Autumn Farmstand & Some Decorating Ideas


Autumn is in full-swing here in New Hampshire! Today, Technohubby had an orthopedic appointment in the charming town of Peterborough, so I tagged along with him…a lunch date promised at the end. And ohhhh…the drive there! SO beautiful! The swamp maples (always the first to turn color) are in full splendor! I wish I could’ve snapped pictures, but alas, raining, raining, raining today. I promise to start snapping pictures like crazy soon!

But earlier this week, when Colette and I were at the farmstand, the weather was beautiful. The farmstands are brimming with autumn’s bounty! This particular one just draws you in off the road with their piles of pumpkins, mums, and cornstalks. Everyone’s eager to take something home to make their home beautiful for the season. Here’s a glimpse of our favorite farmstand. And at the end, some ideas on how to decorate your own home for that classic New England autumn look.






Some decorating ideas for that quintessentially New England look:

- Keep it simple. Simple is good. Simple is often better. A single pumpkin on your doorstep looks sweet. Three ears of Indian corn tied together is a great decoration.

- Find some cornstalks, or a couple of bunches, and tie them together. Secure them to a lamp post, prop them in a corner of your porch, tie them to your mailbox post.

- Cut sprays of bittersweet to hang from your front door.  If you don't live where bittersweet grows, use the artificial kind.  From a distance, you'll never know the difference.

- Buy mums!

- Think color basics. Yellow and orange look great with purple (complementary colors). Set a pot of purple mums next to a pumpkin.

- Ornamental kale is very popular for autumn decorating in New England. It’s difficult to find if you live in a warmer climate in October, but you can usually find it by November.

Have fun! Enjoy autumn!

Autumn Home Atmosphere

This is the fourth in a series of postings on how I think about the atmosphere of our home in a seasonal manner. If you’d like to read the other postings, just type “home atmosphere” in the search box, and they should pop right up.


In my mind, each season has an atmosphere all its own, and that atmosphere spills over to: the kitchen, touches of beauty and comfort, and our activities. Here is how I am thinking about this autumn:

Autumn

Discipline. Routine. Harvest. Warmth.

The Kitchen:
-apples
-squash
-last of the grilling
-pumpkin
-cinnamon
-soups
-casseroles
-comfort foods

Touches of Beauty and Comfort:
-plaid blankets
-scented candles
-bowls of pumpkins and gourds
-mums in pots
-cornstalks
-flannel sheets
-duvets

Activities:
-make to-do lists
-start school
-preserve the harvest
-dip beeswax candles
-walks in the crisp air
-do the Wool Arts Tour
-support the local farmers at the end of the season
-pick apples

Stems

When it comes time to choose pumpkins, my family knows that for me “it’s all about the stem!” Shape, size, color…meh. Not so importnat to me. But the STEM! That’s what it’s all about! This season’s mantle decoration? A celebration of stems!


Corn Time


A bushel of sweet, sweet corn came home from the farmstand with us yesterday. The worker assured me this was the sweetest they had! We taste-tested it for dinner. It was!


Then the kids and I had a little shucking party! It’s fun to see the differences in kernels!


Following the “shucking party”, we had a blanching, cooling, cutting, bagging, freezing sort of party. At one point, Max asked, “Why do we need all this corn?” Colette replied, “We do this every year,” just so matter-of-factly it made my heart swell with delight! It’s just what we do…put up food for the winter!

Heirloom Beauties


Today, Colette and I stopped by the farmstand in our area. My own tomatoes are pretty much done for the season. I’ve picked the last of them. But this farm was extremely well-stocked with heirloom beauties!

This is about two-thirds of the regular-size tomatoes they had for sale. They had another table about half this long full too.


And this was their supply of cherry tomatoes!


Every box of heirloom tomatoes was labeled with a tag identifying the variety and touting its qualities.








Mmmm...too bad they weren't having a tasting!

Sabbath Rest


Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters.
Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers,
for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

-Hebrews 13:1-2

Autumn

Happy First Day of Autumn to you!


I found this autumn beauty on a walk this week. Colette says, “It’s outgrowing its cap!”

They say that if you watch the squirrels and chipmunks, you can tell what sort of winter it’s going to be. The first winter we lived here, we never saw an acorn on our property…not one on the ground that whole autumn. Instead, we watched the chipmunks, working feverishly like goldminers. They ran to and fro, up and down the oak trees stripping the acorns right from the branches, stuffing them in their cheeks, and hiding them away for the winter. And, true to what they say, that was a harsh winter!

Last year when I took my walks, the ground was littered with acorns…absolutely thick with them! And last year…almost no snow!

Which brings us to this year. There’s one VERY busy squirrel outside our family room windows! On a daily basis he torments the dogs with his scamperings. (They do the “Up” thing and shout, “Squirrel!”, except it sounds more like “Woof, woof, woof.”) I watch him bury acorns in the front yard. And on my daily walks?…hardly an acorn on the ground. Time will tell…

Autumn Knitting

This autumn’s knitting project, the Just Enough Ruffles Scarf in a wine-ish alpaca/merino wool blend. I’m thinking this will look really lovely over a dark brown sweater.


