BATTENING DOWN THE HATCHES

Joe’s putting on the storm windows; we’re getting ready to leave for California next week and battening down the hatches because it will almost be Thanksgiving when we come back, late Autumn when the winds and rain start to roll over the island with more regularity and all we’ll want to do when we get home is light the fire and put on some MUSICA like this. So, pour yourself a wee spot of something delicious to drink . . . I think I should change the name of this blog to Tea with Susan .

pour a cup tea

M m m m m, please pass the cream.

Joe's working

Joe’s ladder ~ he’s up there fitting the storm windows into place . . .

storm windows

Although Jack considers everything Joe does as entertainment, I think he’s taking mental notes; planning to get himself born as human next time and hoping to be a handy one . . .

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He follows Joe from window to window . . .

fall

Before we go, we’re doing our part to make our neighborhood festive, we’ve got the pumpkins up, Casper is in the upstairs window, there’s a fall wreath, and Joe just painted and installed a brand new storm door.

punkin time

Halloween is coming! We’ll be gone, but our friends are staying to take care of the kitties; they’ll be the ones opening the door to the hoards of children that come trick-or-treating through our neighborhood every year.  We’ll be on the train heading for California. What a perfect time of year to travel.  The views should be wonderful.

leaves

Casper from the back

Here’s Casper looking out from the guest room.

last of the season

I’ve been outside gathering what I am sure is the last bouquet of the season from our garden.  It’s gotten cold enough that nothing much is venturing forth anymore . . . right in the middle of that bouquet is the last of the “Just Joey” roses . . . a bud.  I hope it will bloom.

fall hydrangeas

These hydrangeas are pure white in the summer but they turn this  color in the autumn.

pumpkins in the garden

We’ve put the pumpkins on the lawn . . .

path in the woods

And we’re going on our walk as often as we can; we’ll only be away from home for three weeks, but we’ll miss it.  I have walked this same walk almost every day of my life since I moved to the island in 1982. That’s over thirty years to the same place! It’s always been the best part of my day.  Here’s our dirt road just after the nor’easter that came through last week.

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It smells woodsy, piney, and leaf mulchy out there. The walk is almost three miles out and back, the leaves still haven’t reached peak color yet.

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With the twitter of birds and not many other sounds, we dodge the water puddles, wearing hats and rain jackets. In the winter the puddles turn to ice.

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There was a really high tide after the storm . . . we love this little cottage out on the end . . .

cottage

Here’s a closer view . . .

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The tide was so high it came right up to the road where we’re walking . . . it’s cold, raw, salty, dark and moody out there . . .

after the storm

Seagulls cry and dive under black clouds, over the beach grass and the shore . . .

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There’s a HUGE crop of bittersweet on the island this year . . . more than I’ve ever seen before.

delicious-autumn

down to the sea

Tangles of it border the paths to the water . . .

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I thought you might like to see some of the little beach houses . . .

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They’re old and funky and real, no one has tried to glamorize them (thank goodness), they are perfect just they way they are.

last of the Queen Anne's Lace

This was the only Queen Anne’s Lace we saw out there; the last of the season and perfect.

cottage on the lake

The Queen Anne’s Lace was in front of this little place . . .

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This is the other side of the red shingled cottage in the photo above . . .

the pond

And this is the view from that house, overlooking the brackish pond . . .

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We followed the road down to where the pond opens to the sea . . . Joe has just found a piece of beach glass . . .

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Behind where Joe was walking, if you look to the right, this is what you see.  We owned one of these little places at one time . . . the one with the little peaked roof way down toward the end, you can see a tiny chimney just behind it.  Note how little beach is left in front of these places . . . high tide attacking the rocks and sandy shore . . .

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So vulnerable to the elements, but most of them have been here for over a hundred years. Fingers crossed for another hundred.

out to the water

Here’s where we turn around to walk back.

after the rain

past the pond, around the puddles,

through the woods

through the woods . . .

Through the trees

Looking up at the sky through the drippy leaves . . .

the woods

Catching glimpses of the water as we go along . . .

collecting leaves

Collecting colorful leaves to take home.

jack

to tape on the windows in the kitchen.

windows and leaves

Probably the best of all decorations, leaves, and they are free!

