Friday, October 30, 2015

My Scottie Pumpkin

Several years ago I painted a white pumpkin with depictions
of Scotties.  It's pretty cute don't you think?

We are having our yearly big neighborhood party tonight.  
Hopefully the weather won't be too bad.  Right now it is
very cloudy and there are tornado watches in our area.
Thunderstorms are headed our way too.  I am hoping that
the storms blow through quickly and some clear skies move in.
We are just now drying out from the heavy rains of last

I am amazed by the huge popularity of Halloween.  I don't dislike
Halloween, but it's not my favorite holiday.  Lots of people like
the scary decorations, but I like the happy ones.  I remember the
first time I saw the movie Psycho on TV,  I couldn't take a shower
when I was alone in the house for ages.

Well, I better let y'all go for now.  I have to start
baking my fudge cupcakes with salted caramel
frosting.  Have a wonderful Friday!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Wee Bit of Scotland Tea

I love to mix plaid with roses and I always think of plaid when
the days get shorter and the air becomes cool and crisp.  

Roses and tartans compliment each other.

I have always had a deep affection for Scotland.  When I was a little girl
I loved to hear the stories of Scotland with it's highlands and heather.

It just gives me a warm and cozy feeling.  A feeling that is just perfect
for an afternoon tea.

I am so happy that the days are finally a bit cooler down here in
South Texas.  I can actually work outside without passing out
from the heat ;-)  Delightful!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Reluctant Psychic

Have you ever had a dream come true?  Not the happy, wish fulfilling
kind of dream, but a dream that is disturbing and has an ominous
and frightening outcome.  A dream where coming events unfold before
your eyes and you just stare into the future with disbelief.

It has happened to me more than once.  Sometimes I know the
person or persons involved, sometimes they are ones I have heard 
about yet have never met.  Still, the dreams are vivid and pressing me 
to take action despite my reluctance to do so. 

Once I had a dream about a man who had led the police on a wild 
chase through several states.  It was all over the news and when he was
finally caught, everyone was relieved.  He was put into our local jail
awaiting trial.  End of saga for everyone, or so we thought.   A few
nights after he was captured I had a dream about him.  In my dream,
he escaped from jail and once again led everyone on a manhunt.
The dream was so vivid and so frightening that I woke David up
from a sound sleep and told him about it.  David calmed me down 
and tried to explain away the dream and that everything was fine.
The prisoner was in solitary confinement and was being closely
monitored.  No worries ….

Later that day the prisoner escaped.

This was not the first time I had such a dream and it would not be
the last.  I also had dreams about a woman whom I knew, and was
trying to tell me that she was afraid that someone was trying to get 
control of her finances.  Night after night, I heard her pleas, but 
every time I tried to investigate her accusations, I was surrounded
by lions who both watched and stalked me.  

This dream sadly was a warning of unfolding true events and a 
court battle raged for months and finally ended with this woman's

I have always been troubled by this sixth sense I possess.  Signs mostly 
come to me in dreams, but sometimes I can just meet someone and 
have a very unsettling feeling.  A nagging voice in my head telling me
that this person can not be trusted, or is dangerous in some way.  It does
not happen very often, but when it does I take note because this feeling
always turns out to be true.

I once met a woman who sought me out.  I was working at a shop
and she came in, walked up to me and said I have never been in
this shop before.  I don't know why I am here.  Then she looked
very closely at me and told me she now realized why she chose to
visit.  She explained to me that she was a medium and that she 
worked with several police departments helping them solve missing
person cases and various crimes.  Then she told me that I have the gift
and that my abilities were even stronger than her own.  She stressed
that I needed to cultivate my sixth sense and not to waste it.  

She wrote down her name and phone number on a piece of paper
and told me that I could call her anytime I wanted.  She left
me with a blessing and told me not to forget what she had told me.
Then she turned and walked out the door and I never saw
her again.  