Summer's Waning, Fall is Nigh


From a walk last Sunday, a few sign that summer’s waning, fall is nigh…

…masses of sweet, wild asters blooming…


…goldenrod in full bloom…


…webbing made by tent caterpillars…


…and some lovely lace work done by another caterpillar?…not sure…


…and here and there…red leaves!


Just a few more days of summer left. I’ve already ditched the summer purse and white skirts and capris, but haven’t quite given up linen. Today I wore a sweater! Two pumpkins were purchased for the front doorstep. The summer wreath was packed away, but the autumn one hasn’t made its appearance yet. Summer’s waning, fall is nigh.

Colette's Birthday

Last Friday was Colette’s birthday! We celebrated on Sunday! Dinner was her request: baked potato soup, pesto bread, green salads, chocolate cake and ice cream. Here’s a shot of Colette’s yummy pesto bread.


Colette’s idea of a perfect day definitely includes some of this!


Our gift to Colette was this hope chest/cedar chest!


Nineteen fun candles!


She’s such a delight and blessing!

FEW Conference


We had an extraordinarily busy weekend. We attended the New England FEW Conference. (FEW stands for Family Encouragement Weekend.) The FEW conferences are put on by three families (from West Virginia, Virgnia, and North Carolina) who have made it their ministry to encourage families as they raise their children to the glory of God. This was the first time they have done a FEW conference in New England!


We helped to provide some of the food for the weekend. Here’s dinner set out and waiting for eager eaters.



Most of the workshop sessions were held on the second floor of a meetinghouse (old, New England term for “church”) in a nearby town. We listened to talks on: practical hospitality, raising godly sons and daughters, and more!


About 200 people attended! Praises be to God!


It was a fabulous weekend of encouragement. It was really wonderful to meet so many other families who are like-minded. Here in New Hampshire, I feel like homeschoolers lead very isolated lives, so it was nice to fellowship with so many other families!

The photo above was snapped at lunch time Saturday. And the photo below was snapped in the early evening as a storm was blowing in. What a difference a few hours makes (or sometimes, even five minutes!) in New Hampshire!


On Sunday after church, the families that put on the conference, local families, and traveling families that were still in town convened at our friends’ farm for a potluck. Our friends and the families that put on the conference posed for a group photo in front of the barn.  What a blessing they all were to so many families!


It was a busy, wonderful weekend!



A New Home Project


It’s begun! Our first major home project since we moved here. Technohubby and Max are going to build a post-and-beam garden shed!!!! I am so thrilled!

Part of what thrills Technohubby about a new project is the new tools he needs to buy to do the project. It’s a guy thing. This project required him to sharpen his chisel set and purchase a huge, new chisel (“so sharp it will cut a hair”), mallet, and a draw knife. I don’t like sharp objects. To be honest, it’s sort of a phobia with me, so I avoid these tools and try not to think about them being used. I do feel a teensy bit proud of finding that draw knife at an antique store for him though.  He was happy, because a new one costs upwards of $100, and this one was a mere $20!  I try not to think about the blade. Just look at the beautiful patina on those wooden handles!


Yesterday, he brought home the first of the beams! Hemlock beams cut just for our project by the local sawmill. They are…well…HEAVY!


Stay tuned…for the next couple of years…for updates on the garden shed project!

Got Jalapenos?

We do. Oh my…do we! (Note to self: six jalapeno plants is at least three too many.)


I’ve used all the jalapenos I’m going to use for salsa. I’ve canned a dozen jars of jalapeno jelly. And still the jalapenos come. What to do with them all? So, I went searching online for more ideas.

I found a recipe for Candied Jalapenos that was raved about, so we gave it a try. It said they were good to place atop a cracker with cream cheese, to chop up and add to cornbread, to stuff into sandwiches, and more. Colette and I sliced three pounds of them!


I’d love to pop open a jar and try them. However, the recipe says to let them mellow for at least two weeks and preferably for a month. That’s a long time of anticipation.


First Day of School


Today we began the first day of our 16th year of homeschooling!  What a blessing!  This is what Max's schedule looks like this year:

Bible - continuing to work through the Westminster Confession; scripture memorization
Math - Saxon Geometry
History Year II - Tapestry of Grace
Literature Year II - Tapestry of Grace; including Tapestry's writing
Chemistry - taken at a co-op this year...our first ever experience with a co-op!
New Hampshire History and Constitution
Technical Arts - credit given for building a post-and-beam garden shed with Technohubby
Russian II - Rosetta Stone
P.E.

And of course, there are trusty Ticonderogas for every subject!

Sabbath Rest

Yellow leaves are appearing!  Fall is on its way!
Love and faithfulness meet together;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
 Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,
and righteousness looks down from heaven.
The Lord will indeed give what is good,
and our land will yield its harvest.
 Righteousness goes before him
and prepares the way for his steps.

-Psalm 85:10-13
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