I love fall.

The crispness in the air, all things pumpkin, warm drinks, vibrant leaves, the smell of fires, and snuggling up cute little boys & adventuring out to fall festivities until our fingers feel like popsicles. So adventure we did to the annual “Spooktacular” in Kingston. We dressed as country folk/cowboys/farmers – I know, a real stretch around these parts.

“What a cute little cowgirl with those big blue eyes.”

“She’s so precious – look at her little cowgirl boots.”

We hear you loud and clear. Our little fella needs a haircut.

And apparently everyone has an opinion – even squirrels.

At least our booth won – finally. After we were robbed last year for not having a sign with our name on it (just ask, we’ll tell you who we are) and the year before we didn’t realize there was a competition, we will now house the trophy of best booth – just try and take it from us.


Thaw Thoroughly By Spring

Welcome to Antarctica, where the players play.

And the rest of us stay inside.

I told you winter wagging is not for weenies.


Anyone want to go for a bike ride?

A face her mama definitely loves.

If only "Little Dog" knew how to throw a stick - then it would be love at first sniff.

We're harvesting water this season apparently.

Just stay in those tracks, you'll be alright. And dizzy.

These are the only things that aren’t white. Or brown. Or yellow. Don’t eat the yellow snow.

And just a little reminder, we still feel this way about being human popsicles:

Fall Friskies

Orange. Red. Yellow. Crunching. Leaves. Chai Tea. Thanksgiving. Hammocks. All Things Pumpkin. Cool Breeze. Birthdays. Anniversaries. Socks with Chacos. Long Sleeves. Festivals. Halloween (OK- really just the candy). Harvest. Change. Fireplace. Crisp Air.

I. Love. All. Things. Autumn.

I think I am not going to call it Fall anymore. Typically when something falls it breaks, shatters, hurts itself – all not-so-very-fun things. And Autumn is so very fun.

I have decided to make a list – a list of projects I want to take on this Autumn for no other reason than they will bring me joy:

  • Dig up hosta plants that have taken over my yard. They are pretty and apparently expensive but I don’t have a desire for 9,374 of them in my yard. I would like to plant other things – like tulips or carrots.
Hosta la vistaHello, pretty spring time flowers!
  • Build chicken coop (I originally spelled this “coup” – and then laughed at the image of a bunch of chickens living in a rag-top hatchback) with my dad. Yes, it’s happening. This spring we will get chickens. I haven’t decided yet if we will try to hatch them or try to acquire them post-brooding, depends on how in touch with my roots I am willing to go. Chicken pox, you don’t scare me.
Welcome home, chickens.
  • Hang our hammock. Sadly we have moved two hammocks to three houses and have yet to put either one of them up to enjoy since Kansas City where it’s a frozen tundra three-fourths of the year. (I’m not bitter.) Operation: Hammock may happen this afternoon – I have to check with my boss. The little boss.
I need a lot more of this in my life… just up off the ground.
  • Sew. Sew. Sew. My goal is to make a stockpile of hand-grown goodness to sell on (deep breath) Etsy and then the Market Square Farmers Market next season. I also have Christmas gift dreams to fulfill as well. I think I will need to tune up my machine to prepare it for the storm – anyone know how to do that? Cinderelly, Cinderelly…
The dress I made for a little one who is loving life in the womb.
Come on out and meet the world, sweet girl.

  • Research and plan a year-round garden based on the Vegetannual starting in the spring to further our attempt at becoming locavores (Folks who eat local, in-season food as best they can). I gladly welcome any pointers. I am not trying to feed Roane County, just our little family and enough to can/freeze for the cold months.
Yummy – now when do I plant y’all in East Tennessee?
  • Paint our dreary living area. I say “living area” because it is just that – our kitchen, living room, dining room, entry way, sewing nook are all one big room. And the color on the wall is about as exciting as a root canal.
I am digging this color or something similar – bright and inviting.
I also like the green of the next room.