I never wanted to cultivate this ability.  I have never felt very
comfortable with it.  I have always been concerned that if I were to
open that doorway into another dimension that I may not like nor
be prepared to face what I might find.  I cannot control my dreams
however, they invade my sleep whether I want them to or not.
So if I ever have one that I think y'all might need to know about,
I will tell you and leave it up to you to act upon it or not.
In the meantime, I pray for peaceful days and nights for us all.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, October 26, 2015

Butternut Squash and Sage Pasta

One of my new favorite shows on the Food Network is called 
The Kitchen.  It is on Saturday morning on the Food Network
and it is often repeated on Sunday.  A couple of weeks ago 
they prepared a recipe for Butternut Squash in a Sage Butter.
 I love all squash and butternut is a special favorite of mine.
This is a dish you could serve as an entree on a meatless Monday,
or as a side with some roasted chicken or whatever meat 
you prefer.  It's really quite simple.

Take a fresh butternut squash.  I usually cut it straight across it's middle and 
then two more times to make it easier to handle.  Trim off the rind by
just cutting down on the sides.  The lower fatter section is where the seeds
live, so just scoop them out and either toss out, or save and roast because
they are so yummy that way.  

When the squash is peeled, cube it up into 1/2 inch pieces.  Place in a large baking
dish or cookie sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
Toss to coat.  Place in a preheated 400 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes.

When the squash is ready, prepare your spaghetti.  I used whole wheat
pasta because I want a nutrient dense dish.   Then for the sauce, melt 1
stick of butter in a large deep skillet.  Add 6 cloves of thinly sliced garlic,
1 cup chopped fresh sage and cook together for a couple of minutes.
The recipe also calls for toasted hazelnuts, but I used toasted walnuts
because that's what I had on hand.  Toss the nuts into the sage butter
and add the squash.   Stir to coat.  Add the spaghetti to the pan and toss
together once again.  You can add a bit of the pasta water if it seems too

Here is the exact recipe from the show.  Marcella suggests grating some
cheese on top too.  This is so delicious ~ it's like Autumn in your mouth!

I hope you will try it and that you like it too.  Please let me know if you
do!  Here is the link to The Kitchen.  I like this show so much that I TiVo 
it to watch later.  

Bentley continues to heal his wound.  He is feeling very frisky but
I am keeping him on a short leash ;-)  We did go for a short walk
last evening and he played a bit too.  He's anxious to run around the
yard and look for vermin, but it is under my watchful eye.  He has
been really good about taking his meds and has a couple more
days to go.  We are so happy and relieved that he will be just
fine.  Thanks for all your well wishes!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Happy at Home on a Rainy Day

We are so happy and cozy at home on a chilly and rainy Sunday morning.
David is having a morning nap and Bentley is comfy and cozy all curled up
on the sofa.  He really started to perk up last evening and wanted to play.
Such a good sign!  My goodness, we adore that little guy.

By the way, I know we should be at church, but I don't want to leave
Bentley alone just yet.  He would probably be just fine, but I am the
doting mama after all.

I know I have told y'all this before, but I sure do enjoy a rainy day.  I think,
well no, I know,  I inherited that from my Daddy.  He would sit in his favorite
chair or at his desk with a cup of coffee and Time magazine or the Wall Street
Journal and not surface for hours.  For me, it's with a good book.  I just started
reading Doing It at the Dixie Dew by Ruth Moose.  I only finished a chapter
last night before I fell asleep but I can't wait to get back to it.  It's about a 
woman who returns to her hometown to restore a grand old house and turn
it into a bed and breakfast and wouldn't you know ~ there is murder involved!
Need I say more?  Y'all know how much I love a good  mystery.  I was not
familiar with Ruth Moose before, but she is a talented writer who was on the
creative writing faculty at the University of North Carolina for years.  She
spins a good tale.

I  have a few things lined up for David on the Honey Do list
today.  He doesn't know it yet, but I will butter him up before I ask.
I have to take advantage of a rainy day since he won't be tossing
his sticks into the truck to head out to the golf course ;-)  Actually,
he really is good about helping me with a project once I ask.  I 
just have to keep the list short.  And if all else fails, he just has
to see me try to do it myself and then he steps in because he just
knows I will mess it up.  

