It is always a challenge this time of the year to decorate the outside areas of the house.  I want to take advantage of the mild temperatures we are having this week to get holiday greens, swags, lights and arrangements in place,  yet I don’t quite want it to be all Christmas outside when we still haven’t had Thanksgiving.  Unfortunately, the weather forecast for tomorrow and through the weekend involves our first snow storm and wind so the decision has been made for me to at least get a head start today on Christmas.

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This year I am turning to greens, red twigged dogwood stems and birch logs for the basis of my decorations.  I like the natural look and they all look right at home in my yard in this part of the country.  The snow and cold temperatures do not allow things like magnolia leaves and fruit for outdoor wreathes.  I love how they look, but we must be practical here.  To bridge the gap between Thanksgiving and Christmas I had a few fall like elements to my evergreen arrangements and display with white pumpkins.  Then when Thanksgiving is over, the pumpkins are tossed and all fall foliage is removed and Christmas baubles will appear.

Last week, Neil and I spent a few days in St. Helena in  northern California…a lovely, relaxing trip.  A nice break between our busy summer and fall schedule this year and the upcoming holidays.

This was the beginning of a particularly beautiful sunset that all happened in just a matter of minutes.


img_0460 img_0464So many restaurants now have their own organic gardens, even if it means growing greens and herbs along with their flowers in the landscape around the building.  No wonder things taste for fresh and dishes look so good.img_0469

One of favorite wine tasting rooms is on the Frog’s Leap  property.  I think everything tastes good there because of the setting.

The challenge this week is to make the Thanksgiving fare as lovely as some of the food we had on our vacation.