Monday, October 26, 2015


With Halloween fast approaching, I thought I'd share one of my favorite Halloween products - Pumpkin Masters Carving Kits.

I started using Pumpkin Masters Carving Kits back in 1986 and I quickly became addicted! I have always enjoyed carving pumpkins, but these kits not only provided the appropriate carving tools to make a professional looking jack o lantern, but they also provide you with many different patterns. If you've looked at these kits in the store and wondered if they really worked, well I'm telling you they do. My family has been using them for over 20 years and we have won many pumpkin carving contests with the fanciful patterns provided.

One of the very first pumpkins I carved was this beauty of Frankenstein's monster. Although the carving looks difficult, it really isn't. You basically use push pins or tape to apply a pattern to the pumpkin, then you use the outlining tool to make an outline of the pattern. Then you remove the pattern and start carving.

The Headless Horseman is one of my favorite patterns to use. I have carved this pattern numerous times over the years. It is fun and always a hit at Halloween parties.

The Howling Vampire is another favorite pattern and I have carved it on several large pumpkins over the years. It is the two faces of the vampire and it looks very spooky when it is lighted.

If Tiffany Had Used a Pumpkin has been the hardest one I've every attempted, but it remains my favorite. It is carved on all sides and I was so afraid the spider in the middle would come unattached. I have carved this pumpkin 3 times, the last time (not this photo) was on a 100 pound pumpkin for a local grocery store.

Due to my recent illness, I have not carved a pumpkin for several years, but I enjoy looking back at the wonderful photographs my husband took of my creations.

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Kisses from heaven

It really is a shame my sister, Amy, didn't live long enough to see her grandchild born. Desiree will be 6 years old this week and I am sure that her granny is smiling down on her from heaven.

Amy Kisses
She spoke to me like a flicker of air swept by in a dream
Gentle kisses in the ear making me feel wanted and loved;
She’s been gone so long it’s been almost five years
And yet I can still feel her in my heart.
She caresses the inner sanctity opens my wounds with a flick of her wings,
Then she smiles and says, “thank you for being there today.”
Her first grandchild she will never know, but will watch from her chair high above.
Every kiss, every prayer, every loving moment in time
Captured internally and filed away, ready to recapture the joy.
We will give her earthly love and vigor,
You will give her angel kisses;
She will grow and thrive and capture the light
Fulfilling her destiny unwritten.
She’ll have much hugged awards, atta girls, aren’t you sweet
But she’ll also have memories and history and cherishments.
Yes, we will raise her and see she does right
And she will know the grandmotherly love, though the package may seem strange
She will know the love you are giving
You don’t have to worry we will make sure she knows,
That granny’s my sis and we all miss her so,
But she’ll live in your heart and your soul.


Monday, October 19, 2015

Autumn is in the air

Autumn Again

All the year I wait for this,
The autum air and chill;
A joyful time I hate to miss,
The fall just fits my bill.

Pumpkins, squash and gourds abound,
With fodder shocks and pears;
And apple cider to go around,
For anyone who cares.

A pot of chili, a crackling fire,
The harvest moon hangs low;
The damp rainy days can make you tire,
With thoughts and dreams of snow.

It only last a very short time,
I cherish each passing day;
Through leaves and other garden grime,
Wishing it would stay.

Thursday, October 15, 2015


(Photo copyright Dan Felstead)

The Sycamore protects the house
with long, lean limbs of white;
so old with age, it’s hard to say
how much longer she will be around.

The Sycamore looms not in the horizon,
but in the side yard of the house;
sheltering the house in summer
but leaving anxiety with the cold wind.

The Sycamore tree, a friend a foe,
stands tall above the land;
how long will she last, is it her time to go
or will she reign as Queen of them all?

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Frost Asters

The frost aster, or Aster pilosus, is a native perennial plant in the Bluegrass Region. It can grow up to 3½' tall. An individual stem has few branches and are spindly, but mature plants often send up multiple stems that create a shrubby appearance. The stems are initially green with lines of small white hairs, but they often turn brown and become bare of leaves with age. The tiny white hairs on the leaves provide a frost-like appearance.

The flowering stems are long with needle-like leaves, and they are held up or horizontal to the ground. The daisy-like compound flowers are yellow, later becoming reddish, which are surrounded by ray florets that are white, rarely light pink or purple. This aster has no noticeable floral scent. The seeds have small tufts of white or brownish hairs, which are distributed by the wind, and the root system is initially fibrous.

