Friday, October 25, 2013

It's that time of year again. . . .

From the earth we come
To the earth we return
In between, we garden

There is frost on the pumpkins in the morning, there is an extra quilt on the bed for warmth at night.  Delicious, tasty soups are simmering on the stove, pumpkin muffins are baking in the oven.  It is the time for soft flannel pj's at night and colorful wool sweaters during the day.  The gardening season is coming to a close and it is time for garden clean up and making gardening plans for Next Year 2014.

One of my early Saturday morning guilty pleasures is listening to Richard Bates on the radio.  Bates Nursery is a Music City staple and Richard and his family have owned and operated the nursery and garden center for many years.  Richard gives seasonal gardening advice and listeners can call in with their gardening questions.  There are also some great give aways.  A second guilty pleasure is watching P. Allen Smith's gardening show.  Again, great gardening tips and how-to's.  I justify these guilty pleasures by catching up on the ironing. 

Next Year's Gardening Clean Up List Fall 2013

  •   Plant Bulbs--I love the smell of hyacinths and am going to plant bulbs by the front door hoping the sweet smell will find its way inside.  No matter the number of daffodils planted, it is never enough.  Nothing says spring like blooming daffodils
  • Shop for discounts--Now is the time of year for great buys, discounts and buy one get one free at the garden centers. Oak leaf hydrangea, lavender and ferns are on my shopping list
  • Trim perennials--With a gentle hair cut, my dear sweet friends, the perennials will return with an even more delightful visit
  • Fertilize the lawn--Beware dandelions, I'm on to you
  • Mulch--Weed control and warmth for those sub temperatures
  • Remove annuals and weeds
  • Compost bin--Pinterest is full of ideas, shipping pallets make great, attractive compost bins.  Reuse, recycle, re purpose
  • Rake leaves--Great upper body exercise.  Yes, leave removal at Thistle Manor is done the old fashioned way with a rake
  • Repair lawn mower--Oh, AppleJack
  • Re read garden books--Martha Stewart's Gardening is one of my favorites
  • Add a bird house and gardening bench--AppleJack if you are reading, here is a suggestion for your Christmas shopping list
  • Remove those infernal wild strawberries from the Dianthus bed

Grandmother Bessie believed white liniment was a cure all for all aches and pains.  If, I accomplish all the items on Next Year's Fall 2013 clean up list, I will be needing some of that white liniment for my aches and pains.  Cooler temps, fresh air, the anticipation of the 2014 garden--Life is Good!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Road trip

Yes, it was time for another trip to the apple orchard!  

The Arkansas Blacks are here!  If you have never eaten this variety of apple, I highly recommend them--great eating apple, excellent for cooking and they make delicious applesauce. The Arkansas Blacks are AppleJacks favorite variety of apple.

With a name like Granny Smith what's not to love?  We purchased more than a bushel and a peck--we have apples for eating, cooking and the freezer.  There are apples to share with friends and school children, to make salads and desserts and cider--endless possibilities.

Rowell's is a wonderful orchard (and operated by the nicest people).  If you are driving on I-40 take a side trip to the orchard and get your apple fix--your tastebuds will thank you later.  For the record, the wonderful people at Rowell's Orchard don't know me from Adam's house cat!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Season confusion

The Iris at Thistle Manor are confused.

Normally, the Iris bloom in the spring.  The cooler temperatures have them confused.

Mr.  Jack knows it is the fall.

Mr Outdoor Kitty just wants to frolic in the violas

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Rebuilding the stash

This past year, I have been digging deep into my stash and making a few dents and finishing a few projects.

These two boxes are something I enjoy in the fall (the colors look like leaves from a maple tree).  The designs are from Carriage House and The Good Huswife.

While at the LNS on Saturday, I found this oldie but goodie and thought it would be a nice addition to the set.  Apologies for the photo.

I am stepping out of my fabric comfort zone with this fabric, it is by Fig Tree.  I have discovered Missouri Star tutorials on YouTube.  I am late in trying and using the twister and have added one to my quilting tools.

AppleJack has a good eye for colors and when he is with me, I let him choose.

Midwinter Reds by Minick and Simpson, charm packs are so fun to use.

A short drive from the LNS is a wonderful fabric store--they have been in business for years and have a huge selection of trims and ribbons.

Off to stitch, I have a finish in my near future.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Threadwork Primitives
A Bee's Blessing
Stash Linen
Weeks Dye Works Shneckley
Gentle Arts Burlap and Pecan Pie

When my stitching mojo is running low, I find doing a small project and finishing something is just the motivation I need.  From the first time I saw this project, I knew I wanted to stitch it.  Am also planning to stitch the companion pieces but I have had a few distractions.

