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Monday, December 12, 2016

O (Kinda Large) Tannenbaum

If there is one very good reason for owning a long mini-van, it is this:  
You can fold down the seats, and 
slide your fresh Christmas tree right in; 
  no roof-tying insanity.  
Me, wandering through a
tree farm, looking adorable.
Nowadays, we buy a fresh tree from a garden center around the corner from That Old House.  No more venturing into the vast Jersey wilderness to hack down our own specimen, followed by a hair-raising trip home on Route 80, with me convinced we'd cause a multi-car pileup when our tree went flying off the roof.  The year the tree farm guy tied a giant tree on with dental floss was the last straw.  

Our tree, hogtied in the back of the
minivan, Sunday afternoon.
No, now... we don heavy gloves (why is it always so cold on a tree lot?) and hunt the local lot.  Here's this year's victim lucky candidate, fresh out of the van and wrestled into the stand.
Late Sunday afternoon,
blue light time.
Which means ... all of our trees are UP, faux and fresh.  Some are partly finished, others awaiting their balls and bling.  The house is a tip, with still-to-be-deployed decorations and wreaths and garlands and ribbons running amuck, everywhere, but ... there's time.  And as always, what gets done, gets done ... and what doesn't, doesn't.
Fuzzy phone picture, Sunday evening.
Howard decides to do the lights another time.
I would attempt to put the lights on the sunroom tree, but I don't want to get scratched shoving strands of lights into the tree's innards; I hate pain.
Howard is a boy, so he gets to do the hard ouchy stuff.  :-)
Happy Monday morning, Tree!
(The picture is crooked, not the tree.  That's my story.)

My Dad believed that the more painful, scratchy, and fierce a tree's needles, the better it would last for the whole season.
Howard has adopted this belief, and has the scars to prove it.

Today, the tree looks happy, relaxed,
and ready for its bling.  
Last year's sunroom tree.

How do you choose a tree?
Do you cut one down, or find it on a lot?
Or take it out of a box?

Just a dozen days till Christmas Eve!
And remember:
Ho Ho Ho!  -- Cass

Visit The Graphics Fairy for a mind-boggling collection of vintage art.  Thank you, Karen!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Thanksgiving, and the Roses That Won't Die

I am a dunce.
Once again, I forgot to take pictures on Thanksgiving Day.  Why do I do this?


I got one nice picture of a guest, relaxing, 
getting ready for the tanning bed:
"So... what SPF is butter, anyway?"
*********************
Remember my annual TBDBT List?  ("To Be Done Before Thanksgiving" List.)  This year, I took little Post-It notes, and stuck the "To Do" items on the freezer door, and when that item was actually "To Done," its note got moved to the refrigerator door, on the right. 
Day before Thanksgiving, with most of
the TBDBT notes on the "Done!" side. 😉

Howard, bless him, got competitive about moving those little bits of paper.  He wanted to move more of them.  
Ssshh... don't tell him I may have Tom Sawyer'd him into whitewashing a fence.

***************************
And now it's December.  And it's cold.  And we've already had three light snowfalls.  

I have decided this means an easy winter ahead; we'll get all the snow done with early.  
Don't argue with me.  Believe.

Our Knockout Roses are holding on to the bitter, bitter, bitterly cold end of the season.  
 I took these shots today.  December 9th.


These roses have been iced, snowed, and out in 25-degree weather overnight.  I think we need to start building cars out of whatever these roses are made of.

One of my geraniums was almost as tough.
Just a few days ago....in snow.  Still hanging on.
But today, after last night's bitter lows,
it folded its hand.  
I had considered wintering it over in the house, 
or bare root in the cellar.  I'm sorry I didn't.
*********************
And now I remember why I took a break from blogging.  It's hard!  I'm out of practice, slow, and dull.  But I will leave you for today, with pictures of our pups, Dylan and Gilda.  He's now 7, and she is 13, and still a flirty redhead.

"What?  What?  Why are you hollering?"
"What do you mean, what did I just eat?"

 And another Thanksgiving picture, of my gluten-free, sugar-free pumpkin cheesecake.  It was delicious, even cracked.
Cracked?  It fit right into the family.