I hope that y'all are enjoying this Sunday as much as I am.  I love being home
with my little family and I also know that you love that too.  Once again,
thank you so much for all the kind thoughts, prayers and words about
Bentley.  They are greatly appreciated!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Our LIttle Patient ~ Bentley Update

Thank you for all your well wishes and prayers for Bentley.  He came back home this
morning from the vet's office.  The vet thinks (and I do too) that Bentley probably ran
into the possum's tooth while he was charging and the tooth caught the eyelid.  That is
where the puncture is.  There is some blood in the eye, but that is supposed to go away
on it's own.  Bentley is not fusing with his eye so he does not have to wear a cone.

He is on three prescription drugs, an oral antibiotic, pain and anti-inflammatory meds
and an antibiotic cream that I have to put in his eye.  He is really good about taking
everything and he especially likes the pain killer/anti-inflammatory because he
thinks it's a treat :-)

We are so happy to have him back home and to know that he will be just fine
once again.  It's been raining really hard all day, which is a blessing because
otherwise he would want to go out and hunt for the possum again.  That's just
the way our little scrapper is.  I have other ideas and will be watching him like
a hawk when the rain stops which won't be for a couple of days.

Thank you once again.  I was so scared yesterday while trying to separate
Bentley from the possum.  We love our little guy so much and want the
best for him always.  Just wish he wouldn't be so darn brave sometimes.

Bentley sends you all kisses!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Friday, October 23, 2015

Please Pray for Bentley

Bentley got into a fight with a possum and was either bit or scratched on his left eye
or on the eyelid.  He is at the vet's office now.  The vet had left for the day and we had
to leave Bentley there.  The vet will call us later to let us know how he is.

I tried so hard to separate them, but Bentley kept coming after the possum.  He
is so fast and relentless.  I love little Bentley so much.  I just want him to be okay.
Please pray for him.


Back Home Again

Bentley and I have been gone for a few days.  We went out to west Texas
with David and a co-worker and his sweet wife for business.  It's a very, very
long drive from Victoria to Monahans.  When you finally get to Fort Stockton
on Interstate 10 and turn off to head north to Monahans, you still have another
40 or so miles to go.  David has to check on the office out their from time to
time and he enjoys the company on such a long drive.

The environment is so different out there.  We have all the beautiful trees and
Gulf breezes here in Victoria, while west Texas is dry and windy and just a lot 
of scrub.  But there is oil out there and lots of oil field activity.  Quite a few
big new hotels in a tiny little town to house all the business men and women.  

The hotel where we stayed allows pets, so Bentley made quite a few new
friends including a cute little twelve week old Yorkie pup named Rain. 
Rain and his mama and grandma come to Monahans every week on business
and so Rain is quickly becoming the hotel mascot.  All the staff know him
and he gets lots of attention.  There were a couple of Shelties and two Boxers,
a five month old Maltese puppy and a Chihuahua too.  Bentley was never
bored :-)

Although we all had fun, it's always great to return home to the comfort
of one's own nest.  We were all anxious to turn in early last night.  But
before we could do that, Bentley had to take a good long walk around his
neighborhood.  It wasn't until he was completely convinced that he had
thoroughly examined the neighborhood for any news that he was able
to jump up into our bed, lay down his sweet little head, close his
eyes and fall fast asleep.  All was right with his world.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Creative Life

To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.
~ Joseph Chilton Pearce

Shoot for the moon.  Even if you miss it you will land  among the stars.
~ Les Brown

I believe that each of us is creative and it is up to each of us to keep that
creativity nurtured and alive.  Make today a good day and have some
creative fun!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, October 19, 2015

Have A Blessed Day

I woke up feeling really happy.

It's going to be a wonderful day and I hope that it is a wonderful one
for you as well.

Wishing you every blessing.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Friday, October 16, 2015

Indian Summer in South Texas

It's Indian Summer here on the Texas Gulf Coast ~ well, that's what my neighbor
Catherine and I decided to call it.  Still in the 90's here and the humidity has been
high too.  But this morning when I went to set the trash out by the curb, it felt a
bit cooler.  I am keeping my fingers crossed.  

