Some happy fall-ish things

September 12, 2017

Pumpkin from
I say this every year, but it's true. Fall is my absolute favorite. The days are sunny and mild with low humidity. The nights are cool, perfect for sleeping with the windows open, a luxury only enjoyed here for a few months out of the year.

It's a time of new beginnings. Back to school. I always buy myself a notebook or two and sharpen some fresh new pencils in honor of those exciting first days of the school year. A fresh clean notebook just sparkles with possibilities.

I'm back to doing some writing, and cleaning up my diet and fluffing up the home nest in preparation for the cooler weather and cozy, fire-lit evenings.

Needed to use up some leftover coconut milk. What nicer than chocolate pudding?
The "harvest" is in. No garden here, only a few herbs in pots on the deck. Fresh thyme and rosemary and basil.

This was what things looked like from our deck a month or so ago. A veritable jungle.

We hired a company to clear out some of the brush, and then my husband and I have been clearing out even more. I've got the poison ivy to prove it. The more we do, the more we see there is to do. Isn't that always the case? We have another crew coming out later this week to mow down even more. 

Look at the difference already. We are moving things back another 15 feet or so. After this week, we will feel like we have a brand new backyard. Then we'll have to decide how much to seed, and what to leave au naturel. I have visions of clumps of daffodils and daisies scattered about.

We're keeping the nice trees, but there has been so much dead stuff and vines and buckthorn bushes that the poor trees have barely been able to breathe. What a metaphor for our lives really. So many choking vines and invasive growth that needs to be cut away and removed so that we can have room and space to grow.

The vines especially appear almost evil to me and I saw more clearly how they twist and cling and hang onto the beautiful maples and tulip trees and pines, trying to literally choke the life out of them.

We really regret not doing this sooner. Some of these lovely trees are going to lose a number of their lower limbs because they haven't had the space or light to grow. Even the poison ivy is conspiring against us, and I've had to deal with some "battle wounds" from fighting the enemy back there.

It makes me wonder what in my life is choking off growth. What do I need to prune back? Or get rid of? 

So much easier if we had dealt with it in the beginning. Nipped it in the bud, as it were.

The new deck is almost finished.

Fall is also the time for going to the cider mills, the corn mazes, and fall festivals. Our little downtown celebrated its annual fall festival last weekend. The Rotary Club does barbecue chicken, the Kiwanis do a pancake breakfast. The roads are closed and the carnival rides are set up and booths are open for browsing crafts and clothing, food and home decor. I found this adorable little purse.

Trying to lower the amount of carbs I'm consuming. This is mashed cauliflower.

I heard about this Mad Hippie cream on some YouTube video, so when I saw it 30% off at our local health food store, I picked some up. Will let you know. The packaging is pretty, and that's always a selling point.

A friend gave me a bird bath for my birthday, and while the deck is being built, I have it on the hearth displaying some chrysanthemums.

While we here in the Midwest have been enjoying a lovely fall, Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have been pounding the South, and our western neighbors have been dealing with devastating fires. It's hard to believe the destruction so many people are experiencing. Our hearts go out to those who are suffering.


  1. We just came out from Irma, here in SE Ga. Not nearly as bad as Fl, or course, or even SW and NW Ga. Still, there are thousands without power. Thank God, we were blessed and didn't lose power this time (we did in Matthew). No damage, just a flooded pond from all the rain. Happy Fall!

  2. Oh, Deborah, what a beautiful yard you're going to have! I adore trees and it will be lovely to have clumps of posies growing there next year where it was all cut back. I wish I could get as excited about Autumn as you and others do. I don't like the cold so naturally I prefer the warmer weather. We are also beach folks so once the summer ends, that is all over too. *sigh* Thank you for stopping by for a visit. I always love hearing from you!


  3. You are so going to love your new deck and backyard. How I'd love to do that here. Alas, I don't own it the forest behind me. It is certainly true that there can be too many trees.

