Sunday, October 30, 2016

A Little More Fall Color

I can't get enough of it, those brilliant golden leaves, the reds and the oranges.

And I know I'd better breathe it in deeply.

We live in Michigan. We know what comes next!

So, my Michigan color tour takes us to a few places close to where I live.

All those big brights above are from the campus of Michigan State University. I really haven't hit it at peak and all of these were more or less "drive by shootings" (I did pull into the parking lot for one!) I was glad there wasn't traffic behind me -- or the ever present MSU police!

As many of you know, I've been down for the count for the past three weeks with bronchitis and not getting out nearly so much as I would have liked. So after I picked up some cough syrup at the pharmacy the other day, I couldn't resist a bit of a ride in the country.

I often pass this old cemetery on the way to getting my hair cut and I have to say, some of the color was the prettiest anywhere.

And it had such mood. I couldn't help but think it wouldn't be a bad spot to be laid to rest.

If you didn't know it was fall from the color, you would know it from looking at the ground.

One of my favorite sounds is that of crunching leaves!

As you can see below, our color is very mixed so far. I'm still seeing lots of green from my window and wondering if perhaps those trees don't turn and I've just forgotten.

And yet, what is there is clearly beautiful. No arguments, no complaints.

Golf courses always seem to be so well manicured. This one was perfect in the late afternoon light.

I have to admit, there is nothing like afternoon sun with its long shadows and calm reflections to bring out the best in a color palette!

I leave you with yet another visit to the ditch.

It was late afternoon when I was there and as you can see, the foliage is dropping and there are views that aren't so easily visible when the trees are fully frocked.

No recent Harry or Ella sightings since the last post. The water birds that go south may be well on their way, despite our warm weather that's only recently started to cool.

The ducks, however, were there to greet me and more or less made a beeline to my side of the pond.

And while I was too breathless to make my regular walk, I did stroll a bit and it was so peaceful and so exquisitely beautiful, I felt at least a little bit healed.

The photo below is my favorite from that mini-walk, straight from the camera.

I hope that no matter where you live, and whether it is autumn or spring, that you are celebrating the season and all it's beauty.

Yes, I miss those pinks of apple blossoms, cherry trees and magnolias and the golden burst of the first daffodils, but I am getting my gold elsewhere these days. And it is good.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Halloween Around the House

Good grief -- I realized it was nearly Halloween. And while I had shown you some early fall decorating, I wanted to post the few extra Halloweenie touches. Preferably before the witching hour but who knows...

So join me for a peek into the magic of Halloween!

A friend has given me so many wonderful Bethany Lowe characters, each holiday I bring them out and hate to put them away!

The Wizard of Oz gang are decked out for the holiday.

And so, too, are the wee trick-or-treaters in Bethany's world.

Three favorite china cats must make an appearance. The flowers have since been replaced by a small pumpkin.

A stuffed "Jack" has his own seat in the house...

...but the Black Cat has to make do with the book shelf.

Meanwhile, a trio of Anna Lee cat witches keep watch over the Great Pumpkin.

Remember the Greeting Angel? Well, she has been joined by a Jack o' Lantern and a sweet card from a friend in Japan.

Take a closer look -- it folds out into a magical autumn scene.

In the family room, a tower of pumpkins and a china "Jack" have joined the mantle.

Meanwhile, Lizzie's dining area also has it's scary "Jack" poking out of a vase filled with beads and lights.

Even the bedroom has a bit of Halloween with a vase full of gourds.

And if you are on the way out, you'll notice that the cotton boll wreath has a new adornment.

Of course, all of this will be down in a few days...

But until then, I'll love every minute!

This post is being linked to Share Your Cup and to Thoughts of Home on Thursday, where you will find many delightful links to visit.

Southern Exposure Pail of Plenty

Time for Southern Exposure's fall workshop!

Our first autumn visit was to create a "Pail of Plenty," a metal container filled with fresh herbs and plants.

My friend Jan and I always arrive early to walk through the gardens -- especially during the fall workshops when it is dark by the time we leave. This week was no exception.

Going to Southern Exposure is a multi-sensory experience. The gardens are impeccably maintained and all the little touches, like flowers in the bird baths, make it extra pretty and special.

One of my favorite areas is the greenhouse. The light in this very small, enclosed space is perfect for photographs.

It's a mix of "things on the table" and carefully staged vignettes that look like they just "happened."

They hydrangeas are, of course, fading, but they were still sharing their colors with us.


The dessicated skeleton leaves were exquisite.

They reminded me of a quote about Tinkerbell: "“There was another light in the room now, a thousand times brighter than the night lights…but when it came to rest for a second you saw it was a fairy, no longer than your hand, but still growing. It was a girl called Tinker Bell exquisitely gowned in a skeleton leaf, cut low and square, through which her figure could be seen to the best advantage." (J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan)

The kitchen garden had loads of flowering kale and was nestled in a bed of nasturtiums that took my breath away.

(If anyone knows what those tall, spiny plants are behind the kale, let me know. Chard? Some kind of collard greens? It's clear I don't know my greens all that well! But I do know flowering kale!)

The chickens were waiting for us -- but alas, we had nothing to feed them!

A picket fence surrounded by holly, reminding us that winter isn't all that far away...

...a clever posting of gourds on the peaks of an iron fence...

...a small, plant covered gazebo...

...a folly with chairs to rest in,,,

...a pear tree (hold the partridge!)...

 ...handsome pumpkins. All combining for a beautiful experience!

Wee cement sculptures,nestled in hostas and almost hidden under a path of pine.

We finally heard the dinner bell and went inside where we enjoyed a beef stew served in an acorn squash bowl, a salad with end of season berries, colorful carrots and parsnips, bread and wine, with pumpkin roll for dessert. Then it was on to the craft tent for our project.

The beauty of a project at Southern Exposure is that truly, anyone can do it -- and fairly quickly. They do much of the advance prep and have the supplies divided so we simply have to sit down and create!

In this case, we received a beautiful metal pail already filled with dirt. Our guide, Micah, shared with us details on prepping soil with mulch and straw for better insulation and highlighted the plants in our project -- rosemary, curry (yes, that rosemary-looking plant that is a bit lighter is curry!), kale and an edible viola. There was also broom corn for visual interest and faux autumn leaves were available as well.

Then it was just a matter of putting them in the pot in a way we liked and "garnishing" with the leaves.

We also received a pumpkin of our choice to take home. 

It's one of the prettiest and easiest of projects we have completed (if you search Southern Exposure on the right rail above, you can see posts from other workshops). I still keep playing with my faux leaves. I suspect I will take out even more of them in a day or two! Can't stop fiddling!


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