Decorating

Little Touches

By now I usually have changed things around to reflect fall, but somehow time has passed and summer slipcovers are still in place.  We will be leaving this house soon, so I see no reason to struggle with putting fall slips on.  Call me lazy, but leaving the sofa and chairs as is will make the spring return easier.

DSC01560That being said, I can add some little touches to make it look a little more like fall.  The easiest change is pillows.

DSC01551They are a simple and inexpensive way to give chairs and sofas a new look.

DSC01564 (1)Textiles add warmth and color to any room, and I use them at every opportunity.  Here a crazy quilt  with rich colors and sheaves of wheat in its design becomes a table topper.

DSC01646A shawl woven in fall colors is handy should anyone want to cozy up to the fire.

DSC01556Nature provides some little touches.  Apples are in season and hydrangeas are cut and drying nicely.  Both are great for table tops. 

DSC01572Oh, and let’s not forget about pumpkins and gourds which are my favorite symbols of fall.

pumpkins/porchInside or out, you can never have too many.

 DSC01596 (2)With a fire burning brightly, there is no question that it is fall with or without little touches!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Fall, Maine

Fall Through My Lens

fallHaving lived most of my youth in  Florida and most of my adult life in Houston, fall in Maine is a new season to me even after 16 years.

As soon as it’s that time of year, I make a special trip to Beth’s market to fill a basket with an amazing array of pumpkins and gourds.  They will be used here and then taken  to Houston where they will appear one way or another through the Christmas holidays.  Indeed, they are a very good investment.

LL86Even after stocking up on pumpkins and gourds, if I see someone on the side of the road selling them I can’t resist stopping for one or two more.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn my neighborhood,  I pass this tree daily, and it is always the first indication I see that fall is really here.  It shows its coat of many colors early, but it seems to lose it when other trees are just turning.

MaineOn beautiful fall days, I enjoy getting in the car and with no destination in mind heading out with my camera to see what else is happening with the change of season. In the rural areas, grass is bundled for winter livestock feed

fall/woodand wood is piled to keep those winter fires burning.

Miscellanenous 14Expanses of wild blueberry fields have turned crimson

Maine 2009 3and ponds and lakes reflect  the color on their banks.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADriving down any road reveals beauty that in its splendor reveals that God is, indeed, a master artist and my heart fills with gratitude.

sunsetWho knows how many more years Maine will be my part time home, but however long that is, I doubt I will tire of fall and the drama of its colors and textures.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Diggin’ It & Dishin’ It

 

Food, Maine, Random

Farm to Table

In Maine, farm to table is not a trend, it’s a reality.  Dine out or eat at home seafood is fresh from the sea, animal meats are from a nearby farm  and veggies are homegrown. A great place to experience a farm to table dinner is at Point Lookout in Northport, Maine. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat used to be a softball field has been converted to gardens and greenhouses where seasonal produce provides most of the ingredients for the meal.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne greenhouse serves as a dining hall where long tables and mismatched chairs are set up for forty guests.

IMG_1851The table decor, candles and simple arrangements of flowers in bottles, is just my style.

All around the greenhouse are arrangements of herbs and vegetables that enhance the ambience.

A temporary kitchen facility is set up outside the greenhouse, so all the food is cooked right there and served immediately.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe menu features what is in season and no two are the same which makes eating there a real treat.

What is a constant is the hot out of the oven focaccia with roasted garlic.  I could make a meal of just that!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith it comes a beautiful salad topped with an array of edible flowers.

The main course is a selection of meat and seafood.  I am always a happy camper when lobster is on the menu.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFinishing the main course is a perfectly roasted combination of seasonal vegetables.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABy the time dessert comes, there’s scarcely any room for it, but there are 40 smiling faces around the table!

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Full Plate Thursday

Maine

Collecting Memories

IMG_1778 (1)It’s that time of year when boating is all but over. Pipe Dreams is put away for the season leaving only the kayak for a last outing. No matter how many times I paddle Rockport Harbor it’s always different. This time I want to take it all in as what I see will be stored in my head as memories for winter.

IMG_1865The tide is low which fully exposes the seaweed attached to the rocks. Its texture reminds me of a witch’s hair, appropriate, I guess, as it’s that time of year.

IMG_1870Until I spotted some movement, I completely missed the ducks marching across the rocks. What a perfect blend!

IMG_1726Sailboats line the mouth of the harbor waiting their turn to be hauled out and stored until next season. All of these boats are familiar as they’ve passed by my windows many times during the summer.

DSC01516The schooner Heron is heading out to Penobscot Bay with a full load of passengers. She, too, will soon be gone as she goes south for the winter.

lobster boats/Rockport HarborAll the lobster boats are in for the day.

IMG_1759The last one has just unloaded its haul and the truck is ready to pull away with its bounty. Boy, I’ll miss that easy access to lobster!

IMG_1914Now on the other side of the harbor it makes me smile to see people enjoying a beautiful afternoon. With cold weather coming, folks take advantage of every opportunity to be outside beneath a warm sun.

DSC00018 (1)Passing this boat reminds me of fun summer dinners and afternoon of mahjong.  Talk about a great place to have people gather!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m not the only one out taking advantage of sunshine and blue sky. There are other kayakers,

IMG_1919a paddle boarder braving the cooling water

IMG_1794and someone capturing her own images of this beautiful place.

