Posts Tagged ‘Thanksgiving Day’

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March 3, 2015 – Spring arrangement on open shelves –

Jan.26-April.16.2015 257

It is really difficult to get a clear picture of this shelf – the angles and lighting make it tricky – but I enjoy re-arranging once a season or so, as time and inclination permit, and took time this spring to make a cheerful set-up, full of birds, flowers, and easily-accessible teas and accessories. It has made the rest of the work this spring seem easier.

My next project is wallpaper on the north wall:

Birds of Versailles wallpaper

My mother is going to help me hang this, as I’ve never done it before. It is a pattern from Sherwin Williams, called “Birds of Versailles,” with shiny silver leaf highlights, creating pleasant glimmers in the sunlight.


August 18, 2015 – Insulating Curtain –

I needed a large, insulated curtain for my dining room bay windows. I wanted something that was not a dark color, and it couldn’t be too weighty, velvety (attracting dog hair), or hard to clean. It had to stand up well to being opened and closed often, and be suitable as a summer heat shield, even during our fly infestations (common to rural properties near pig farms).

I found an unexpected solution in the form of a bedspread, which had belonged to a friend many years ago, and had subsequently been packed away in a wooden box. I loved the pattern, which was the same as my favorite set of sheets, recently deceased. The lighting is unhelpful for taking pictures, but I get an “E” for Effort:

The pattern is sweet pea flowers on a white ground, and I’m afraid it looks a bit washed out in the photos. In life, it compliments all the main colors in the room, and is a cheering reminder that spring will come again, even though the winter does seem perpetually dim.

I have since re-arranged the mint-green over-curtains (per the second two photos), and am much happier with the effect.


August 25, 2015 – Wallpaper –

The wallpaper is installed! And I am even more pleased with it than I anticipated being. Here it is:

My dad came to help, too – and Mom and I were glad he did, because it took three people to properly handle, apply, and smooth the longest strips. Dad was also much better at cutting good edges than either of us, though I’ve had plenty of practice with a utility knife.

Billy didn’t get to help much, but he’s proud anyway.

Will is the only one who’s not too sure that he loves the wallpaper. But he likes the brightening effect in the room.


November 2, 2015 – Heat Shield for Wood Burning Stove –

Before using the dining room heating stove in earnest, we needed to install a heat shield. We chose to go with sheet metal from a company my husband has worked with several times, and bought enough to do the heat shield and also most of two walls in the kitchen, in the corner with the cookstove. Here it is:

We simply installed 2X4 boards behind the metal, attaching them with screws through the wallpaper into the studs. I painted them the same robin’s egg blue as the wall behind the display shelves, and everything pulls together very nicely.

I was afraid the metal sheet would take a horrible gap out of the vibrancy of the wallpaper, but it did no such thing. It looks as if it belongs, and frames the stove, rather than allowing it to appear random.


November 26, 2015 – Thanksgiving Decorations –

Decorative shelf in living room, Thanksgiving 2015For Thanksgiving, we had a few members of Will’s family to dine. My garden work had shut down earlier this year than normal, so I had time to give the house a thorough going-over (which it dreadfully needed). Of course, I decorated the piano-top shelf in the living room with various nature objects and figures of animals, in keeping with my woodsy-themed house.

Next, I asked my son  Billy to make himself handy with a drill, and create candle-light holes in a pumpkin for the dining room:

They are not as evenly spaced as I would have liked, but I am pleased enough. (We later fed the pumpkin to the chickens, who loved it. The  buttercup squashes, we ate ourselves.)

I had time to fix up a small table for some of us, using my Currier and Ives (reproduction) plates, and a tablecloth I had found when we moved into this house:

I confess to having loved mushrooms ever since I can remember, and this whimsical embroidery was just what I wanted. How often do things like that work out, I ask you?

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Down in the bleak December bay

The ghostly vessel stands away;

Her spars and halyards white with ice,

Under the dark December skies.

A hundred souls, in company,

Have left the vessel pensively, –

Have reached the frosty desert there,

And touched it with the knees of prayer.

And now the day begins to dip,

The night begins to lower

Over the bay, and over the ship


Neither the desert nor the sea

Imposes rites: their prayers are free;

Danger and toil the wild imposes,

And thorns must grow before the roses.

And who are these? – and what distress

The savage-acred wilderness

On mother, maid, and child may bring,

Beseems them for a fearful thing;

For nw the day begins to dip,

The night begins to lower

Over the bay, and over the ship


But Carver leads (in heart and health

A hero of the commonwealth)

The axes that the camp requires,

To build and lodge, and heap the fires.