  • Create a business card. (Listen, I know I am nothing fancy, but a girl can dream.) Tell me what you think.
  • Throw my almost-one-year-old the most incredible birthday celebration this side of the Mississippi. I know, I am running behind, but this chicken pox stuff has thrown me for a loop – and now I am rethinking the original theme. This is what happens when I have too much time to think…
Celebrating a little early with Uncle Matt & Aunt Heather.
We are working on the whole “thank you” thing…
  • Carve pumpkins and reminisce on previous pumpkin carving parties. Do they have pumpkins in the northwest?
We’ve got mad pumpkin-carving skills in this neck of the woods.
Too bad half of our neck has run off…

  • Take a trip or two to the mountains. It’s always good to go home.
Back porch view from HiZi – such is life.

Whew. I better stop while I’m way already way behind. Three days, folks, until the Autumn equinox. I’ve got a lot of goodness on my plate – how about you? What are your favorite things about the season formerly known as Fall?

Hi Ho the Dairy-O

…the Farmer in the Dell.
Remember that game Hi Ho Cherry-O? Oh my word, it was one of my all time favorites. I am sure I owe a lot of siblings, cousins, and friends many apologies for incessantly asking to play this game. But I was really good at getting those little cherries in my bucket.

And we’re back…

We have been going down the road, literally, about once a week for the past couple of months to a local farm. And I mean local, as in, it doesn’t even have a name. So “backyard” that I have tried to introduce myself to our “Farmer in the Dell” and I can’t understand what he says when he tells me his name in response…and I’ve been raised a southern gal, still can’t catch it. He probably thinks I am a stalker, always asking his name.

He has all sorts of stuff: corn, beans, melons, okra, tomatoes as big as your head, cucumbers, peppers, squash, zucchini, cantaloupe, potatoes, sunflowers for a quarter a piece. They are open ten in the morning til sundown and you can buy as much or as little as you want.

Just put your money in the jar that is screwed shut and bolted to the table to which Chris commented, “I don’t even know how he gets his money out of the jar,” when I asked him if he thought we could make change in the bucket.

And if you buy seven bucks worth of stuff and only have a ten, leave the three extra. It’s going directly into local economy. It couldn’t be more direct than that. Farmer Dell will greatly appreciate it and it will likely be fruitful for you next season. More money = more seeds = more crops. The plenty is bountiful.

These melons were beyond huge… like 42 weeks pregnant huge.
Corn anyone?

Find a Farmer in the Dell and take your kiddos. They will love it, too. And what could be better than feeding your kid fresh goodness grown in the same dirt you walk on everyday?

Noah is especially fond of the cantaloupe…and his daddy.

And get your canning britches on because your kitchen will be covered in garden goodness…that you can enjoy all year. Local and in season. Legit.

Scenes of Summer: Part 2

I can hardly believe that we are in the last week of camp already. Sheesh.

It’s always been bittersweet for me to bring camp to a close, even now as a “camp widow”. Reflecting on the summer and the way God has shown up in hilarious ways, beat your hiney up and down the spiritual path, given you energy when you knew there was no way you were going to make it to the end of the week without stringing little Susie up by her pigtails, painted breathtaking sunsets on just the right days, and how he has given you and taught you more, way more than you could have ever imagined, maybe even more than the kids. And those kids sure as heck have you leaving with more life lessons than you gave them.

I love it. I crave it.

I am so glad when it’s over. For two reasons:

  1. I get my husband back (and now Noah gets his daddy back).
  2. We can start praying, thinking, talking, planning, bursting at the seams with excitement for next summer.

It’s a vicious cycle, this camp ministry stuff. Sometimes a love/hate relationship, but worth every bump and bruise…emotional bumps and bruises included.

I digress. (Is anyone surprised?)

I started this post to bring you Scenes of Summer, and that’s what I shall do:

Noah assisted the camp director with his staff meeting.

Bottom left: “Look at my stick, Ms. Tarah.”

Let’s talk about this face for a minute…melt.your.heart.

Well, I was trying to give you one more picture of the camp staff, but alas, the “internet cafe” in the far corner of our kitchen has decided it’s tired. I will try again later…

One more week, folks.