    Sweet purse...

    Hope that poison ivy is soon out of your system. Nothing much more unpleasant.

    You have a nice harvest of herbs...

  4. Looking forward to seeing your new and improved backyard. The purse from the fall festival is super cute! I've also started to bring out my fall decor. Bring on autumn!

  5. Over here on the far eastern tip of the South, we have had relative peace, and we are so thankful. We've had our share of harsh storms from the sea. So scary!
    I also made chocolate pudding today! Quite yummy. Your festival sounds like fun. And look at your yard! You two really did beat back the verge, didn't you? I know what you mean about vines. I am convinced they are the evil "snakes" of the vegetative world. Just sinister. Some here on our pine trees were as thick as my wrist, when we moved here. Horrible! I do hope you put in some sweet understory flowers. You'll enjoy it from your deck.

  6. Mad Hippie has won a ton of awards here in has rave reviews too so I hope you will share your opinions with us after you have had a chance to test the products.
    Congrats on your cleaner eating and cutting down on the carbs...I am doing something very similar here too.

  7. Deborah, the backyard clearing looks amazing!! I can totally relate to and appreciate your analogy of the choking vines in life. So sorry for the poison ivy you've experienced. It is my gardening nemesis! I love your spirit that coincides with the season of fall, and look forward to seeing the final outcome of your deck/yard. Pretty birdbath and purse too!

  8. You are going to have a new yard and pleasant view from your new deck, Deborah! My poor daughter was clearing out in their yard and got poison ivy, also. I've never had it, but Rich would get it, and all my kids, so I know how awful it is.
    Your new purse is adorable! I look forward to your review on your new Mad Hippie products. Happy Fall, my friend!

  9. Great post, Deborah. Your new deck and landscaping is going to be so really opened up that backyard of yours! I love the was you used the cutting back of the weeds and vines and related it to our certainly is true for me! And using coconut milk in chocolate pudding sounds divine! Hugs to you, sweet friend.♥

  10. What a wonderful yard you have to enjoy! I bet your new deck will bring many happy hours of bird, flower and little critter gazing! I know that taming the woods is a huge job, but it's sure to be worth it. Happy fall, Deborah!

  11. Hi Deborah, Looks like lots going on at your house and the yard clearing is going to be beautiful. Already such a big difference!!The deck will be perfect to enjoy days outside and looking over the fruits of your labor. So sorry you got poison ivy. I had poison oak once and it was dreadful. Love your pretty new purse. The cream looks interesting. Anxious to here how it worked out. The mashed cauliflower looks delicious and a healthy alternative to potatoes. So sweet of you to give me a mention with your pumpkin. Thank you dear friend.
    Have a wonderful rest of the week and enjoy your new yard!! xo

  12. All that hard work will be worth all the effort. The decking and landscaping will look amazing, such stunning views. Hope you are not suffering too much from the poision iv.

  13. Hi there, Fall is definitely my favorite season as well-all the smells, candles, decorations etc.
    Your yard looks so good-amazing what trimming can do! One of our neighbors took out some dead Aspen and it makes a world of difference in the curb appeal.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Hugs, Noreen

  14. Wow, how impressive! Looks you have been working hard and it looks so good. And, a great analogy too! Lovely, lovely post!

  15. Wow, that was a lot of brush to clear back! You really got a lot done, and it really has opened up your yard area! You will really enjoy the new view from your deck for sure :) Chocolate pudding - yum! I've never made it with coconut milk, but now I think I should give it a try. How fun to visit your town's celebration, and to come home with such a lovely purse, it is a beauty! Enjoy fall in all its glory :)

  16. Wow, what a lot of work! The yard and deck will look beautiful when everything is completed! Sorry about the poison ivy. I haven't ever gotten it but I am terrified of it for sure! I had a friend who was at a bon fire with it all around and she ended up in the hospital because she inhaled it and it got inside her...I avoid it like the plague! I'll be interested to hear about your creams...never heard of that before! happy fall! the leaves are falling off the trees already...Linda

