Friday, March 23, 2018

Country Lane in The Cotswolds UK

This country lane in the Cotswolds is my favorite kind of rural road. Photo by Ianw Stokes. As we ride out the last snows of winter, let the mud season begin. I am beyond ready! xo

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Young Princess Elizabeth with Her Father

Three year old Princess Elizabeth cuddling up to to her father George VI. I adore this photo. via

Bird Drinking from a Fountain

The storm is over. The sun is out. My car is melting with no help from me. I am going to wait until the warmest part of the day to clean my walk and finish clearing the snow from my car. I am pleased we didn't get as much as was predicted, only about 4 inches. Not bad at all.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

My Cottage Kitchen w/ Farm Table

I refuse to take any photos of Mother Nature's current temper tantrum aka known as Toby and Foureaster. Instead I took this photo of my kitchen. I finished my taxes on Monday and have put away all the papers and files I had spread out in categorized piles on my farm table. What a relief to have that task behind me for another year. 

The storm hasn't been bad so far (only a couple of inches) but the fine snow is supposed to continue for possibly another 12 hours. I'll give you an update tomorrow morning.

I watched a great movie on Netflix last night -- TULIP FEVER. 

Click here to view the video if you cannot see it above.

Settling-In - Chris Dunn: Badger, Wind in the Willows

"Settling-In" watercolor by Chris Dunn. 
Badger, Wind in the Willows
This is what I will be doing today as Toby, the 4th Nor'easter in 3 weeks plays outside. It is 8:30 on Tuesday morning and the very fine snowflakes are starting to fly at a pretty rapid pace. I am prepared to ride out this storm and hope for the best, but I'm prepared for the worst. Stay snug and warm if this storm is ruining the first whole day of spring for you too. 
I love this charming illustration and have always loved animal interiors in children's books. Mr. Badger has certainly done a wonderful job decorating his burrow under the roots of a large tree. The articles in The Woodland Times look like very interesting reading for a snowy day. xo

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Sag Harbor Kitchen to Love

Click here to view the entire house project in Sag Harbor, NY by S. R. Gambrel, Architect. The kitchen is wonderful, isn't it? A farmtable instead of an island shows great restraint in design. Give me a chair instead of a stool any day.

Old Mansion: Not Too Big

I love this small English Manor house! The architectural details are simply wonderful. via 

Monday, March 19, 2018

My Cookbooks

Someone requested a photo of my cookbook collection. I took this photo this morning and there are still some spiral-bound local private press cookbooks that won't fit on this bookcase under the counter in my pantry. I must confess, I don't use most of them with any regularity but I still like having them. Once in a while, I curate them for donating and I need to do this again soon. I have been eating real food with no additives for a couple of months now, following Michael Pollan's advice:
Pollan says everything he's learned about food and health can be summed up in seven words:
"Eat food, not too much, mostly plants." Read more on his website.

This was yesterday's Instagram photo and I ate the same thing for breakfast this morning. As you all know, I have been making homemade soymilk yogurt in my Instant Pot since before Christmas. I use Westsoy organic unsweetened that comes in a box and is shelved. It contains only two ingredients: whole organic soy beans and filtered water. This breakfast bowl has one peeled kiwi fruit and one clementine as toppings. I have another cup of this delicious yogurt after dinner every night, eaten plain. I could never find a plain commercial yogurt in the past that was delicious enough to eat that way.
This all started when I listened to a segment on NPR with Melissa Clark singing the praises of the Instant Pot with its built-in yogurt setting. Then I got her cookbook, Dinner in an Instant, with recipes. That's where I learned about soymilk with no additives. And the rest is history. I was hooked.
I decided to follow Pollan's advice as well. My immune system has improved greatly and I haven't been sick with a cold or sore throat since October. This is amazing, especially since the flu season was so bad this year. I was beginning to be very concerned with my personal health and was coming down with way too many colds that went to my chest and lingered way too long. They say 90% of your immune system is located in your gut and I am positive the probiotics in the yogurt have helped mine immensely and I have lost some weight as an added bonus.. I am almost afraid to say that last part out loud. Fingers crossed this will continue by eating this way. See you later. xo

Sunday, March 18, 2018

HRH Princess Elizabeth + Corgi 1937

I love seeing vintage childhood photos of her. via

Great Tub for a Nice Hot Bath

I love this look for a farmhouse bathroom.
It might be a challenge to get in and out, but the charm of this horse trough tub is wonderful. I hope they used marine paint to cover the galvanized metal but I'm sure they must have and maybe they even had it enameled! I hope I can find a link that shows the entire room and I'll post it if I do. I love the little hinged windows that open to the inside. Enjoy your Sunday. xo via

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Shamrocks, Planted by Leprechauns

For some reason, I frequently get wild shamrocks growing along with my seedlings. In this case, it's a rosemary cutting. I have some growing along with a geranium in one of my pantry windows too. Happy St. Patrick's Day, dear friends. Today, everyone is Irish. xo

My Only Visible Snowdrops

I covered this clump of snowdrops before the first Nor'easter a couple of weeks ago. Since then we have had two more so I never took this cloche off. It really came in handy and the spring bulbs look very happy in their own special hothouse. My other galanthus are buried under about a foot of snow but they will be fine once all the snow I shoveled on top of them melts. They are the earliest spring bulbs to bloom and they are very hardy and they come by their name honestly. I plan on enjoying this sunny weekend with beautiful blue skies and no clouds. These sweet little flowers can double as my good luck shamrocks for St. Patrick's Day. xo

