Monday, September 22, 2014

Between a rock and...well, you know

 I’ve got stones.

(photo courtesy of lonestone)

I grew up on a very Great Lake, and I wanted to bring a little bit of home to our homes here in NC.  One way to do this is with the great stones that form the threshold between the land and lake. 

In my last house, these stones formed a ring around a very large cutting garden.  (I hope that garden is still there…I planted it over the course of about five summers and it was a ton of time and money.  I am afraid to drive by the old house, just in case it has all gone to heck. I would be sad and would have to come home and have wine.)

This house has gardens already lined with cool old handmade brick, so stones were not necessary.  How could I bring a little bit of the lake to Brandywine?

Enter one really ugly fireplace, faced in red brick. (It’s in an ugly basement, so it’s hard to even see the fireplace ugliness.  Ugly on top of ugly, multiplied by ugly.)  If we covered some of that brick in stones….
The first step in this project was to get enough stones.  This is tricky.  Why? These are NY stones and I live in NC.  Then there’s the dilemma of having to get my hands on enough of them to cover the fireplace.  I knew I could probably buy some at a gravel place, but I had a budget, and that budget was $0.

Enter my mom.  Every summer she says “When are you coming up here?” and every summer (and sometimes fall and sometimes winter) I go.  I loaded two huge buckets and a couple of boxes into the back of my SUV and headed north to my lake. This is where it gets tricky.

Apparently, over the last 2 decades, the threshold between the land and the lake is getting narrower.  This isn’t necessarily a problem, except at the causeway.  If they don’t do something, pretty soon we’re going to have cottagers on an island that wasn’t an island when they bought the cottage.  So the state has been bringing in more rocks in order to shore up the shoreline.

And you can get arrested and fined for taking stones.

When my mom informed me of this, I considered making it a covert operation, driving down to the shore in the dead of night, smearing my face with coal dust and wearing all black.  And then I remembered that I didn’t heat with coal, so the dust was a no-go.  Plus, at night they padlock the roadway that leads down to the stones.  Unless I wanted to walk about a mile back and forth a bunch of times to get those suckers, I was not going to be able to collect the stones at night.  I was just going to have to wing it.

Enter my SUV.  With NC plates.  I could go down to the shore, load stones in my buckets and boxes, and claim that I was from out of state and ignorant of any illegality. I had to do some recon to see if there were any signs posted with regard to stone gathering, and then it was time to put my plan into action.  I drove down the causeway, parked my SUV on the side closest to the water, popped the hatch, and started taking handfuls of stones from the beach to the buckets.  This went on for about fifteen minutes, and I had one bucket full and had begun on the other.

Enter the truck driven by the young man from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.  He was approximately twelve years of age.

“Ma’am?” (Okay, I know he was trying to be nice, but I cringe at the use of ma’am.  It means I’m old.)
“Ma’am, what are you doing?”
“I’m collecting nice rocks to take back to North Carolina with me.” (I am saying this in my southern accent, which most southerners would say I sound like south Pennsylvania.  But to someone from central NY, it’s probably ‘south’ enough.)
“You can’t take those rocks.”
“Is this private property? I’m sorry.  I thought this was a public beach.” (I knew full well it hasn’t ever been private property.  It’s always been “The end of Port Bay,” which means anyone can go there and do whatever.  And many high school kids do whatever there.)
“It is public, ma’am, but you can’t take those stones.  It’s illegal.”
“Really?  There are all kinds of these stones here.  Why would it be illegal to take them?”
“We’re trying to preserve this strip, ma’am.  We’re bringing in new rocks all the time.  You can’t take them.”
“What is the punishment for taking them?  And I don’t see any signs about this.  I believe you’re pulling my leg.”
“No ma’am, it’s just common knowledge.”
I look around.  “Son, I’m from North Carolina.  How would I know that I can’t take these stones?  And how do I even know you have any authority to tell me?  I’m very disappointed in all this.  I drove all the way here to see this lake that everyone says is so great, and I’m not sure, but this looks like the ocean to me, and I’ve already seen an ocean.  And now I can’t even take a few stones as souvenirs.  I am so disappointed in this trip.”  With that, I shut the trunk and got in my car.
The poor boy was so flummoxed, he didn’t even bother to get out of his truck to see how many stones I had. 
While he was pulling his truck off ahead and to the side, I managed to maneuver mine back onto the road and up the hill as fast as I could safely go. 

I was an outlaw with a bucket of stones.


(Of course, as soon as the resurfacing with the stone was done, DL had to put a big television over it, so now you can’t even enjoy the handiwork!)

(A close-up)

In case you’re wondering, I did fill the second bucket and the smaller boxes.  But I can’t tell you where, because then the stones might disappear and it’ll become illegal.  Let’s just say it’s another place where the high schoolers do whatever.)

If you ever need stones, I know a secret place.  Just make sure to bring along your southern accent.

I would love for you to visit each of the other blogs who are participating with me
in the Fetsival of Fall, hosted by The Everyday Home blog and Barb Garrett.
Each day will be a different theme, and I am sure you will
love seeing all the great projects presented each day -
so please come back and see what's new.
Monday: Fall Crafts
Tuesday: Fall Recipes
Wednesday: Fall DIY
Thursday: Fall Decor
Friday: Fall Home Tours

Friday, September 19, 2014

Here are a few great drink recipes for you to enjoy this fall!  (This is a rerun from last year, and folks loved 'em!)

