Frost is on the Punkin and a Bird is in the House? No wait...

They's something kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here—
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossoms on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees;
But the air's so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock

~James Whitcomb Riley

I am a big Riley fan.  My Mamaw used to recite Little Orphant Annie to us when we were growing up and I always thought her Eastern Kentucky accent just fit that text until I read the poem.  He writes the way it's supposed to sound.  Love it and love his poems. 

Last weekend was my birthday weekend and it was wonderful and full of hysterical gifts and cards from friends, a gorgeous dinner with the family, unbelievable technology gifts (a Kindle AND an iPad?  Seriously?  I haven't been that good.) and a lovely, lovely dinner out with my husband at my very favorite local restaurant, Jack Fry's.  Jack's tends to be the benchmark for me (and my family).  If it is fine dining, it better be as good as Jack's.  Pricier than an average weekend out?  It better be as good as Jack's.  The ambiance, the menu, the wine menu, the service is all just right.  An intimate space with exceptional local and simply elegant food.  We had a fantastic time and can't wait to go back again.     

In other adventures, I came home Tuesday to be followed into the house by bird.  A fluttering, filthy, lost bird.  Folks, I do not do flying things.  I will do all other manner of creepy crawly or skittish nonsense, but the flying things just undo me.  I had a bat that ended up in my house years ago and I literally pushed my teenage cousin out into the hall and slammed the bedroom door rather than deal.  It was stellar parenting moment for me.  I then called my neighbor hysterical while my cousin swung at it with a broom.  Not pretty. 

This was not much prettier.  Steven came home right behind me and we had it cornered in the library, windows open wide, trying to shoo it out with a broom (OK really Steven did all of that and I peeped through the 1" opening I left in the door to watch from the other side).  We thought it was gone and then I came home the next day to find that little bugger sitting in the MIDDLE OF MY DINING ROOM TABLE.  He had been in the house all night!!  Doing God knows what, God knows where!  I was a mess.  I proceeded to text Steven that if he could please come home I would greatly appreciate it.  OK actually it looked more like CALL ME!!  THAT MOTHERF&*K*# BIRD IS IN THE MOTHERF@&$K%# HOUSE!!.  I then propped open the doors and barricaded the dog and myself upstairs in the office.  The dog was worthless.  Utterly.  Worthless.  I am quite sure he and the bird were playing Gin Rummy together all day or having a show tune karaoke sing along.  Damn dog.  It finally flew out and I had the enjoyable task of disinfecting the entire kitchen and house, as there was bird poo EVERYWHERE.  OK I can't talk about it.  I am emotionally satiated and psychologically devastated about the bird.

Yesterday was the first morning of frost here in the 'ville and it was gorgeous.  I know lots of other folks that had several inches of snow in the country.  While I am not quite ready for snow, I am THRILLED to be in the throes of fall.  It has been just beautiful here.  The forecasts are all predicting a couple of big snows for us here this winter.  I have decided that I will be embracing the snow days this year.  Some day those that are in charge of the school calendar will GET A CLUE and build some days in for us.  I would rather start school the beginning of August than have to go into June.  Just terrible.  Anyway- we will be wallowing in the splendor of the rest of this glorious fall weather.  With the garden put to bed, there is just the last yard project of mums that are in pots to go in the ground and the gourds that are not edible composted.

Last night was the opening reception of the Aaron Calvert show, Ants Too, at the Mary Anderson Center for the Arts at the Mount.  It was such a fun show and a great turnout for the reception.

  Aaron is on the right.  The teapots were exceptional. 

Some of the masks.

The work on the table was dinnerware and it was beautiful.  It took great restraint to not buy all of the bowls on the table.  Simply beautiful work.  And a really fun theme.

I did a Mulled Wine last night for the first time for the reception.  I have never done mulled wine.  It was never something that appealed to me and I have never had a good one.  I have read at least 20-30 recipes for mulled wine.  They always look to be too sweet for my taste.  Wine should taste like wine, in my humble opinion, not like hot grape juice.  So I, of course, Frankensteined one and it was absolutely fantastic and the best cold weather drink EVER (next to Hot Toddies, of course).  Much of the alcohol cooks out, so it is also a great "keep your head about you" drink as well.  I'll list the recipe below. 

Tomorrow is Halloween (I feel like it should be Thanksgiving according to all of the retail stores.  Christmas stuff is already out) and we will be at my sis' watching the 7000 Trick or Treaters walking up and down the street.  Wish us luck.  I'll be sure to post pics.

Til next time, make yourself some mulled wine, have some Halloween candy and think about your Thanksgiving menu.  It will be here before you know it.

Mulled Wine 

1 Bottle Red Wine (Merlot or Zinfandel recommended)
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Orange, sliced in rounds
1 Lemon, sliced in rounds
1 1/2 cups water
1 large tea ball of mulling spices *

Place all ingredients in a crock pot on low heat.  If you are in a hurry, turn to high and then turn down just before it starts to simmer.  As the evening goes, if it starts to get stronger, feel free to add hot water 1/4 cup at a time to the pot.  The tea ball is the quickest and easiest way to add the mulling spices.  They could also be wrapped in cheesecloth.

*Mulling spices are cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and orange peel.  Williams and Sonoma has a great tin of it with no other "natural flavors".  Feel free to make your own also.  They are wonderful with hot cider as well and make your house smell divine.  

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