Month: October 2017

Listening to the rhythm of the falling rain…

A face book friend reminded me of this day’s weather in the year 2011. I was living in CT and I well remember receiving a rare October snowfall sometime near Halloween! I found a web site that shares weather history for any given date and my friend’s reminder was confirmed! Following is copied from WeatherForYou.com:

2011 – New York City received one inch of snow, the earliest they had received that much snow since records began. It was also only the fourth times since the Civil War snow had fallen in New York City in October. The storm also left over three million people without power including 62% of the customers of Connecticut Light and Power.

Today in central PA we are being deluged with rain, which I love to listen to and to watch. I went to church this morning but am now quite happy to be ‘holed up’ in my home relaxing and watching the rainfall.  I’m also VERY glad it’s not snow!

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Though it’s not April, this poem conveys my thoughts today.

April Rain Song

Let the rain kiss you
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops
Let the rain sing you a lullaby
The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk
The rain makes running pools in the gutter
The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night
And I love the rain.

Langston Hughes

James Mercer Langston Hughes (February 1, 1902 – May 22, 1967) was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist from Joplin, Missouri.

He was one of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form called jazz poetry. Hughes is best known as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance in New York City.

 

 

 

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Bittersweet…

I moved to my new house last August and was surprised, last fall, to find some bittersweet vine growing amid a honeysuckle bush in my yard! I harvested the bittersweet and used it in a wall decoration for my laundry room.

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This year I searched once again to find the same bittersweet vine and though there were not as many vines as last year, I was able to harvest a few trails of vine that I could use for fall decorating.

If you have bittersweet growing in your yard, in my opinion, you are lucky! The fall berries of the bittersweet vine are beautiful and little else compares to it’s use as a natural decorating element. If the berries are left on the vines, your winter birds will be grateful as they love the berries for winter fuel!

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Writing this post prompted me to do a little research. Turns out, there are three different varieties of the bittersweet vine and people are often confused when discussing the plant.

  • One variety,  (Oriental bittersweet) you probably DO NOT want in your yard as it is very invasive and more of a headache than a benefit.
  • The second type, which is what I have, (“American bittersweet” or false bittersweet) is the variety you WANT to have in your yard or in a nearby landscape. This variety is much more rare and in some places is deemed a protected species.
  • The third variety, (Bittersweet nightshade) is actually not a TRUE bittersweet but was so named before the other two varieties were classified. This plant is not even related to the other two varieties of bittersweet and is poisonous if ingested…at the least will make you very sick!

For an excellent article on bittersweet origins, uses and growing tips, visit gardenguides.com website.

Now, I just need to study more to learn how to protect and encourage my American bittersweet vine to grow so I have even more next year!

Do any of you know where there is an abundant growth of wild bittersweet in central PA? Please share with me, if you dare! Most people, understandably, will keep the location a secret and save the stash for their own use!

If you want to decorate the ‘no hassle’ way…here’s a link to some bittersweet from Factory Direct Outlet (available through Amazon.com) that will last for years! Check it out and add some bittersweet to your Thanksgiving decorations!

Painted Porch Steps!

One year and two months since I moved to this house and yesterday I finally got the front porch steps painted! (porch floor is just plywood now…waiting ‘to be determined’!) I chose the paint colors of the steps based on what paint was ‘leftover’ at the house when I moved in! That makes the total cost of the painting project…FREE! (Except an achy body today!)

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Here’s what the unpainted steps looked like (September) before I tackled the job yesterday.

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Searching for a ‘before’ photo of the steps, I found a few photos from August 2016 when I moved to this house. Here are some “before and after” photos!

I’ve definitely made this house ‘my own’ over the course of this past year. I love how different people have different tastes and we each have a little corner of the world to claim and call our own. I love my corner and I hope you are as comfortable and cozy in your corner as I am in mine! I am very thankful, grateful and blessed!

Don’t forget to play…

I love this photo!

I love the simplicity of the photo, I love fall and…I love to swing!

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I actually have always wished I could fly! How fun it would be to float above the earth…just high enough to miss the trees but still able to see the ground below! Like a bird!

I can FORGET ABOUT bungee jumping, hot air ballooning or parachuting so swinging might have to be next the next best thing! Well, a jet pack like George Jetson had would be really fun, but reality says…a swing will have to do!

I recently saw a post somewhere of an adult swing incorporated into a patio/outdoor space. It looked like so much fun and something I would definitely like to have! I looked around on the web a bit and found some interesting styles of swings.

Reality says I will probably opt for a traditional porch swing for next summer (hint, hint for my children and Christmas gifting!) but it is fun to dream about an ‘old fashioned’  swing hanging near my patio for days when I just want to clear my brain, swing my legs a bit and drift into space!

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Who else likes to swing? How many readers have enjoyed a traditional porch swing? I remember some fun filled days as a child sharing a porch swing at friends house!

Preserving the last of summer…

After all the HEAT we have had well into October, I must say I’m happy for a chilly day today!

I will greatly miss my fresh flowers during the months ahead, though, so I have been researching the topic of preserving flowers!  I planted some Eucalyptus this spring and knew that preserving some mature branches of that plant (which did very well in my flower bed) would be on my fall ‘to do’ list.

Today was the day to begin the first stage of this preservation project! I harvested my Eucalyptus and also experimented with selected stems of assorted color zinnias, lavender, one sunflower, one cone flower, fern leaves and some cork screw type grass.  While I’m not sure how the preservation of these selected flowers will go, I am quite hopeful about the Eucalyptus branches! I had planned on cutting some juniper to preserve for Christmas, but my son didn’t know my plans and he tore out and burned the juniper bushes at his house a few weeks ago!

