Yard Work

If I could give out prizes for Best Autumn Yard Decor in my town of Corinth, Miss., I’d award first place to this scarecrow couple who look quite stylish even though they’ve interrupted their gourd-harvesting to smile for the camera. And, yes, I know that — at least on the Calendar According to Retail — fall is over and we’re in the midst of the holiday season and if you haven’t started yet you’re already behind, but  it’s not Christmas yet if Thanksgiving still is a couple of weeks away. I’m just sayin’.

It’s Still Fall, Y’all

This is why I love my town of Corinth, Miss.: There is a gorgeous house literally on every corner. I was walking around recently in that lovely winter-is-on-its-way autumn twilight — which, this being Mississippi, means a drop in temperature from 95 degrees to 50-something — and found myself in front of this home. The combination of the scrolling black iron fence with the soft orange decor against the darkening sky was a perfect Halloween moment, even if this was a couple of days past Oct. 31. I’ll take it, though.  And of course I want to know how the gourds in the urns on either side of the door remain perfectly stacked: Glue? Gravity? Zenful balance? This being Corinth and Mississippi, I probably could simply walk up the steps and knock on the door and ask. But I think I’ll preserve the mystery.

When Pumpkins Lead to Social Angst

I love these pumpkins I spied on a morning walk around the neighborhood today. I mean, somebody just took  ribbon and paint or markers and created something different and eye-catching. Actually, these look like they were originally party decorations — maybe for a dance or a dinner or something involving a school with black and gold colors (Vanderbilt?) — and got re-purposed. And now I’m wondering what sort of party it was and where it was and what I would have worn IF I had been invited and would my husband have been able to come and who was was there and why was I NOT invited? No matter that I have no idea who lives here or if they’re the sort of folks who throw good parties and so maybe I wouldn’t even have WANTED to go to their silly little party anyway, so there. But they do know their way around pumpkins. And I obviously have way too much time on my hands.

Europe or Mississippi?

Even though a) I've never been to Europe and b) this is a downtown alley in Corinth, Miss., I think this photo could be from a cool & hipster ancient European village. On the other hand, there's no doubt this is American Southern. The window box, "white picket" fence and cheerful floral wreath brighten up even a front door flanked by garbage cans and decorated with power lines. This is what we do -- give us a small somewhat-ugly spot and we Southernize it to make it something beautiful. Can't help it. It's in our genes.

Southern Front Porches

Southern front porches are perfect in any season, but especially in spring as we start to move outside. I pass by this house in Tuscumbia, Ala., several times each week and always feel as if the folks who live here are offering me a glass of tea or wine and inviting me to sit a spell, relax and take it easy.

Corinth Home & Garden Tour

This is our backyard. Oh, okay, that’s a downright lie. You know that our backyard actually is about the size of this patio table. And even if it were bigger, I still wouldn’t have the talent and skill to make our outdoor space look this cute and inviting. I mean, don’t you want to just pull up a chair and pour a nice cool drink? Love the bright red and green tablescape with lemon-yellow accents. So summery! This was only one of the dozens of inspiring “rooms” on this past weekend’s Corinth (Mississippi) Home & Garden Tour. Sponsored by Verandah House Friends, the annual tour raises money to restore Corinth’s 1857 Verandah House, a Greek Revival beauty where Confederate officers planned their Shiloh campaign. The tour included a flower show, a silent auction of amazing local art, a bake sale and a plant sale. But the stars, of course, were the homes and gardens. Three houses in one of Corinth’s historic districts were open to visitors, and it was a constant stream of admiring “ooh’s and ahh’s” as we peeked into interior rooms and wandered through outdoor spaces. I especially was impressed with the way the owners combined respect for their homes’ authenticity with modern individual touches — beloved family heirlooms were cozily comfortable sharing with cheerful 21st-century details. But, you know, that’s how we do it* in the South.

* I was going to say “that’s how we roll in the South,” but since that invariably would lead to “Roll, Tide!” references I went instead with a less inflammatory phrase. After all, this is a free and open space where we tolerate all opinions and where differences are welcome. On the other hand:  “War Eagle!”

It’s A Conductor. No, Really, It Is.

There’s a super-long fence bordering the backyard of Older Daughter’s house, so of course you know we can’t leave a blank space empty for very long. Even in a non-creative person like me, the urge to Do Art cannot be ignored. (Although maybe in my case it should be.) And I know it’s not a competition or anything, but once again my son-in-law, the artist and art teacher, whipped out a chalk masterpiece with very little effort. “Look, Kacky,” 2 1/2-year-old grandson Capt. Adorable said, laughing. “Daddy’s triceratops is eating conductor!” Three guesses as to who drew the conductor.