Now I need to go feed the dogs.
I'm being stared at.
Duty calls.  -- Cass

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Return of the Blogger

Blame it on physics.  
You know ... that inertia thing.  "Objects in motion," etc.
Well, I've been an object NOT in motion ... 
an object at rest, at least when it came to blogging.

And inertia kept me there.  Like a blogging shut-in.  
Hiding, snuggled in amongst the comfy cushions.

Yes, like that.


But then, checking my email this morning, there, right there at the top of my computer monitor, was a little link:  
"That Old House," it read ... and it called my name.
And for the first time since April 2015, 
I decided to answer that siren call.   


Let me just go get some hot coffee.... 
I promise the inertia won't trap me in the kitchen. 

I'm back.  And I'm entering into the spirit of the season.
Thanksgiving Day is one week from today.
One week, people. One week!

So, yes, it is time to reveal the time-honored
To-Be-Done-By-Thanksgiving List.
This year's version of the T.B.D.B.T. List is modest.
No high-flying, high-falutin' goals.
Simple.  After all, 'tis a gift, eh?

Here it is:
1)  Buy food.
2)  Cook same.
3)  Not poison anyone.
4)  Be grateful for all of above.

There ya go.  What's on your TBDBT List this year?
Oops!  I forgot #5... Find Howard's turkey shirt!
It just isn't Thanksgiving without the Cracker Barrel Turkey Shirt.

That's all, Folks.  How are y'all?
I hope you are well, happy, healthy, and being good.
Tomorrow, a furniture dilemma to share.
With me, it's almost always about the furniture.
Or, the china.  Or, the vintage linens.  Or....
All the best ... Cass

Thanks to Karen, The Graphics Fairy, for the vintage images.
Her website is a treasure trove!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April's Little Prank


There I was, on the 1st of last month, 
celebrating the coming of Spring
and innocently anticipating March
skipping away like a gamboling lamb.


Courtesy of graphicsfairy.com

Yeah, remember that?

But Mother Nature being, as I always say, a merry prankster,
she gave us this, at That Old House, on the last day of March:

Yes.  Snow.  Snow. A couple of inches, 
and it's still mostly here on this beautifully sunny first day of April.
There are sprouting poppy leaves under that snow!  Poor wee things.

This is not a good April Fool's prank.
Even our own lamb is not gamboling; does he look happy?
No, he does not.  He looks cold.


This snow thing has gotten old.  Really old.  Even older than me. 
And that, my friends, is old.

There is good news.  Today is a boldly brilliant day with deep blue skies and just a few wisps of cloud.  It warmed up, and the snow is almost all melted.  Yes, good news.

Not so good news is the appearance of this guy, below.



He is a groundhog.  
Largest of the rodents known as ground squirrels, he pretty much exists 
to ruin gardens and eat ALL of the tomatoes, squash and eggplants.
All of them.  A very wicked part of me (that I try and hide most of the time)
is hoping that this guy takes it into his head to go play in traffic.

Happy April, my friends!
I wish you a Spring that will start firing on all cylinders very soon,
and an end to cold and ice and snow.  Winter -- vamoose!

Linking to Outdoor Wednesday today, at Susan's A Southern Daydreamer blog.  Click here!


Be well -- Cass

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Marching Toward Spring, In Snow Boots


Welcome, March.
The month that will bring us the first day of Spring.


In keeping with the Old Wives' Tales, March 2015
in the Northeast USA is indeed coming in, roaring like a Lion.

More snow today, piling onto the accumulated snow
that's been whiting us out all Winter.  

I am not sad to see this February pass into memory.
It had its moments.  Valentine's Day, for instance.

The regular visits of our Cardinal pair to our window bird feeder.
Isn't Mr. C. adorable?  
He leaves the feeder each time, and flies up to the driveway,
where he perches on the side mirror of my minivan, and regurgitates food to give to the
handsome Cardinal he sees in that mirror.  Yes, it's a bird thing.
The term "bird brain" suddenly makes perfect sense.

February had its beautiful, quiet moments.

Our yard received its PhD.
(Piled Higher and Deeper.)


Out on the East End of Long Island, the family beach house
was battered by a late January blizzard, and snows that followed.
One after another after another.  A rough winter for sure.
Still, there is a frozen beauty that is quite spectacular.

