Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Ya'll!

Not to worry - it is a silk poinsettia!

It wouldn't be Christmas in our house without all our cats!  Even tho it is a challenge to keep a tree up and decorated thru the season, their antics keep us amused.  Every morning our tree skirt is splayed out in the middle of the living room and ornaments are found all over the house after being batted across the floor all night!  

Minnie with wrapping.

We have even lost a cat in the tree one year - Sweetpea was a tiny kitten then and crawled up into the tree to take a nap. We looked all over for her, thinking she accidentally got outside, but then I thought to look in the branches and being black she blended in out of sight.


So today's post is pictures of all our cats in Christmases past.  Enjoy and Meowy Christmouse from all of us!

Kitten Al.

Tabitha helping out.

Monday, December 19, 2011

More Montford Holiday House Tour

1924 Proctor House

Today's post is continuing with the Montford neighborhood of Asheville Holiday House Tour from last week.  The Proctor House was built in 1924 in the Georgian Cottage style with a stucco finish.  The current owners have been renovating for the past five years, combining traditional and contemporary elements.  They allowed us to view the whole house but I prefer to keep the bedrooms private except for the unique Christmas tree in vibrant colors in one bedroom.

On Cumberland Circle we visited the Abbington Green Bed and Breakfast Inn.  Local architect Richard Sharp Smith created this home in 1908 and finished it in 1909 as a Colonial Revival that incorporates shingles over weatherboards., Doric posts, molded trim and a central gable.

Abbington Green B&B
The original  floor plan worked well as an inn - all the rooms are used as what they are in the original house.  The only room that was redone was the kitchen to make it more usable and modern.  Gingerbread houses decorated the main rooms downstairs along with  greenery and festive trees.

Inn front porch well decorated/

Dining room.


Living room
The inn was booked full for the weekend so they only showed one guest room for the tour and it was lovely.  Hubby and I love to stay in B&Bs when we travel although the rates have gone up considerably in recent years.  Years ago they used to be the budget way to travel - now not so much!

Sample guest room
Hope this has given you a glimpse of this historc neighborhood in Asheville and a taste of our town's holiday decor.  We are joining Our World Tuesday, Ruby Tuesday and Rednesday this week.

Happy Holidays from us to you!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Cats and the Montford Holiday Home Tour

Scales House
 I love taking home tours and seeing how other people decorate their homes, renovate older homes and landscape their yards.  This tour was a holiday home tour of the Montford neighborhood in Asheville.  I jumped a the chance to go with my husband.  Each home was decorated for the holidays and offered a hot beverage and snacks.Of the 13 homes on the tour we saw seven.

We were lucky - it was a balmy  sunshiny day in the upper 40s - in years past it has been snowy and cold.  The first house we visited was  the Scales House, built in 1926 and has undergone extensive renovation.  Fresh baked goods from Small Batch Baking local cookbook author Debbie Maugans were available for sampling.  Their tabby cat was trying desperately to catch a squirrel but his bell gave him away even tho he was hiding in the bushes!

can you find the cat?

The next house wasn't so much the house but  a walk in bakery.  They built a wood fired oven outside and baked breads and other delicious goodies in the oven.  We bought a whole grain bread and two pnatonnes, one for us and a gift for friends visiting the next day.  This is a small Italian  pastry with bits of fruit and nuts - great for toasting for breakfast. Their cat was sunning himself outside when a brave or dumb squirrel ran right up to him be fore realizing his mistake!  No blood was shed as he got away!

The wood-fired oven of the Montford Walk In Bakery

This is a home business and the way it works is  they list online what the offerings are each day, you place your order by phone or online and come by to pick it up.  They are inspected by the Agricultural Dept. rather than the Health Dept. - they cannot have any refrigerated items.  We will be back for more goodies.  Their web site is

Not a bright squirrel!

The third house (we will continue the tour later this coming week) was the Kuhne House, a story and a half but not a bungalow.  Built in 1896, it was the oldest of the tour.  It was built by Richard Kiibler who ran the butcher shop at a local market long gone.  I liked the grounds of this place best especially with the cat to show us around.

Their backyard patio, fire pit and workshops.

Kuhne House circa 1896

Pretty kitty.