IMG_1773As I turn and head home, I pass a loon which is a most unusual sight on the harbor as loons tend to be more common around fresh water. I wonder if this evening we will hear its mournful calls or if it will have found its way back to more familiar environs.

IMG_1812I see home drawing near, and I think one more time how lucky I am to spend time in this wonderful place. I am happy to have you share it with me.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Food, Friendship, Tablescapes

Eating With Friends

If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him.  The people who give you their food give you their heart.

Cesar Chavez

How grateful I am to have friends who enjoy planning, preparing and gathering for a once a month dinner where a lot of heart is given. All of us contribute to the meal, which is always wonderful, and the hostesses do a bang up job of preparing the table.

DSC00331The most recent dinner was a visual treat. The delicately designed dishes are quite old, a memory of the hostess’s mother.

DSC00326Without question, they made a lovely setting when combined with silver and glass.

DSC00327Playing off the pale green in the pattern, the hostess found the perfect linen tablecloth and napkins.  All together the look was quite elegant at the same time warm and friendly.

DSC00334A few days before our gathering a storm blew through that flattened many of the small blooming things.  The hostess was clever enough to see that her damaged flowers perfectly matched the colors in the china, so, voila, a just right centerpiece made in a silver bowl.

DSC00332So there would not be question about where each person sat, there were name tags directing us to our place.  That is always a thoughtful gesture.

DSC00338The first course, a zucchini mold, happened to be my assignment.  It was something with which none of us were familiar, so we all experienced a new taste treat.  Not only was it tasty, it was easy to prepare which makes it worthy of making again as it gives a whole new way of presenting zucchini.

Zucchini Mold

1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil

2 lbs. zucchini, finely diced

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 eggs

1 c. grated Parmesan

1 T. chopped Italian parsley

1 T. unsalted butter  

1/4 c. fine dried bread crumbs

Preheat an oven to 350.  Grease a 9″ ring mold or individual molds with butter and coats the bottom and sides with the bread crumbs.  Warm the oil in a skillet.  Add zucchini, onion and garlic and cook until tender.Add a little water, if needed, to keep the mixture moist.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Transfer the zucchini mix to a bowl and add eggs, cheese and parsley.  Season with salt and pepper. Mix well and spoon into prepared mold(s).  Bake about 20 minutes or until firm.  Invert onto serving dishes and serve immediately.  (6 servings)

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Maine

Fantasy Becomes Reality

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA few years ago when a friend purchased the property, this was 29 unkempt acres with little more than a barn. The plan, he announced, was to create a horse farm. Thoughtful, yes, because his wife’s favorite pastime is riding, but it occurred to me the fantasy was a little crazy because these two people have their hands full. Besides, I hadn’t noticed that many people rode horses around here.

Well, call me wrong. Today, Pepper Hill is another attraction on Maine’s midcoast.

IMG_7301 (1)Land has been cleared to create wooded riding trails, and new pens give horses a place to frolic and enjoy being outside.

IMG_7305 (1)The barn is updated and every stall is occupied by beautiful animals that are well groomed and spoiled with attention.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere is an indoor arena which makes riding in any weather possible.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne of the unique features at Pepper Hill is its stable of Icelandic horses.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATheir smaller frame makes them the perfect horse for children learning to ride.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Icelandic also has become a popular choice for adults as it has a pleasing diversity of gaits.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat is wonderful about Pepper Hill is that it gives positive proof that fantasy can become reality though making it happen requires considerable effort.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere, much of that effort can be attributed to the hubby who spent hours clearing, building and sweating. Sometimes I wonder when he sleeps!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Maine

Sunday Wanderings

Sundays are generally pretty quiet which makes them a good time to go wandering. Seldom do I have a destination in mind, I just get in the car and go.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was on some country road miles from Rockport when I saw this sign. I couldn’t imagine a winery in such an isolated area, and that was reason enough to find it.

Arriving there the sign indicated that it was not only a winery but a distillery as well. Did that mean moonshine or what? Now, my curiosity was really whetted.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFollowing the sign to the entrance, I was stopped in my tracks, first by a model train running through a field of lavender

IMG_8981and then by the panoramic view unfolding over fields and hills. Once again I was stuck by the beauty that defines Maine.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAInside, barrels were filled with wine waiting to be bottled.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAClose by was a bright copper vat that reminded me of something out of Alice in Wonderland but is used for making gin. Interestingly, Maine is one of the few, if not the only, state where spirits can be tasted, so I couldn’t resist sampling. The hubby and I do enjoy a good martini, and my thinking was this might be a new gin for us to try.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn addition to tasting, it was interesting to peruse the list of gins posted with their ingredients. While similar in some respects, juniper berries appear to be the only one they all have in common.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

All in all, this stop proved to be quite worthwhile, and I came home with several bottles of gin and a bottle of vermouth. I have to say it makes a pretty good martini, and we’ve substituted the cranberry gin for vodka in a cosmopolitan and it’s not bad.

What this all goes to show is that one should never miss a stop on a country road!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

Dishing It & Digging It

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