And Standish from his warlike store

Arrays his men along the shore,

Distributes weapons resonant,

And dons his harness militant;

For now the day begins to dip,

The night begins to lower

Over the bay, and over the ship


And Rose, his wife, unlocks a chest –

She sees a Book, in vellum dressed,

She drops a tear, and kisses the tome,

Thinking of England and of home:

Might they – the Pilgrims, there and then

Ordained to do the work of men –

Have seen, in visions of the air,

While pillowed on the breast of prayer

(When now the day began to dip,

The night began to lower

Over the bay, and over the ship


The Canaan of their wilderness

A boundless empire of sucess;

And seen the years of future nights

Jewelled with myriad household lights;

And seen the noney fill the hive;

And seen a thousand ships arrive;

And heard the wheels of travel go;

It would have cheered a thought of woe,

When now the day began to dip,

The night began to lower

Over the bay, and over the ship


– Erastus Wolcott Ellsworth, from The Family Book of Best Loved Poems, ed. by David L. George

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The door of the dugout was wide open while they ate Thanksgiving dinner. Laura could see across the bare willow-tops, far over the prairie to the place where the sun would go down. There was not one speck of snow. The prairie was like soft yellow fur. the line where it met the sky was not sharp now; it was smudged and blurry.

Thanksgiving dinner was good. Pa had shot a wild goose for it. Ma had to stew the goose because there was no fireplace, and no oven in the little stove. But she made dumplings in the gravy. There were corn dodgers and mashed potatoes. There were butter, and milk, and stewed dried plums. And three grains of parched corn lay beside each tin plate.

At the first Thanksgiving dinner the poor Pilgrims had had nothing to eat but three parched grains of corn. Then the Indian came and brought them turkeys, so the Pilgrims were thankful.

Now, after they had eaten their good, big Thanksgiving dinner, Laura and Mary could eat their grains of corn and remember the Pilgrims. Parched corn was good. It crackled and crunched, and its taste was sweet and brown.

– from On the Banks of Plum Creek, by Laura Ingalls Wilder

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“Here it is beautiful in autumn!” said the little girl, and the atmosphere seemed twice as high and blue, while the wood shone with crimson, green, and gold. The hounds were running off, flocks of wild fowl flew screaming over the barrows, while the bramble bushes twined round the old stones. The dark-blue sea was covered with white-sailed ships, and in the barns sat old women, girls, and children picking hops into a large tub; the young ones sang songs, and the old people told fairy tales about goblins and sorcerers. It could not be more pleasant anywhere.

-from “The Elder-Tree Mother,” by Hans Christian Anderson

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We got a lucky break last September. Actually, I don’t believe in luck, so let’s call it our Creator’s interest in us.

An acquaintance offered us a great stack of firewood for cheap – cheaper than we could have cut it ourselves, accounting for time.

The man we bought our German Shepherd stud dog from had a micro-burst go through his yard, and it knocked down several old elms. He cut and stacked the wood, and all we had to do was to come pick it up within a given length of time.

We arrived, and there was much more than we could fit on one trailer:


We had to leave almost half the pile there for somebody else. Still, it was a great start to stocking up for the year, and everybody got into the act.


Tyger helping to stack the wood on the trailer.

Tyger helping to stack the wood on the trailer.

Firewood is such a big part of the way we live, that I find it difficult to tell how much of a blessing this was. We have two wood stoves in the house, and they provide virtually all our heat. Besides this, we were swamped with construction jobs toward the end of September, and the Creator knew we could not take a lot of time to gather wood. We had been using our cookstove off and on for a week already.

We managed to get about half of the trailer load stacked, clean and dry, in the wood room downstairs.

) )

It is a bit messy – but then, it’s not a parlor. The beams are necessary to stabilize the flood-damaged walls. (That’s why it’s not a parlor. 🙂 )

By the 23rd of October, we were glad to have done this, as (one of my favorite things!)… we had a blizzard:






Hardly enough to go sleighing...but it was beautiful.

Hardly enough snow to go sleighing…but it was beautiful.

By the next afternoon, it was nothing but mud and memories. Still, we’re ready for the next one.

P.S. – We had ice on the insides of the windows yesterday morning…even the one near the kitchen stove pipe. Jack Frost in residence makes me feel ready for Thanksgiving…and at long last – Christmas! If I didn’t have so many crafts going already, I’d find some wrapping paper and make some new snowflakes for my windows. Oh well – Jack Frost will have to decorate by himself for a few days.

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