October blur

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Well October and most of November came and went and with it Halloween and Norah’s 9th birthday. It has been a very sad and emotional time for me but also very peaceful and beautiful. My Pop whom I talk of often here in this space fell ill in the beginning of October. We celebrated his 89th birthday on October 15th and on Halloween we lost the greatest man there ever was. Words cannot express the loss and sadness I feel but also the deep love and appreciation I have for all that he has taught and given to me. He lives on in all of us, his family who he loved so dearly.

I am so lucky to have his beautiful work throughout my entire home as a reminder of how much he loved and cared for me. He is everywhere which makes it hard at times but so comforting.

I will miss his deep voice, his scent of sawdust and salve, his smooth hands, twinkly eyes and smile. I’ll miss making lunch for him, visiting him up in his office, our great conversations, and drawing up plans together for my next project.

I will forever have him in my heart and will never forget to say my prayers and will always strive to love my neighbor.

He was such a good, good man.

You can read more about him here.
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Pumpkin towers

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Oh autumn how I love thee! Yet another excuse for me to create new little vignettes to reflect the change of season. Like I said before mother nature doesn’t need much help in creating the most beautiful of scenes but I can’t help it sometimes to lend a helping hand.

At this time of year it is hard for me to walk past the many varieties of gourds and pumpkins sold at the market. I like to combine different colors and textures and stack them on top of one of one another and then look for places in my backyard space that could use some height and dimension as well as a pop of color. I choose places close to the house like the patio and by my back door. They bring a smile to my face each time I pass by.

Although there is still much blooming and growing in the garden, I have had to remove a few plants from some pots that have petered out, a perfect place for a few pumpkin towers. I love how they look nestled in with trailing vines and herbs.

Oh and speaking of herbs, head on over to TEND where I write about one of my favorite herbs, Lemon Verbena.

A time of renewal

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Happy Autumn friends!
I miss this space. I miss the rhythm and routine of coming here.
Our summer was a beautiful, bountiful and busy one full of many new adventures along with much tradition.
I am ready for fall though. It is a time of renewal for me.
I have begun to bring the gifts of this new season indoors to incorporate into our decor. We are eating squashes, brussels sprouts and dark leafy greens and soon soup will be a weekly meal.
We have a trip to the orchard planned to pick loads of apples to turn into sauce to can for winter as well as for holiday gifts.
And soon there will be daily trips to the woodpile.
I feels good to be back.
xo

A backyard restaurant

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We have been having such a fun summer full of new experiences along with tradition. We are slowly but surely crossing things off of our summer manifesto and since we still have a few weeks left I am more than confident that we can fully complete it. It’s a simple and achievable list just as manifestos should be.

One of the things on our list was something that Hannah and Norah have been dreaming of doing for over a year now and it was so fun to watch it all evolve and come to fruition this past Sunday.
They have always wanted to create a real live restaurant at our home so on Sunday family and friends came out to 121 Cafe, a backyard restaurant offering homegrown and seasonal foods.

The menu featured pasta dishes made with homemade pesto and tomato sauce, farm fresh salads, breads dipped in herb infused olive oil, peach blackberry crumble, mint iced tea and lemonade. We used as many ingredients as possible from our own backyard as well as our local farm. They worked all week preparing, cooking and gathering.
There were 2 seatings, one at 5pm and one at 7pm where the girls worked as both hostess and waitress for 26 people total. We set a table on the back porch, one on the patio and 2 out on the street for a true alfresco experience.They made their own menus, check slips and even doodle pages for kids to draw on.

Many times throughout the night they kept running in to the kitchen thanking us for helping to make it all happen. We all had a blast and fell into bed that night marveling at and appreciating the many chefs, cooks, waitresses and restaurant owners out there. We definitely got a small dose of how much work is involved!

At the end of the night the girls were thrilled to find that their own hard work had paid off making a profit of $200, half of which will be donated to our local fire company.

Just the two of us

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It had been almost 13 years since Chris and I have had a little getaway together just the two of us. That was until last weekend when we headed down to the shore room.

As much as we love being together as a family of four it was so lovely to be alone for a few days. We didn’t do much out of the ordinary than what we usually do down at the point. Although while out and about on our bikes we did stumble upon a new vineyard and Chris convinced me into an afternoon tasting smack in the middle of the day. I love totally unplanned adventures.

I think we must have said to ourselves at least 10 times throughout the weekend “and why don’t we do this more often?”

We already have a getaway planned for the fall.

Pie on the Porch

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A few days before we left for the lake we had a little “Pie on the Porch” party. I like to host monthly pie parties in the summertime for an excuse to bake with seasonal fruits and to eat it with friends. May and June flew by too fast so before July left us we invited some of our favorite people over to eat peach/cherry crumble and calflouti. Yep no pie. But there was sangria so all was forgiven.

How to host a “pie on the porch party”

Don’t have a porch? No worries! The idea is to get outside on a summer night. A patio, balcony, deck or backyard will suffice just fine.

Don’t have enough time to make a pie? Pie crust just isn’t your thing? Don’t fret! Crisps and crumbles take no time at all and are just as yummy if not more. Or how about a calflouti. a tart, brown betty or trifle? It’s all about enjoying fresh seasonal fruit in some form or fashion so how about just fruit atop whipped or iced cream.

To make things simple serve a featured drink of the evening. Making a pitcher or punchbowl of something like sangria or mojitos can allow the host to sit back and enjoy. Highlight what’s growing in your garden by using fresh herbs like mint,lemon verbena, or basil. There are so many delicious summertime cocktail recipes out there. Ice is key for many drinks so make sure your freezer or cooler is stocked with it!

Serve a few savory things to nibble on to balance the sweet. I made the watermelon-basil-feta cubes I wrote about a few weeks back.

Make a playlist of your recent favorite tunes. Or break out the record player and vinyl.

String some twinkle lights around tree branches to make things a bit festive.Scatter votives about and have a lighter in your pocket ready for sundown.

Keep bugs at bay. Have a few bottles of natural bug spray on hand for guests. Light a few citronella candles. Bring out an oscillating fan. (we have found this to be the most effective way to keep bugs away!)

For the younger folk offer a basket of flashlights for flashlight tag, sparklers, or mason jars to collect fireflies.

At some point in the evening tuck a little pie or crisp away for breakfast in the morning!