Friday, March 16, 2018

Fish with Designer Outfit

No designer could ever make a gown this beautiful though many have tried! via By Thai photographer Visarute Angkatavanich.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Door Hardware: Hidden Beauty

This decorative brass latch plate is seldom seen when the door is closed but the beauty remains. via

Gum-Nut Babies: May Gibbs 1916

May Gibbs, Illustration for Gum-Nut Babies, 1916 via. Aren't they adorable? She is a new illustrator to me and her official website is wonderful. Get ready for the sounds of Australian Birds if you click. Go there with a child, if possible and explore the stories and games. Have fun. xo

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Two Hares Antique Print 1752

I love this natural history print: Two Horned Hares (Meyer 1752) 

My Wisteria in the Snow

My wisteria is hoping this is the last snow of the season. We shall see. The sun is shining today and the blue sky is full of white puffy clouds in my backyard and clouds of the threatening variety in the front. What an end to winter we are having. In my limited travels since digging out, I have seen so much tree damage. The local town website says after the first nor'easter many people were trapped in their homes with no way in and no way out. This must have been quite frightening, especially if these residents had no power. All is well now, thank goodness!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Round #3 This Morning's Snowfall

I got up around 6am and learned it was snowing. I took the soymilk yogurt I was fermenting out of my Instant Pot and put the six jars in the refrigerator and went back to bed. I woke up again several hours later and snapped this pic with my iPhone. The table had NO SNOW on it when I went to bed last night so this is the current accumulation. It is supposed to quit in the early afternoon and luckily there is no wind. I shall just try to enjoy the beauty and think warm thoughts for those not as snug as I am at the moment. The thermometer is rising and it's already above freezing and my railing is melting. As you can see from this COLOR photo, the sky is gray and we aren't expecting any sun until Saturday. See you later with updates. xo

Monday, March 12, 2018

My Fox on Monday Morning

I must have good hunting on my property because he keeps coming back. This beautiful red fox stood here and listened to what was going on under the snow before he gave up and moved on for better hunting in the woods. Today he isn't falling through the snow as there must be a frozen layer that formed last night. I love his black stockings. Have a great week and let's hope Nor'easter #3 doesn't come my way or yours. xo

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Red Fox Sighting at My Cottage

I still get excited when I see Mr. Fox near my house. He is especially beautiful walking in the snow. I hope he was able to find something to feed his family. I made a video but have never successfully uploaded one to this blog. I did, however, put it on Instagram here. Have a great Sunday night. xo

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Cutest "MAKE JOY HAPPEN" Video

Click here if you cannot see the adorable video above. Enjoy!

Snow Recovery at My Cottage

I have a path from my front door one shovel wide. My car is cleaned off and I hand-shoveled all around it. The pile of snow on the left, which you can't see, was harder to do because the evergreen was in the way. When I was about 95% finished, a car stopped, and a man got out and offered to help me. I thanked him and assured him that I was very fit and was almost finished. The Good Samitaritan and true gentleman reluctantly drove away. It made me feel good that he was kind enough to even stop.

The icicles are starting to form on my barn/garage and the snow on my balcony has melted enough to show the base on my long bench.

The snow on my table top is freezing in place as it droops.
Have a great weekend as you dig yourselves out if you got a lot of snow. I feel your pain if you are still without power as so many are in New Jersey. My street got lucky and we were only out for a day and a half and that was plenty as some towns nearby have been out for over a week. It makes me feel somewhat guilty for having my generator but I would much rather have this home inprovement instead of a couple of designer handbags. It was money well spent and I plan on keeping it in good working order for years to come.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Cat Being So Gentle with A Bird

Two unlikely friends. I love this gentle pat the cat is giving the bird. via
I shoveled out an escape route for my car today but I really don't want to go anywhere. My power came back on this morning and I was happy. See you tomorrow. xo

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Nor'easter #2 in 2 Weeks

OK. The worst is over. I took this photo this morning around 8:00 while making coffee on my gas stove. I am not sure how much power my coffee maker uses and I am running on my generator and want to be conservative. Today I shoveled a path to my car and finished cleaning it off and a path all around it. Tomorrow I will shovel one car width out to the street. I am parked very close to the road so it won't be too hard. I have been using this system all winter and it has worked well. Why plow the whole horseshoe driveway when all I need is a spot for my car? Every day for over a week upcoming is going to be in the 40s so there will be a slow melt and that's a good thing. I am so glad I am still able to do hard work and maintain my independence. It is a very satisfying feeling. 
I hope all of you are dealing with March Madness and its weather and haven't had anything too tragic happen to your house. It will soon be over and we can get to the business of picking up sticks and maybe seeing some spring bulbs emerge. xo

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

March 2018 Blizzard at My Cottage

I took this photo at 3:00 this afternoon. It's almost 9:00 pm now and it has finally quit The amount you see in this photo has about doubled. It is over my boots and over my knees. I guess we got about 20 inches. My power went out at 6:30 this evening and my generator kicked in. I got an alert on my landline that the whole area is without power. My neighbors across the street hired a front end loader to do their driveway. It's way too deep for a regular truck with a plow blade on the front. I shoveled my walk when I took this photo but you would never know it. I will work a little each day and will be careful so don't worry. I cannot tell you how comforting it is to have a generator. I am so glad I made the leap and got one. This is the most snow I have seen since I bought my cottage in 2001. See you tomorrow. Be safe. xo

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Small Outbuilding for Garden Tools

Delightful tiny outbuilding with a slate roof.

Side view. Don't you love the architectural detailing? I finally got to see this little building I've always loved today at a Broker Open House.