Sunday, October 23, 2011

Autumn is a Second Spring

Autumn is a Second Spring

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. Albert Camus

Blustery showers and calmer days of drizzle take turns in October. That’s why the days of blue skies and butter-colored sunshine are so prized. On such a day the Lady-of-the-House opened the windows. Enjoying the breeze she was roused to do some delayed spring-cleaning. A simple wash-cycle and a hot iron put her curtains to rights.

Although she no longer snips faded blooms a few lingering verbena can be cut for a bouquet.

The patio’s pot of thyme should soon be harvested for drying.

Bunches of thyme already hang above the fireplace. These, along with the rose hips, were a gift from friend.

A wreath of faux foliage encircles the tin lantern. Her daughters made the cornhusk dolls  (a startling number of years ago) and are displayed each autumn. This year the dolls take a place in the beehive oven. The Lady-of-the-House has always admired the dolls' long corn silk hair. 

She was awakened anew to this admiration perhaps because she had recently darkened the door of a hair-cutter – something she ventures to do but twice a year. She is familiar with the hazards of such places. Most often she tells the cutter to “give it a trim” while she demurely holds up a thumb and forefinger to specify how much – or should she say, how little? This time she was more daring. As a result of her risk-taking she was given a head of all ends – which to her resembles the shaggy “do” of a popular male vocalist of the 1980s. Calm on the outside, yes, underneath she was in a near panic. She returned home, ran upstairs, dug out her pink rollers and set all the fly-away ends. A couple hours later she was relieved that she had managed to curl them into female civility (for the time being).

The Man-of-the-House is fond of his wife no matter how long, short, chopped or gray her hair will ever be. Returning home in the car on her birthday he bent down and picked up a bright maple leave that had just fallen to the edge of the drive and said, “This is for you.”  The gesture was so spontaneous and unexpected that it lifted her spirits. The very next day, when she opened a cookbook to the autumn section, she read the quote you see at the start of this post. It put the Man-of-the-House in a spotlight of appreciation. 

Back to the subject of decorating, resting on the fireplace mantel is a photograph of a pumpkin on a yellow chair of Tasha Tudor’s. The-Lady-of-the-House cut out the picture from a 1995 desk calendar she saved. Then she slid it into a dime’s store frame. Gilded frames are not her first choice but in celebration of the season the Lady-of-the-House makes allowances.

Near the kitchen sink a tea towel is all that boasts the season here.

In the family room a small show of faux berries are nestled in the window candle pan.

Over the summer the Lady-of-the-House found use for the stone pieces that broke apart from the larger stones used for the patio. She made a pathway to invitingly draw the eye toward a mysterious “wild wood.” The path ends behind the azaleas where she ran out of stone. Less romantically stated this path also serves as an access-way for the weeder.

At the start of the path is the dogwood sapling the Man-of-the-House planted in springtime. The Lady-of-the-House is happy to see how red it has become.

Another surprise of color will be revealed six months from now when the bulbs she put into the ground, will bloom. The package pictures pink narcissus. She is skeptical for she has learned not to trust explicitly the graphic arts of advertising. Still, it is something to look forward to. 

With the last tiny stitch in place the Lady-of-the-House finished what she calls her “wedding sampler.” She followed a chart made of a 19th century sampler yet pretends that Eve and Adam (so nicely dressed) are representative of she and the Man-of-the-House.

The crowns and initials were added by prerogative. So were the subtle shades of white and gold trim on Adam’s tan suit, which would have looked like his birthday suit had the Man-of-the-House not pointed this out by delicate inquiry. The stitcher threaded her needle at once while commiserating, “We can’t have that. Not in a lady’s parlor.”  

Post Script

I had fun with this post, aiming to entertain my friends with small corners of my life. Can you tell?

Curious to know why and how I would turn temporarily from writing non-fiction to fiction, Teisha Priest asked to interview me. I agreed. She then submitted the interview to a fiction book blogger. To read more click: Interview with Karen. 

Thank you for visiting,  
Karen Andreola  


  1. What a nice interview! I would love to hear more from you about the transition from homeschooling mom to grown children leaving the nest.

  2. Oh Karen,

    Our state is just so beautiful during this season :) Your hair looks wonderful. I have been growing my hair out because I made a promise to the man of the cottage that I will allow it to grow long...pass my shoulders :) It has been an ordeal, but a promise is a promise.

