Wednesday, October 18

Roses All Winter

 I went outside this afternoon to admire the rose bushes.  It's mid October and they are still putting out buds and new leaves.  It is so encouraging to see how well they are thriving.  I was very worried about them during August and September because they developed black spot and needed a lot of extra care.  I am very thankful that they seem to be improving and growing.  

We have a sun-room in the rectory and for the entire time we have lived in this house it has been an empty room.  I am planning to move the potted rose bushes inside in a week or so and I am looking forward to filling the sun-room with beauty.  According to the nursery, these particular roses will bloom all year long if they are in the right climate and if they are fertilized.  I cannot even imagine how lovely it will be to have roses blooming continuously all through the cold months.  What luxury!  It will be like living in an E.F. Benson novel.

Tuesday, October 17


In far too many places in England today, the agreeable habit of taking afternoon tea has vanished.

'Such a shocking waste of time,' says one.

'Much too fattening a meal with all that dreadful starch,' says another.

'Quite unnecessary, if one has had lunch or proposes to eat in the evening,' says a third.

All very true, no doubt, but what a lot of innocent pleasure these strong-minded people are missing! The very ritual of tea-making, warming the pot, making sure that the water is just boiling, inhaling the fragrant steam, arranging the tea-cosy to fit snugly around the precious container, all the preliminaries lead up to the exquisite pleasure of sipping the brew from thin porcelain, and helping oneself to hot buttered scones and strawberry jam, a slice of feather-light sponge cake or home-made shortbread."

Miss Read

Monday, October 16

Living and Learning: The Week Ahead

In the Kitchen
I have been churning out autumnal foods:  stew, chicken pot pie, biscuits, apple cake, etc.  One thing that I haven't made yet is Alicia's sour cream apple pie.  I think that I will have to remedy that this week!

Have you seen the trailer for the new Murder on the Orient Express movie?

On My Bedside Table
I'm reading my way through the Thrush Green series.  They are such comforting stories, so I really relish my little visits to the Cotswolds.

Of General Interest
I spotted this video on a friend's Facebook page and was fascinated by it! 

In My Knitting Basket
I'm sure that you will not be surprised to find that I have yet to finish my grey Amelie sock.  Knitting it has been dragging on for such a long time, but the end is in sight:  two more repeats of the pattern and then it is on to the toe.  I can't wait to wear these socks!

Friday, October 13

Silver from 1866

I spent a little time today polishing silver from 1866.  My sisters and I inherited a few things from a beloved gentleman who we thought of as a grandfather.  It has been a joy to bring some of his treasures back to their former beauty.

Thursday, October 12

Autumn's First Blush

 These rainy days have me convinced that autumn is really on her way.  There's a smidge of chill in the air and a tinge of color on the trees.

Wednesday, October 11

Rainy Wednesday

Today was another rainy day, so we spent a little time picking out fabric and sewing things for our daughter's next project.  Afterward we went to the bookstore to browse, eat pastries, and mediating arguments at the train table. 

Monday, October 9

Waiting for Auntie Kate

 My darling sister and her little ones will be arriving today for a few days!  It is so hard to wait for them to get here!

Sunday, October 8

A Trip to Terrain and Our Autumnal Porch

Join me as I take a trip to Terrain in Pennsylvania and then bring home mums and pumpkins to decorate our front porch.

Saturday, October 7

Saturday Morning Pancakes

 Our middle son has been so interested in plating his food lately.  He decorated his pancake this morning with clementine segments and mini chocolate chips.

My absolute favorite pancake recipe is from Joy of Cooking.  I never have buttermilk in the house, so I make it for this recipe by putting two tablespoons of white vinegar in my measuring cup and adding milk to that to make a cup and a half of 'buttermilk.' When I measure out the dry ingredients, I also add in 1/2 a teaspoon of baking soda to make the pancakes nice and fluffy.  I also always add the optional vanilla and fry up the pancakes in my trusty cast iron skilled with a knob of butter to keep the pancakes from sticking. 

On the Feast of Saint Innocent

O Holy Father Innocent
In obedience to the will of God
You accepted dangers and tribulations
Bringing many peoples to the knowledge of truth.
You showed us the way,
Now by your prayers help lead us into the Kingdom of Heaven.
Happy Namesday, Father John!!

Thursday, October 5


 Thursdays are our busy days, but they are also the days that I can get the most leisurely things done for myself.  While I wait for our little violinists, I knit.  While I wait for them to shoot hoops during basketball clinic, I read.  It's not a bad gig, this homeschooling thing.

