FĂȘte de GlacĂ©

ice3  January 30, 2010

The recent ice/snow storm passed us by. With sunny skies, here in northeast Missouri, we decided it was a a great day for a day trip.

We arrived at North Main Street, Saint Charles, Missouri at about 10 AM, Saturday morning.  The temperature was 20 something. Perfect weather for ice sculpting.

The mosaics show a few of the beautiful works of art in ice. 







 We stepped inside this shop and two galleries, to have a look around and warm up before returning to the sculpting.

dogsonmain ~Dogs on Main~

The Black Labrador Retriever reminded us of Molly.  He put on quite a show, playing with chunks of ice.


On the way home we stopped at Barnes & Noble.  Treats Unleashed is just a couple of doors down.  While I browsed the book store, J picked up a few Molly treats.


 J signing a petition, at the ice festival, to prevent puppy mills in the state of Missouri.  We believe this can’t happen soon enough.

Our thoughts are with folks who lost power as a result of the ice storm.  We hope your power is restored soon.  If you happen to see orange trucks from a Missouri Cooperative, it might be our guys. They recently returned from working in Iowa. I’m sure a crew or two from our neck of the woods will be in your neck of the woods soon, if they aren’t already there.

J tells some very interesting stories about working ice storms, during his nearly 40 years as a lineman for the rural electric cooperative.

Please stop by Mary’s Little Red House for Mosaic Monday.

Kris, please e-mail me, by clicking the Contact Me button, on the sidebar.  I’ll try to help with your calendar dilemma.


~BC’s Kitchen~


 Thursday was one of those beautiful days, we sometimes have in January. The sun was shining, temperatures in low 20’s F; a great day for a little trip south.

The Meadows, at Lake Saint Louis, was our destination. We were on a hunt for new pillows.

After shopping, we had lunch at BC’s, at The Meadows.

Stop by Michael’s each Friday, for Foodie News and Recipes.



 BC’s Kitchen information HERE

ravioli4J’s drink was an organic coffee. Strong but wonderfully aromatic and delicious.

I chose iced tea, unsweetened, with lemon.

ravioli5  J ordered an all American favorite, cheeseburger and fries, medium well with cheddar.

His favorite is the great old tavern burgers, he remembers from his youthful days.  This looks like it might fit the bill.ravioli7

 Peppercorn Vinaigrette was the dressing for my salad.ravioli8

My meal, a pasta dish made with butternut squash.

Our server was kind enough to tell us how to put together this ravioli, with butternut squash and roasted chicken, at home.

The ravioli, handmade in
BC’s kitchen,
is stuffed with butternut squash.

The white sauce is infused with sage. The dish was served with a garlic butter baguette.

An easy way to prepare this dish:

One roasted chicken, from the deli, cubed

1 Package of squash stuffed ravioli

Cubed butternut squash

Chopped flat leaf parsley

Parmesan cheese

White sauce, of your choice.  I imagine a jar of Alfredo will do nicely. Remember to add the sage.

Serve with a nice white wine.

Our server told me the squash ravioli can be purchased prepared.  When I find all the ingredients needed, I’m going to give this dish a try.


Our server was excellent too!



 We were very happy BC’s is located just around the corner from BB&B.  We were famished, after the rigors of pillow shopping.

Do you have any suggestions for really great firm pillows?

I chose one I think might work for me, we’ll see. I’ve been feeling a tad like the Princess and the Pea, only with pillows instead of mattresses.  I have a euro pillow in a synthetic, two standard feather pillows and a synthetic standard pillow.  None of these, alone or in any combination, has worked so well, of late. 

At the urging of a salesperson, J tried out a couple of pillows.  Did you know you can actually try out pillows on one of the display beds at Bed Bath & Beyond?  I didn’t know that. After trying the pillows and being assured, if he isn’t completely happy with his purchase, he can return it, he decided to bring home a memory foam, on speculation.

I can’t thank you enough for your wonderful comments on the Black & White post. I love black and white photography and enjoy experimenting with it.  Your comments and encouragement are very much appreciated.

Sunshine is promised, for the weekend.  If the predicted snow passes by, or goes south, as they are telling us, we plan to take a little day trip.  More about that, Sunday, if all goes well.

