Saturday, October 31, 2009


My husband is busily putting out the final decorations in the yard for the various creatures that will come tonight for candy, and I've finished with the interior of the house for family and friends that will come to visit on All Hallows Eve.

But after everyone has gone home, usually by 10 p.m., I will go out to my quiet studio and wait...for my mother, grandmothers, and aunts, stretching back in a long line that covers hundreds of years. Of course, I don't actually see them, but sometimes I feel that they are very near, and not just at Samhain.

I feel them near in times of joy, their happiness mingling with mine and intensifying it.

I feel them near when life is particularly hard. They crowd close, supporting me and reminding me who I am and where I come from; a long, long line of strong-willed, smart, stubborn, determined, loyal and loving women.

I am blessed with, and by, ancestors and I honor them, not only on this night, but all through the year.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Decorating

My husband is putting up the outside decorations, while I've been doing the same inside. That's the living room mantle in the picture above.

This is the top of a armoire next to the living room fireplace. I leave St. Francis up year round, even though he looks a little odd with the Halloween things.And wouldn't you know, as soon as I got all the Autumn leaves in the basket and the other things put in place, half of the lights went out! Grrrrr...

What would Halloween be without a cute, cuddly little bat?

Or some darling little cats in costumes? I suggested to my feline and canine "children in fur" that they might want to dress up for Halloween, but that was met with a unanimous paws down.
I really like the sparkly pumpkin, and I wish I would have bought more of them. I only bought two, thinking I'd see how they looked in my house and then go back for more if I liked them. But when I went back for more they were all gone. Since I can remember every single thing I never bought but wish I had you'd think I would have learned by now. Oh well...
I have lots more pictures to post, but it's taking Blogger about 20 to 30 minutes to post each picture, and husband is growling about dinner. And, more importantly, so are the cats and dogs!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Above and Below

"Looking above and looking below
my head hardly knows which way to go.
I look up, down, all around
and, soon, my bottom meets the ground!

This is what my great-great niece, who is six, said to me yesterday morning on our walk through the woods as I was leaning down to help her up. I thought it was amazingly good for a person who had just done what is described above!


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Autumn Riches

The morning sun shines so beautifully through the leaves of the oak tree thatis outside my bedroom window. I'm always amazed at how many colors Autumn can paint on one single tree, one single leaf. To me, it's a breath-taking spectacle that never fails to delight. I think this Autumn is especially beautiful. I didn't expect the colors of the trees to be so vibrant because of our unusually dry summer. But the rain that we had a few days ago, combined with night time low temperatures a bit below freezing, brought the magic! And it feels like Autumn used to up here, but hasn't for quite a few years. The air, even in the daytime, feels cool, damp and smells of wet earth, pine, and acorns and leaves that have already fallen from the oaks. At night, the scent of woodsmoke from fireplaces, my own included, adds its tang to the air. I just came back inside after getting more wood for the fireplaces and I could smell the scent of the spice cake baking in my oven joining with the other delicious odors drifting on the cold currents of air that flow through this valley.

At this altitude, Autumn is fleeting. But oh, what riches she freely gives us while she is here!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Still Raining :-)

I took the above photo from my back porch. That's the really big drawback about most digital cameras; they hate getting wet. It's times like these that I really miss my old 35 mm cameras. I'm going to have to look around for a not-too-expensive digital that can take getting wet.

Today was great. It's still raining, and the main part of the storm isn't supposed to roll through until early tomorrow morning! Listening to the sound of the rain, watching leaves dressed in their Autumn colors dancing through the silver sheets of rain with the wind as their partner, the air redolent of wet pines, wet earth and the slight tang of chimney smoke filled me with gratitude and joy.

Oh, and I must not forget the scent of baking chocolate chip cookies with pecans which is emanating from my kitchen...and there goes the timer. Yippee, fresh baked cookies, here I come!

Monday, October 12, 2009

RAIN ! !

It actually started raining while it was still sunny.
The Cedars loved it.

The Ash Leaf Maples, just starting to turn, loved it.

Then the clouds settled in, but it's still raining...and we ALL love it! The weatherman is predicting that it will continue through tomorrow and part of Wednesday.
Finally...RAIN ! !

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Best of Both Worlds

This was what the light looked like this afternoon when I was leaving my friend's house. She has a wonderful view of one of the lakes up here. Every time I visit, I lament the fact that my home is down in a valley and it gets dark two hours earlier at my home than at hers. If I want to see the sun set or rise over the lake near me, I have to hike up to the ridge line or down to the lake. And her home is nearly new, it's not a money pit like mine.

Every time she comes up to visit me, she laments the fact that I have a creek, a "fairy-tale cottage" (her words, not mine) that was built in the 1920's and my own studio which is separate from the cottage.

Now, I don't think either one of us would trade but we always ooh and aah over the other's home and bemoan what we don't have, then say: "But aren't we lucky we're friends? This way, we have the best of both worlds!"

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


One of my favorite kind of antique store window!
I almost didn't go in, because it looked like they just had china, and I'm at the point where I'm going to have to start getting rid of some of my china things.
I'm so glad I did decide to check inside; they had lots and lots of wonderful things!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Goodbye for a While...

Our hummingbird feeders have not been visited in over a week, so I think the two species of hummingbirds that are here during the warm months have left.

I took the above picture of an immature Rufous Hummingbird back in July. We have two different kinds of hummingbirds that visit our feeders: Rufous, which have brilliant green heads when mature, and Anna's Hummingbirds, which have iridescent red heads and are larger than the Rufous ones.

Anna's Hummingbirds are not truly migratory, even though they don't stay up here during the cold months. They spend the cold months at the coast and in the warmer inland valleys of Southern California.

The tiny Rufous Hummingbird is migratory, spending the cold months in southern Mexico; in some cases that's a journey of over 2,000 miles!

So goodbye for a while, little friends. See you in late Spring!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Bounty for the Birds

These are the berries of the Creeping Oregon Grape Holly (Mahonia Repens). I leave them for the birds to eat as they love them. Once, years ago, I did pick the berries for jam. It took me forever to get enough berries and the resulting jam wasn't all that great, just ok. The biggest problem, though, was that after I picked the berries that year I had to watch the birds forlornly poking through the bushes looking for missing berries. I felt terrible! So I replaced the missing Grape Holly berries with out-of-season, very expensive imported Blueberries. Then my budget felt terrible, lol.

So now I just leave the berries for the birds. It's much easier on my budget...and my heart!
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