Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Front Yard Flowerbed: October 1

We are having a rather lovely fall around here and though we are a bit behind on rain, we are way ahead on cool nights and sunny days.  The morning chill now requires me to grab a sweater when I take my dawn tour of the garden.  The last of the green tomatoes are fighting a mighty battle to ripen before the first frost.  The flowers and plants in my flowerbeds look a bit ragged, as if they are ready for a well-earned rest in the months ahead.

But there is splendor of its own in the colors of these days and I am ready to trade in impatiens, geraniums and begonias for mums and pumpkins.  The busy squirrels amuse me when I take the time to sit and watch the backyard.  I am reminded again that the four seasons provide well-timed reminders to appreciate all that Mother Nature has to offer. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Embracing the Fall

I love bedding and catalogs that feature sheets, quilts, comforters and duvets will always have my attention.  I switch things out seasonally and I’m always looking for a new way to mix up the bedding that feathers my nest.  Around here, the air conditioner has been shut off for over two weeks and that’s my sign to put away the summer quilt on my bed.  The cozy fall quilt is now set out and given the cool nights of late, it seems safe to assume that our beds will soon need blankets to go with the quilts.

Alright Fall, I’m ready.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Let the Post-Season Begin

As the end of the MLB regular season approached, the St. Louis Cardinals, JT’s team of choice, were neck-in-neck with the Pittsburgh Pirates in the race to command the National League Central.  On Saturday afternoon, a lovely cardinal bird landed in my back yard.  It seemed like a good omen to me and by the end of the next day, the Cardinals did in fact win the division.  Playoff baseball begins this week.  We’re ready.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Lovely Dahlia

Most years, I have truckloads of zinnia flowers and zinnia bouquets to admire.  But this summer’s zinnias haven’t been all that impressive.  I’m already making plans for a better crop next year.  In the meantime, the dahlia bulbs have yielded an impressive set of blooms.  These yellow flowers come from a bulb named “floodlight.”

It’s rather fitting, I think.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Late September’s Chronic Condition

In the event that you are a teacher or know a teacher, you are aware that right around week three of school, overwhelming exhaustion sets in.  In my case, that’s followed by the horrifying thought that something is desperately wrong and that soon I will be diagnosed with an incurable disease.  Then I sleep for 12 hours and realize “oh, yeah, it’s week three.”

Right on time, I experienced that revelation this week.  I’m fighting off my first cold of the school year.  Last night, I slept for 11 hours and this morning I feel like a new woman, albeit one who can probably sleep another 11 hours tonight.  I’ll spend the next few weeks finishing out the process of getting my teacher’s sea legs and by mid-October I should be in good shape.  By then, I’ll have piles of assignments to grade and plenty of fall leaves to admire.  And I’ll realize anew why I love what I do for a living.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Your Weekly Dogwood: September 24

When the sun begins to rise and morning light fills the sky, I see the dogwood tree from my pantry window.  In the last week, the leaves are turning red even quicker.  Just in time for the calendar’s switch to fall, the tree has fully embraced seasonal change.

I enjoy the change of season and typically I don’t mind the cold that winter brings.  But given last year’s long and cold winter, I am looking forward to the upcoming winter with a good bit of trepidation. When I remind myself that snow also means good cause for a cozy sweater or two, I feel better about things.  The fact that my snow blower is getting a seasonal tuneup also helps to improve my attitude.

In the meantime, the dogwood is prepared to celebrate fall in the only way its know how to do so.  That’s a beautiful sight to behold.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Final Grill

This week, fall officially arrives.  Cool mornings and evenings seem here to stay.  So last night, we fired up the grill for what will likely be the last cookout of the season.  

There are still some tomatoes on the vines in the garden and I’ve got my eye on a cantaloupe that might could beat the frost.  There is plenty of basil yet to be snipped onto pasta and brushetta.  I’ll pick some more dahlia and zinnia bouquets before the blooms are gone.  But the days are markedly shorter and the sun sets awfully early.  The lawn has finally tired of its growing season and my most recent mow featured plenty of leaves being mulched up.  It’s time to face the fact that this summer is really over.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Before and After

I acquired my dining room chairs from an auction in 1997.  They were bargain-priced and have served us well but over the years, but were never especially comfortable.  Over the years, a few have also grown rather rickety and though T was willing to give a hand toward fixing that, it seemed a rather large chore for chairs that had never really been comfortable.  I few weekends back, we stopped in to a local unfinished furniture store and spotted some lovely replacements; chairs that were sturdy, looked great, and were comfortable.  The investment seems well worth it and we decided to try our hand at staining furniture.  

Rather than start with the chairs, we opted for a small plant stand with plenty of detail work. It started life as a plain wooden item.

We choose a MinWax stain with polyurethane built-in and set to work on Labor Day weekend.  

An hour later, the stand was ready to dry and we were sold on the idea of finishing the chairs ourselves.

We are confident that we can stain the chairs and so now new chairs are in order.  A staining weekend or two is planned for later this fall.  By Halloween, we hope to be sitting in sturdy comfort.  That’s happy!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Your Weekly Dogwood: September 17

This week has brought some very cool nights.  Even the warm-blooded Sassafras Family has been forced to pull the windows closed when the temperatures dip to the 40s, as it did on Monday night.  Everywhere I look, the local trees are starting the process of change that signals the arrival of fall.  

It’s a hard summer to let go, but as Mother Nature and her dogwood tree remind me: I’m not in charge.  

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Real Life Conversations with JT: Relationship Skills edition

The backstory:  JT and I were at the mall to pick something up and we saw a man with a Sephora bag in his hand, headed for his car.

Me:  A dude with a Sephora bag.  You know what that means, don’t you?

JT:  It means he’s not in trouble anymore.

Ladies of the Internet, this boy has been raised right.