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Of course Jack sees me with the camera and realizes it’s photo bomb time . . . but truly, he only makes everything better.

fall

I decorate pretty much the same way every year, with just a few little changes now and then . . .

this year

This is how the kitchen looked this morning . . .

last year

And and here’s a photo from a couple of years ago . . .

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I love touches of black in our fall/winter kitchen . . .  Which is just one more reason I love that little kitty peeking out behind the quilt. He is the perfect touch of black.

hooked rugsWe keep the kitchen floors bare in the Summer, the hooked rugs come back out in the fall . . . each with a little touch of black so they look good with Jack.

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Last night we had Debby and Will (old friends who will be taking care of Girl and Jack while we’re away) to dinner.  It was a spiralizer dinner, so I could show them how to use the “machine” while we’re away ~ I made them sweet potato, parsnip and apple “noodles” — and had fun setting the table . . .

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I’ve owned these heavy dishes since the 1970′s, most of them were made by San Luis Obispo Artist Paula Teplitz.  They have images from nature on them, animals and leaves.

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This is my audience while I work.  See what I mean about the touches of black? 

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We got a new dishwasher last week which meant we had to pull the refrigerator away from the wall to install it, and Look what we found under it! One of Jack’s stashes!

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Back to the table . . .

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Light the lights . . . set the mood . . .

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Time for dinner!

snack time

Speaking of food I wanted to share a new, low calorie, high protein delicious snack I love, which is also gluten free.  It’s rice crackers, hummus, pesto (all of which you can find in your supermarket), and a bowl of rice.

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You dip the cracker into the hummus (which is good enough by itself),

snacks

Then into the pesto (making it even more delicious),

snackAnd then into the bowl of rice, making it more substantial.  These are wonderful to help us keep up our strength.

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Here’s the view from where I sit at the computer every day working on my new book.  I’ve heard from several of you, wondering how the book is coming along.  It’s funny, for a person who loves words, I have a difficult time coming up with the right ones to describe how I feel about this book.  It’s so different from anything I’ve ever done.  There is so much of you in it already, like with my other books, I think about you every morning when I get up and begin work while it is still dark.  My how-to-write-a-book reminder cardSaying to myself “Oh, they are going to love this” or “I wonder if they would like this?”  I’ll wake in the night with an idea, an idea that becomes more and more demanding until I can no longer ignore it. I won’t be able to get back to sleep until I reach over my bedside table and grab the pad of paper I keep there for this purpose.  I pat the top of the table in the dark, going lightly over terrain of water glass, books, lamp, vase, until I land on a pen and start writing as quick as I can before I forget what it was I half-dreamed.  I write maybe five lines per page — I can’t see what I’m doing, but I don’t want to write over the sentences so I leave lots of space.  After the fourth page I think, uh-oh, I hope this pen isn’t out of ink.  I pat the table until I find my bedside clock and push the button on it to make it light up and use it like flashlight to see if there is ink on the paper.  There is!  Hooray!  

I make little screams when I think I’ve written something that works (before I find out the next day that I was in a period of delusion WritingDeskand remove it!). It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, it might also be the best; I’ll know when it’s done. The book has gone to the editor, the first half of it is back, she said “LOL” to some things; she also said,”Get rid of these twenty-seven pages” ~ I love her because she is honest and I agree with her.  I’ve been rewriting; the second half will come back to me next week.  I still don’t have a date for publication, but I’m definitely getting closer, the little train that could, or would, or will, or else; I’ll be working on it while we’re on the train, in our room with a view.  Almost as nice a view as the one in the photo above, our own view that says Home, a view I see every day, one that changes with the seasons and never fails to interest me. Do I watch over it, or, after all these years, does it watch over me?

