Autumn Sunrise

imageIt was a gorgeous morning coming into work today.

I took a slightly different route than usual, and so I was on a stretch of road that allowed me to see the sun peeping over the edge of the horizon like a panoramic postcard.

imageThe rest of the ride was filled with similarly gorgeous sights, as the golden rays lit up the orange, russet, and yellow leaves of the trees across the field…

imageOr next to the road…

imageI love the dark line, showing that the sun hasn’t quite gotten high enough to clear the edge of the hill and beam its light on the entire vista.

imageAnd then as I pulled into the school’s parking lot, I was greeted with even more beauty. These trees and the playing field are also visible from my classroom windows, up on the third floor of the building.

Today was one of those days reminding me how blessed I am to live where I do.

Have a great Friday, everyone!

Weekend Enjoyments

imageIt was a great weekend, weather-wise, in Upstate New York (at least for me, since I enjoy chilly, sunny weather…add the colors of the foliage, and I’m a happy gal).

Some of the enjoyments included…

imageSpending some outdoor time with our English shepherd, Cassie. Because we live in “city” limits (and there is no dog park), she has to be on a leash, but when I can I try to bring her to places where she can run without it and play with some other dog “friends”.

imageWhen we’re inside, she’s partial to lounging on her dog bed, in a nice, cozy corner of the kitchen. She keeps me company and is often my “shadow” around the house when I’m there.

imageShe’s a loveable girl, five years old, and if there is a stick in the vicinity, she’ll find it and try to run with it (even if it’s larger than she is!) 🙂

imageAnother enjoyment this weekend was the rare opportunity (because of time constraints) to go to our local market co-op for an hour with my younger daughter. It has all sorts of organic goods, fresh produce – even an art gallery and handmade wares. And there is a coffee shop, featuring their own roasted coffee beans, teas, and a selection of baked goods. My daughter got a hot chocolate, but I opted for the house specialty – an “Adirondack” latte, with the shop-roasted coffee and a splash of real maple syrup. It was delicious! Our snacks were a scone and a croissant (which was still warm).

We did some autumn decorating around the house…but I’ll do a separate post about that. ❤

How was your weekend?

Apple Picking at the Homestead

imageI went home to visit my mother at the old Homestead the first weekend in October, picking her up to come to a concert with us near where we live, and then bringing her home two nights later. I bought her some mums on an earlier visit, and this time we added a pumpkin to the old well cover for a little more autumn flair. 🙂image

Before I had to leave to go home myself this time, we decided to pick some apples from the two trees my father and she had planted more than two decades ago. We both love to bake/make pies, and several of my sisters still live in the area and might use some of the apples too.

imageWhen we drove up the driveway, several deer had made their way out of the woods in the back to sample the fruits as well. It was a beautiful sight, watching them. imageAll the wildlife that makes its way through the yard – deer, turkey, rabbits, the crows…even skunks (the babies are adorable) and a few times a fox – is one of the reasons my father loved this home he made for us all.

imageThe tree he planted in the back yard, where the deer were sampling, is a Macintosh , but the one in the front is a mystery. Based on the color, crispness, and flavor of the apples, we’re thinking Cortland or something similar. They’re never sprayed, which is great as far as I’m concerned. I’d rather deal with a few spots than to have pesticides all over the apples.

imageThe trees were loaded with apples this year, so 30 minutes of picking (some with the trusty apple picker on a pole) yielded multiple bags of apples.

It was a beautiful day, crisp and sunny, made all the more wonderful for sharing it with my beloved Ma and having the fun of apple-picking with her too!

imageThe end result was a pan of salted caramel apple bars…and a nice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown-sugar laced apple pie! 🙂

Hello October!

It was a pretty ride into school, on this first day of October.

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Signs of the season are all around…like this wild apple tree, loaded with fruit, that I spotted alongside the road I drive to work.

imageSomething must have been going on in the Amish community near my school, because this buggy was one of four I saw in the span of less than 10 minutes this morning.

The sun didn’t stay for long, but I’m looking forward to the cooler days and nights, perfect for tea, the pumpkins and mums on the porch, and the golden and red-burnished leaves of the maples and oaks all around.

