Friday, October 30, 2015

With Sad Regret

Hello, Dear Friends, it is with sad regret
that I have to tell you that my Ramblin' Man's
Father passed away this week. 

Born into an Irish Immigrant family
in South Boston during the Great Depression, 
he rose from his humble beginnings
to become a very successful businessman.

Here he smiles at his youngest brother's wedding, 
with his 4 brothers, Mother and Father. 

He is the dashing figure on the far left.

He gave me this photo on our visit
to celebrate his 65th birthday. 

He was a proud Marine, and obtained a 
mechanical engineering degree by attending
 night school as a young father. 

But the beautiful legacy that
he left to me was his eldest son, 
my sweet Ramblin' Man. 

Here they are when I first met them both,
back when we were all shiny and new, 
and the whole world was full of bright possibility.  

But Father and Son were as different as night and day, 
and their's was a dance of absolute polarity. 

The tough and unsentimental Marine
with the hardscrabble past who fought so 
hard to give his children a different 
experience couldn't understand 
the sensitive son with the genial disposition - 
and vice-versa. 

So my Ramblin' Man, with me by his side, 
set out to make his own way in the world, 
and time and distance took its toll. 

I can only imagine a Father's broken heart, 
and for that I am truly sorry. 

He was graceful in his letting go, 
and generous in so many ways, 
including his understanding
that a man has to stand on his own two feet, 
and perhaps they were more alike in that way
than they cared to acknowledge. 

For isn't it true that there are only two
lasting bequests we can hope to give our children?

One of these is roots and the other is wings,
and he truly gave him both.



When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me
I want no rites in a gloom-filled room.
Why cry for a soul set free?
Miss me a little - but not too long
And not with your head bowed low.
Remember the love that we once shared.
Miss me - but let me go.


Until we meet again......
All our love

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A Daughter's Parisian Style

Hello, Dear Friends, we've been invited 
to my daughter, Heather's new home
for a sweet visit! 

She's been hanging pictures and moving 
furniture around - making the house
she shares with husband, Eric - home. 

She has prepared a delicious brunch for us, 
so won't you come inside? 

Have a seat and slip off your shoes....
I will take your coat. 

Here she is with a big smile for us! 
Oh, look at that delicious food! 

My sweet daughter has had a rough year, 
health-wise. She recently found out
that the asthma she thought she suffered
from, was in fact, 'late onset cystic fibrosis'.
Naturally this was very difficult to hear,
but she is my bright little ray of sunshine.

She never complains and is always incredibly
optimistic and happy.

CF also causes many other complications
besides respiratory difficulties,
and if you want more information just
click on the link that I have provided.

These little hearts are lavender shortbread!
She collects amber glass, but in the move,
all her pretty pieces were broken,
(accidentally) except these. I am always
on the lookout for replacements :)

Little quiches and cinnamon rolls. Yum!
They are served on her new Pier 1 plates.
While we nibble, let's have Heather show us around....

She loves all things French,
after a trip to France while in High School,
with her French teacher and fellow students,
including her brother, Gabe.

(They are only a year apart in age
and shared the same teacher.)

An Eiffel tower collection,
including a Limoges box (on right)
that belonged to her maternal Grandmother.

Crowns are another favorite....

A cozy corner with vintage telephone
and leopard fur screen.

Of course she needs a leopard print rug!

Lampshades with feathers and vintage
fashion posters are her style.

Heather studied fashion merchandising
in college at the Art Institute of Seattle.

A wall collage with wedding photos.

Cute and neat laundry room :)

The shelf includes a drying rack that pulls out.
The vintage black velvet beaded purse is her sewing kit :)
A gift from me <3

Vintage French Vogue posters and toile pillows.
I sewed the black velvet and lace heart pillow for her.

She is unable to have cats due to respiratory irritation,
so I bought her this stuffed Siamese:)

She loves cats.

A nightstand vignette.

A feminine corner of her dressing table.

I created this little sign for her recent birthday.

It is hanging in her closet.

The guest room has an Hawaiian theme.
Eric was stationed in Honolulu and Thailand
while serving in the Marine's.

The music room.

Eric is an accomplished musician in his free time.

I hope you enjoyed visiting
daughter Heather's Parisian Style home
with me!

She says that you are welcome any time!


"Paris is always a good idea!"
Audrey Hepburn

"We'll always have Paris."
Howard Koch


Today I am linking with: Ivy and Elephants - What's It Wednesday

Ivy and Elephants

Thank you Dear Friends for your sweet visits.

I love reading your lovely comments
and learning new things about your lives.

You are all so kind and sweet
and generous with your lovely thoughts.

I wish we were all neighbors....


Monday, October 19, 2015

Apple Streusel Muffins

Every year we get a modest apple harvest
from our two dwarf trees. 

One tree in particular is my favorite,
  the Macoun apple tree.

The Macoun variety is a cross between
a McIntosh and a Jersey Black. 

The other tree is mostly for pollination
and for the wild things :) 
as it seems to attract worms.
I've forgotten the variety! 

For some reason, the moths avoid
the Macoun and I end up with 
about a bushel or more of delicious,
sweet-tart apples. 

Whitey Bear likes apples
and is waiting for me to offer him one! 

An apron full of deliciousness! 

I think the tree feels much lighter! 

You can see my Tansy in front of 
the tool-shed before harvest. 

The Russian ash trees, just beyond, always put on a 
beautiful show at this time of year.

