Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Smiling Punkins

This smiling pumpkin scarecrow greeted me recently in a coffee shop. Just look at that smile! I dare you to really take a good look at it and keep from smiling back! There's something so inviting and friendly about pumpkins. Maybe it's because they are such a cheerful color and they are such fun to carve smiles into! Pumpkin season is also a season for kids! I've been hearing reports from friends who are taking their children to pumpkin patches and from others who are busy baking pumpkin bread. Others are dreaming of pumpkin pies and are eagerly awaiting Thanksgiving! Pumpkin orange surely does seem to be the color of the season! Speaking of pumpkins, are there some little punkins in your life who might enjoy some pumpkin activities? Becky, who blogs at This Reading Mama is sharing a packet of pumpkin themed printables. They are free and will keep youngsters you may know busy for hours. I thought I'd pass along the word. Click PUMPKIN here.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Autumn Crocus

The autumn crocus continue to grow in a garden jumble, years after the gardener who planted them has passed away. Without her care they mix with leaves and overgrown foliage. Their pretty purple faces radiate beauty in the chaos. While searching for information about these pretty blossoms I discover that autumn crocus are very toxic but that some herbalists use it with care for the treatment of certain illnesses. Poets of old knew this too, and described a lovely venomous meadow on an autumn day.

Autumn Crocuses (Les colchiques)

The meadow is venomous but lovely in autumn
The cows graze there and are slowly poisoned 
The colchicum colour of shadow and lilac
Flowers there your eyes resemble that flower 
Violet shades like their shadow that autumn 
And slowly your eyes empoison my life. 

The children arrive from school, what a fracas,
Dressed in smocks and playing harmonicas
They gather the crocuses that are like mothers
Daughters of their daughters your eyelids' colour
That beat as the flowers beat in the wild breeze.

The herdsman sings and sings quite softly
While slowly mooing, the cows abandon 
Forever this wide field flowered by autumn.

Author Unknown

Saturday, October 12, 2013


O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.

by Robert Frost

Friday, October 11, 2013

Piquant {Spicy} Pumpkin & Peanut Soup

It's that time of year! Time to use up all that pumpkin!

Piquant {Spicy} Pumpkin & Peanut Soup 

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 tsp. ginger, fresh, minced
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1 tsp. lemon zest
3 cups water
2 Tbsp. Bill's Best Chicknish (or other chicken-like broth seasoning)
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 - 16 oz. can pumpkin puree
1 - 13.5 oz. can unsweetened coconut milk
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp. agave syrup or maple syrup
Salt to taste
1/4 cup cilantro, fresh, chopped
2 Tbsp. peanuts, roasted

Saute' onion in olive oil. When soft, add ginger and cayenne. Then stir in lemon zest, water, chicken-like seasoning, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for ten minutes. 

Strain the broth into another pot and discard the solids. Return broth to a low simmer. Then whisk in pumpkin,coconut milk, peanut butter, lime juice, agave syrup, and salt. Cook until heated through. 

Serve with cilantro and peanuts.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

We cannot let this autumn season pass by without reposting my favorite cookie recipe! These are very popular in our family!

It's recommended that we have a good source of Vitamin A every other day. It's best utilized by our bodies if the resource is cooked and served with some type of fat. Do you cook carrots or orange squash every other day? I don't, but resolve to do better. I'm quite sure my university sons aren't eating dark orange veggies every other day either. So, this evening I baked cookies to send to them. Vegan and filled with Vitamin A, I think they'll enjoy them. Here's the recipe if you'd like a sweet and tasty way to get your vitamins!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

A delicious, moist cookie that freezes very well.

2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
1 (15 1/2 ounce) can solid pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour*
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
12 ounces vegan semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

Cream the sugar, shortening, pumpkin and vanilla together. Mix until well blended. In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Stir the flour mixture into the creamed mixture. Stir gently until combined. Add the chocolate chips and walnuts. Mix together. Drop by teaspoonsful onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 12 - 15 minutes.

These cookies are delicious; cake-like and the type that melt in your mouth. I think their flavor would be enhanced by a pinch of salt in the recipe. The walnuts in this recipe add Omega-3's to the diet, and of course we all know that the chocolate is very good for us and high in anti-oxidants!

*For gluten free, Bob's Red Mill flour blend is recommended.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

A Walk Around the Yard

There is a chill in the air these days. But the sun shines through mid-day, giving just the right amount of warmth to the day. A walk around the yard is in order while the sun shines! Autumn is here. The plants reflect the affect of the heat of August, but are revived by the coolness present now. The lavender is blooming again, giving one last burst of purple before winter arrives. 

The cone flowers are very weary and tired. They have started producing seeds, but some faded color remains and bursts of cheer show forth.

The roses are less full and not quite so vibrant, but their faces still show of unfolding beauty and charm. I love the soft apricot essence of this blossom.

The hollyhocks just never give up! Beautiful, stunning blooms showcase some parts of the plants.

While other parts are dry stalks of seeds in pods. Each pod contains a spiral of small round discs that fit together perfectly! Every time I pass by them I pluck some of the pods, squeeze them tight, and release the seeds into the soil below. I love hollyhocks and simply want to help nature replenish the supply for next spring and summer!

The lawn is still green and the leaves have not quite turned to gold. But the tired, weariness of foliage and blossom is evident. There is beauty in each stage of every season.

Peace. The result of walking around the yard on a day in Indian summer.

Summer Ends

Summer ends, and autumn comes, and he who would have it otherwise would have high tide always and a full moon every night.”

Hal Borland

Thursday, October 03, 2013

The Herbs of Autumn

Bee Balm

The first October freeze looms near. The air was chilly this morning, reminding me that it won't be long before a killing frost hits the garden and changes my world!

Grape Leaves

By now you probably realize that I love spring and summer because of flowers and the wonderful gifts that nature provides. When October arrives I start taking jaunts through my yard, simply to appreciate the late season blossoms and greenery.

Bay Laurel

Unlike spring, the foliage this time of year is worn and weary. You have to look for the beauty and appreciate what each water spot or tattered leaf represents.


It's time to harvest and dry the herbs for winter use. Meadow tea is my favorite way to use homegrown herbs. The dried herbs look so pretty mixed together in a gallon jar, just waiting for infusion in a hot cup of water or a seasonal teapot.

More Rosemary

The rosemary did extremely well this year. I also dried a lot of homegrown lavender. It's time to make my own version of "Rosemary Hill" tea. The recipe will be simple: rosemary leaves, lavender buds, and a great quality black tea.


The sweet leaf, stevia, makes a delightful addition to meadow tea as well. Just dry, crumble, and add to the other dried herbs in the jar. The sweetness of the leaf enhances any tisane.

And of course, one cannot forget the mint. It's been plucked, picked, and appreciated all summer long. The last of the leaves are small and not very prolific this time of year, but the flavor they add to anything on a chilly day cannot be beat!

Have you walked through your yard today to check things out? What's growing in your autumn garden?

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Autumn Fires

In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!

Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The gray smoke towers.

Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!

Robert Louis Stevenson

Tuesday, October 01, 2013


“I'm so glad I live in a world

 where there are Octobers.” 

L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

A Second Spring

is a second spring
where every
leaf is a

Albert Camas