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September 2009
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October 2009

Home Again :)

Well this has been quite a few days for me! As most of you know, I went in for gallbladder surgery yesterday ~ and as some of you know, it was also my 16th wedding anniversary! Bill and I joked that at least we got to spend the day together and it will certainly be one of our more memorable "celebrations" lol.

Actually, sweet guy that he is, he surprised me Thursday night with a bouquet of gorgeous fall flowers:


And then Friday morning, just before we left for the hospital he surprised me with some post-surgery treats:


Godiva truffles (my favorite!) and a box of Ina's brownie mix (that he - and the boys - will bake for me). You see, I've had to restrict my diet considerably lately due to the gallbladder situation (low-fat, bland foods etc.) so I will be looking forward to a few indulgences now that things are resolved. :)

So now I'm home and everything went smoothly yesterday. Except for the tonsillectomy I had done when I was 4 (which needless to say I can barely remember) this was my first time having surgery. I was mostly nervous about the general anesthesia - only because my brother reacted poorly to it when he had his gb out a few years ago. He was so sick they kept him overnight and I was anxious that would happen to me. After sharing my concerns with the doctors, they decided to up my anti-nausea medication (inlcuding a patch I am still wearing behind my ear). So far everything feels ok - things are pretty tender to say the least but the pain medication helps. Bill has taken time off through mid-next week so I can just rest up and concentrate on getting back to 100%.  

I will say, Bill sure has his work cut out for him! He'll be shuttling the kids wherever they have to go, minding the housework, making meals, supervising their studies and taking care of me! Come to think of it, that all sounds familiar! ;) He's a good sport about it all though and I am very lucky to have him!

So I think that's all for right now, I just wanted to check in and let you all know I'm home and doing fine and I truly appreciate all the kind thoughts and prayers you have left for me here at the blog. I really do have the very nicest readers. :)

I will check back in again next week ~ for now, enjoy your weekend and keep safe and be well!

Well, hello there!

Look what I just found in - or should I say on - today's mail!



We see lots of grasshoppers around the house in early to mid-autumn. These are the last warm(ish) days of the year so I try to appreciate each little critter sighting when it occurs. Not too sorry to see the wasps, mosquitos and ticks pass on, but I'll miss the butterflies, bumblebees and dragonflies. And the grasshhoppers, of course. 

Thank you all, so very much, for your kind and supportive messages about my upcoming surgery. I take every message to heart and appreciate your prayers more than you know. :)

Hope you're all having a great week!

Pictures and Notes from the Past Couple of Weeks ...

So, what have we been up to lately? :)

Well, we spent a (cold, gray) morning at the Topsfield Fair:


Made friends with a donkey ...


... and a sheep.


Got fall gardening ideas.


Spied the giant pumpkin (all 1,471.6 lbs)!


Marveled over the giant sand sculpture.


Enjoyed fried dough with my boys.


We took a bike ride through the autumn woods:


Watched a gray heron come in from flight ...


... and make his way to his nest. 


Spotted a beautiful turtle by the path ...


But look what was on his shell (a leech)!


We removed the leech and sent the turtle on his way.


Watched milkweed float by.


Listened to noisy mallards in the lake.


We met Old Frost in the yard one morning:





And we added a bit of flash to the night ...



We spent some time learning about (and meeting!) wolves:







And we made stuffed peppers for the Feast of St. Francis:






Topped with cheese in the final 10 minutes, this was an absolutely delicious dinner!

This promises to be a busy week, too ... on top of all the usual goings-on, we have two field trips this week (Walden Pond and Whole Foods), Bookworm starts his volunteer "job" at the library and I go in for surgery this Friday. Yes ... surgery ... but nothing serious thankfully; I'm just having my gallbladder removed. As some of you know I've not been feeling my best for a few months now, so I'm glad to be getting this taken care of. I will probably be MIA again next week while I recover, but will try to post again this week with pics from our field trips and a few other topics I want to discuss. :)

I hope you enjoyed catching up with our family ... and I hope you and yours had a wonderful weekend. It's snowing here right now if you can believe it! This feels a little more like December than October!

Take care, everyone ~ Talk again soon!

When the frost is on the pumpkin ...


Nevermind frost! We had our first SNOW here this morning!

I honestly can't remember the last time we had snow this early in the year!


It's been a while since I posted and I have lots to tell you about, so I will carve some time out this weekend to write. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the weather ... whatever the weather ... wherever you are. :)

"Oh it sets my heart a-clickin like the tickin of a clock, when the frost is on the pumpkin and the fodder's in the shock ..." John Whitcomb Riley

Fraught with Frost


Look very closely and you might notice the tiny bits of ice on this beautiful little bee. This picture was taken around 6 a.m. on an unseasonably cold September morning, before the sun had risen above the treetops. As I passed the sedum blooming beside our front door, on my way down to get the morning paper, I noticed a couple of bees perched atop the blossoms, seemingly already hard at work for the day. Upon closer inspection I realized they were, in fact, frozen stiff! The poor things must have been caught out after "curfew" the night before! 

But do not fret, for this tale has a happy end ... soon after the sun rose and cast its warm glow across the front garden beds, the brittle bees miraculously came back to life and went merrily on their way! One flew off, while the other went straight back to work where it sat. 

Isn't nature amazing? :)

It's the Great Pumpkin ... Cake!


Just had to post this real quick - our Great Pumpkin Cake!

We had Bill's family up yesterday for a visit and Earlybird and I baked this pretty cake just for them. It's a dark chocolate cake with vanilla icing (which was supposed to be tinted orange but after multiple tries we resigned ourselves to beige), and there are chocolate jimmies and candy pumpkins for an autumn touch ...

It tasted pretty good, I must say. :)

Happy Monday, everyone!

Don't forget ~ The Harvest Moon rises this Sunday!


From Traditionally, this designation goes to the full moon that occurs closest to the Autumnal (fall) Equinox.  The Harvest Moon usually comes in September, but sometimes it will fall in early October as is the case in 2009; the next time won't come until 2017.  At the peak of the harvest, farmers can work into the night by the light of this moon.  Usually the full moon rises an average of 50 minutes later each night, but for the few nights around the Harvest Moon, the moon seems to rise at nearly the same time each night: just 25 to 30 minutes later across the U.S., and only 10 to 20 minutes later for much of Canada and Europe.  Corn, pumpkins, squash, beans, and wild rice -- the chief Indian staples -- are now ready for gathering.

A few books to pick up at the library this weekend ...

... and because I love any and all Tomie dePaola books I plan to buy a copy of this during Educator Week at Barnes & Noble (begins 10/10):


Sunday would be the perfect night for a harvest-themed supper. A slow-cooked vegetable soup maybe? Served with homemade cornbread and a slice of orchard fruit pie?
Or make a point to stop at the local farm stand to pick up whatever catches your fancy - everything looks so good at this time of year and it won't be long before the growing season is officially over and done.

And finally, here's how the moon looked last night, roundabouts 6:30 p.m.

The weather looks to be rainy this weekend with hopefully some clearing by Sunday's moonrise - wherever you live, be sure to look for it. It's sure to be quite a sight!

Happy October!

"O suns and skies and clouds of June,
And flowers of June together,
Ye cannot rival for one hour
October's bright blue weather."
~ Helen Hunt Jackson












"There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots 
may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on 
the feelings, as now in October."
~ Nathaniel Hawthorne