I've often heard children say, "There's nothing to do today". I beg to differ. I'd like to inspire you to do something. Anything. Read. Bake. Hike. Fish. Plant. Sail. Climb. Play. Reach. Move. Laugh. Dream; and take time to sit with me on The Old Granite Step.

Friday, January 31, 2014

The Winter Garden

The winter garden is a special garden.  Alive in it's own way.  Perhaps not as colorful as the spring or summer place but quiet and beautiful.  Peaceful.  It's a haven for many birds.  I don't cut back my perennials until the spring because there are so many birds that love them off-season.  Cardinals, woodpeckers of several varieties, blue jays, even blue birds come to feed in the garden.  Before a recent snowstorm there were over forty goldfinches feeding, while an estimated eighty robins enjoyed breakfast under the crab apple tree.  An occasional squirrel visits us and we realize they have to eat too.  I'd like to share photos of our gardens taken on various winter days over the years.



For information on how to attract birds to your garden, contact the National Audubon Society.

We may be sorry to see the winter garden fade away, but we have this to look forward to.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Consignment Finds

I love to go to consignment shops.  Goodwill.  The Salvation Army Thrift Store.  Tag sales.  Antique shops.  I'm not sure what draws me in....the thrill of finding something unexpected?  I look for anything.  Everything.  Paintings.  China.  Books.  It's one of my favorite past times.  Here's a look at some items I've found over the years.  I'll share additional posts periodically showcasing furniture and clothing as well.  In the meantime, start your own search!

Truly, the color of a robin's egg.  Unfortunately there aren't any markings on it.

I loved the unusual shape of this pitcher.  It's too large to be a gravy boat.  I bought it despite several small chips at the top.  Marked Made in Italy.

Was it the frame or the lighthouse that attracted me to this small watercolor?

This is one of my favorite pieces.  I'm not sure how old it is and it looks hand painted.  When I use it, I put flowers in the center holder that's between the salt and pepper shakers.  It's really a lovely find.

I consider this a coffee pot rather than a teapot simply because of it's taller size.  I've never used it for hot coffee as it appears to be quite old.  I found this at a Salvation Army Thrift Store.  There is a faded signature on the bottom but it's illegible unfortunately.

I collect pitchers and pick them up whenever I see one that I love.  This small creamer looks like it was part of a set; perhaps in a restaurant with matching dinnerware?  There are no markings on this at all.

Called Easter, the bright colors drew me to this creamer, but I have never seen one shaped like this before.  I picked this up at my local Goodwill store.  It was made in the U.S.A. by Leigh Potters in Ohio.  The company was in business from 1926 to 1931 when the Great Depression halted production.

I had to have this when I saw it.  I wasn't really drawn in by the painting, but by the edging which consists of tiny pieces of glass carefully placed.  Painstakingly time consuming for the artist but very creative and beautiful.

I picked this up at an auction and was surprised that no one bid against me!  The artist isn't famous and may even be somewhat of a beginner, but it's a painting of Pemaquid Point Lighthouse on the mid coast of Maine.  It's one of my favorite places and I only paid $10.  Remember, it's what the item is worth to you, not what you think it's worth if you were to re-sell it.  Unless of course, you're a dealer.

This frame is very intricate but you can see many of the small pieces of wood have fallen off over the years.  It appears to be charcoal and I just love the water scene.  Unfortunately, it's not signed.

This bottle of tiny shells was marked $1.  Who could resist?

I was able to get an entire box of these blue bottles at an auction at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries in Maine many years ago.  I put them in my windows; usually in clusters of three.  In the summer, I'll put flowers in them and group them on the table. They were for Bromo-Seltzer which was made by the Emerson Drug Company in Baltimore.

Another old creamer with a tiny chip at the lip (you can barely see it in the photo).  This is Limoges from France.  It was just too pretty and fragile to leave at Goodwill despite the chip.

The small oil painting was $5 at a school fundraiser. Simplicity at it's best.
I tend to collect paintings and photos of houses.  The colors in this are gorgeous.  There's no indication as to whether or not it's an actual house or a figment of the artist's imagination.  I like to believe it sits at the edge of the ocean.
Closely resembling our cat George and my childhood cat Bosco, These have been displayed in our home for over twenty years.  Marked 1903.  If you love cats you know how difficult it must have been to get them to sit still!

I purchased this at an auction grouped with two cement lawn ornaments which I don't have any longer.  This has never been outdoors since I've had it.  It seems to be more of a door stop than a lawn ornament.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Brunch in Vermont

Saxtons River is a sleepy little New England town off highway I-91 in southern Vermont.  We decided to take a ride over for brunch on a recent Sunday afternoon.  The Saxtons River Inn is the perfect spot for a wonderful meal in a cozy atmosphere.  The Monte Cristo, served with real Vermont maple syrup was delightful.  Full of ham, turkey, swiss and cheddar cheese, it was cooked to perfection and absolutely delightful.  The Smoked Spinach and Salmon Benedict was served with a home-made hollandaise sauce that was just right.  Not too heavy and not laden with too much flour.  This is a Benedict worth driving for.                                                                         
Still bedecked with Christmas decorations, the front porch invites us to stop in.

Plan a trip to stay at the Saxtons River Inn or to simply to enjoy a meal there. 

After brunch, we enjoyed a walk past the Village Market.  It was a beautiful afternoon.  The chill in the air felt great!

It would be difficult to add another notice to this board.  It's indicative of the "goings on" in this small town.

The church door is a wonderful example of "bullseye" glass.

This beautiful old building is for sale.  It seems so sad to see such a beautiful display window empty.

The doors stand waiting for the next customer.

A front porch rocker looks just as inviting on a winter afternoon as it surely is in the summer!

Ceilings on old porches such as this were often painted light blue to resemble the sky so insects wouldn't build nests there.  The shape of this porch usually isn't found on new homes.  Perhaps it should be.

There are five different window styles and sizes on this home.  It adds character to the property.

There aren't many shops in the center of town but you can't miss this artisan gallery.

             The sign at the River Artisans Cooperative invites us in to come in and warm up.  We left with a renewed supply
 of  Vermont Signature Sauce, made in Saxtons River.

History abounds here.  John Butler Smith, the 44th Governor of New Hampshire was born in Saxtons River.

The icicles remind us of how cold it really is.

It almost looks as if the modern day tractor is pushing the old barn over.

Vermont Academy is home to this ski jump.  The website for the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum has information about this jump and the Nordic Ski Program at the Academy.

A covered bridge spans the width of the Saxtons River just south of town.  The river, swollen with rain from Hurricane Irene in 2011, destroyed many homes and properties along the banks.

Once home to the Rivers Edge Restaurant, we had many terrific dinners by the beautiful fire in the dining room.  I've never had such tasty scallops as the Scallops and Cheddar that were served here.

The larger portion of the old Rivers Edge.  Unfortunately the building has seen better days.

You'll find many different styles of architecture in Saxtons River.

        As we found our way home, we drove through neighboring Bellows Falls and stumbled upon this pretty mural of     days gone by.

Crossing the bridge over the Connecticut River called our attention to the icy water below.