Nine, you are a bit early for your reservations. I am going to need you to wait outside until I can get ready for you. My word.
What a whirlwind… Eight has been a crazy busy month around this casa:
  • Camp started… enough said.
  • The Giusti boys came and stayed a week for day camp.
  • Noah went to Dollywood for the first time, and likely last time for a while. Thanks, Dolly, for the books you send us each month, but your place of leisure is exhausting for baby and mama. See you in a couple of years.
  • My grandmother and great aunt came with my folks and spent a few days. Loved having them in my home…
  • We’ve decided to buy a cow. And eat locally.
  • I started planning Krystal’s bridal shower for this month… this will be my first go at anything girly. Wish me luck.
  • Chris and I went on our first “date” sans baby while leaving him with a gaggle of summer staff. Oh Borders, how we’ve missed you so.
  • Noah and Chris celebrated their first Father’s Day together, complete with an opening day of camp and trip to Target.
  • Abbie is here with us now for a week being “Mommy’s Helper”.
And we haven’t even gotten to all the stellar new tricks littleford has come up with… So sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride:
1. Noah likes periodicals. And by like I mean that he enjoys rearranging them in the bathroom…which if you can tell by the angle of the photo is pertinent in keeping regular for some folks around here. If you know what I mean…
2. Noah is learning how to con-finger his hands into a point. I think he has picked this up from when he insists on stopping at the framed collage of Noah’s first week of life that hangs in the hallway on the way to his room. We point and name the various people who were here with us when we brought him home. He doesn’t point at anything in particular, though I think he points “out” of his room after naps…
3. I think we may have the beginnings of a pack rat on our hands. He will find any and everything and carry it around with him. For hours. This could be a toy, a leaf, or something out of the recycling bin. He’s not picky, as long as he can get it from point A to point B. I give you the apple juice bottle.
4. Noah is part fish. I am convinced. He can’t get enough of the splashing, kicking, and zooming around in his little float. You can take a baby’s parents out of Florida, but you can’t take the Florida out of the baby.
5. He has figured out what getting dressed is all about. Though his face says otherwise in the following photo, he has become quite the little helper when putting clothes on. I am not sure I am ready for these big changes…they are big neon lights that he is getting bigger. Not so cool.
6. Noah is proving to be quite the little Casanova. He’s got killer blue eyes and a smile that will melt your heart. Watch out, ladies… he knows how to use them. Just ask the women he’s been collecting.
7. Noah is his own biggest fan. He loves Baby Noah in the mirror and the one at the top of this blog. He may or may not be a little full of himself. But, with this face, come on. Can you really blame him?
8. Much to my chagrin, the little dude’s first word? Da-da. Yep. I would like a ma-ma every now and then but I think I may just be “mmmmmm” or “boob”… either one. But the smitten grin that comes across my husband’s face is plenty satisfying when the little one mutters those precious “da-das”.
9. And now for Noah’s nine month official stats and a little show of the muscles:
  • Height: 28 inches
  • Weight: 18lbs10oz
  • Head: Above average (we are advanced here in the Ford family)
Alright, Ten, consider yourself warned. Don’t you come around here like a bat out of you-know-where. 
Or I’ll, I’ll… hang my head and cry. 
Because I know you’re coming.

Gone to Carolina in My Mind

…Or for real.
Not a lot of time to give details, mostly photos. But I will provide you with a humorous conversation, slightly edited, that I was a small part of:

Mom: (asking my sister about Zane, my youngest nephew) How does he like to be held?

Heather: Up on top of your boobs.

Grace (Heather’s grandma): Put his tummy right in the middle of your big boobs.

Mom: Well, your boobs are bigger than mine, Grace.

Grace: You are working with a pretty big set yourself… just not as old and saggy.

and later…

Grace: (to me this time) Well…you’ve got a nice set, not as big as me and your moms, but it’s okay. And when you get my age you might just have to get some of that sticky tape to keep ’em up.

Oh yes.

And now for the photos:

Hiking through the neighbor’s yard to the creek… the neighbor was there for the first time ever at the same time I’ve been there.

Hey there, blue eyes.

It’s all their fault for that blue-eyed boy.
Well, half their fault.

Old car that ran off an old logging road.
Chris and I stole the headlight casing to it a couple of years ago.

He owns the juice cup. Legit.

With four teeth you have to work with what you’ve got.

That’s all for now.

And the “boob talk”? Still happening…