Have a wonderful weekend!

I used J’s Canon G11 for the photos, featured in this post.  No flash, set on auto.  I was more interested in the food, than art!


~Black & White~



 A wooden dough bowl/trencher, standing in a corner beside the hearth room fireplace.blackandwhite8



  Hearthside cabinet made from salvaged materials.


Chip carving on one of our handmade Windsor chairs. 



Practice in black and white.


~Salt Glaze and a Rooster~


roosterlamp2 Lately, I’ve neglected to practice what I preach. 

My dear friend Kim, of Daisy Cottage, has a new camera. When she asked, I gave her this advice; Practice Practice Practice, as she gets acquainted with her new “big” camera.

In my recent efforts to hurry up and get a post ready, I’ve been less than happy with my photography.

I’ve decided it is time to take time.  Quality rather than quantity is going to be my renewed personal goal, when picture taking and posting, in 2010.

Sunday morning, I practiced with my 50mm lens.  I rarely use this little lens, because I just do not take the time.

You will notice, in these photos, only portions of the subject are in focus.  That’s the way it goes with the 50mm.  Focus on what you want to highlight, adjust the lens for a clear view of that focal point, then shoot.  One thing, I particularly like, about the 50mm, is the lowlight capabilities.  This helps during gloomy days, we have experienced all winter, here in Missouri.

The rooster lamp is a favorite accessory, I don’t think I’ll tire of, anytime soon.  The lamp has made several appearances, here at the Back Porch.

I found the lamp at a garage sale, the year we built our home(2003).  I probably paid too much, as garage sale prices go. But the instant I saw the lamp, I loved it.  I’ve changed the finial and shade and still like the lamp as much as I did, when I spotted it in that garage, 7 years ago.


Are roosters out?

This brings us to the actual subject of this post.  Buying/collecting and using things we love, instead of allowing trends and fads to dictate how we accessorize our homes. 

I admit, I’ve been guilty of following along and buying what I believed to be the correct and stylish accessory.  A problem I’ve had with this method of my own personal decorating is, I soon tire of these “in” items. This can get expensive, if I’m not careful.  When I decorated the hearth room/breakfast room/ kitchen, for Christmas, I dug deep into the cartons, stored away in the basement, and found things I used during the early to mid 1990’s.  In doing this, I rediscovered my appreciation for these things, that may be considered “out”.

Saturday afternoon, J and I went on a mini antiquing/junking excursion.  During the little trip, we visited a new antique mall, just up the road.

To my delight, I found several newer pieces of salt glazed pottery, from Maple City Pottery, Monmouth, Illinois.  I picked up three jars with an idea to use them on the kitchen island, for holding flatware.

I happen to love salt glazed pottery.  I have only a few pieces and hope to find more.  I don’t believe this pottery is used as accessories as much as in the past.  I suppose some folks may consider salt glazed pottery “out”.  I don’t care. I’m using it on my island, anyway.

After arriving home and unpacking the three jars, I had a twinge of remorse. No, not for buying the pieces.  The remorse came from not buying another piece, that caught my eye.  I told J about these remorseful feelings.  J, being J, suggested we go back and get the jar, I left behind.


The 18-200 Lens was used for this vignette photo.  The other photos were done with the 50mm lens.  Canon Rebel Xti, is the camera.


This ovoid salt glazed jar was purchased at Crocker & Springer, in historic Elsah, Illinois, several years ago.  I added it here, as an example of another Illinois pottery. The crock jar was fired in a wood fired kiln. We viewed the process, from start to finish, when we toured Crocker & Springer.

Crocker and Springer Pottery information can be found HERE.


The eye catching pineapple drew me to this piece, Saturday afternoon.  I also like the bail handle.

This jar and the following are from Maple City Pottery.

Information can be found HERE.



 After discovering my remorse, we returned for this jar.  I believe it’s a 2 gallon or #2 size.  I love the stylized willows and saltbox house.

I’m doing a bit of research and a Mapquest, for Monmouth, Illinois.  We’re hoping to take a road trip, when weather improves.

Please stop by Barb’s Grits and Glamour, Tuesday, for vignette, accessory and collectible inspiration.



When All Else Fails…..


