Sunday, November 28, 2010

November Odds and Ends

J. has been busy this week sorting the clutter of our belongings which landed in the small garage when we moved here.  He took a break to clean the gutters on the west side of the house.
The weather has been a marvel of crispy evenings and frosty mornings, sunny afternoons.
This particular afternoon brought a spattering of rain and J. decided to clear out accumulated leaves before they packed into a soggy mass.

Work is nearing completion on the "family room" in the basement.
J. tiled the floor, troweled a spackle mixture on the two concrete block walls, which we painted in a soft yellow, labeled something like "oatlands gold." The color is deeper and richer than in the photo.
He has set some oddments of furniture here and there, but "decorating" as such remains to be done.

This color is also not true--it is a deeper russet with a brown tint.
J. finds renovations frustrating.
You can see that the line of the partition was not squarely built and he had no choice but to follow it when laying the ceramic tile.

Dartford Warbler posted lovely photos of her Liquid Amber tree.
As I viewed them the leaf shape seemed very familiar.
What a treat to find it is known here as Sweet Gum.
Ours has lost several branches during the summer; they simply crash down.
If you enlarge the photo you can clearly see the "gum balls" still clinging to the branches.
I eyed them yesterday with the thought that they could be gathered and hot-glued to a wreath--then reminded myself that merely bringing in a basket of them would encourage the cats to rattle them all over the house!

Delilah Yoder has been making traditional Amish candies
and presented us with a tub of peanut brittle and one of "buckeyes"--a peanut butter/confectioner's sugar ball which is dipped in melted chocolate.
Delilah is stocking huge sheets of  milk chocolate and white chocolate in her little store and reports that the Amish ladies of the neighborhood are buying the big blocks at a great rate.
If you imagine the size of a placemat, that's about the size of the chocolate blocks which are probably an inch and a half thick.

Grey branches of the maple during the afternoon shower.

On his last visit here Mr. Rogers presented us with a container of pecans from his trees.
He mentioned, with a twinkle, that a pecan pie wouldn't come amiss.
Knowing that Mr. R. must be careful [at age 94] of his sugar intake, I sampled a thin slice of the pie before J. delivered it.
I used locally made sorghum rather than dark corn syrup for the sweetner and was pleased with my tweaking of the recipe.

My big desk shares space with the guest room bed.
I nearly always have feline companions when I am working at the computer.
I spead an old quilt and a soft wool blanket for the comfort of the cats.
Here we have Chester, Teasel and Jemima.
Note the tangle of legs!

Teasel is looking a bit crowded as Mima stretches obliviously.

There was heavy frost early this morning and this patch of mint looked fresh and hardy.

Frost melts to fat water droplets on the leaves of sage.

This branch of nandina caught my eye with its shades of deep red and green.

The egg sacks left by my summer resident spider have darkened and shriveled in the weather.
One was whipped from the porch post by the wind and skittered across the porch.
I retreived it and dropped it into the clump of sedum which had hosted the spiders' webs.

I sat in the living room rocker this morning, hands wrapped around a warm mug enjoying the considerable gymnastics of
cardinals, bluejays [called "jaybirds" in Kentucky!] and the resident bluebirds, all bouncing through the branches of the still unidentified small tree below the front porch.
I wasn't the only one observing, as became apparent when the incorrigable Willis hoisted himself nimbly into the tree.

Pegging sheets on the line I noticed two tiny short-stemmed violets
blooming shyly.
Over the years they have spread into a mat which survives being mowed and walked upon.
Wildflowers at the end of November are indeed a blessing.


  1. Well you had me at the photo of the cats. I don't want to be known as a 'cat lady', but I can hardly wait to get down to the shelter. It's been 'way too long. Your house and large garden are beginning to show the benefits of your hard work. I set about sorting some of our photos but discovered we have about 800, with a lot to be deleted. It's going to take longer than I thought. Scratches for the cats from me -- including the barn kittens and a gentle rub on the nose for Pebbles. What do horses like? I've never had one and known only a few, but I do know they have nice soft noses.