Wednesday, October 4

Whirlwind Visiting

What a whirlwind the past couple of days have been!  We tagged along with Papa on a business trip and were able to visit my parents and father-in-law, tend Ivanna's grave, and run a few errands at some stores that we don't have nearby.  We were able to do a lot, but I'm exhausted!

Tuesday, October 3


'Freesias!' breathed Dimity with rapture, thinking how dreadfully extravagant dear Charles has been, and yet how delicious it was to have such treasures brought to her. 'How very, very kind, Charles.  They are easily our favorite flowers.'

The rector murmured politely while Dimity unwrapped them.  Their fragrance mingled with the faint smell of wood smoke that lingered in the room and the rector thought, yet again, how warm and full of life the small room was.  Ella's book lay face downward on the arm of a chair, her spectacles lodged across it.  Dimity's knitting had been hastily put aside when she answered the door, and decorated the low table near the fire.  The clock ticked merrily, the fire whispered and cracked, the cat purred upon the window-sill, sitting foursquare and smug after its midday meal."

Miss Read

Monday, October 2

Living and Learning: The Week Ahead...

In My Knitting Basket
I am slowly but surely working on my second grey Amelie Sock.  My sister will be visiting next week and I am determined to have the pair completed by then so that I can work on a new project while she's here.

Porldark is back!

On My bedside Table 
I am firmly entrenched in the Miss Read section of my bookcase.  I whipped through Village Diary and Winter in Thrush Green.  Next up is News from Thrush Green.

Kitchen and Pantry
We have a drawer full of apples from our visit to the orchard a week or so ago.  I am longing to make a loaf of Apple Bread this week.  I clipped the recipe from The Wall Street Journal a few years ago and it has become an autumn favorite!

I have been a fan of Jennifer Scott for years, but I have been very impressed with her recent videos.  She's tackled some hot topics lately, encouraged me to try a few new things, and has launched a very affordable e-course.  She is traveling around Europe with her family right now and the footage and photographs that she has shared are breathtaking. 

Sunday, October 1

Let's Visit the Renaissance Faire!

For Grace

Dear Grace Snow has been hospitalized while she awaits the birth of her fifth baby due to preeclampsia. There has been a site set up to help Grace and her family during this difficult time. Please donate if you are able!

Saturday, September 30

First Place!

Our sweet girl won a first place ribbon for a crocheted garland that she entered in a local fiber festival's children's category.  We're so proud of her!

Wednesday, September 27


Miss Clare invited me to her cottage for the evening.  She refuses to let me fetch her or run her home in the car, but cycles very slowly and as upright as ever, on her venerable old bicycle.

As usual, the best china, the snowiest cloth and the most delicious supper awaited me.

Miss Clare's cottage is a model of neatness.  The roof was thatched by her father, who was the local thatcher for many years.  She has early-flowering honeysuckle over her white trellis porch, and jasmine smothers another archway down the garden path.

In the centre of the table stood a cut-glass vase of magnificent tulips, flanked by a cold brisket of beef on a willow patterned dish garnished with sprigs of parsley from her garden, and an enormous salad.  The freshly-plucked spring onions, were thoughtfully put separately in a little shallow dish.

'It's not everyone that can digest them,' said Miss Clare, crunching one with much enjoyment, 'but my mother always said they were a wonderful tonic, and cleared the blood after winter.'

Miss Clare's silver was old an heavy and gleamed with recent cleaning.  how she finds time to keep everything so immaculate I don't know.  Her house puts me to shame, and she has no one to help her at all, whereas I so have Mrs Pringle occasionally to turn a disdainful hand to my affairs."

Miss Read

Tuesday, September 26

Gray Amelie

My knitting has been so slow of late.  I cast off to this gray Amelie sock the other night and have already cast on to the next one with the hope that it won't take me as long to finish it! 

Monday, September 25

This Week's Menu

  Sunday: pizza and salad
Monday: beef stew and biscuits
Tuesday: meatballs, ravioli, and salad

Wednesday: Auntie Claudia's tuna pasta salad, chips, and pickles
Thursday: Sausage sandwiches, chips, and pickles
Friday: salmon, sweet potatoes, and salad
Saturday: salads topped with grilled chicken

Friday, September 22

Weekend Feelings

The most exhilarating feeling when you are a homeschooling mama is the one she gets on Friday afternoon when lessons are finished for the week!

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