…Chicken Soup

The photo, a sort of chicken soup, is a reminder of summertime, just around the corner and down the road. The scene is one of the gravel roads that cut through Lake of the Ozarks State Park.



J and I have passed a winter ailment (you know the one), back and forth, between us, since Thanksgiving.  After trying various remedies, I decided to call in reinforcement.

My daughters may skim past this paragraph, if they wish.  Their dear old mommy used thighs and wings, for the broth.  What was that, you say?  No white meat?  No, my children, just wings and thighs.  Wings have white meat…besides, I wanted a bit more flavor.  In my opinion, for what it’s worth, dark meat chicken has a tad more flavor.  Maybe, maybe not.  But that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

Another excuse for no white meat; wings and thighs were readily available.

Everyone has a recipe for basic chicken broth, so I won’t add it here.


I like Kluski noodles.  A little bit like homemade without the work.



chicken soup

I took the easy way out with the Banana Pudding.  I was going to use the recipe on the box of Vanilla Wafers.  At the end of the day, when push came to shove, instant was my choice.

Pretty tasty nanner puddin’.

Remember to stop by Michael’s, Friday.


~A Small Collection~


Not only does this post show a partial collection of baskets, it also shows my early photography skills.  Perhaps some improvement has been made over the past three years.  I hope so.

I’ve added two sweet grass baskets, to my collection, from Charleston, South Carolina, since the photos were taken. They are at our lake place

Stop by Barb’s, each Tuesday, for vignettes, tabletops and accessories.

First published 3/7/2007
 While looking through my books, this morning, I rediscovered several volumes of the Foxfire books. I began reading these books during the 1970's. I've enjoyed them over and over again, through the years. Foxfire consists of several volumes, telling the stories and customs of the people of Appalachia.
As I picked up the first volume, it fell open to the chapter about White Oak Splits. I have several White Oak Split baskets, handmade by Missouri Artisans.

They are beautiful in their simplicity. The smallest basket, in the photo, was purchased in 1972 or 73. It is from a basket maker at Silver Dollar City, near Branson, MO. Years later, I was at a craft show in Wentzville, MO., where I met the daughter of the SDC artisan. She was carrying on the basket weaving tradition. I was so happy to be able to purchase one of her baskets. We have it at our weekend home, at The Lake of the Ozarks.
The two larger baskets, toward the front, were made by a Washington, MO artisan. I purchased them at a festival near Marthasville, MO, during the 1990's. The dark basket toward the back is another example of White Oak Split basketry. It's over 100 years old and was purchased at an estate auction.
The little chair was purchased on South Main Street, Historic St Charles, MO. We found it at the shop of an artisan. We owned a rocker that needed a new seat and took it to her for restoration. She too, was carrying on a family tradition of White Oak Split weaving. When we picked up our rocker, the little chair came home with us, too. It now sits at a small writing table in our kitchen.
During the 1970's, students at my hometown high school, began a project similar to Foxfire. Their publication was called Bittersweet. It has been described as a "Foxfire of the Ozarks".

A basket vignette, in 2010. Similar, but not the same.  This photo was taken with J’s Canon G11, Monday 1/18/10, and edited in Photoscape.


Thank you for the wonderful response to “In a Fog”.  When I wrote that post, I was in a reflective mood.  More about that, in a minute.

I see from your comments, we are of like minds.

I love receiving comments. Whether there are 5 or 100, I read each of them.  Many times, I read them more than once.  I don’t believe they are a gauge of the popularity of Back Porch Musings. They are from folks with interests similar to mine, who found something, in a post, that connected with them.

  The commenter’s vary from post to post.  I do find it interesting, seeing which posts garner more comments than others. Decorating posts are my top comment getters.

Back Porch Musings’ content will remain the same, as it has from the beginning. I’ll change the look of the page, from time to time, perhaps.  Right now, I like the way it looks, so it will remain, at least for awhile

The above post was published during my first week of blogging. There were 4 comments; one of which was mine.  That was before I figured out about answering comments by going to the commenter’s blog, e-mailing, or leaving a note on future posts, rather than answering within the comments of my post.

As the Back Porch has grown, I’ve found it more difficult to get to everyone and leave a comment in return.  There are times, when I seem to be on the computer several days, all day and time flies by. 