Frost masters  grow best in full sun and dry conditions; they are very drought tolerance. This plant can thrive in loam, clay, or gravelly material. The Frost Aster is easy to grow, but can spread aggressively by re-seeding itself. Because of the long multiple stems, the flowers appear to be floating in the air.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Small town life

Am I not considered normal because I live in a small town? Am I less of a human being because my town is 20,000 strong instead of 200,000? Why is it that life in America seems to revolve around large metropolitan towns, when the majority of our population is in small rural towns? The answer to these questions is as varied as the population of our great nation.

I was born in this small town and I have lived my entire life to date within a ten mile radius of my current address. I have never wanted to live anywhere else other than where I am. I like the atmosphere of a small town life. Almost everybody knows everybody else and nothing is ever a secret. The highlight of the week is the printing of the local newspaper which gives all the details – in nauseaum – of last week’s main news. The main problem with a weekly newspaper is that the news is always old news. There is no way to keep current with news if the paper is only printed once a week. But you feel like you miss something if you don’t read the entire paper cover to cover.

I have always been an introverted person and I think this contributes itself to small town life. I don’t enjoy being in large groups of people and I don’t enjoy going into huge stores. I’m the small town corner market kind of girl instead of the city size warehouses that offer you everything your little hear desires. I just don’t want to get my heart’s desire from a box store; my heart’s desire is still part of my dreams and dreams are something you can’t shop for in a store.

I love my small house; I like that everything is on one floor. I don’t think I could ever be happy living on the 32nd floor of some New York highrise. I like to open the windows on pretty days and I rarely ever lock my doors when I’m home alone during the day; these are definite disadvantages if you live in the city. I love mowing my yard and pruning my plants and shrubs; the only greenery you have in cities is at the park. I like being able to walk down Main Street and stopping to talk with the people I see; again, a near impossibility in a large city.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


My love affair with science fiction started back in 1972 when I saw the original movie Planet of the Apes on television. I was fascinated with the relationship between the men and the apes in this movie and how the Earth declined, but managed to survive after the downfall of man. Charleton Heston and Roddy McDowell were the ones who wet my appetite for science fiction. I can vividly remember wanting to be Charleton Heston’s daughter (in my mind a replaced Nova with a daughter, because I was too young to be interested in a boyfriend) in the movie because I wanted to be able to play with the apes.

As I got older, I began collecting Planet of the Apes comic books. I remember the only place I could find these comics was at the old Save-A-Lot story, which used to be located where the new Subway is. I anxiously awaited each new addition and I would try to go to the grocery with me mom every single time she went. I would scour the magazine rack for the newest edition, plus any other magazine that mentioned the Planet of the Apes.

When Planet of the Apes became a television series back in 1974, I was ecstatic. When the show premiered in the fall of 1974, I was sitting on the basement floor with a clear view to the television. Before this time, I used to go to the Mercer County basketball games with my cousin Karen Noel (Million) and her father. We were wild about basketball and we went to every game. Every game until the fall of ‘74. When the Planet of the Apes television show came on, it was scheduled on Friday nights, so I began to stay home on Fridays and forgo basketball. Of course, this didn’t last long because the series was canceled after only 14 episodes. Bummer! By January of 1975, I was back to attending basketball games, but my love of these apes didn’t stop there.

Now, thanks to the introduction of the digital age, I can now watch Planet of the Apes whenever I want. I have all 5 original movies on DVD, as well as a behind the scenes DVD. I also just received the entire original televsion series on DVD, a surprise from my wonderful husband this past Christmas. My children think I’m crazy, but I just tell then, wait until you are old. I’m sure when Amber gets my age, she will be sentimental about He-Man and She-ra, just like Marie will remember Care Bears and Gremlins. I am sure Christine will always remember Pokemon and Harry Potter.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

13 reasons to love autumn

Here are my 13 reasons to love autumn:

1.) Pumpkins, squash and gourds - oh my! These fruits are the quintessential signs of autumn. They show in in yard decorations, children's carvings and delicious meals. Nothing says autumn like the bright orange pumpkins, multi-colored gourds, and textural squash.

2.) Beautiful autumn leaves - after pumpkins, the natural splendor of autumn leaves ushers in the arrival of cooler days and longer nights. Red, orange, yellow and brown - these are the gifts of nature to the season of giving.

3.) Crisp cool air - There is nothing better than waking to a morning where light frost coats everything in sight, leaving the air cool and crisp with the first hints of what's to come. I am not a summer person, so I rejoice in the cooler mornings that come with the autumn.