The snow gave our two dogs chances to look adorable.
Gilda, our Redhead, loves awful weather, the rougher the better.
She eats snow, rolls in it, wears it, lies down in it ...
she only comes back in the house if lured with a tasty cookie.

Her coat has grown so thick and weatherproof this winter,
that she's beginning to resemble a small one of these:
A glamorous Highland Cow.

As for Dylan, he is missing his romps in the yard, but is
managing to find his own fun indoors.  He is creative.


All in all, February held 2 family birthdays for us, and some other revelry.
However, I bid it goodbye, gleefully, with a smile and a jaunty wave.

Spring will come.

I don't really want to know what will be revealed when all the snow
in our yard is finally melted from those areas we have not been able to get to.
If you, too, have dogs you understand.

But I am looking forward to March
skipping away like a sweet little Lamb.  

Goodbye, Old Man Winter.
Don't let the screen door hit you
in the (euphemistic term here) on the way out.

What have you, my blogging friends, been doing to get through this Winter?

19 days, ladies and gents.  19 days.  Spring!
First one in the northern USA to spot a blooming crocus, wins. -- Cass

And special thanks to Karen, the Graphics Fairy, for the vintage images!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Slow Climb Back To Normal, And An Old Oak Table in Distress


I know.  I know.  
Normal?  Seriously?
Well, we're talking as close to normal as
That Old House ever gets.
Oh come on, confess.  How normal is your house?

So, the big fresh Christmas tree in the Conservatory came down,
the fallen needles got vacuumed up, the chandelier was re-hung,
and the table put back in place.
Notice anything odd? 


The center leg looks like it's been on an all-night bender
and can't stand up straight.  Because it can't.  Not for long.
It also goes AWOL and falls off, if given the chance.

This is a grand old oak table that was in my Great Aunt Margaret's
Brooklyn home.  Long, long ago.  It has countless leaves,
and can stretch out to about 6 miles long.

Here it is, in January 2010, in the Sunroom with the old wall color,
old carpeting, and our dear old dog Dion.

We used to be able to carefully stretch it out to accommodate 
at least several of those leaves, but now?  Everything falls apart.
Also January 2010

We managed this past Thanksgiving to put in some leaves,
but it was touch-and-go, and our guests never knew how close
they came to wearing their gravy in their laps.  I hope.


Moving the table into the kitchen for Christmas,
to make room for the tree in the Conservatory, was an adventure.

Parts fell off.  Legs.  Screws (below). 
Random bits of dry old wood exploded out of its innards.
We made a stab at fixing it, but it was at best a Band-Aid on a compound fracture.


The working mechanisms for an old table like this,
with their many moving parts, are elaborate, intricate, delicate,
clever, and completely ingenious.  Trouble is, me and Howard?
Clever and ingenious do not describe our woodworking skills.

Conservatory, Oct 2010, new carpeting, new paint.  Old table - still working.

 So now we need to decide, Howard and I, how to fix a much-loved table
that has served my family, in one house or another, for a century.
I've called a couple of furniture restorers; so far, no one's returned my call.
I suspect no one wants to tackle this table!

Meanwhile,
the table is usable, without any leaves; we don't mind the bit
of wiggle, and we're careful not to stress the dear old thing.

 Today, I realized it needed a quick centerpiece,
and had a pinecone wreath ready to help out.
The snowman looks silly, but he asked for a chance at stardom.
 I thought the glass with the silver balls would work.  But -- no.

This one, below, looks ... well, it looks awful.  Dreadful.
It's a bad thing to mix growing greens with plastic ones.
The winner of the world's Saddest Philodendron Award.

Finally.  Below.  Good enough, and doesn't make me cringe.
 A lantern, left over from a wedding at a country club.
We did not steal it.  Really.  No, really.  Probably.
Anyway, the gold blob inside is an LED battery powered candle, of realistic wax,
that, just like a real candle, melted into goo in the sun.
Now that's what I call realism!  :-)
Equally real -- the difficulty of getting melted wax out of the darned lantern.

Okay, done.  Wrote this piece Friday, then got distracted, and am finally
posting in the wee hours of Saturday morning.  Yawn.
Happy weekend! -- Cass

It's Feathered Nest Friday at the French Country Cottage.  Click here!
My Romantic Home is home to Show And Tell Friday.  Click here!
At The Charm of Home, it's Home Sweet Home Friday.  Click here!