I planted 3 several years ago. 

Sedum adds color in the foreground. 

I have 3 of these large sedum that bloom reliably every year
despite rainy winters and very dry summers.

The Russian ash trees as seen from the house.

The red begonia are reliable bloomers from May to first frost,
which doesn't happen until November, here in the foothills
of western Washington state.

Let's go inside....

A little humor :)

I love using fresh apples in baking this time of year.

This recipe uses whole wheat flour, buttermilk,
and applesauce.

Apple Muffins with Streusel Topping

Makes 12 large muffins.

Bake @ 375 degrees  for 25 minutes - 30 min.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2-3 large tart apples, peeled and cut into small dice
(about 3 cups - reserving 1 cup for topping)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs
1 cup natural applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk

Streusel Topping (optional)

3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup cold butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup reserved chopped apples

For the muffins:
In small bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda,
cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.

Cream butter and brown sugar together in large mixing bowl
until well blended. Add eggs, beating well after each one.
Beat in applesauce and vanilla extract.

Add flour mixture and buttermilk, alternately,
a little at a time,
blending after each addition. Do not over-mix.

Fold in the 2 cups of diced apples.

Spoon into paper-lined muffin pan.

Streusel Topping

Mix brown sugar, flour, oatmeal, cinnamon and nutmeg
in medium mixing bowl.

Add cold butter, cut into pieces, using a pastry
blender or fork to mix until crumbly.

Add reserved cup of diced apples and mix well.

Sprinkle generously over tops of muffin batter in pan.

Bake at 375 degrees for 25- 30 minutes or until
toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool to room temperature and enjoy!

(If desired, eliminate the streusel topping and
substitute reserved cup of diced apple mixed with 1/4 cup
brown sugar)

So nice to enjoy one of these with a big mug of coffee
first thing in the morning,
or for an afternoon snack.

Very flavorful and moist - no need for butter!

Enjoying the seasonal color.

Small mementos of a morning walk.

That was delicious! Time to finish my coffee
and get back to work!

Wishing you a lovely week,
Dear Friends!


"When bobbing for apples, an idealist
endlessly reaches for the best apple,
a pessimist settles for the first one within reach,
while an optimist drains the barrel,
fishes out all the apples and makes pie."

- Vera Nazarian -


Today I am linking with:
Julie's Lifestyle - Cooking and Crafting with J&J

Cooking and Crafting with J & J Link Up

Come join the fun! 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

October Sunshine

Oh, October - my favorite month! 

There is a poignancy felt in these golden hours 
as I try to hold on to every precious moment. 

The swallows have left and the crows have once 
again reclaimed their kin, forming large flocks,
which fly over at sunset to roost in the foothills
after foraging in the fields all day. 

With the din of bird-song a distant summer memory, 
those left behind break the silence
with gentler voices. 

An Anna's Hummingbird keeps watch over
a vast domain - minuscule against the flanks of
Mt. Rainier. 

These resilient little birds are year-round 
residents here in western Washington State. 

It was one cold January day when I first 
became aware of this fact several years ago,
spying one visiting my empty feeder. 

I was so surprised and
quickly filled the feeder with nectar. 

I now have several living here year-round.  
These are joined in summer by the smaller 
Rufous Hummingbird, which fly south in winter. 

 Morning mist is slow to rise in these shortened 
days of autumn. 

I step outside, coffee steaming, listening to the twitters
and scoldings of chickadees, juncos and towhees 
as they visit the feeder. 

Mourning doves and Steller Jays fly in later. 

A Northern Flicker enjoys the suet I keep in the apple tree. 

We have a new little friend
that I have noticed the last few days.  

It is a wren, but I am not sure if it is a house wren, 
which migrates....

or a Bewick's Wren which does not. 

Possibly this little fellow is just passing through...

He/she was quite absorbed in hunting through
my planters looking for insects, which makes 
up 97% of its diet. 

We've had our firewood delivered 
and have started the chore of splitting 
and stacking. 

With a little help from our friends! 

Here I am taking a break on the chopping block. 
Whitey Bear gets a scratch behind the ear 
while my daughter's dachshund, Weenie Baby 
inspects the stacking. 

We burn through 6-8 cord every year. 

We have our work cut out for us! 

Peanut and Weenie Baby blend right in. 
I am pet-sitting for the weekend. 

A recent storm dropped golden cedar needles 
all over the ground ...... 

and into the gutters! Ramblin' Man cleans them out. 

Kai enjoys our morning walks. 

Tiny mushrooms. 

Vine Maple is the first to color
in the forest. 

I've been busy with garden clean-up during
these last beautiful days. 

Whitey Bear inspects my Tansy harvest. 
The dead tree fell during the storm
right onto my pile of bricks, breaking a few :(

I fill my basket with Tansy leaves. 

I will dry these for making moth
repellent sachets. 
I love the pungent scent. 

I save the seed for planting this spring. 

A beautiful day....I didn't need my jacket. 

Sunshine on some rusty relics - 
an old wood-burning stove and coal cart wheel
that my son found in the local creek. 

We live in an old coal mining town
that exists no longer. 

The end of a beautiful day. 

I hope you are enjoying these last golden 
days of autumn, dear friends. 

This season goes by so fast. 

Soon we will be celebrating the holidays
and bundling up for winter's cold. 

Every season has its beauty, 
but this season the most of all. 

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