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And Hello To A New Friend…

I visited Shaw Farms yesterday with a friend who comes here often with her grandson. This was my first visit and I was hooked! I already love this time of the year and Shaw Farms has all the things I love about it. Lots of pumpkins, gourds, Indian corn, candy apples-just too many to mention. In fact,this might be a series of posts in order to get all the pictures in (without having a downloading nightmare). As you can see there is no shortage of pumpkins here for carving, pies or pumpkin butter.

Since we went on a week-day it was relatively quiet,  just a few toddlers with moms in tow. However, if you just want to be able to browse the wondrous shapes, and sizes of the fall fruits or have a quiet chat with one of the nice ladies working there, then this is the perfect time for it.

The sheltered market features a great variety of jams, jellies, apples (and home-made candy apples) as well as decor and items to tease the kids (in all of us). They are also selling the last of the Rousters own apple butter and cider, so if you love this stuff as much as I do you better hurry because it won’t last long.

Another feature of Shaws are the educational tours which include a hayride, a trip to one of the two “learning barns” and you get to pick your own pumpkin (3-5 lbs) to take home. They also have a picnic area and on the week-ends a bluegrass band. For times and schedules check out their website at :

So even though I was just there, I am already making plans to go this week-end and see the farm full of young (and old) families enjoying the bounty of this season…and perhaps listen to some bluegrass while I indulge in a candy apple. Hope to see you there!

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Good-bye To A Landmark

Rouster’s Apple House is closed, and that is quite a loss to families that have been coming here for generations. Rouster’s was in business for 72 years passed down from one generation to the next. It has long been a destination spot for families on crisp fall week-ends; a place for children to experience where food comes from, other than the grocery.

Dan and Donna Rouster were the heart and soul of the farm market, hard-working but fair bosses. I remember fondly my time working there, sorting apples in early dawn with fog rolling across the apple orchard.

Sadly, I was unable to visit the market with its huge stone fireplace one more time before it closed. In the cold air of October, sitting around that fire, sipping Rousters own hand-pressed cider was a genuine pleasure. I will miss the wonderful apples, cider and apple butter made on the farm, as well as the many other things offered for sale.

On most week-ends when the apples were in season, it was a bustling, family filled, aromatic place, often so crowded you would have to line up for several minutes to have the privilege of purchasing the many varieties of apples. But even in the face of all that craziness Donna always had a smile for me ( and her other loyal customers) when I came in.

It is hard to see an institution go but Dan and Donna certainly have earned some time for themselves after all they gave to this community. Thank you Dan and Donna for all the years of service to your community. You will be missed.

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To Everything Turn…

Someone recently told me that fall was their least favorite time of the year. I on the other hand love fall, because for me it signifies potential. It is easy to love spring and summer, lush and easy, full of color that just smacks you in the face. Autumn is winding down, getting ready for a long winters nap. How is that potential you ask? It is in one of the things that I find interesting about this season…seeds! Even though most flowers are no longer blooming I have found lots of color in the autumnal landscape. Maybe not the riotous color we see in summer, but color that is nicely set off by the browns and tans that is the norm now. I went out for a walk today and captured some of what I love about this season.

So many of these specimens don’t bloom until now, but even if they did they would be hidden by the profusion of bloom that is summer. As you can see they delicately peek from the brown, dry leaves looking all the better for it. I found the same colors as I would find in the warmer weather, just applied with a lighter brush. Around each corner I found a new surprise, again highlighted by a subtle background.

Yes, this lovely daisy is a fall find, by the busy bee as well. And for me the mildness of the weather makes a walk in the woods much more pleasant.

So back to the potential of autumn-seeds! All winter long they will be sleeping, waiting for all that stored up energy to burst forth in spring. While they are still seeds we dream of what they will become when spring opens them up. I find that they are engaging on their own, if not for the color, for the variety of shapes.

Just like the flowers that produced them they are in turn delicate or chunky, some even feathery like the milk weed pods that grew around my childhood home.

Autumn also brings the return of the school year, so that my walks are quiet and reflective. Kids are fun to watch but when I want to think and ponder of all the potential being stored away by this gentle season, a secluded bench is just the place to sit.


I Have An Attitude?

As I pulled into the parking lot at Kroger’s this morning I was surprised at how crowded it was, then I realized people were stocking up on snacks for a football afternoon. So as I hunted for a spot I noticed a gaggle of teens hanging out near the handicapped parking. I am not handicapped but I have friends who are and I take umbrage at people who misuse those spaces. One girl had even parked her car perpendicular to the handicapped spaces effectively blocking two of them. I parked my car fairly far away and by the time I had walked to where the teens were, another car had pulled up there. Glancing in I saw the lady inside had a tag plainly visible. The girl did nothing, continued on with her PDA’s oblivious to her surroundings. Seeing the lady in the car was perplexed and distressed I simply said to the girl, “You have your car blocking the handicapped space.” Instead of simply getting in and moving her car she chose to unleash a torrent of invectives at me….”All right, jeez! Don’t get an attitude with me! Who do you think you are-just tell me to move the damn car, don’t get so snotty.”  Whoa! Back off !

Since she was moving the car and the lady who needed the spot was pulling in, I just kept walking. And really what point would it have served for me to try and explain that I didn’t have an attitude but was simply making a request. Some one once said a good offense is the best defense, but why did she feel she needed to defend that awful behavior? And at what point in time did teens (even the incorrigible ones) lose that internal voice that kept them respectful of adults and the elderly? Thank goodness I am rational enough to realize that is not the norm, even though there are times when it seems that way.

