Monday, September 6, 2010

Colorful Country Road Blend

My early morning walks with Tucker afford me time to gather my thoughts and take stock in the day ahead as well as consider the bounty of the local countryside. I am so blessed to breathe in the peace and harmony that these unpaved roads have to offer--from neighbors driving slowly by and stopping, just for a moment, to share their latest news, to watching the seasonal colors change, everyday, from dusty shades of burnished browns and silver grays to newborn pinks and chartreuse greens and later to majentas, yellows and mossy greens that finally give way to autumn's rich golds, hunter greens and bronzes before turning, once again to silver grays and burnished browns. 

Here, we find ourselves in the bright to muted transitional phase from summer to fall.  These days, even with little rain having been in the forecast, Mother Nature's colors have been more subtle but no less beautiful.  The warmth of the sun and the moisture in the air have created a lively blend of late summer settings that are too lovely to pass by.

Roadside vignettes of  bountiful nuts, acorns and pine cones tucked under the first of the freshly fallen leaves rest along the pathways and beckon me to gather some of these seeds for my own autumnal blend of potpourri.  Everyday lately, Tucker and I spy squirrels busily gathering perfect pine cones along with green-tinged acorns and rough-hewn hickory nuts.  Their pace at collecting seems frantic--maybe they know something the weather forecasters don't and this hottest of hot summers will end sooner than we think.  There is still plenty of natural treasure for the local wildlife and me to share and, I think, still plenty of time before the first hint of the colder weather makes it's "Fall Debut" here in Philomont. .  But that doesn't seem to stop the squirrels from stock piling their caches of acorns and nuts.   Thank goodness for the sheer abundance of them as well  magnolia pods and rose hips, wild mint and scented geraniums. All wonderful ingredients for my country road potpourri.

Oh-ohh...those sweet-faced "Devil Deer" are cautiously making their way back into my view, eying some of the same things the squirrels and I are both already vying for.  Ahh, those cunning "Devil Deer."  I have no intentions of sharing with them my country road potpourri.  They'll just have to collect their own mix of magical magnolia pods, "piney" seeds and fragrant rose hips, preferably on another person's property but, I don't think I'll be that lucky.  Just to be on the safe side, I think I'll stash my autumnal blend, while I'm jazzing up the colors and mixing up the textures, in the garage where the "Devil Deer," around here, still fear to tread...
I'm combining these blissful little nuggets from Mother Nature to create my own "Colorful Country Road Blend" to highlight and brighten my indoor tables with the shine that seems to accent  golden autumn days and pay homage to this glorious late summer season...

I've spray-painted baby pine cones from Hemlock trees, star magnolia pods, hickory nuts and acorns then added them to fuzzy pussy willow catkins, dip-dyed eucalyptus leaves and even added some orange brushed pumpkin-like spindle berries mixed in with aromatic Wild Mountain Mint leaves and Lemon Balm leaves for a fragrant forestry experience.

Then I started layering each group of cones and nuts and leaves one on top of the other and my "Colorful Country Road Blend" started taking shape as I began to tweak the color and fine-tune the texture with each additional handful.

All of it came to together in a whimsical combination of Autumn shine that looks enchanting set in a pretty bowl on a bedside table or complimenting a favorite stack of vintage books that lay on the living room coffee table. Bronze intertwined with silver and gold, complimented with mossy green and deep red, showing off the minty-sage green of dried and scented leaves with a pop of orange for cheerfulness.  I love the way it turned out.

Subtle hints of pine and lemon, mint and eucalyptus will blend with and freshen a favorite potpourri or it can stand all by itself, looking pretty as a picture and smelling fresh, like a crisp Fall day in the foothills of the Blue Ridge.  Close your eyes and are on a country road with a friendly black lab named Tucker, trotting at your side, to keep you company...I'm already there!

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