Settling Into November

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November seems to have a rhythm all its own – darkness by 5pm, a bit more rain and cloudy skies and thoughts of Thanksgiving and Christmas beginning to stir. I love spending time reading and crocheting and puttering in the kitchen.   This time of year I make a lot of roasted vegetables.  They’re simple to prepare and taste delicious –  slice/chop whatever  veggies you have available, put them in a large bowl and add a little olive oil and salt and pepper….

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and pop them in the oven at 350 until they’re done. A perfect side dish or a meal in itself

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I made an applesauce spice cake this week

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and some delicious chicken soup

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and salads made with the end of this seasons crop of tomatoes from my friend Marie’s garden.

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I got back to work on my afghan again. I’d love to have it finished by the end of the month.

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I also set up my yarn winder and made yarn cakes out of several skeins of wool.

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I love playing with the yarn winder – it’s almost meditative. I also found a piece of embroidery I haven’t worked on in about 3 years. I have to check out my threads and see what I have so I can complete this piece and maybe use it in a pillow.

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November is a time for leisurely walks on crisp, clear mornings, spending quiet time indoors on damp, chilly afternoons, mugs of hot chocolate with towers of whipped cream and filling the house with the smell of cinnamon and spices coming from the kitchen. A time for baking Thanksgiving pies, reading by the fire and snuggling under blankets. I look forward to the changes the seasons bring and hunkering down and spending more time at home.

So, I guess I’m settling into November slowly and comfortably, enjoying the peace, the quiet, and the opportunity and time to work on all the projects I overlooked during the summer. I hope you enjoy your November too.

Have a beautiful week-end.

Susan

Weekend Wandering

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What a lovely autumn weekend. Walking around the neighborhood, you get to see every facet of the fall landscape – trees that have turned beautiful colors, some that are still green and others that have already lost all there leaves. I love the feel of these fallen leaves crunching beneath my feet, the distinct smell of the season and the crispness in the air.

We took a stroll through the town of Sugarloaf which is only about 15 minutes away. It’s a sweet little village filled with shops where artists and craftspeople sell what they’ve made and often live in the same building that houses their shops. You can find scented handmade soaps, hand tooled leather purses and fabulous jewelry as well as beautiful artwork and pottery.

On Sunday, we stopped in at a local farm to pick up a few pumpkins and then headed over to the farmer’s market they hold in the village every week. It’s only open for another four weeks and I’m going to miss all the fresh fruits, veggies, breads, wines and cheeses. So often, Sunday dinner is determined by what’s available at this market – always something simple and delicious. This Sunday it was potato leek soup, flat bread with Mediterranean dipping oil and sliced tomatoes with mozzarella, basil and oil. Perfect!

In case you haven’t noticed, I love this time of year. I hope you’re enjoying it as much as I am. Be sure to leave a comment and let me know what you love most about autumn.

Have a wonderful week!

Susan

One Of Life’s Little Lessons

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This sign is perched on a shelf in my office and it’s something I notice several times a day. It always makes me stop, think and smile. It serves as a gentle reminder to appreciate what I have, exactly the way it is now, right in this moment.

So, whether your life is perfect, everything’s just the way you want it or there’s lots of room for improvement, take a moment, right now to “Love the Life You Live.”

Have a wonderful weekend!

Susan

Wool! Sheep! Joy!

Amy and I left for the NY Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck on a cloudy, misty Saturday morning.
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We were met, just inside the gate, by these beautiful creatures.

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We headed inside the first building and I was completely overwhelmed. Booth after booth of the most beautiful wool I have ever seen. It was almost overwhelming to think that the people selling all this wooly goodness actually raised the sheep, sheared them, spun the fleece into wool and then dyed it. It was wonderful to be a part of all of this. The colors were dazzling.

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I met some of the most wonderful people too – Linda Cortright, who started her own magazine called Wild Fibers, who travels around the world interviewing and photographing people who raise sheep, alpaca, llamas, goats and rabbits. Linda is opening a craft center in India where local angora goat shepherds can turn their wool into beautiful finished products. The highlight of my day was meeting Sylvia Jorrin. Several years ago, I read quite a bit about Sylvia and how she purchased a house in upstate NY and later became one of the few women to soley own and operate a large livestock farm in this area. I always meant to buy a copy of her book, Sylvia’s Farm, and on this glorious day, the opportunity to do that was presented to me.

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Amy purchased two hand looms for her daughters to weave small projects with. It looks like so much fun that I may have to put that on my Christmas list this year.

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There were also beautiful glass beads for sale. These were used in knit and crochet projects like scarves, fingerless gloves and finely made shawls.

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I was still brimming with excitement when we left the fair. I didn’t know what to do first when I got home. First I unpacked my wool purchase and just stared at it. It was from Weston Hill Farm, here in NY and I just love the colors!

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I made myself a cup of tea and sat and looked through Wild Fibers and began reading Sylvia’s Farm.

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I made Bob and I a quick dinner of roasted vegetable on toasted rye bread with feta cheese crumbles and settled in for an evening of working on the afghan I started early last spring. I was inspired.

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There was just so much to see and learn on this perfect Saturday morning. I wish I had taken more pictures, but I just kept getting lost in the wonder of it all. I loved seeing and meeting all these people who do things much the same way they’ve been done for years and years. And it was heartening to see the throngs of women who appreciated it all as much I did.

Have a beautiful week!

Susan

October Bliss

I think this month, October, is just spectacular!

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The colors take my breath away.

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I love the little fall snippets that have made their way inside.  The dining room…

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The living room …

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and even the kitchen.

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Ah, the kitchen. I always seem to end up in here. This morning I'm preparing one of my quick and easy dinners that I can refrigerate and take out when I get home later in the day. It's one of my husband's favorites - beef and noodles. I start by putting a pound of bite size beef cubes into a pan with 2 tbs of olive oil.

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I add one chopped onion and one chopped carrot and turn the heat up so the meat can brown.

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At this point, I add a half cup of red wine and 2 cups of beef stock or broth – enough to cover the beef. A bit of salt and pepper, 2 bay leaves and 1/4 tsp of garlic powder and you’re ready to put the lid on and let simmer for 1 1/2 – 2 hours or until beef is tender.

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When you’re ready to have dinner, reheat beef, adding 1/2 cup of frozen peas if desired. While the noodles are boiling, you can thicken the gravy by adding 3 tbs of flour to 3/4 cups of water and stirring until all the lumps are out. Add this to the gravy stirring constantly until gravy thickens. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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And now, dinner!

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Well, tomorrow I’m off to the wool festival up in Rhinebeck along with my daughter, Amy. I’m looking forward to spending a beautiful day outdoors. I hope you have a wonderful weekend too!

Susan