There are little signs that fall has actually arrived here.  Our huge pecan tree is beginning
to shed it's leaves.  Carlos, our gardener called to let me know that our grass had not grown
much and perhaps we could skip a week.  I did talk to him about wrapping all our big
live oaks with white lights this year and we agreed to start right after Thanksgiving.  Carlos
is so artistic and his eyes just light up whenever I mention a creative project.

I am going to look to see if there is a formula for figuring out how many lights
we will need.  Catherine and I will probably buy up all the lights in town
because she wants to wrap her trees too.  Last year when we were in Houston for
Thanksgiving, the trees in River Oaks and West U were spectacular.

I saw a great recipe for Butternut Squash in a garlic sage butter sauce for
pasta on Food Network's The Kitchen.  I am going to share it with you as
soon as I pick up some squash this weekend.  Do you ever watch that show?
It is currently one of my favorites now because they have so many good 
tips for making things easier in the kitchen and so many good recipes too.

Well, I am off to get the laundry done and fluff up the house a bit before
the weekend begins.  Have a wonderful day!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Slow Cooker Comfort Food

Having a meal waiting for me in my slow cooker is like having money in 
the bank.   I know that making a green salad and getting dinner on the
table will be easy after a busy day.

Yesterday I threw together a recipe that was easy and sure to please
my meat loving hubby using store bought frozen precooked meatballs,
canned soup, sliced onions, sherry wine and low fat buttermilk.

Here is the recipe:

One onion ~ sliced
One half cup Sherry Wine
One can low sodium Mushroom Soup
One quarter to one half cup low fat Buttermilk
Saute the sliced onions in a bit of olive oil until
soft and translucent.
Add the sherry wine and cook down until reduced
by half.
Add undiluted mushroom soup and thin slightly
with the buttermilk.

Pour all of the above into your slow cooker and add
as many meatballs as you would like.  Three to four per
person depending on your family's appetite.  Set the
slow cooker on high and cook three hours.  Or if you
prefer, set on low and cook all day.  Serve over wide egg
noodles and add a green salad.  It's slow cooker comfort.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, October 12, 2015

I Have A Secret to Share With You

I lead a double life!  Blog writer by day and mystery reader by night ;-)
It all started out innocently enough …  first there was Nancy Drew and as I
grew older I became hooked on Agatha Christie mysteries.  I do believe I  have
read most of them at least once.  

I became fascinated with why people commit murder.  What entices them to
a life of crime and how they plot to get away with it.   The psychology and the
motivation of a murderer is what I want to read about.  Of course the setting is
always important to me.  It's all the more appealing if it happens in a quaint little
spot with charming participants.  I am a cozy kind of girl after all.

The criminal mind is so interesting to me that I took a one day seminar years ago
to learn what motivates the criminal and what steps they take to try to 
hide their actions.   I even have a certificate of completion :-)

I am hard at work on my very own first mystery where Bentley and I 
solve our first case together.  It's full of twists and turns and a pot or two
of tea as we burn the midnight oil trying to bring about justice for the victims.
Now instead of being blog writer by day and mystery reader by night, 
our little blog will be solving crimes too.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Already Thinking About Christmas

I know it's really early yet.   We have not even celebrated
Halloween, but I am thinking ahead to decorating for
Christmas!  Last year was the first Christmas without my
Mom, and I just had a hard time getting into the spirit.  This
year I want to go all out.  Well, at least that is my intention.

It's the one time of the year when we get to focus on happy
memories and really feel like kids again.  Even if I feel like I
am in a minimalistic decorating mood, the spirit of the season
 always seems to take over.

Of course it's a little bit harder to get into the Christmas spirit when….
ho, ho, ho ~ there is no snow, but Texans just have a way of going
all out anyway :-)  Last year when we went to Houston for Thanksgiving,
everyone was putting up thousands of lights and it was just spectacular.

Last night I was talking to my next door neighbor about wrapping
all of our big old live oaks with hundreds of lights and we were
getting so excited about the prospect.

So I woke up this morning all enthusiastic about decorating 

And soon I will be taking inventory of decorations we already have and the theme
for this year.  It will be lots of work and lots of fun too.

But it will be a season full of decorating surprises here at Ash Tree Cottage.
That I can guarantee!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


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