    By the way, did you make your skirt? It is so very nice :)

    Blessings to you this week Karen,


  3. I love visiting you. I love the way you make the everyday sound so sweet and peaceful. I feel very blessed when I come and visit you. I am not a natural writer but I would love to learn the art of writing. I think I will try more this coming year. Thank you for inspiring me once again. I hope you don't mind me gushing but you are my favorite author and it tickles me pink when you visit my humble blog. I enjoyed seeing you cross stitches and I hope one day to cross stitch again. But for now I knit and embroider because my mind is so full it is too much to count and make a cross stitch come out right. [o= But I still embrace mother culture...just more simply and meditative.

    Blessings in Him<><

  4. A fun post, Karen, reading about your fall touches and the small corners of your life. I think I'll go cut some rose hips. I avoid hair dressers. With my curly hair, they always have some disastrous idea...I end up just putting it up anyway so I can get away with doing hair trims myself. I could identify with your little story about your haircut - by what I can see in the photos, it looks great. Read the interview, jotted down a few of the books that weren't familiar. We have a stack we're reading by the end of this year, these give me ideas for January read-alouds. Thank you for your example and your continued encouragement.

  5. Karen, This post is an example of why your books are among my favorites. You paint a picture with words that is calm yet vibrant, and you display your handiwork with modesty that is to be emulated. Thanks for inviting us in and sharing the small corners of your life with us. :) Many blessings, ~Lisa

    PS: Love the clogs!!

  6. Dear Karen,

    Your hair looks lovely! This past year I went from very long hair to shoulder length hair...quite a change, but I am happy with it.
    Your sampler is beautiful! I have enjoyed my visit here this evening.


    PS - thank you for the reminder that I must plant some bulbs soon!

  7. Though there are many things to enjoy in each season, autumn is filled with delights for me! Karen, your thoughts and photographs are beautiful. Fall-ish recipes are my favorites. Fall colors are my favorites. Fall skies, the sound of leaves rustling, squirrels scampering, nuts falling, rain dripping throught the leaves...I never grow tired of it.

    Now that my last child has moved away for college, people keep asking me what I'm going to DO now. (This question is often delivered in a tone that implies that I must have been barely enduring my life and counting the hours until my real life would finally begin.) I relished being at home with my children. It is an odd time for me now. I sort of feel like I'm waiting for something, but I'm not sure exactly what. Thank you, Karen, for encouraging me to continue making a home first and foremost.


  8. I confess to being distracted by your skirt!!! I kept trying to figure out if it was pieced, and if the pattern was similar to one that I own, and if I could make something similar! :)

    I really like that skirt! *L*

    I will go read the interview now, though. :)

  9. I like visiting with you, Ladies.

    I've noted the requests for high school ideas (a past post) and the transition of adult children leaving the nest. I don't think I'd have anything extraordinary to share but am willing to chat about my experience.

    Harping on my badly chopped hair with exasperation is something that is hard to resist. I mumble to myself when I pass a mirror. But after your sympathetic and kind comments were shared I chuckled and feel I can now be perhaps more self-forgetful.

    Autumn is a welcome time of the year for me, too. And like my character, Carol, it is my favorite time of year to cook.

    The skirt is a crazy-patched plaid in a six gore "tulip" style. Being linen gives it some weight and a nice flowing swirl when walking. I think the "tulip" shape is particularly flattering to the female shape. This skirt is store-bought but is similar to pattern 5914 Simplicity - a pattern I picked up some years ago and keep handy.

    Clark's clogs are so comfortable that I've settled upon them for use with all my informal skirts. A navy blue pair would have been a better shade for the skirt in the post but I don't have a pair in navy.

    Writing is great effort for me, although I hope it doesn't appear so. Thank you for your encouragement.
    Karen A.

  10. Karen,

    The interview was are always an encouragement!

    You look wonderful - I love this time of year also.

    I have a pair of Clarks - though not clogs (which I would love!) they are so comfortable!

    Pass along my greetings to Dean and Nigel...tell Dean that I know that print copies of books are becoming dinosaurs but some of us love them so still! I would love to hear another story about Carol and family....

  11. I have told my friend, Sally, that there needs to be more written about homeschool kids growing up and that transition for homeschool parents.

    Having said that, I wouldn't know how to go about it! Just pondering...

    I prepared my small herb garden for winter this morning and was quite surprised to find plenty of lemon verbena, thyme, and sage available to harvest.

    I soaked them in the sink with cold water and a little vinegar (ready that tip somewhere) and now they are all drying in the dish drainer until I can get back to them.

    Love reading your blog, even if I don't always comment. Usually because I'm reading way too quickly for what it deserves (from an rss feed).

  12. Your posts inspire me ~ the beauty and simplicity of your home, your decor, your needlework and your garden. Thanks for encouraging us to make these small moments matter.
    I really enjoyed reading your interview. Your wise advice inspired me to write my own post - Mix "Have" to with "Love" to Wisdom. Thank you!