Saturday, 22 November 2014

As Winter nips at Autumn's heels ~~~

Gentle Reader ~~~ ah! our old friend Winter is starting to nip at the heels of Autumn, now long past her shining glory, with branches stripped bare, and leaves now so wet that stomping through a dry, crunchy mound à la Snoopy is a distant memory of which to dream ~~~ the sun drops lower and lower in the sky each passing day ~~~ shadows grow shorter and less defined ~~~ the weather changes daily, but always, always that hint of Winter breath chasing Autumn ~~~ 

~~~today the skies are blue and streaked with clouds of varying shades of bright and white ~~~ the sun shines ~~~ the winds are strangely still, barely breathing amongst the last remaining leaves that cling in desperation to the trees ~~~ most have fallen, blown away, or into piles that gather ‘neath the trees to moulder into rich feed for next year’s growth ~ the circle of life in perpetual motion ~~~

Here is a little recipe to warm you as the days close in around us and temperatures plummet ~~~ and all in all it is reasonably healthy, and we all need a little chocolate treat from time to time ~~~ a little pick~me~up ~~~




Spiced Pumpkin White Hot Chocolate

Ingredients:
3 cups semi skim milk {almond milk or soya milk}
1 cup canned or homemade pumpkin puree
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
4 ounces good quality white chocolate (roughly chopped) such as Green and Blacks

Optional ~ whipped cream, sprinkles, marshmallows, or chocolate curls to decorate ~

~In a saucepan, heat the milk, pumpkin puree, and spices until it reaches simmering point; remove from heat.
~Add chocolate and stir until it has melted.

~Pour into mugs and top with decorations if desired. 

~~~Enjoy!!!


There is little progress in my garden, other than planting my Autumn onions, and having to be extremely careful with my back for the slightest wrong move sends it reeling, so it now must wait in patient silence until I can once more give it the full attention it needs and deserves. So I also wait I, but with fraying patience, for I cannot wait to be out there once more ~~~ meanwhile, I ease the longing by reading, greedily devouring, all the seed catalogues that arrive through my letter box ~~~ 

This is not my letter box, but I thought you'd like to see one of the very small, rural Post Office letter boxes that are often found, just as this one is, set into a wall on the corner of an isolated country lane ~~~





I am now calling the lawn a wildlife friendly area in the hopes that I can be forgiven for not mowing since mid~August. Each passing day I sigh and think how much the birds will love the seeds therein ~~~

I have taken advantage of a couple of patches of gentler weather, and managed, over the last two weeks, to turn over enough soil in the vegetable patch ready to receive a planting of onion sets that I'm certain were fed up of waiting to go in the ground! It is an experiment. I have never planted onions in the Autumn before, but apparently it can be done and they will yield a harvest in early Summer, so I hope this means June.  I bought a mixed bag of red, yellow, and white onion sets from Franchi Seeds of Italy

Oh, such bliss in those short, snatched moments to be out in the fresh air and in the garden {and yes, I was very careful} turning the soil, darkly damp, friable, and yielding ~~~ pulling out weeds and grass that took advantage of my absence and grew rampant and uncontrolled to fill the space ~~~ earlier this month, I also took advantage of a few hours where the rain was not so hard and the winds easier and planted up some garlic cloves in a spare tub or two.  Every little minute counts and even with a ten minute break in the weather the garlic can be planted.  I have no photographs yet, I don't think pictures of a seemingly empty tub of soil are that thrilling!

Dear Friends, it is such a beautiful day today in The Shire that my heart, in thought, leaps over the hills and skips across the valleys with pure delight ~~~ these are the days, so few and far between, that I long for as Autumn winds down the closing year ~~~


It is the kind of day that makes the most mundane of tasks a pleasure ~~~ for after days of blustering that would not delight Winnie, Piglet, Owl, and friends one jot, the wind has dropped to barely a whisper, all is calm and the sun is shining as bright as it can; there is a milky subtlety that brushes all the colours across the land into a softly muted palette that only Autumn brings. Light mists breathe gently and dust the undulations of the land in mild mystery and glistening dew drops of night catch the morning sun as it rises, dancing and dazzling through the bare trees ~~~

Gazing across this ancient land, where I am blessed to dwell, I delight in all I see ~ Autumn fields of softly muted greens made lush and rich by weeks of rain ~ the purple haze of heather skirts beneath the dark brown cap of a nearby hill that stands defined and proud against a milky blue sky ~ here and there are farmsteads with grazing cows in the pastures ~ sheep dot the slopes ~ a distant golden gorse bush shimmers, catching my eye as it echoes the golden morning sun; the day is welcomed in and all is well in the land I love ~~~