  17. Dearest Deborah,
    Lovely photo for fall and it will best suit your region I guess.
    Here, after Irma passed over it is back to calm, blue skies and back to high 80s!
    We biked yesterday and today and loved it. Only sad to see the line men still out, repairing the power lines. So many families here in GA still without power.
    We were very lucky with only 8 hours out and 2 days without Internet/TV. Cut off from the world - literally.
    Our friends in Florida are fine, at least in Miami (not even a power outage!) and in Venice but from Lakeland I've not yet heard back. They might be still without power...
    Oh, your back yard is the exact reason that Pieter decided last year to sell our adjacent property. At the age of eighty-eight it is way too much for having to deal with pruning, cutting up the lower branches for keeping the wood floor clean. And yes, I dread that poison oak and poison ivy! That will always find a way back and grows prolific while we struggle to keep our bought plants barely alive...
    Ah, about the recipe not being as sweet as you're used to, as you mentioned in your comment. I've noticed that over the past 34 years that all my European desserts call for a lot less sugar or whatever sweetener, than here in the USA. Being a diabetic type 2, I only like to use the low glycemic index ones and I've never ever liked it that sweet. Pieter wouldn't mind to be FULLY American I guess, he's such a sweets lover and it can't be too sweet for him!
    That coconut flour is a weird ingredient as it sucks up so much liquid and if you eat it, make sure your drink coffee or tea with it or it stays stuck inside your throat. That's my funny feeling about it, aside from its yummy taste! Almond flour is so much easier to handle.
    Enjoy your cooler days, we're hoping to have a nice remainder of summer so we finally can make our trip to Hilton Head, SC for our biking. And another trip to Columbus, GA for biking the river trail and visiting finally (after 34 years!) Callaway Gardens and biking their trails.
    We're back to choir practice and doing well. Initially it is tough for learning all new songs and memorizing text etc. But we're getting there and our group has grown. Now I'm on the 4th row up on the risers when we perform our Revue. So it is even more dangerous for me as to not fall off...
    Sending you hugs,

  18. Dear Deborah,

    I envy your energy in taking on the outdoors. When we moved to a small development in downtown Haddonfield, NJ, 14 years ago next month, I was only too happy to let the Association take care of the outside. I had had enough of dealing with the outside of our large home and lot. Of course, now that I am on the Board of the Association, I'm still dealing with "outside" matters for the entire community. Funny how things work out.

    Cheers, M-T

  19. Love that you get some new notebooks and sharpened pencils in September! Such a freshness and hope to that! Your back yard transformation looks amazing. After all the rain we've had this summer everything has gone nuts here --- and crab grass rules. Have a nice weekend!

  20. You must be very excited to be getting some clear space and a new deck. Can't wait to see what the end result will be! I enjoy the fall fairs etc and there are a few good ones not to far out of the way. Cute purse ;)

  21. Openness and a feeling of spaciousness come from decluttering physically, mentally, and spiritually. The verse fragment "you have set my feet in a spacious place" came to mind as I read your post.
    Sounds like you are enjoying the first days of fall, apart from the poison ivy that I hope eases soon.

  22. Deborah, this post is beautiful and inspirational and truly is a metaphor for life. Pruning in our lives can be so much more painful than pruning in our gardens--although your poison ivy may disprove that! But oh, the benefits of letting more light in!

    Your new yard space is so exciting and having a new view must be too. And yes, spring bulbs will be wonderful there!

  23. You sound like you are so busy with the outside of your house with taking care of the land and new deck. Having a house is a lot of work but everything will look so nice. I too love the fall with decorating the inside and outside of the house baking and good meals. Take care.

  24. Your home is absolutely lovely. I never thought of using coconut milk for pudding. Sounds delicious! Your yard work looks wonderful. I am sure it is a lot of work, but it looks great.


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