These guys have been one of my distractions.  The guy on the right is Governor Halsom and the guy on the left is Jon Meacham.  Jon is the author of Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, American Lion (President Andrew Jackson), Franklin and Winston:  A Portrait of Friendship, Voices in our Blood and American Gospel.  He is currently working on a book about President Bush (#41).

Governor Halsom got to turn the tables and be the interviewer instead of the interviewee.  A most interesting discussion.  These guys are quick and threw in lots of zingers.  My brain cells were racing to keep up with the discussion.

Now back to stitching.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

25th Annual Festival of Books

In June 1815, two adversaries Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were having a conversation.  Thomas Jefferson says to John Adams:  "I cannot live without books."  Oh Thomas you are a man after my heart, I so get this statement and feeling.  Thomas Jefferson is one of those people I have always wanted to interview.  My first question:  "What are your reading?"  

Just down the hill, from the Tennessee State Capital Building is an area known as Legislative Plaza.  Each October there is a wonderful festival known as the Southern Festival of Books.

The War Memorial Building also over looks Legislative Plaza.  Book Worms, Reading Nerds, and Authors come together to enjoy, discuss and celebrate the written word.

Book vendors set up their tents all along the plaza.  

"What are you reading?  Have you read his latest book?

For three wonderful days, authors talk about their books, their writing process and answer questions.

More than 100 authors were invited to speak.  Logistically it is impossible to listen to all of them and the most difficult decision is choosing authors.  There is Jon Meacham talking about Thomas Jefferson and the Art of Power.  A must on my list.  Robert Hicks and The Widow of the South--can't miss this either.  The Girls of Atomic City:  The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II, the setting of the book is my home town!  

Congressman John Lewis spoke about March Book One, Nathalie Dupree taught me how to Master the Art of Southern Cooking and Ayana Mathis held me spellbound as she read to me from The Twelve Tribes of Hattie.

Children's books, cookbooks, independent publishers, Elder's Used Books, and food trucks to help fight off hunger.

Tomorrow I shall listen to Governor Haslam and Jon Meacham talk Presidential History.  Then Bill Bryson will reminisce about his hiking the Appalachian Trail.

One of my favorite authors, Jonathan Trooper (This is Where I Leave You) had to cancel.  (Hollywood called, the book will become a movie!  I forgive you for canceling.)

On Monday, Legislative Plaza will be empty:  no tents, no food trucks, no authors, no books  The BookWorms and Reading Nerds have begun reading their stacks of purchased books and the countdown to Southern Festival of Books 2014 has begun.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Hearts. . . for AppleJack

Twenty-six years ago on a rainy Sunday afternoon we joined our hearts.  A group of fifteen--family and friends joined together in a log cabin to hear us exchange the I do's and I will's.

We are like most married couples--we have had our highs and lows.  

The happy times far out weight the challenging times.

We have traveled many miles together and plan to travel many more.

We have made a few wrong turns, learned to say" I'm sorry, please forgive me."

We totally understand the part "in sickness and in health" and have learned to treasure the peaceful waters.

In many ways, it seems like yesterday, in other ways a lifetime.  Thank you for choosing me and meeting me on a rainy Sunday afternoon, at a log house to say I do and I will.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Rowell's Orchard

With a name like AppleJack, fall means harvest time.  AppleJack takes his apples seriously, very seriously.  He knows varieties of apples like I know needlework designs.  We took a road trip on Saturday.  Rowell's Apple House is a short detour off I-40 in Crossville.  The orchard started with "fifty reds and fifty golds."  There are now 2,500 apple trees and three acres of peaches! During our visit, we counted twenty different varities of apples and many more apples to be picked.

Early Winesap


Mutsu  (delicious eating apple)

Grandmother Bessie was also an apple connoisseur.  Sadly, Alzheimer's had staked a claim on Grandmother Bessie's facilities before she ever met AppleJack.  In my heart, I know the two of them would have had lengthly conversations about the merits of the different varieties of apples.   Below is a favorite fall family recipe.

Apple Cake

Sift together:
3 cups of flour (All purpose unbleached White Lily is our flour of choice)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a separate bowl combine
3 eggs
2 cups white sugar
1 cup cooking oil
2 teaspoons vanilla

Peel and dice/cube three cups of apples
Lightly coat the apples with a small amount of the flour mixture (it keeps the apples from settling to the bottom of the pan

Combine all ingredients and pour into 9 x 13 baking pan.  Bake one hour at 350 degrees.  Let the cake cook for twenty minutes and add glaze.

Glaze for Apple Cake

1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons milk

Mix together and bring to a boil.  Boil for two minutes to slightly thicken.  Pour glaze over cool (but slightly warm) cake

So. . . for anyone traveling I-40 near Crossville take the detour to Rowell's Orchard--it is so worth the time.  We will be making a second visit the end of October when the Arkansas Blacks are ready to pick.