Have a wonderful Halloween Girlfriends, watch for Twitter from the Twain; I’ll be sending photos from the road. If you’re in California, there are going to be two fun booksignings in November, be sure to check out EVENTS at the top of the blog and come see me if you can . . . Batten down the hatches Girls, and have fun with your pumpkins! 

pumpkin-carving

to all trains

Off we go . . . ♥ XOXO

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NEW ENGLAND FALL

Grab your favorite cup, fill it with something warm and delicious and come back, because I’m going to try and show you what New England in the fall is all about! MUSICA

Dad's mug

This mug has been in my family for as long as I can remember, it was in the house when I was a little girl.  I don’t know where it came from, maybe if Blog Daddy remembers it, he will know . . . I loved it since I was little, the colors are what attracted me, and of course, anything with a house on it.  I snapped it up at the first chance I got!  Which was long ago, I’m not exactly sure when my parents lost custody, I’ve had it a long time.  It’s just

my cup of tea

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Of course, if your kitty is like mine, you are going to have company while you wait for the water to boil . . .

pour the water

Back about a month ago, one of my photos showed this mug in the background; one of our Girlfriends asked for a closer look, which I promised I would do ~ seemed like tea time was the right time to do it!  (I’m seeing something almost alike in our colors here!)

my paintbrush, doing what comes naturally

bottom of the cup

This is my only clue as to where it came from . . . Germany 29 ~ but we are not German, and have not gone to Germany, so I’m thinking it might have belonged to my Grandma or Great Grandma (even tho’ they are not German either!).

Jack's treat

Jack could care less about which mug I use . . . he just wants to be where I am.  In order to distract him, I gave him a little milk to lap up . . . 

Yummy!

So I could take pictures.  You know how much this kitty loves me?  This much {               ↔                } or more.

Know how much I love him?  To the ends of the earth and back and then out again.

add the creamKitty Love. . . and then, while he’s busy, milk for me.  So here we go, on a road trip through New England, are you ready?

Come on Jack, let’s go to the studio . . . my shadow goes everywhere with me.

travel buddy

So here we are, this last weekend, on the back roads of central Massachusetts, going out to two book signings . . . one at Titcombs Bookshop in the darling historic town of Sandwich on the Cape . . . and the other, a fundraiser for the Westfield Library, clear on the other side of the state.

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We could not have asked for a better weekend, leaves flew off the trees as we took the side roads and stayed off the freeways as much as we could.

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This leaf blew up and landed on the windshield then went for a little ride with us . . .

leaf peeping

See the leaves coming down out of the trees?  My favorite thing about Autumn, they way the leaves fly through the air.

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Look how gorgeous, this is why I moved here, I needed to smell this!

Wallum Lake

Just following signs off the road less traveled, curiosity brought us here to a place we never heard of called Wallum Lake in Douglas State Park

Wallum Lake

Pretty ♣  pretty ♣  pretty.  Smelled as good as it looks, fresh, clean, woodsy, fallish. Sounds of water lapping on shore.

leaves

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Hard to believe the color . . . 

the road west

Or the lovely New England Architecture.

house along the road

I thought this stone house was just about perfection of coziness. I could almost smell the corn pudding baking in there!

Lovely old graveyard

We saw beautiful Oak Ridge graveyard and went for a little walk.

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Peaceful, old and elegant.

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See the leaf flying by? You can’t make this stuff up.

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Colors are wonderful, leaves are crunchy . . .

amazing grace

. . . Trees are brilliant . . .

deep roots

And the roots . . .

life is for the living

go way down . . .

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I think cemeteries are works of art  . . . so real and human and filled with love and loss and all the important things like memory and history and reminders of carpe diem  . . . because life is for the living . . .

Life is for the living

Right Jack?  This little boy never spends one moment of his day worrying, especially about anything he can’t control.  Which brings me to something I would normally ignore, and that is Ebola.  I’m sorry, I realize you are inundated with it these days, but I just need to say something and then I will forever hold my peace.  

You know how when a storm is coming to your area, the media, almost 100% of the time, blows it completely out of proportion? candles in a snowy window(When we have a storm forecast for the Island my entire family calls from California, they are so worried about us, we answer the phone and tell them not to worry while we are busy lighting candles and roasting a chicken, loving every moment of it, figuring if it turns bad, we’re as ready as we’ll ever be and cross that bridge when we come to it and every other cliche we can think of that means we have a handle on it.)

yummy!  Storm!

This is what we do during storms.

