Sunday, September 21, 2014

An Early Autumn Day...

These early autumn days have been incredibly beautiful here in Michigan.
Crisp, cool nights give way to cool, sunny mornings where the sunshine lasts all day long.
Days when you can tug on jeans, pull on a long sleeve tee, and slip into a pair of comfy, worn boots.
Days where you can almost watch the reds and gold tinge the tips of the trees.

I wake to another glorious morning,
push the Husband out of bed to get him on his way,
and make plans to begin my own day.

With a list of chores stacked like cord wood in my head,
I was anxious to get started.

All of my outdoor work had been completed the previous day.
Hostas were moved and roses and hydrangeas were planted in their place.
I planned on working inside this cool day ~
in a kitchen filled with bright, cozy sunlight.

Freezing more sweet corn was first on the list, using the four minute microwave method.
I still can't get over how much easier this is and how well it turns out.

Next up: Butternut squash, which didn't perform quite as well this year in the garden, 
but I did manage to freeze enough to get us through the winter months.
I baked it for about two and a half hours at 250 degrees,
scooped it out into a bowl, added a touch of butter and salt, 
and then freezer bagged it.

(It's a great substitute for mashed potatoes if you're watching your carb intake,
although the butter and salt I put on it probably cancels every good thing out.
And no....I don't like sweet squash. It's got to be savory for this farm girl.)

Spaghetti squash, which is my favorite, was next on the agenda.
(I chopped off the stems to send to a Sandy at Wayside Treasures
who creates sweet fabric pumpkins to sell in her Etsy shop.) 

Now, slicing into any type of squash is not easy and can be a little intimidating.
I stick my knife in and cut in down one half,
flip it around...
and then grabbing the knife by its handle,
slam the whole squash on the counter til the blade goes through.

Barbaric...(sigh)....yes, I know.
But it works for me
(and gets the neighbors wondering what in the world is going on over here, I'm sure).

Getting ready to slam.

After laying them face side down in jelly pans with a bit of water,
they baked slowly at 250 degrees for about two hours,
filling the house with a wonderful autumnal scent
(and sets my hunger bells madly ringing). 

I like to under-cook this type of squash a bit so that it doesn't get too mushy when its rewarmed,
and then scrape the "noodles" out with a big fork.

This is a healthier way of eating 'pasta'
when that spaghetti craving hits me like a Mac truck this winter....
and I know it will.

(My stomach is about comfort food, you know...
however my PiYo coach tends to differ.)

It's also very good with some butter, a dash of Himalayan pink salt or Herbamare,
and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese ~
(or swimming under a pool of marinara sauce).
We've also used our own canned tomatoes poured over it which, of course,
 is healthier yet.

The next project on my list was repainting my craft cabinet
with a layer of ASCP 'Antoinette' lightened a shade with 'Old White'

(Yes, I know.  Some days I'm just all over the place...)

As much as I adored the turquoise blue I had originally painted it,
(which you can see here)
I felt like it was taking up too much "visual space" in my small studio.
This pale pink lends a much more quiet, spacious feel to the room now.

Bits of blue showed through after some light distressing.

A vintage French altar candelabra with pale purple bisque flowers found a place on top
next to my new favorite rose, 'Faith'.

Thank you, Heather, for this amazing treasure.
I love it.

The petals on the 'Faith' roses don't even look real.
So very perfect in every way.
And they bloom out into a huge mass of full, blowsy, ruffled femininity.

So, as the sun slowly bent to kiss the horizon,
feeling tired but pleased with the day's work,
I kicked off my boots
and collapsed into a fresh, sweet smelling bed of RASCC 'Rosabelle' linens...

and thanked the good Lord for sunny autumns,
productive days,
and a cozy, blessed home.

~  Eucharisteo  ~

Linking to the linky parties on the lower right of my sidebar.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Pouring Out Blessings

It's been a tough year.
A year of facing fears,
of grasping tightly to faith,
and a pouring out of many blessings.

When my parents made their journey to heaven four months ago,
cards arrived in my mailbox.
A lot of cards.
Cards full of words of love, prayers, and encouragement from loving friends and family members.
Cards that meant so much to my broken heart.
Each of them were like a comforting hug.

Two of those cards were sent to me from my sisters-in-law and their husbands.
Inside were gift certificates to a local nursery that I had driven past numerous times on the way to my parents' house, but had never taken the time to stop.
Written in the cards was their wish for me to purchase something special for my gardens
in remembrance of my parents.