Until next time, Gentle Reader, remember that




~~~A Gardener's Work is Never Done ~~~

19 comments:

  1. Dear Deborah, I'm so happy to hear you have been able to go into your beloved garden. I do hope your onions and garlic do well. I only have two small raised garden beds that I plant tomatoes, basil and squash in the spring. Your writing is so poetic and paints such a lovely picture of the Shire. We have been having quite a cold November for VA. My husband and I have been taking our two mile walks in the Mall since the return of cold weather. It's not that pretty, but gets the exercise in. I thought it would be ok to walk in our neighborhood this morning as it was a little warmer. Boy was I wrong--there was quite a breeze that went right through us. The temps have risen this afternoon and will become warmer in the next couple of days. I hope you continue to feel better and are able to go into the garden soon. ♥

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    1. Hello Martha Ellen ~ I claim to be the inventor of the sport Mall Walking way back in the early 80's! Great place for indoor bad weather exercise, isn't it? Those breezes get us every time. Thank you for your kind wishes ~~~

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  2. Oh Debs, I am just enthralled with your story telling of Autumn in your countryside... I can just picture it all, and I love the pile of "Snoopy" leaves of which you speak!... your hot chocolate sounds delish!... it is cold and blustery here today as well... but Tessy and I were able to take our walk along the trail... wishing you a lovely weekend, xoxo... Julie Marie.. PS LOVE your postal boxes!... waving!...

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    1. Hello Julie Marie ~ so pleased that you and Tessy still have the weather to get out and walk along your trail. I bet she loves the piles of "Snoopy" leaves too! ~~~

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  3. What a lovely post...your writing is like a great novel. I don't want it to end, yet at the end I sigh with pleasure. And the photos are wonderful. I think I will give your recipe a go sometime soon. It sounds very good.

    Take care, my friend!

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    1. Hello Dear Friend! Thank you for your kind words ~ one day, maybe it will be a book! Who knows? Do try the recipe, it is delicious, and I've made it with Almond Milk and less chocolate too! Even better for us! ~~~

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  4. I love the way you write Deborah, you take in all the beauty around us & put it in to words.
    We have a post box like that too in our village.
    Keep warm
    Fondly Michelle

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    1. Hello Michelle ~ thank you! Yes, we have several of these post boxes that brighten up the village in unexpected spots! ~~~

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  5. Your Spiced Pumpkin White Hot Chocolate sounds heavenly, Deb! It would be fun to serve it over the holidays. I have fallen in love with the red Post Box in the stone wall. What a treat it would be to mail handmade cards to friends from the charming Post Box! Wishing you a most lovely week, Deb!

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    1. Hello Dawn! Why I can picture you, snow on the ground, all wrapped up popping your handmade cards into a box like this then dashing through the snow to a waiting mug of hot chocolate in your house ~~~

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  6. Hi Deborah!
    We seem to be connecting in so many places, I thought I would skip over here to say hi! What a lovely post. Your wind sounds likes ours...minus the lovely moisture. We had blowing dust! My gardens have also been neglected due to drought, but I am determined to whip the herb bed back into shape, if my back will hold up. We shall see. Thank you for the lovely recipe and congrats on Emily! You are going to just love her, I have had mine for twenty years and she still makes me smile.
    Love your writing and who does not love to be called "Gentle Reader". This has been a lovely start to my day.
    Chris Wells from West Texas

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    1. Hello Chris ~ yes we do seem to be connecting across many places ~ all thanks to Susan Branch again. I have made many good friends thanks to Susan.
      I cannot imagine dust like that, and I hope your back holds up so you can whip the herb bed into shape!
      I'm so pleased to see you here, and hope you will stop by again for a cup of tea and a chat.
      ~~~waving~~~

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  7. As always, Deborah, you have painted lovely word pictures of your Shire! Thank you, too, for the recipe. I shall give it a try! I am going to take advantage of our 70 degree (!!) temperatures today to finish gathering all the fallen leaves. Snow is predicted for Wednesday!

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  8. P.S. I love your photograph of the post box! It would fit perfectly in my new Photography section of photos I've taken, only I didn't take the photo. :-( I'm calling one of the categories "iconic". But you've given me the idea, so I shall scout out one of our disappearing corner mailboxes--but I can tell you now, they aren't nearly as charming as yours....and this gives me the idea to look for disappearing phone booths, too.

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    1. The red British Post Box is quite iconic, and the archetypal pillar box is often seen on Christmas cards, complete with robin. We are fighting to keep as many of these smaller ones in use, for, sadly, despite the history and uniqueness they, as with so many things, are now in the "use it or lose it" category.
      My goodness, 70 degrees to snow in a few days! Quite an adjustment. Stay safe and warm!
      ~~~waving~~~

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  9. Oh I love all this! The very autumnal/wintery hot chocolate, the old post box and the last picture just makes me feel like in another time.

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    1. Yes, Guillaume, the post box does feel as if from another era, doesn't it?
      ~~~waving~~~

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  10. I always love the words and pictures you share in your posts, what beauty! :) Your pumpkin white hot cocoa looks like a wonderful treat, perfect for the season! :) I really love the pictures of the red post box!

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    1. The little red post box is causing quite a stir! Do try the hot chocolate recipe, it is very good!
      ~~~waving~~~

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Thank you for stopping by today ~ I love reading your comments