4.) Juicy apples and pears picked fresh from the trees -What could be a better banquet from nature? Although my apple and pear trees are extremely old, they still produce enough fruit to satisfy my family. Apple butter, pear butter, apple-pear preserves, apple sauce - all these yummy treats are awaiting in a basketful of fruit.

5.) Spider webs dancing in the early morning dew - Although spiders aren't one of my favorite creatures, I relish the beautiful webs they weave. And there is nothing prettier than dew collecting on autumn webs, making an artistic statement to the world.

6.) Fodder shocks (corn stalks) - Either standing in a field or decorating a front yard, one sure sign of autumn are the mighty corn stalks. Tall and majestic, they provide decoration as well as food for the coming winter.

7.) Bonfires or camp fires in the backyard - Is there anything better than a warm bonfire on a cold autumn night? Huddling with family and friends and reliving the events of the summer past, this activity goes hand in hand with roasting marshmallows or hotdogs, even popcorn fresh from a corn stalk.

8.) Cattails - Although a nuisance to many a farmer, cattails make wonderful fall decorations, lasting well into the winter. Tall and spiky - and even a bit fluffy when the cattail is way past bloom - the elegance of cattails goes with any decorating scheme.

9.) Chrysanthemums - Orange, red, brown, yellow, white, rust - there are so many different colors for the autumn mums, and each one is just as beautiful as the next. Chrysanthemums are THE flower of autumn.

10.) Indian Corn - For as long as I can remember, I have always had Indian corn hanging on my front door as a sign of the welcoming autumn. These multicolor kernels fit with any fall arrangements.

11.) Damp, rainy days - I may be the only one, but I love damp, rainy days. I like the way the air feels cool and damp, I like the way the raindrops glisten on the autumn leaves, and I feel like I'm at one with the elements.

12.) Candles - When the air turns cooler, I start burning candles; they give the home a warm, cozy feeling. I prefer the lighting that candles give off, making everything appear romantic and homey.

13.) Candy Corn - Although I don't like candy corn, this is my hubby's favorite, so I always associate it with autumn. There is just something about these sugary candies that gets him in the mood.

 *Photos from Google Images


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Discover the autumn days

Discover the Autumn Days

Discover the pears that litter the ground, wilted and aging - calling to the Pear Gods, "Please turn me into butter or jam."

Discover the goldenrod, way past its bloom - but still it stands tall, waving in the breeze, calling to birds and to bees.

Discover the spiderweb daintily dangling from each window eaves - delicate patterns of exquisite taste, built by the orb masters of every late fall.

Discover the frost asters dancing above the fields of grain - looking like snowflakes from far away, but mimicking a daisy when each bloom is held close.

Discover the pumpkins - fat, round and orange - delighting the fancies of all young and old.

Discover the cider, all spicy and warm - it touches that something deep down in our souls.

Discover the autumn leaves - broadcasting on trees and littering the ground - Mother Nature's own firework display.

Discover the cool nip in the air - burning your lungs, but opening your senses - your breath coming out in frosty whispers.

Discover the autumn days, don't let them slip away, because in the blink of an eye they're all gone, sleeping away until another year has gone by.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Having Fun in Autumn

It’s the beginning of autumn in the Bluegrass Region and the woods are bustling with activity as both animals and plants prepare for winter. Children delight in the seasonal happenings, as all of nature gets ready for the onset of cold weather. Whether you live in the city or the country, set aside a day to explore the woods with the children in your life – observe area wildlife, collect fallen leaves and enjoy the brisk temperatures this time of year brings.

Check with your local parks and recreation department for any area nature preserves; protected acreage generally has trails to walk on and often provides information on local wildlife and plants you are apt to see. In Lexington there is Raven Run Wildlife Sanctuary and the Lexington Arboretum, in Frankfort is the Salato Wildlife Preserve and in Harrodsburg is the walking trails of Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill.

**Reminder – before entering any wooded area children and adults should always wear bright colors and carry a compass.**
Children and adults who enter the woods quietly will be reward as they become a part of this busy world not often seen by humans. Stop every so often along your journey; you may be fortunate enough to see:

• Squirrels busily darting back and forth, their cheeks comically bulging with nuts, seeds and betties.
• Wild turkeys foraging for acorns on the ground
• Birds and animals greedily feasting on wild berries ripening on the bushes
• Bees hastily sipping the last bit of nectar from blossoms
• Wasps busily preparing for the next generation, leaving egg galls on the limbs of tree.
• Monarch butterflies gliding by on their way south
• Geese honking greetings to each other as they migrate to warmer climates; their signature flight patterns making a black “V” in the sky
• And in many parts of the country, you may be lucky enough to see a bald eagle soaring through the sky