Last night we got our first frost of the season, on Halloween night, no less! So, it’s officially fall here in NE Mississippi! We are “empty nesters” now, so this was our first Halloween in 25 years to not worry about costumes, or candy, and we shamelessly spent the evening being very un-Halloween! We took a walk on the range with our dogs, and tried to get them to learn to climb up on hay bales – always amusing. The dogs have really stepped up to fill the gap that used to be taken up by rushing to all manner of games, plays, or meetings!
Last week we had a family reunion of sorts at the homeplace, so we used that as an excuse to clean up and spiffy up the place and house – it was long overdue.
We strung [yet more!] lights on the front porch, as we anticipated using it as a secondary living/dining area. We have entertained as many as a hundred people, but we depend on that huge front porch to handle overflow from the house. We had the lights left over from the graduation party we threw at our folk Victorian house in town back in the spring, and they weren’t bringing any joy sitting in the box! I love our front porch being lit up like a party year-round. It makes me happy!
The weather was rainy-ish, and super windy, (we later found out many were without power after the winds and storms that day) but our front porch is sheltered and served its purpose well. It was also blessedly in the upper 60s, so perfect porch-sitting weather!
Simple decorations inside
In the dining room, I fixed this simple centerpiece for our table using less than $20 of pumpkins and squash from a farm stand/store in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, and some votive candles I had on hand. I already had some bigger pumpkins from our local place – Country Boy Farms – they are the ones at the front steps. The only thing turning color was our burning bush out front, so I tucked some sprigs in. Now, in these pics, they look shriveled up, but I kept them there to look Halloween-y for ya’ll! [Also, lazy.] They and the thyme sprigs were bouncy and living last weekend.
I used this old tongue-and-groove board we have had sitting by the saw shop forever for the base, and glued some blocks of wood to the bottom for a bit of invisible elevation. When I sanded to remove the loosest (most loose?) bits of old paint, more came off than I wanted, but who knows what was in that ancient paint, anyway?
On the front porch I used some more pumpkins, some boxwood and lavender sprigs and more thyme (all from my gardens) arranged with Osage oranges we found roadside on the Natchez Trace (free!!) If you are unfamiliar with these “Osage oranges,” also called horse apples, they are the fruit of what we locally call a bodock tree. The trees produce wood that is super strong, and local lore is that if you use a bodock fence post, it will never rot.
My kids used to call them monkey brains. They smell tangy and you can’t eat them (unless you are a squirrel) but they are one of my favorites for fall arrangements. More on them here. I picked up two bouquets ($15) of fall-looking flowers at Walmart for the vases. The vase and the elevated plate (with the pumpkin) were bought at the Country Living Fair in Lebanon, Tennessee, which was absolutely awesome! If you get a chance, go!
The long white container is an antique enamelware breadbox I picked up on a trip to an antique store on our travels – these are the best kind of souvenirs! No tablecloths fit our 10+ foot long harvest table, and I hate covering it up, anyway. This blue toile fabric is a home-made tablecloth for our inside dining table folded in half. If I could have toile everywhere, I would, and I wish I had bought more of this fabric when I found it. The large glass jars are pieces I found here on the farm.
Are you able to use found objects and clippings from your yard for decorating? I’d love to see pics!
Until next time, Happy Fall, ya’ll!