Today’s steps in the preservation process were very easy…you may want to give it a try!

For this project you will need: water, vegetable glycerin, vases/containers and your flowers or greens. *Vegetable glycerin is the same type of product used to make soaps and lotions and can be found at Amazon.com.

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Following are directions to begin the preserving process:

  1. Select some sturdy containers to use for this project. I used both glass jars and ceramic vases. If your stems are longer, you’ll want to use a taller container to support the branches. Plastic containers won’t stand solidly and will loose their shape when you add the hot water. One of these days I will find a use for those saved containers!
  2. Measure the amount of water you’ll need to insure ample amount for your containers. *Add extra so you will have some prepared mixture to use when you need to refresh the liquid in the vases. The process will continue for 6 weeks. Keep in mind, as you estimate the water you’ll need for your vases, that you’ll be using 2 parts water to 1 part glycerin.
  3. Place the WATER ONLY in a pot and bring to a boil, then turn off burner or remove from stove.
  4. Add the correct amount of glycerin to the boiled water. Remember…2 parts water to 1 part glycerin. (So, for every cup of water you use, you’ll need to add 1/2 cup of glycerin.)
  5. Stir this mixture for a while to make sure the glycerin is well dissolved in the water.
  6. At this point I transferred the mixture into the jars/vases that I had set aside. I thought doing this may speed up the cooling process. It doesn’t really matter WHEN you transfer into your containers.
  7. Allow this mixture to cool. (I added a few ice cubes for faster cooling because I was impatient! If you plan to add ice, use a bit less water to account for the melted ice. I forgot this part!)
  8. While your mixture is cooling, you’ll need to cut your flowers and foliage. Cut your specimen stems (on an angle) and trim off all lower foliage, as you would do to arrange cut flowers. I had many branches of Eucalyptus so as I cut, I stripped the lower leaves and laid them out according to size and stem width.
  9. Bunch the stems of similar sizes together and secure with a rubber band twisted onto the bare stems. I placed about 8 cuttings of similar sizes together.
  10. After your flowers/greens are bunched, you simply place them into the containers of water/glycerin mixture. *Make sure the stems of all the branches are placed way down into the container (touching the bottom) so that the liquid is easily absorbed through the stems.  20171013_143203-1
  11. This step may be challenging, depending on your home, but you’ll need to find a cool, fairly dark and somewhat accessible location (so you can check frequently) to store your vases. The preserving process will take about 6 weeks! I have a laundry room that I walk through to the downstairs powder room but other than that, is used about once a week. My laundry also has a sink and counter so my preservation location was a ‘no brainer’!
  12. Next step is to WAIT and WATCH! Research indicates the process takes about 5-6 weeks. Indicators of a completed preservation are darker colored leaves and a smooth glossy feel to the leaves. *It is suggested is that you check the process from time to time as more water/mixture may need to be added to the vases or changed entirely if the water turns a nasty brown.
  13. The process was a bit messy, so I’m pretty sure clean up will be your last step!

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That was my early afternoon project today! I will anxiously be watching and waiting as my Eucalyptus and cut flowers go through the preservation process. *An added bonus…My laundry room smells wonderful!

I will be back with an update sometime in November! “Til then, Happy Fall!

*If you try your hand at the art of preserving flowers or greens, please leave a comment and let me know! I’d love to follow your progress also!

My ‘new’ room…

I want a vintage farmhouse table!

I FINALLY got the front room of my house cleaned out and have decided that what I want and need is an old, rustic farmhouse table! I gave my newer styled round oak kitchen set away soon after I moved to this house last year and am now sure that I’d like a dining table for the centerpiece of this re-purposed room. (I originally used this room for crafting and work space but moved all that ‘stuff’ to an upstairs room this summer). Of course, for me, the table would have to double as a work space (and probably another ‘catch all’ in reality) but my goal would also be to host some dinners for friends and family.

Here are two photos of the ‘new’ room…just waiting for a table!

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About a month ago my piano was moved from my living room to this room and I love it’s new location! Some of the furniture was just too large for me to move upstairs so I had to make due and keep the larger pieces in this newly styled room. One problem…I clearly don’t know how to refer to this room! Is it a dining room? “Front room” is an odd term, but it IS in the front of my house. It’s going to be a “multi-purpose room” but that term definitely sounds like a school or church! So, what do I call it?

Here is an idea of what I have my heart set on for this room. I’m always ‘in the market’, but it must be reasonably priced! Condition isn’t too important to me..I can always clean, repair and paint it! Keep your eyes open and definitely let me know if anyone finds a good deal local to central PA!

Please leave a comment and help me name my new room!

Community…

I love the small town that I live in! I love the way others love and support the area as well. Our local community center, for which I work, hosted a Fall Festival today. It got off to a slow (8 a.m.) start, but the attendance picked up later in the morning and it turned out to be a very successful event!

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One thing that impressed me today, as I worked the bake sale tables, was the sincere show of support that local residents displayed by simply attending the event. I’m sure there were many people in attendance who, (as I determined),  probably had  little interest in the activities and games geared for children, the sweet treats and food that few of us really NEED or the local vendors and their wares, of which we probably have seen many times before! No matter, people attended the event simply to show support for the community center and their work in our community. I love how ‘community fosters community’. There is a feel at the MACC that is contagious and that feeling spreads a positive vibe throughout the area! It feels good to be part of the staff of this wonderful organization, The Middlecreek Area Community Center, but more, it is a privilege to be part of a small community that cares and supports each other as was evidenced today!

“We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.”   Dorothy Day

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