  2. We have intense cold and snow here - no peeking flowers whatsoever! Just a few oak trees still caught out with leaves on and looking uncomfortable!

  3. I love that paint colour, I would be very tempted to choose that myself, but the rooms in our cottage are too small. I do like that rocker very much, does that have a story?

  4. Love your photos and blog! As the saying cats rule don't they? Happy Holidays to you and your family!

  5. Love the photos of everything, the kittys are a hit with me. Looks like my house. Only sometimes, someone gets upset when someone else wants the space.
    Hope that you had a wonderful Holiday and enjoyed family. The candies look fabulous.
    Hae a great week.

  6. Sorry to hear that you had the flu...hope you're feeling all better now! I enjoyed all your pictures, especially of course the kitties. Willis looks quite the mighty hunter up in his tree. How lovely that you had a couple of violets in bloom! Hope to see signs of your sewing room emerging from the newly repainted basement soon :).

  7. P.S. Your pecan pie looks scrumptious! do you use butter instead of Crisco in your crust? it's got such a lovely golden color.

  8. What a post -so much to take in: in no particular order, pecans are my all-time favourite nut; I always have some in a bowl to nibble when I'm hungry. Those trees, I must investigate what we would call them, thought the sweet gum look sot me as if it has a maple-shaped leaf; is it a sugar maple? Decorating is much needed again here but we are struggling without heat around the house at present. (And, 'MM' I've not forgotten my promised notes but had a brainwave this afternoon for you on what I am calling 'creative blocks'. Won't get the notes finished tonight but hope you will think they are worth it when they do arrive.) A.

  9. Chris: It is interesting that most of our cats express affection in slightly different ways--several are "lap cats", one [Chester] is only friendly with us if he can be on the bed at night. Teasel likes to be picked up and held, but only for a minute and at her request.
    Pebbles simply likes attention--conversation, maybe a stroke down her face--mostly attention that includes "treats."
    BB: Everything about this first winter in Kentucky will be a surprise for us. I'm glad that so far it has meant days which warm up mid-day even when nights are chilly. I look at photos of the early snows of Wyoming and know I won't miss that weather.
    Kath: I've mostly painted walls in varying shades of cream--both because it was a good background for my quilts and because houses we lived in were for sale and the decorating needed to be somewhat generic. This little house seems to call for some warm colors, so I'm feeling my way with shades of yellow/gold/ russet and such.
    We got the chair from a local woman who buys and seels antiques and vintage furniture--it is a comfortable height for me--I'm 5 ft 2--J's chairs always swallo me up--he is 6 ft tall. I'm planning to refinish the woodwork on the chair and recover it.
    Hi Vicki: You're wise to the ways of cats--they very much dominate our household!
    Denim: There are the upsets when two cats very much want the same comfortable sopt--then we have thumps and hissings.
    Our Thanksgiving meal was delayed by the bout with flu "bug" but very much enjoyed when we got to it. Our Amish neighbor is making more of the candies to sell in her little store and I'm thinking to buy some to ship to family in WY.
    QC: Willis is quite the personality. I'm planning to have birdfeeders and I'm hoping the bluejays are bold enough to put the fear of---something--into Willis and the two girl cats. I will document with photos the progress of my new sewing space--I'm really anxious to set up.
    I use butter flavor Crisco in my pastry, thought I have made it using half butter. I should post the recipe, its a good one.
    Ann: I too think the sweet gum's leaves resemble the maple. I'm just now reminded that when I was making Maple Leaf quilt blocks I found an alternative block--that leaf looked more like the sweet gum.
    I cannot work or think well when I am chilled--I congeal into a lump of misery. Surely your boiler will be up and going soon?
    I'm looking forward to your suggestions to help me focus on creative projects again--you have such a diversity of skills!

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