How about you – what do you love about October? 🙂

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Pumpkin Stand

imageIt’s that time of year again…pumpkin stand time! I love seeing places like the one pictured as I drive back and forth to work – regular homes in the country – who put out their surplus of pumpkins for sale to anyone who wants to stop and put their money in the bucket.

It’s all done through an honor system, which I love as well. I’ve lived in or near the country all my life, and I wouldn’t trade it for all the glamour, shopping, and entertainments more metropolitan areas can offer. I’m definitely a Country Mouse! 🙂country mouse

An Unexpected Sale

PSA:

So, the e-book versions of Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven was set at a special sale price of $2.99 for the last three weeks of May, in honor of its appearance at Book Expo America 2015 in NYC.

It’s back up to its usual $4.49 price now – BUT, for reasons unknown, amazon is once again listing it for $2.99 for kindle (and showing that it’s a sale from its usual “Digital List Price” of $4.49)!

So if you want to catch the deal for kindle (whether you have a kindle itself, an app on your phone, or on your desktop), go now. I have no idea how long it will last. 🙂 Click on the cover to be taken to the amazon page and its sale price.

MooseTracks_Cover

A Few New Posters – Please Vote!

So – here are a few posters that have been made for Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven. I’m asking that you vote in the comments for which you like best; please explain why. I’ll be having more posters done, and I want to incorporate your suggestions and ideas!

That said, if you’ve read Moose Tracks and want to suggest a quote to be made into a poster, please do so as well in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts. The quote chosen has to be fairly short, obviously, but it can be several sentences long. 🙂

Okay, here are the latest three posters:

CFoHWhKUgAE-G8b    1.

Forest poster 1    2.

CGJEesxWkAA0pIM3.

 That’s it for now – tell me what you think, please! 🙂

Foreword Review!

Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven

Reviewed by Maya Fleischmann
April 29, 2015

A woman discovers her rich relationships in this exquisite exploration into themes of time and connections, love and loss.

Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven tells the story of protagonist Elena Elizabeth Wright Maguire, who reexamines her life and relationships after she is involved in a minor car accident.

M. Reed McCall skillfully transitions between different periods with segues that invite further exploration into memories triggered by a comment made in the present. For example, when Pa says he can hardly wait to put Christmas decorations around the house, the narrative flashes back thirty-two years to the Christmas Eve when Elena was almost seven years old. This movement in the narrative not only serves to keep the story flowing but also creates an intriguing and natural flow in the stream of connections that Elena makes as she unravels the journey she has made in her life.

McCall captures the unique voices of different personalities and their relationships with one another with evocative and heartfelt precision. This creates a vivid image, not only about Elena, but also about the people around her and the place she lives. This is clear in Pa’s letters to Elena, which offer wisdom, and in radio disc jockey Willard T. Bogg’s announcements on WGRR FM 103.9 about the events in Moose Junction. Elena’s transformation to a mature woman is contrasted with her past idealistic and youthful eighteen-year-old voice in a diary entry about her love, Jesse: “I can’t wait to give Jesse the card and giant Hershey’s chocolate bar I bought for him. I’m SO in love!!!”

While the narrative itself is deeply moving, the black-and-white photographs scattered throughout further contribute to the story’s heartrending quality by lending a unique sense of reality to the story and giving it the feel of a personal history unfolding, adding to the book’s allure and effectiveness.

Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven forges a path straight to the heart.

**For a limited time, Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven is still on sale for $2.99 for Kindle and Nook!

Summer(y) Afternoon

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Summery view on my way home from work yesterday afternoon

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
― Henry James

Here in upstate New York we seem to have leaped right from winter to summer.

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A view on my drive home: a farmer getting his fields ready for the new growth of the season

I suppose it’s apropos for this time of year. Mother’s Day is coming up on Sunday, with a forecasted temperature in the mid-80’s (Fahrenheit). I can remember at least one Mother’s Day when it snowed. So goes the climate upstate.

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Summer view in Spring

For now, I’ll enjoy the summery hints of days to come. Lots to do today, but I hope to enjoy some time, as Henry James seems to exhort in his quote above. It may only be Spring but summer is coming…

What’s your favorite thing/aspect about summer?