Recipe #1-- Autumn Cooler
Ingredients:  Jack Daniels, Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey, apple cider, hard (alcoholic) cider, and sugar and cinnamon.

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1.  I mixed some sugar and cinnamon on a little plate.  I dampened the rim of a martini glass with some of the apple cider, then dipped the rim in the mix of sugar and cinnamon.  (It’s good if you can do this about ten minutes ahead of time, to give the sugar rim a chance to ‘set.’  It gives it a nice little crunchy texture, like a sugar cube.)

2.  Mix 1 teaspoon of Jack and 1 teaspoon of Cinnamon Whiskey in the bottom of the glass. 

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3.  Then, add 1/3 cup of apple cider.  (I used homemade, which we get from one of DL’s buddies named Gary.  Gary has an orchard and presses his own cider and the stuff is good!)

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4.  I stir it, then top it off with the hard cider, and there it is!
(Kelly---that ‘Raven’ towel is for you!)

Now, for bigger parties--
I have a punch bowl.  Somewhere.  Attic?  Basement?  It doesn’t really matter, as there aren’t a whole lot of ‘real’ parties going on here.  But if you have real friends and want to entertain them all, here is a recipe that is good for the punchbowl:
Recipe #2—Pear Mist

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Ingredients: Captain Morgan spiced Rum, Peach Schnapps, Seltzer, and Pear Juice. 
If you do a punch bowl thing, then you just do this in “parts”--

--Equal parts schnapps and rum (I used one of those little silver cups—I think it’s a jigger?)

--Four parts (four jiggers) of pear.

--Finish off the glass with seltzer water.

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You can make this suitable for a punch bowl, just multiplying the amount, keeping the proportions the same.  (ie: 8 oz. rum, 8 oz. schnapps, 32 oz. pear, topped off with seltzer!)

Thank you so much for stopping by!






Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Walkabout Wednesday in the UK

Those of you who follow me on Facebook might remember that for our 31st anniversary, DL was in the UK for business, while I was stuck here, teaching English/Language Arts to recalcitrant high schoolers.

Meanwhile, he was in “Godric’s Hollow,” taking in the local color:

swan hotel
lavenham harry potter birthplace

…and staying at this hotel in Ireland:

slieve russell

Monday, September 15, 2014

A little Fall, y’all!


In a little “between” time before I Halloween stuff up, I am including apples on my mantel.

I found some canvas apples at a little store near my mom’s house, and I fell in love with them.


At a yard sale, I found a plastic apple.  Not crazy that it was gray, I decided to paint it.


I mixed up some Miss Mustard Seed milk paint in Tricycle, and added a little more water.  I liked a little bit of the gray showing through.


… A little green on the leaf, some taupe on the stem, et voila!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

What I found appealing!

PicMonkey Collagefall wreaths
Thinkin’ ‘bout Fall, y’all!

Here’s the skinny:
Fall Wreaths
Door D├ęcor
Table Settings

Friday, September 12, 2014

Guest Room Reveal!!

kirb appeal

In my own little corner, in my own little chair…

Yep…this is a room fit for a fairy tale.  (I hope it’s not Grimm.)

Kirb Appeal

Beadboard courtesy of DL, to cover the painted-over wallpaper, which should be criminal.  The white is Behr Mirage White and the blue is close to Behr’s Blue Feather. The drapes are from JCPenney, who sent me a credit card in 1983. The brass bed is an antique from Grandma Hazel’s house, the small blue table is from Ikea and the quilt, artwork and little lamp are vintage.

Kirb Appeal

If you saw my mirror makeover, you saw that it was in the corner with the table, but it was lonely.  I could hear it crying in the night.  I had forgotten that there was this nice little blue shelf in the basement (I am always forgetting that I have stuff, and then I go out and buy more stuff and then I find the original stuff, which is annoying), so I decided to see how it looked in that cubby.

Kirb Appeal

I added my zinnias everywhere…

Kirb Appeal

moved the painted buffet in from the living room…

Kirb Appeal

I put this nice vintage wall lamp above the bed, opposite the Ikea table.  That’s in case two people sleep in this bed and one of them wants to read.

I am pleased with how this room turned out.  It TOTALLY suits Brandywine Cottage, and it’s completely different from what others in Blogland are doing.  All that’s missing are the guests!
(And for helpful hints about hosting, see this post at ReFresh ReStyle!)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Walkabout Wednesday

When I go home, (“home” being Wayne County and the shores of Lake Ontario),  I love to spend time walking around the village of Pultneyville.

When DL and I were first married (31 years ago today!), we dreamed of living in Pultneyville in a cute home like one of these.



But DL saw the writing on the wall, and we left my home for somewhere the jobs were more plentiful in order for us to raise a family without worrying about finances.




But boy, we would have loved one of these homes, like this 1860 beauty…



…with the side porch to die for.


There are so many beautiful homes here,




but this is my favorite.  It’s a beautiful traditional home on a corner lot, and it has…


this great red “barn” for DL to work on his projects and for me to have a “barn sale” in the spring and fall.

Not to mention this view across the street…



So long, summer.  You were awesome.