Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Fall!

Fall has hit Central Illinois in full force. The leaves have changed color. The wind howls around the eaves of my cottage, and rattles the windows, as if longing to come in out of the darkness. I love this time of year. I revel in the crisp fall air, the crunch of leaves underfoot, the juicy red apples, and the bright, heartbreakingly beautiful days. 

Here on the farm, the harvest is winding down. One by one, the surrounding fields have given up their bounty of corn and beans. The last cutting of hay is stacked in the barn. From the upstairs windows, I can now see a patchwork of empty fields, stretching endlessly out, like a quilt worked in brown, gray, and beige, broken up here and there with borders of orange, red, and gold leaved trees.

Thoughts of cold winter nights have me washing flannel sheets, checking to make sure all the storm windows are closed, and making myself a note to call "Mr Chimney" to get the wood stove ready for the winter season. Soon I'll be coming home in the dark, and staying there to knit, bake cookies with my grandchildren, or just sit by the wood stove with my feet propped up, looking at seed catalogs, and dreaming of Spring, but I am not quite there, yet. For right now, there are still leaves to be jumped in, hot cider to be sipped, and hot dogs to be roasted, so this weekend, I'll wish my sister a Happy Halloween birthday, and wish all of you a happy fall!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Living a Beautiful Life

I am a voracious reader. I always have been. Some of my favorite gifts through the years have been books. In the late 1980's, a friend gifted me with a book by Alexandra Stoddard, called "Living a Beautiful Life." It was a simple, but inspiring little book, encouraging the reader to make the most of what life has to offer, to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary, and to make every day of your life a special event. Furthermore, Alexandra demonstrated that you didn't have to be rich to live beautifully, it was mostly a matter of attitude and imagination. Wow, what a concept!

I've always possessed the ability to find beauty in the world around me, but I was truly inspired by that book, and immediately set about making my life even more beautiful. I took the good china out of the hutch and actually used it to eat off of. I invited my friends over and served them coffee laced with amaretto and real whipped cream in the tall glass irish coffee mugs that my Grandmother had given me one year for Christmas. I hung botanical prints in the bathroom and put the good towels out to be used instead of just admiring how nice they looked in the linen closet. I bought a set of soft, luxurious Egyptian cotton sheets for the bed. (They were on sale...no sense going off the deep end!) In short, I stopped waiting for later, and began enjoying each moment to the best of my ability. Life is much too short to put off doing the things that bring pleasure and happiness to your days.

Although, I actually live in a rather large old farmhouse, I consider this place online my virtual cottage, and plan to fill it with old fashioned charm, all the things that I love, and the various activities which continue to bring me pleasure...knitting, crocheting, cooking, gardening, taking pictures, reading, spending time with my family and friends, and enjoying my doll collection. I hope you'll stop by often for a cup of tea and a little pleasant conversation!








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