People quickly toss out the word karma in situations like this, as if to say she’ll get hers some day. Is it really about that or the fact that she is failing to learn a life lesson that might serve her well as she ages and becomes infirm. Watch and learn, grasshopper…

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Comfort Zone at 65 and Beyond


Comfort zones, like rules, should be stepped out of every now and then. At 64 (my ‘date’ is 71) I believe I did that this week-end by attending the MidPoint Music Festival.  When I was much younger (with children) I loved the ‘old music’ of the sixties and really hated some of the 70-80’s music that was out there. I stayed stuck in that until my….wait for it….deaf…granddaughter started turning me onto more current stuff. I am not trying to turn back the clock to my teen years but I am not going to ossify any sooner than I have to either.

So here we were my date and I, surrounded by a veritable sea of emo, angst and lots of  black hair dye. I missed woodstock, sadly because I had just started a new job. Unfortunately, or fortunately for the city, this was not like it. No peace and love, even though the ticket girl was very friendly. If there were drugs no one offered me any (not that I wanted it), who knows I might be a narc. So since we had no clue about indie music we decided to pick a venue and que up. We picked the Blue Wisp since we are both familiar with it from more sedate evenings out. The line-up was The Kentucky Struts, Jason Ludwig, Tara Priya, and lastly the Skeetones.  The Skeetones came on at midnight so we listened to one song and then drug our weary butts home.  I really enjoyed the Struts, even though date-guy kept saying “They don’t sound country…” and Tara Priya has a wonderful, big voice in a tiny body. She had quite a following. Jason, I’m sorry but my age showed during your set (not that anyone noticed), but I can’t relate to lyrics about mom shutting the “f” up. I listened but was glad my hearing is starting to go!

So that was my little bit of envelope pushing this week-end. I think I am set now for awhile. And while I don’t think I will go next year, still I am glad I made myself get out of the zone for a bit. I got home after 1 am and my grand daughter had a chuckle over that, “You’re like teen-agers granmama!”  Oh, if only!

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Rainy Friday

Typical fall weather in Cincinnati….rainy, dreary and chilly.  Since I spent a large part of yesterday cleaning, sorting and in general “working” today is going to be a little more laid-back. I’m thinking tea and a good book on the porch so I can enjoy the good parts of this weather-listening to the rain patter on the roof, the subtle sounds of dripping trees and the muted chirps of the birds. Once in awhile we need to recharge, regroup and RELAX!  Actually, confession time, I am probably too good at that so I am trying to learn balance here.

One project I have been putting off for far too long is sorting through my books, and today would be a perfect day for it. I am an avid book collector, not a gourmet so much as a gourmand.  At certain points in my life I tend to buy way more  reading material than I should. A lot of it has proven to be dreck (not the books in my pic) or it is duplicated somewhere else in my library cluttering up my shelf. So periodically (no pun intended) I sort through my shelves, weed out and donate my unwanted books. Some one else may glean a nugget that I haven’t and it is hard to just throw books out. I hear gasps of horror from those who would never throw out a book, but tell me what would you do with an instruction manual for Photoshop (circa 2001) and I own a Mac?

So off I go to the library, better known as my basement, and as I sort I will take armfuls to the porch to re-read in the soft drizzle that has been falling all morning. Perhaps I will re-discover a few nuggets of my own.

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Rainy Day Woman

Today was a typical Cincinnati spring day….rainy, chill and dreary.  Days like this just sap all my creativity  so I find the best thing to do is a dreaded studio clean-up.  On the best of days this is not my favorite thing to do, but if I don’t periodically create some order in my work space I won’t create anything worth showing off.

 As a child I was very creative and was constantly into something.  My long-suffering mother though managed to make sure that I put things away when I was finished with a project. I had “chores” and I wasn’t allowed to start a project until my chores were finished.
And while I enjoy unfettered creativity there is something to be said for picking up after yourself.
So as I finish my tea and toast (and this post) I will gear to tackle the monster waiting in the basement, otherwise known as my workshop. With some upbeat music and my cat to keep my company I should be able to at least see the table top by dinner time!

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Facing the Blank Page

A totally blank, white page be it in a notebook or on a newly opened blog is scary to me. Not being able to just start is such a stumbling block for me.  I have always been a better editor (of other people’s writing) than I have been as a writer. Somehow it is easier to see the mote in another persons eye before I see the beam in mine.

I am never satisfied with what I have written, the many half-done journals scattered about my home testify to that.  I start to write and if it is not perfect I rip out the page and start all over again. Sometimes I do get better results that way, but often all it does is stall me and start me on a round of daydreaming. I don’t think that I have one journal completely filled at this point.  I have given up trying to keep them in any sort of chronological order, indeed I am lucky if I remember to date my ramblings.

This quest for the perfect journal also finds its way onto the net, as I am continually dissatisfied with every blog I have done so far. I get to a point and then another interest enters my life and it doesn’t seem to fit in with my current blog style. I go from dark, introspective and newly divorced to happy crafter with seemingly no idea of how I arrived here.  And so I put another blog to bed again because it doesn’t seem to fit me any longer.

Perhaps that is what my blog should be. I am that indecision, change and creativity that so often throws me for a loop.  All my friends already know and accept that about me…as far as any new readers, if you read it and want to stay I say Welcome! And if you choose not to then you have lots of good choices out there-no hard feelings.

Lastly, I will be transferring some of my posts from other blogs here so that those who want can still find them.  So not everything will be in perfect order, but then I warned you about that already!


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Good as New


One of my friends recently had open heart surgery.  He did very well but understandably his daughter was very worried. I had a couple versions of this “Broken Heart” Pendant.  I looped this one on a multi-cord necklace and gave it to his daughter. She was very thrilled at this reminder that her dads heart was now good as new.