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Remember Y2K?  When the entire world was supposed to come to an Keep calmend and all the planes were supposed to crash at midnight between Dec 31, 1999 and Jan. 1, 2000?  The media had a field day with that one, it went on for months. Then, when they were wrong, as they almost always are, it’s just ooops, sorry. I don’t think they are sorry. I think they like it. Because when we get afraid and fearful we are more likely to tune in and watch every word that comes out of their mouths, which means they get higher ratings ~ and higher ratings brings in money.  It’s always money these days. You can always ask yourself, OK, who makes money from this?, and you’ll usually find the answer and that will be your culprit.  

Jackie says "follow the money!"

Anyway, bottom line is this: The chances of most of us getting joyEbola is somewhere between zip and zilch.  Unless we physically touch the urine, sweat, blood, vomit or feces of someone who already has ebola, we can’t get it.  It isn’t spread by a cough.  Common sense will guide us about this, our brave hospital worker-heroes, all very smart, caring, wonderful people, will have it under control in a very short time. I have complete faith.

oneness

Faith

little things Faith that it’s the little everyday things that make life sweet.  Not denial, but faith.  Don’t let the media scare you or your loved ones. Life is for the living, and that is us. If we get it, we get it.  Other than that, we aren’t going to.  So turn off these people and go about your business, with maybe just a tad more caution because you know you have much more common sense than any of these fear mongers do. I rest my case.  Off the soap box I step. With love for all of us in this beautiful season of color and nature, kitties and God. xoxo

girl bowing

Now, I’ve been saving this to tell you about . . .

Pasta fantastica!

Much more constructive to think about your health in terms of what you can do to make it better, which brings it all back to home sweet home . . . our favorite place. I found something I’ve been wanting to share with you!  My new favorite thing!  And you’ll see why.

pasta

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This is me making noodles out of zucchini!!!!!!  YES!  It’s true. I am making noodles out of zucchini!

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Take a look at these, in a matter of moments, the easiest thing in the world ~ delicious squiggly noodles, just like pasta, only better, less fattening, healthier, and really just as good, only better! (One small caviot: I’ve been reading about GMO foods, zucchini is one of the biggies they have really fooled around with ~ only use organic zucchini when you make your noodles.)

noodles

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This little machine (Kellee got a few of them in to our web store, go NOW if you want one) uses no electricity!!!  Another reason to love it.  It’s easy to clean and easy to use. You just cut off the end of a zucchini to make it flat, pop it into the pusher, crank the handle and out they come from the other side.

cooking with love

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vegisYou can put any sauce on them, make Linguini and Clam Sauce if you want, or even the simplest thing: heat a little olive oil in a frying pan, add some garlic, maybe some mushrooms, perhaps carrots or a little broccoli slaw, and saute everything until soft . . . add the “pasta zucchini,” cook until al dente, pour onto your plate, sprinkle over salt, pepper and Parmesan, and voila!  You can add them to soup too!

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Here I toasted up the potatoes before I put in the zucchini ~

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Besides zucchini you can make vegetable noodles out of potatoes (like those above), carrots (get the largest you can find), beets, onions, sweet potatoes, apples, eggplant, cucumber, radishes, cabbage, and butternut squash.  FUN!  It comes with three blades, in three sizes!!!

pasta

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Here I am tossing the potatoes in the pan with some shallots . .  .  Use another blade, make them slightly thicker and you have curly fries!  I mean, it’s truly the best thing in the world.  With all due respect to all the other best things in the world.

Kellee ready for Thanksgiving

Like Kellee in her darling Pilgrim Thanksgiving apron . . .(whoever took the picture cut off the best part!)

best thing  Or, Jack helping me with the laundry . . .

Girl Kittyor, Girl Kitty, prepping for a nap.

Old movies

or, the Turner Movie Channel (TCM) which is much better than the news and leaves you feeling up, happy, positive.

pumpkins at Remnants of the Past

a Bountiful Harvest of the Best things in Life.

Penelope

Like Penelope . . .

Penelope

. . . who just naturally keeps . . .

Keeping her face in the light

Her face turned toward the light.

nature love

XOXOXOXOXO 

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