I am joining in on the new Saturday Photo Hunt.  This week the word is JOY!  This season is full of joy and I find joy in participating in many different holiday celebrations like this home tour!  I am also taking part in Camera Critters.  Please do stop by both blogs and join in on the fun!

Come back by in a few days when I will post the rest of the tour.  Hope you are enjoying the hustle and bustle of  the holidays!  Happy Weekend.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Gingerbread Houses Gone to the Dogs!


For the post today I am featuring a few special needs dogs from our local no-kill shelter Brother Wolf.  If you would like more info about them please go to their web site.

Grand Prize Winner

Made of Milk Bones!!!!
Now on to the gingerbread houses.....The Grove Park Inn in Asheville hosted a Grove Bark Inn Doghouse Gingerbread contest much like their annual one for people only in this one the material had to be dog edible and the money raised went to the local pet shelters!  I stopped by one day this past week while they were still on display at the country club building.

The categories were set up like the dog shows - by breeds: Sporting - individual adults, Working - businesses, Herding - non profits, Terrier - ages 9-12 and Toy - ages 5-8. It looked like a fun competition and a well worthwhile cause!

A Flinstone version!

My favorite!

This one has jerky roof tiles.

The Grand Prize Winner was Tim Lamb of Atlanta who made a giant hydrant out of milk bones!  Pretty creative!

This holiday season, please consider donating food, supplies or money to your local animal shelter - they need your support!  Have a great weekend.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree.......

Over the mountains and into the valley!
 We invited a friend and his daughter to go with us to cut our Christmas tree this past weekend.  My family has cut our own trees since I was a youngster - a long time! On Sunday we headed out to Sandy Mush Valley in Leicester - on the border of the next county out.  Frazer Fir trees only grow over 3000 feet  and this area was a higher elevation than our town.

Tractor rides!

The kids are having fun.

Once we left town the roads got less crowded with the last six miles going up and across the mountains and down into the valley.  We began to see cars going the other direction with trees strapped to the roof or even tucked inside, crowding out the people.

Rows and rows of trees.

Not an easy task.
It was  a busy day for the Sandy Hollar Christmas Tree Farm.. The weather was mild yet a little cloudy and misty being on the mountains. The farm  offered rides through the trees in their wagon, hot chocolate, a fire pit for warmth  and even had a huge inflated snowman to welcome the kids.

Our perfect tree.

My husband found the perfect tree right off the bat.  I put a marker on it so we could find it again and headed out to look at the others.  I wasn't going to take the first tree we saw now, was I?  The hillsides are steep and that day muddy.  Walking was a bit of a struggle.  We found  a couple of others we liked but after hiking back to the original tree, we decided our first choice was the best.



Our friends were new to this and took a little longer to choose theirs.  Someone from the farm cuts the tree for you and even helps get it to the car on their ATVs.  Being experienced at this, we hauled our own. A six foot Frazer Fir is not light weight!  The farm hands bale the tree if you want  - makes it easier to get in the car.  We have a pick up truck so that was not an issue for us.  Our friends decided they had room in the SUV for the tree rather than tie it to the top.

Putting it in the baler

We paid for our trees and enjoyed some popcorn and hot cocoa before heading off home to set up and decorate our Frazer Firs.  We explained to our friends the details of fresh cut trees - how to cut a bit more off the base before putting it in the stand and filling the stand with warm water for the first day.  After that they must keep the well full of fresh water to ensure a long lived tree.  These trees keep their needles forever...  I have had Frazer Firs up and decorated through March, changing the decorations for each holiday - Valentines Day and then St. Pats.  My husband would not let me leave it up for Easter!

Do you have any Christmas tree traditions in your family?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Snow and Snuggle Bags

Looking at the ridge across from us.

We got our first snow this week - just a dusting but the mountain tops of 4000 feet got 3-4 inches.  I came down as wet big flakes.

The  woods behind us.

When I went into town I was pleasantly surprised to see the snow had accumulated and stuck to the trees and bushes at the farm on top of the ridge above us.

Snowing more at the Continental Divide.

The cats just settled in for a day of napping...trying out their new Snuggle Bag!

Sweetpea inside and Yoko on top!

Happy Saturday everyone! We are joining Camera Critters and Scenic Sunday.


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