During the next few months, I thought long and hard about what would be the perfect tribute.
A new rose bush, a statue, a tree...
but my wish for a small white arbor for our garage service door kept nudging my mind.
I envisioned it covered in roses and clematis.

So, when my husband and I took the trailer one last time to my parents' house last week to pick up the last of the things needed to be cleared out, we stopped at the nursery to look at their arbors.

Under bright blue skies and warm sunshine, we walked around the property.
The sound of trickling water immediately surrounded and entranced us.
When we turned the corner, there stood a beautiful fountain beckoning me to come closer.
It danced and splashed and totally enthralled me.
It was almost musical.
I loved it.
I knew immediately that this special fountain would be the perfect tribute to my loving parents
who had filled our house with music in one way or another.

As the clerk rang up the gift certificates, I scrounged through my wallet to pay her the rest of what was owed.
My husband suddenly, lovingly, tucked some money into my hand with a simple, 
"Here. I'll take care of the rest," he said, smiling.
I couldn't swallow the huge lump in my throat.
I choked out a weak, "Thank you so much, honey."
We hugged while the clerk looked on with soft questions in her eyes.

And do you want to know something?
That nursery didn't carry any arbors.
Not a one.
It dawned on me that God thought that this fountain was a much better choice.

A few days later on a perfect late summer day,
I dismantled my old flea market birdbath in the center of the catmint,
and assembled the new fountain.

It brought back fond memories of my times setting them up at the landscape company where I used to work.

The music trickled and danced and splashed through the garden...
and I could see my parents smiling down on me~
knowing the joy I was feeling.

I stood back and allowed a sob to escape.

My eyes welled with bittersweet tears
as garden music filled my soul...

...and the fountain poured out blessings...
quenching my thirsty soul.

~  Eucharisteo  ~

Linking to the linky parties on the lower right of my sidebar.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Transitional Season

The soft pastels of summer are quickly slipping away,
being replaced by the Crayola colors of autumn.

Changes are taking place at Heaven's Walk, too.
It's a transitional time.

The tomatoes in our organic garden ripened beautifully with the rains and coolness of the passing summer.  It was time to can our infamous salsa.

After four sessions, 300 pints and quarts were ready for the pantry shelves
to be enjoyed in the cold months ahead
in chili, goulash, soups, roasts, and dips.

Numerous quarts of sweet corn and green beans were frozen and nestled next to the 15 quarts of blueberries already in the freezer.

I did take some time off to do some antiquing and hit the Allegan Antique Market on Sunday.
My radar is always tuned in to vintage rugs, old tables, and any bit of bling,
and was thrilled to take home this French-inspired upholstered chair.
It is an identical match to the one I already have at my desk. 
I couldn't believe it.

A soft gold and purple prayer rug was given to me for half price after standing and staring at it for a while.  I guess the vendor got tired of me drooling over it.
And, of course, who could resist that sweet blue vase?

The little primitive table stole my heart with her square nails, pine green chippy top, and deep mauve base. I had been looking for something a bit more rustic for my living room
to 'ground' all the white.

After debating whether or not to take my paintbrush to it,
I asked for help from my sweet friend, Tausha, and followed her trusted suggestion.
I lightly sanded the top to remove some of the stains and paint splotches,
then rubbed on a coat of ASCP clear wax to protect it.

It was shabby perfection.

It brought a feeling of depth, warmth, and coziness to the room.
Perfect with dusty mauves, blues, and pinks,
and complimenting vintage oak floors.

I also created a dream catcher for a friend of a friend who is battling cancer.
I felt honored to do this for her,
and pray that it brings her peace and joy.

I sold a member of my family, too.
My 1996 Blazer had served me well,
and it was time for her to move on.
We sold her in five days...

...and welcomed a 2009 Acadia into our fold.
We purchased it from my sister-in-law.
I must be honest and tell you that I have never had such a luxurious vehicle in all my life.
I am beyond humbled and thrilled. 
I love driving it.

So, with a full pantry and freezer,
a dependable vehicle in my garage,
and watching autumn quietly explode in the tree tops ~
I now turn my attention to selling my parents' house 
before winter makes its cold, snowy appearance,
when I will snuggle in to my favorite place to be...

here at Heaven's Walk.

~  Eucharisteo  ~

Linking to the linky parties on the lower right of my sidebar.