Monday, October 12, 2009


I am in mourning, for a North Dakota autumn that never was and never will be. It was a balmy 85 degrees on Saturday, Sept. 26. Ever since that day, it has been cold, cloudy, windy, rainy, snowy. Yes, snowy. Southwestern North Dakota has already had snow measurable in inches. Friday morning, it snowed briefly here. And this morning, we woke to .6 inches of snow on the ground. The daily high temperatures have been hovering right around 30 degrees F.

We never got to have autumn. The leaves never turned. Instead, they died on the branch, still green. After such a horrible winter last year, we never imagined that we would have to face it again so soon. It's almost too much for me to bear. The forecasters are saying we may have a slight warmup by the weekend, but I doubt we'll have true Indian Summer this year. We won't have those mellow "bluebird" days, when the temps are in the 70s, the winds are calm and the sky is the purest blue. We won't have the glory of the scarlet sumac, the golden cottonwoods, the flaming leaves of the few maple trees that grow here.

As I watched the noon forecast today, I thought I saw the words "depressing cloudiness" on the screen. It turned out to be "decreasing cloudiness", but depressing seems more apt. This swift alteration of the natural turn of the seasons has really altered my mood as well, and not in a good way. In an effort to alleviate the gloom, I decided to put out my indoor autumn decorations.

The photo above shows what my mantel looks like in autumn (only the photo is tilted, not the mantel!). For most of the year, I leave up the ivy and cedar toparies and trellises, and the Victorian clock which was passed down from Dan's grandmother. On the left is a figurine of a sweet little girl reading, which I got from Victorian Papers years ago, and on the right is a figurine of three cherubs, topped by a candle. I round off the display off with a couple of amber goblets and a fall silk garland. On the wall to the left and right of the fireplace are leaf sconces with light orange candles. (These photos were taken a couple of years ago - I finally got rid of my husband's pheasant print and replaced it with a painting of two dogs sleeping in a basket before a fireplace.)

This sideboard is in my living room, as I have no room for it in the dining room. It was originally in my Great Aunt Jennie and Great Uncle Albert's house, until they moved in with one of their daughters. After that it resided in my Grandma's house, until I inherited it. Here I feature some real pumpkins, a huge spicy-scented orange candle and a fall swag. After I took the photo I got the male pilgrim figurine to match the lady on the right. As you can see, I still haven't been able to get rid of the duck and pheasant hunting prints on this side of the room.

This is my deacon's bench, which is in my dining room. It features a basket with fall-tinted hydrangeas and bittersweet, an amber candle holder, a black and white French etching, a basket of pears and a statuette of a lady that I purchased many years ago. I love this photo because it shows how the sun coming in the south windows highlights the honey gold of the wood.

Atop my microwave: A copper canister with copper-colored fall foliage, wheat and baby cattails; a French copper saucier; two vintage Gurley fall candles, and a basket with various (fake) fall produce.

The coffee table in my living room, topped with an autumn runner and centerpiece. Included are some pieces of my collection of leaf-shaped fall items, a box with hunting dog scene on the top, and a piece from my collection of hunting-themed pottery.

This is my secretary desk, which I inherited from my mom. It shows a very small part of my collection of autumn-themed animals such as chipmunks and squirrels. This collection has now grown larger, and I have added an owl and a set of birds perched atop acorns, fall berries, etc. The cubbies of the secretary were a cool place to store my rubber stamp collection, but I have now sold most of my stamps. (P.S. Sorry about the mirror - I clean and clean this old mirror and it never really gets clean.)

This photo is of the window seat in my dining room (never used as a window seat, as it is very narrow and uncomfortable). Here, I surrounded my windows with some draped rummage fabric in apricot, silk autumn leaf garlands and amber lights. On the window sill I laid silk sprays of apples and fall-colored roses. On the window seat, I feature a hodgepodge of fall-themed items: fruit plates and a squash-shaped gravy boat, silk autumn leaves, a turkey figurine (I now have more turkeys), a tin, a basket of silk mums, an orange watering can holding real Indian corn and miniature autumn houses.

So even though I can't enjoy a real North Dakota autumn this year, I can enjoy it in my house.


PS - I have revived my book blog, "Julie's Bookshelf" (I hadn't posted to it in over a year and a half!) and I will be writing frequent book reviews there. Go to:

Also, I have opened up a new blog, called "Poetry Fest", in which myself and other poetry lovers can share their favorite poems. I will be posting my favorites and yours, with fine art to go with them. Go to


JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

What lovely decorations - so cheery and homey. Our rains are finally going to start tomorrow - after a gloriously long and pleasant summer.fe

Sobeit said...

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* Thank the person who gave this to you...
* Copy the logo and place it in your blog ....
* Link the person who nominated you....
* Pass this Award on to seven blogs you like and let them know in their comments that they have won
* Name 7 things about yourself that no one would really know.


Autumn Leaves said...

I am so sorry that you have missed out on your autumn up there, Julie. Since it is my favorite season I would also be unhappy if it skipped us by. We've also been getting cold, especially at night where we are dipping into the 20's already! No snow, yet, but we also have lots of green leaves still on the trees. Fortunately we do also have those turning colors.

I love all your seasonal autumn decorations and am drooling over your antique furniture pieces. I so love antique furniture! I hope that you can find the joy no matter the weather. Even winter brings along some great things...warmth, family, snuggling in, fireplace fires (your fireplace is so beautiful!)...Hot buttered rum with a cinnamon stick!

marthaberry said...

After several lack luster autumns, I think we are going to have a lovely one. If it happens, I will try to take some pictures of it to share. I know how you feel, Julie, sometimes I just ache to see the lovely weather and vibrant colors.

gma said...

I am sending out a prayer that you WILL have an Indian Summer.Fingers crossed for you. Your home looks warm and wonderful Julie. Love your deacons bench and vignette.

Janet said...

Your autumn decorations all look so pretty. As you know, it's my favorite time of year so seeing this made me smile....although I feel bad that you haven't really had an autumn this year. We've been cool and even a bit rainy but will be back in the 80's by the weekend so maybe you'll still get some warmer weather, too. I hope so!

Colleen - the AmAzINg Mrs. B said...

I'm sorry you have missed fall...however, your home is as inviting as any leaf-peeping trip I have taken :-) And I LOVE the lady in your header!

♥Cantinho da Nete ♥ said...


Annie Jeffries said...

Love all your autumn decorations. It may not be autumn outside but its warmth and welcome is shining inside.

Ruthie Redden said...

How awful not to have autumn, i should miss it so! but beautiful autumnal photos. *ruthie*

Lila Rostenberg said...

It seems so cruel and unfair to have winter barge in ahead of autumn. I love how youn retaliated with some autumn of your own!
the little squirrels near your desk cubby holes are perfect!

J C said...

Julie, your home looks cozy and inviting. Even if it's cold and snowy outside, anyone would be happy to be inside where you have made it so cheerful. That cubby desk is very interesting. Is that art painted on each cubby? What a treasure! I'm off to your poetry blog now. xoxoxo

Shopgirl said...

Your decorations are lovely. I do not have anything out. I have been so busy that it has just got past me. I want a pumpkin at least. We are in fall and the tree's are turning so many lovely colors. This is my favorite time of year, but it doesn't last long. We have had snow on our near mountains, and rain here in the valley.
You have made your own retreat, and it looks so cozy and warm.
Sending love and the spirit of fall, Mary