree."

-- Emily Brontë, English Novelist and Poet 

After a few days of chilly weather, the trees took notice. It's easy to miss these early signs if I'm not alert. But this year, I'm paying attention. At first, the world around me seems unchanged, lush and green, as if summer will last forever, but I wouldn't want that. All year, I wait for autumn, and the equinox arrives on September 22nd. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Shredded Chicken Enchiladas

As the warm, golden days of September blend into chilly evenings, I start to crave spicy foods. Last weekend, time and energy collided, along with crisp weather--it was the perfect moment to make chicken enchiladas.  

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Fall is in the air at Foodie Friday and Everything Else. I'm looking forward to seeing your ideas.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


Five months old, and Jasper is a comedienne in a fur costume.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Apple Diaries

 The smell of freshly peeled apples defines early autumn. As a result, when September arrives, I begin my search for a just-right apple cake. On Labor Day weekend, I finally had time to experiment. Unfortunately, I veered far away from Betty Crocker, into Dr. Frankenstein territory.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Hilltop Trellis Garden

This post really should be titled, In Praise of Raised Beds or Gardening for People Who Don't Have Muscles. Otherwise, you'd be reading about one of my failed apple cakes. Luckily, our home came with an established yard, which included three raised beds in a trellis garden. I never realized how much they would change the way I garden.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Autumn Garden Goals

The mild, sweet days of September have awakened my gardening soul. I drove to the greenhouse and picked out a few mums and replaced my ragged gloves. I'm not quite ready to buy pansies, but soon. They look so girly and cute with their fat faces and vibrant colors. 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Foodie Friday and Everything Else
September 7th through September 8th

With all of the dire storms in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, I hope this week finds you safe and dry. Sending positive thoughts to everyone who is in the path of Hurricane Irma (and also Jose and Katia--a triple threat). Harvey blew through our area, and lightning knocked out our Internet for many days. I did a little baking and organizing--and playing with Jasper.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Welcome to Foodie Friday and Everything Else. 
Before we begin, let's send up prayers for Texas and all other areas that were in Harvey's deadly path. In past years, when we lived on the Gulf Coast, we experienced tropical storms and hurricanes, but the devastation in Texas is beyond reckoning. I'm hearing reports that Louisiana is in a dangerous situation, too.
Our prayers will keep coming.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Early Autumn Pasta Salad

September is almost here, but I'm not quite ready to cook hearty meals. Warm, muggy evenings call for something light and refreshing--and easy. What's more perfect than a colorful, flavor-packed pasta salad? 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Fall Tablescape Blog Hop

I'm delighted to join an amazing group  of bloggers for a fall tablescape blog hop, organized by the talented Chloe Crabtree of the popular blog, Celebrate and Decorate. You'll find links to the participating bloggers at the end of the post.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Welcome to Foodie Friday and Everything Else. The next time I see you, it'll be September. Judging from last week's party, many of you have one foot in August and one in Autumn, creating a fun-filled, creative party. I'm eager to see what you're linking up today.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

10 End-of-Summer Meal Ideas

August gives us a chance to savor the very best of summer. Seasonal produce is vibrant and abundant, calling out from gardens and roadside stands. Soon enough, we'll be knee deep in cinnamon and root vegetables, but until then, we can enjoy recipes that will take us into September.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Field Notes from the Total Solar Eclipse

The total solar eclipse ventured into my neck of the woods on August 21st, putting my hilltop in the path of totality--a 70-mile wide band stretching from Oregon to South Carolina. The last event of this kind passed over the United States in 1918, and it won't happen again on this hilltop for a long, long time. According to"The mean frequency for a total eclipse of the sun for any given point on the Earth's surface is once in 375 years." 

Monday, August 21, 2017

Late Summer Pasta

Mid-August is heat lightning and crickets, blazing sunsets, county fairs and tent revivals, iced tea in tall frosty glasses. The long, humid days cry out for a simple meal. No side dishes or dessert, just a huge bowl of angel hair pasta. Scented with basil and tossed lightly in Bandy's tomato sauce, this dish is packed with flavor: roasted heirloom tomatoes, pancetta, a dusting of Parmesan and garlic-shallot breadcrumbs. Can I have an Amen?

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Mid-August Garden Walk

It's 78 degrees this morning, the ideal time to walk around the yard and take notes. First, we'll stop by the pond and feed the baby koi. This spot feels private and peaceful. Each side is bordered by Burning Bushes, with little glimpses of trees in the background.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

When I wasn't looking, mid-August arrived, bringing torrential night-time rains, humid mornings, and blazing sunlight. And yet, I see signs that summer is winding down. Days are shorter, and the afternoon light is gilded. Flowers are starting to look a little weary.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Late Summer Nesting

“Be faithful to your own taste, because nothing you really like is ever out of style.
-- Billy Baldwin

But haven't you ever bought something you liked and later, you had second thoughts? Maybe, for various reasons, you weren't able to return the item. Heaven knows, this has happened to me. Yet for the most part, I have really liked things I've bought over the years, and just looking at them evokes happy memories. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

On this hot August afternoon, Foodie Friday and Everything Else welcomes you to sit down and relax. Let's get you something cool and frosty to drink, along with (calorie free) nibbles. The last few weeks have been busy--lots of cooking, dog tending, and house fluffing. One adds girth, the others bring joy. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A Taste of Summer on the Porch

Rain was on the way, so I took advantage of a breezy, sunny moment to eat on the porch. It's soothing and quiet out there, a place to regroup and reflect. A Medrol Dosepak left me feeling like a land whale, so I'm trying to prepare meals that offer at least a few health benefits (I remove seeds from my portions). And since summer will be over in a flash, I want to take advantage of seasonal food.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Rooms That Make You Go Hmmm

The other day, a fit of decorating wildness came over me, and before I knew it, I'd decided to shake up the sunroom. 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Dog Days

"Our perfect companions never have less than four feet."
-- Colette 
Our Scottie puppy, Jasper, is 4 months old. Though we bought him a few summer outfits, Jasper thinks they're horrible--he's all boy. He loves Kong toys (the Yorkies wouldn't spit on them) and a giant stuffed turtle, which he thinks is a fat, fuzzy green puppy. He can fetch a ball like a pro baseball player. No, I'm not bragging one bit. 😄

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

I'm delighted to see you this week at Foodie Friday and Everything Else. Come on inside and get out of the August heat. Speaking of August, can you believe that summer is winding down? How are you spending the month--weeding, canning, getting ready for autumn?

Garden Mysteries and Little Wonderous Things

"My idea of gardening is to discover something wild in my wood and weed around it with the utmost care until it has a chance to grow and spread."
-- Margaret Bourke-White, American photographer

In early May, I planted annuals in beds and pots, and some of them are lush, spilling to the ground. Others are struggling in the heat. To my surprise, last year's annuals have reseeded here and there--and in unusual places.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Around the House

Come November, we will have lived on the hilltop two years, and I still have so much to do, mainly because I decorate in the turtle style.