leaving a trail

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East Inlet, Pittsburg, NH

My husband tells me I leave a trail behind me wherever I go. Bags. Books. Projects. Clothing. The deeper I get in the work week, the longer the trail. Our bedroom gets looking like a locker room, and the kitchen counter’s in piles of disarray.

Life goes on, hence the trail.

Life stacks up too. I could tell you about the laundry pile, the work pile, the bill pile, and the to-be-read pile. I’m sure you have some such versions of your own, so you probably don’t need to hear about mine.

Make no mistake: I’m all about order, but there’s only so many hours in a day (and I probably need to note that I’m none too perky during some of them.) Scheduling life helps. (I wrote about it here.) When push comes to shove, or I’m pulled in one way or pushed in another, order’s a little low on the priority list.

If you think about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, however,  I’m pretty knee-deep in self-actualization (achieving one’s full potential, including creativity,) which is a step higher on the pyramid than esteem needs (prestige and feelings of accomplishment.)

So it’s all good. But back to the trail.

Here’s a little trail I’m leaving behind here, so you know what I’ve been up to:

  • exploring in northernmost New Hampshire … all the wilderness a girl could want, and then some.  We stayed here where you have your choice of accomodations from the lodge to your own lakeside log cabin. The food at both the Rainbow Grille and Tavern is just this side of scrumptious with a shot of tranquility all around.
  • shooting photography here, there, and everywhere … according to my husband, I spent 45 minutes taking photographs of frost-covered grass in Pittsburg, but that’s an unsubstantiated claim.  Meanwhile … I’m back at studying my favorite creative outlet at our local evening adult education program.  (See above link to Hierarchy of Needs and Self-Actualization.) I’m also using this book for reference.
  • reading this, this, and this
  • writing about childhood memories with my Nana … picture book?
  • decorating for fall, and eventually Thanksgiving with pumpkins large and small, orange and white, dried Chinese lanterns, gourds, burgundy-colored eucalyptus .. and of course, candles … Did you know Walmart sells these in a 12-pack?

I hope you’re all well and pursuing your own trails! I’ll be around and about as I have time or something to say.

 

in september

 

DSC_0329 (3)As surely as April brings thoughts of throwing open the windows to the warmer, fresh air, September starts me layering, feathering, and gathering. Yes, I’m sad to see summer go … but I’m determined to welcome fall and find a bit of time for some fun before the snow flies!

Although it’s not formally fall, it feels like it, and it’s starting to look like it too. Yellow and orange mums sit on the stoop where it seems only days ago were daisies. We kick acorns down the road when we go for a walk and hickory nuts too. We’re gathering the last of our luscious tomatoes and saying so long to our flowers.  I’m thinking less about burgers on the grill and more about soups in the crockpot. Suddenly, I’ve a hankering to bake bread!

Just now, apples simmer on the stove on their way to becoming apple sauce. It’s the season of cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. We’ve been to the orchard once already and will probably return today. Later, and by request, I’ll make the first pumpkin recipe of the season: pumpkin whoopie pies.  We’ve got neighbors to thank … and those pies are a whole heaping handful of fall gratitude.

Just as we did this summer, we’ll be living out a (fun-seeking) fall alphabet:

A- apple and peach picking (of course!) — B- bonfire in the fire pit out back — C- cider and crisps and cornstalks on the porch — D-  E- F- festivals and fairs and foliage — G- H- I- J- K- L- M- mums from the garden center N- O- P- pumpkins on the steps and in the oven! — Q- R- S- T- U- V- W- X- Y- Z-

We fill it in as we go along and somehow, the alphabet inspires us to keep looking for all the fun we know is out there … but we’re sometimes too busy or tired or overwhelmed to think about. It’s a fun kind of fill-in-the-blank we look forward to.

I can’t wait to leaf kick (L) and discover what face emerges on our Jack o’ Lantern (J). It’s time to pack up the beach towels, layer on the sweaters and boots, and feather the bed with our winter quilt (Q).

I’m hoping for a few more walks on the beach and a couple more tosses of the tennis ball, but mostly, I’m headed toward autumn – full steam ahead!

For those of you local … We’re planning for this Equinox Festival and hopefully headed to this fair for the first time.  This slow-cooker soup is on the menu this week.

And if you’re looking for an easy fall side or transitional topping for the last of summer’s ice cream, you’ll find my go-to applesauce recipe below:

APPLESAUCE

from my mother-in-law’s Betty Crocker cookbook
  • 4 medium cooking apples, each cut into fourths
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Heat apples and water to boiling over medium heat; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally* to break up apples, until tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients. Heat to boiling; boil and sitr 1 minute. Makes about 4 cups.

*I used a potato masher!

 

 

 

classic summertime play

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Just about the time the daisies burst open and the tomato plants have grown nearly to my chin, I get a hankering to play croquet.  You can read about the rules and history of the game here, but more than likely you have your own family history of alliances, revenge, and personal croquet vendettas played out on the green grass of your youth.

The lawn’s just mowed.  Can you smell it?

Who’s ready for a little friendly competition?

I call yellow ball!

My sister and I traveled north for two weeks every summer to stay with family. Croquet was a late afternoon event informally scheduled somewhere between the lighting of the charcoal briquettes for dinner and the chasing of fireflies at dusk.  Family, friends, roots, and rocks – all is fair in love and croquet. Playing barefoot is best, and nothing says summer like the wooden thwack of a croquet mallet on someone else’s ball.

A quick search outlined croquet sets available everywhere and high cost to low from L.L. Bean to Crate and Barrel, and of course, Amazon.

Other old-timey fun I’m nostalgic about every summer:

  • Parcheesi   : best played (inside) during a thunderstorm with a big bowl of popcorn
  • kite-flying  : on a beach, in the park or pasture, high-flying fun for everyone (except maybe Charlie Brown)
  • jigsaw puzzles  : our family goes for 1000 piece puzzles – leave it out on a table with plenty of elbow-room, and eventually everyone’s looking for and placing pieces – our recent favorites:  Candy Wrappers and The Games We Played
  • gimp : it’s been awhile, but how about weaving one of those gimp keychains? Here’s a video to show how to weave a square stitch and Michaels has gimp aka “plastic lacing”
  • potholder loom : any look back to how to pass the time in summers of yesteryear needs to include the annual weaving of – many – colored, cotton potholders. Vermont Country Store still has the looms and loops! Caution: this project may come with some crying, however, removing the potholder from the loom is a rite of childhood passage, tears or no, and will one day be remembered fondly.

Of course, there’s always Monopoly, cribbage, checkers, and umpteen card games to rediscover. Don’t forget backyard badminton, a swing on the playground, and a good old-fashioned game of catch!