Sunday, November 1, 2015

Backyard Fall Colors, an Autumn Harper's Ferry Trip & Holiday News

Fall Fiesta Sugar Maple in my backyard
Most people know what a fall fanatic I am. Yes, I stumble and trip plenty (no really...I'm currently sporting one of those clunky brace boots on my right foot), but I'm talking about autumn and everything to do with it from the foods, colors, decor and holidays (I hope everyone had a Happy Halloween!). There are no words for how much I love the season (warning: photo binge ahead). And one of the first signs that fall has arrived in my neck of the woods is the sound and sight of Canadian geese migrating overhead. They never fail to be breathtaking and I just love them. Thankfully, I've never been in the line of fire of droppings. Apparently, they don't poop as much during flight.

Geese flying over my house in October
However, my chickens are quite generous with their droppings ;). Yep. They're full of that generous, Thanksgiving spirit (probably thankful they're not turkeys). I love their poop for compost...but not so much on my patio. I've decided that I'm going to have to put a tall, decorative fence around my patio. I'm tired of hosing it down. I'll spare you a photo of what it looks like after they have a flock party. Interestingly, they never fly onto the gas grill or fire pit. Hmmm...Nope, those stay clean and chicken poop free.

Fall colors behind Rula's chicken coop
In chicken news, the girls are looking mighty sad right now. Fall is also molting season and boy are they molting. I think I have as many feathers in my yard as chicken droppings. Sadly, we also lost two hens last month. Two large dogs from the neighborhood got loose and dug a huge hole under our fence, then crept under, attacked my flock and killed/ate one of my new Rhode Island Reds and one of my original hens, a Buff Orpington named Pumpkin (that was seriously her name...Pippa and Papaya's sister...but of course the dogs didn't know that they'd gotten Pumpkin in the fall...I don't think). It was brutal. I caught them in the act, but way too late. It was a muddy, rainy day but I finally managed to chase them off, clean the remains, lock the rest of the flock up safely and haul a wheelbarrow full of wet, heavy sod uphill to fill the hole they'd dug. Things have settled back to normal now, though. I'm currently at 28 chickens (4 of which are roosters).

Morning light through the fall leaves along my creek
Looking up at the treetops along my creek
This weekend, we took the boys on a road trip to Harper's Ferry, WV. For those of you who don't know, Harper's Ferry is a historic town located right where the states of West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland meet. The Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers also meet right there at a point between the states. When you're standing in town, you're surrounded by cliffs and hills. It's stunning scenery, especially in the fall. And I got a lovely romance author surprise while I was resting on a stone wall...a couple got married in a simple, natural ceremony right there along the river. The only tell-tale sign of a bride was the green and white floral wreath she wore on her head. It was lovely. 

Sorry for the long post (playing catch-up :), but here are some of the pics I took of Harper's Ferry:

Harper's Ferry river view
Harper's Ferry - looking back on our way up to the cemetery
Harper's Ferry
Harper's Ferry
The Harper's Ferry cemetery...on Halloween
A sweetgum tree at the corner in Harper's Ferry
And pics of fall colors in the woods at Harper's Ferry...

I couldn't stop taking pictures! Trust me there were too many to post here. We made it home just in time to get ready for trick-or-treaters who never showed up. That made for a lot of spare candy. Not good with kids in the house.

And finally (I swear I'll stop after this lol), a quick release update. I was so swamped the past month or two that, although you might have seen posts and links to my latest release on my website, Facebook or other sites, I failed to make it back here. Not only did A Heartwarming Christmas, the anthology I'm in with 12 other Harlequin Heartwarming authors, release on October made both the Amazon, Indie and USA Today Bestseller lists!!!! Totally thrilling!! All the stories in it are connected (but stand alone) and take place in the same town in Maine, but the anthology is also broken down into four 'books' of three novellas each that are even more closely tied together. The group I'm a part of is called The Gingerbread Men and it consists of three stories about a mom and her two daughters who unexpectedly find their soul mates during the holidays (The Gingerbread Heart by Liz Flaherty, The Gingerbread Pony by Patricia Bradley and The Gingerbird House by me). You'll soon be able to buy the trio of stories, although you can't miss the deal on the entire 13 in the anthology itself! The individual novellas will be available in both ebook and print coming soon.

You can read my related guest posts here:
The Carus Chronicles - A Heartwarming Home

And the anthology authors also put together a holiday craft and recipe ebook! I have a few gluten free recipes and a craft in there myself ;). Is this a cute cover or what? You can find it on Amazon in both print and Kindle formats! 

 Ah yes, I slipped straight from fall into Christmas! But don't worry, I haven't skipped over Thanksgiving. I'll be back tomorrow (yes, that it a post binge, but so much is going on) with HUGE, FANTASTIC NEWS and links to a November Thanksgiving Harlequin Heartwarming promotion that kicked off today. You can also check out the Heartwarming Author blog for a sneak look at what's going on :). Let's just say it involves free online Thanksgiving reads, insanely great giveaways and my story is linked to my Harlequin Heartwarming series!

See you very soon!


  1. I think I need to visit Harper's Ferry... Love your pictures!

  2. I miss seeing fall colors. We don't get much of that here.

    Sorry to hear about your chickens. Dogs get into that chase mode and it's adios chickens. I've noticed a stray dog chasing deer off our property. He hasn't yet figured out that he can't catch a deer.

    1. I have dogs who I won't/can't let loose with the chickens because of that instinct. We even have a fox who hasn't bothered coming past the fence since he can smell the dogs (I assume, from when the chickens are cooped and they're loose), but as carefully as I tried to clean up remains from the grass, that scent was strong and the fox showed up within hours. I ended up keeping my flock locked up for 3 days (with one hour of supervised free time), until I was sure the canines wouldn't be back for more.

      LOL about the dog and the deer. We have a lot of hawks...some big enough to take a hen (we did lose one last year to a red tailed hawk), but there has been this really small one lately (I think maybe a yound cooper) who lands in the middle of the flock and looks at them...sizing them up...uh, they're twice his/her size. And the hens stare back, not quite sure if the guy is even big enough to be a threat lol. I usually run out and interrupt the stand-off just in case ;). Gutsy guys!

    2. I meant to type 'young' as in young Cooper's Hawk.

  3. Aboreal fireworks are always glorious. Thank you for sharing yours.
    Congratulations on the writing front. Again.

    1. Thanks! And I love the term 'arboreal fireworks' !! It describes fall perfectly. You always take beautiful photographs!

  4. Rula, I loved this visual trip through Harpers Ferry, but also the story about your property. I have the same geese problem. Now they come off the golf course and poop in my yard. You have been so busy writing that I am amazed you had time for a trip!!! This was a lovely post. Can't wait to read everything---once I'm back from Los Angeles.

    1. Hey, Catherine! So great to see you here!! Ah, yes, I've been busy, but I had to keep my promise to the kids :). We didn't have a big vacation this summer, so we decided multiple, day trips to places we've never been would be good. Just over a month ago, we drove to Pennsylvania and took them to Gettysburg. That was a great trip too. We're surrounded by historical sites, so it makes for educational and enjoyable family trips.