Archive for October, 2013

AAHal8First up in my mini-series of items I found while cleaning out the house over the past week…

…and quite fitting for today, are a bunch of Halloween decorations.

One of the boxes I found in the attic was full of all the holiday decorations my mother saved from when I was kid. Included in this box were some vintage cardboard Halloween decorations we used to pull out every year. I had not seen these in years, but as soon as I saw them I was transported back to my childhood Halloweens.

These decorations are just pieces of printed cardboard, but they were the coolest things every year when we pulled them out the box. The skeleton (below) was put on the front door every year to greet the trick-or-treaters, and my brother and I used to fight over who would have the honor of hanging it.

Here are few of the pieces I found, and saved from the dumpster…

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AADumpster2.10.13In the early days of Lost Cowboy, I shared stories about cleaning out my parents’ country home in New Hampshire after they moved to a more manageable homestead in their golden years. We filled a dumpster or two with all sorts of stuff that they had accumulated in the house and barn and left the rest for the future.

Anyway, in the intervening years, I moved into the house (where I am now) to take a bit of a sabbatical from my career and continue to clean up the property for its eventual sale. This past week I have played host to another dumpster – all 30 square yards of it – which was filled with more stuff from the barn, attic, and basement of the old house.

The first “Dumpster Weekend” back in 2009 was very emotional for all of us, especially my parents, and it was very tough as it was the first big sign of huge life change. This recent Dumpster Week was less emotional and more therapeutic as much of what was thrown into the dumpster was really trash that had no real value but was just cluttering up the house.

That said, as I poured through various boxes of stuff there were a few cool “finds” that I saved from the dumpster – which I will be sharing here in the coming days.

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HAL1One of the classic “monsters” rolled out every year at this time is The Mummy. I like the idea of mummies walking around, kind of like old-school zombies.

Anyway, I really like the Mummy graphic from Freemind that is offered as an option on a variety of products from Society 6. Products like a Gallery quality Giclée print.

Find Freemind’s Mummy print (and related products) from Society 6 here.

See all the great products from Society 6 here.

SKSLOn this eve of All Hallow’s Eve (Halloween to the rest of us) I thought I would reach back into the archives for the scariest book I ever read: Salem’s Lot by Stephen King.

When I was a kid, I remember my mother reading all of Mr. King’s early books and saying how scary they were, especially when she was up late reading when the rest of the house was asleep.

When I was in high school, I decided to check out one of the novels and chose Salem’s Lot. I must say from the beginning I was creeped out. (I was even more scared by the TV miniseries based on the book I watched with my mom – we both let out shrieks at key moments).

Anyway, I recently found a well-thumbed paperback of Salem’s Lot and sat down to read it again. I was struck with fits of nostalgia and can say that it holds up in the way that the best classic horror fiction can.

About Salem’s Lot by Stephen King: “Ben Mears has returned to Jerusalem’s Lot in hopes that exploring the history of the Marsten House, an old mansion long the subject of rumor and speculation, will help him cast out his personal devils and provide inspiration for his new book. But when two young boys venture into the woods, and only one returns alive, Mears begins to realize that something sinister is at work—in fact, his hometown is under siege from forces of darkness far beyond his imagination. And only he, with a small group of allies, can hope to contain the evil that is growing within the borders of this small New England town. With this, his second novel, Stephen King established himself as an indisputable master of American horror, able to transform the old conceits of the genre into something fresh and all the more frightening for taking place in a familiar, idyllic locale.”

With all the popular horror fiction that is all the rage these days, it is clear that Mr. King remains the, er, king of the genre. Although I have read only a few of his other books (his Pet Sematary being the second scariest book I ever read) I respect his talent and his prolific output that has been cemented in our collective popular culture.

Salem’s Lot by Stephen King is available from Amazon and other fine book retailers (and used book stores everywhere).

The fall foliage may be technically “past peak” here in Central New Hampshire, but the remaining colors are still quite stunning in the late afternoon sun.  Here are a few shots I took this afternoon of Lake and Mount Chocorua from Tamworth, NH:

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Meanwhile, farther north, the summit of Mount Washington has snow, a sign of things to come.  In fact, the forecast is calling for temperatures in the 20’s and a chance of light snow over night tonight.

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HAL5Did you know that whole thing about razorblades in apples at Halloween to hurt children is a total urban legend? Well, it is. Anyway, nothing says autumn and Halloween better than a good old fashioned candied apple. The fine folks at The Fruit Company make it very easy to share the joy of candied apples with their Carmel Apple Kit – which you can send to friends and family anywhere.

About the Carmel Apple Kit from The Fruit Company: “It’s frightful, delightful, and everyone’s favorite treat – a caramel apple kit. Our Halloween coffin box filled with mouth-watering Granny Smith apples, luscious caramels, Halloween sprinkles, diced almonds, mini M&Ms bamboo apple sticks and a caramel apple recipe. Put them all together and party-goers can have a blast creating the holiday’s most bewitching and boo-tiful caramel apples.”

By the way – with expedited shipping – you still have time to send as a gift before Halloween.

Find the Carmel Apple Kit from The Fruit Company here.

Find all the seasonal gift options from The Fruit Company here.

HAL2When it comes to ornaments, Christmas gets all the attention, but Halloween is right up there these day with plenty of ornament options like the Merry Halloween Ornament from Elizabeth’s Embellishments.

About the Merry Halloween Ornament from Elizabeth’s Embellishments: “This charming and stylish Halloween ornament features glass with a metal frame and the words “OCT 31” on one side and vintage Halloween imagery on the other with the words ‘Merry Halloween’.”

See all the Halloween products from Elizabeth’s Embellishments here.

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I miss my container garden, I am not going to lie. The autumn freezes have pretty much killed off the last of anything still growing here in New Hampshire and it is a long time until spring.

However, I have found a couple of cool things to help the gardener in me make it through the winter.

First, to help me organize all the seeds I have collected from my flowers and vegetables this past season, there is the Seed Packet Organizer & Seed Envelopes from Gardener’s Edge (above right).

About the Seed Packet Organizer & Seed Envelopes from Gardener’s Edge: “For the more organized gardener, or those that aspire to be! Collect, organize and store seeds by their planting month in this stylish powder-coated tin. Far too lovely to leave tucked away in the garden shed—bring it inside to make a charming decorative display! Comes complete with pencil, monthly dividers and five special seed storage envelopes to start collecting your own seeds. Great for the avid gardener or someone just getting started.”

Right now I have my seeds in little cups and envelops and they are all over the place. The Seed Packet Organizer is the perfect thing for someone like me.

See all the products of Gardener’s Edge here.

ffrcMeanwhile, to help keep cuttings and other plants going indoors over the winter there is the Rootcup Planter – which makes the whole process easy. The Rootcup is also great for forcing bulbs inside – like the Paperwhites I like to grow for the holidays.

About Rootcup Planter: “Rootcup Planter is a small sub-irrigation planter made of durable BPA free, phthalate free, food-grade silicone. The soft matte finish won’t scratch your desk or countertop and soil and water are completely contained so water won’t flow out the bottom like a usual ceramic pot. Rootcup Planter can be used as a sub-irrigation / self-watering planter, just lift the insert and add water to the cup, water will wick up into the soil, perfect for African violet. For cactus and succulents, water can easily drain through the insert to the cup, helping to prevent rot in plants that prefer to stay dry most of the time.”

Visit the Rootcup shop here.