If I don’t get back to you, always, I hope you know how much I appreciate your visits. I am in no way snubbing your efforts.  In fact, I am there reading, even though I don’t always leave comments.

A Collection of Memories

My Aunt Helen passed away Friday morning (1/15).  Her passing put me in the reflective mood, mentioned above. 

When I read the post about cliques, on that dreary day, I thought of what Aunt Helen would have said, about the post that seemed to patronize bloggers, like me, who write of everyday ordinary things.  I could hear her say, “Patty Ann, you can do anything”.  That thought sealed my resolve to carry on, as usual, at the Back Porch.

As I thought of the days before Alzheimer’s came to steal my aunt’s memories, I remembered the legacy of memories she left her family.

Aunt Helen, born in 1920, was my safe harbor and light, in the sometimes stormy seas of my childhood.  In my book, she was an amazing woman.  She and my uncle raised 4 beautiful children. She went to work for the city, during the 1950’s and continued working for the city for the next 30 years.  She had a beautiful voice and sang in the church choir.  Her sense of humor was fabulous.  I see that humor in my children.  I seem to have it too.  Perhaps it’s inherited.

Aunt Helen was an exceptional influence in my life.  For this I am forever grateful.

During my reflections, over the last several days, I looked at the beautifully wrapped collection of memories, left by my aunt.  As I lifted the cover, the memories, like butterflies, fluttered up from the tissue of time. I grasped each one, held it to the light and savored it. 

Thank you, Aunt Helen.



~In a Fog~

FOG2 As you can see, from this photo, we are in a fog at Lake of the Ozarks. 

With a bit more computer time, this trip, I’ve been surfing blogs. From time to time, I click on a new link.

I ran across a post about clique blogs. I’m not sure what those are.

The expression same ol’ same ol’ popped into my head, as I was reading the description. Apparently, the so called clique blogs present the same type of post week after week, without anything new or refreshing to offer. They are made up of a “group” of bloggers, I believe.

Week after week, I photograph and write about tablescapes, makeovers, cooking, and our life, in general. This might seem boring to some, but not to others.  

I have met a group of wonderful people, while blogging, with the same interests as mine. Many of us participate in the same events; whether from time to time or week to week.  Clique?

I remember cliques, from school, all those 50 years ago.  I’ve learned, through the years, those people weren’t necessarily happy.  Even though they were the most popular, they were not always nice people.

The group of fine bloggers, I check on, every morning, might be considered a clique, even though we don’t criticize or believe we are better than others, as some school cliques did. 

We are a rather large group, enjoying the company of each other, like folks did at  coffee klatches, years ago.  I remember visiting neighbors, each morning, having a cup of coffee or tea and sharing.  Visiting “my blogs”, gives me the same warm feeling, as those long ago coffee klatches.

As everyone, I tend to visit blogs that interest me.  While I enjoy the visit, I don’t always have anything to say, therefore, I don’t always leave a comment.

The musings or whatever it is, at the Back Porch, aren’t intellectual and for many, not so interesting. I blog about what I know. It would be silly for me to blog about things I don’t have the slightest knowledge or interest in.

I’ve lost track of a few of my friends, over the past months.  Life caught up with me, along with a little glitch that took away my blog list. This list is different from the follower list. I’ve been working to get it back together, since the morning it disappeared.


How important are comments to you and to the future of your blog?  Do you see them as a gauge of your blog’s popularity?  Does it matter if your blog is popular or not?

FOG3 One last thought, in this foggy rambling post that probably makes little sense.  When anyone comes by, who sees nothing of interest, at the Back Porch or any other blog, it would be kind if they would move on to a blog that is more their style, without comment.

It’s a big blog world, out there.  Plenty of topics for everyone.

I’ve been fortunate to have had only a few negative comments, while blogging. For this, I am grateful.


I’ll return next week, back to my old colorful, cheerful self.

Thank you dear and faithful readers!  You are loved.





An easy pasta dish for Foodie Friday, hosted by Michael of Designs by Gollum.


When we are at the lake, I try to keep cooking to a minimum, but still have delicious and pretty meals.

I love vegetables.  J, on the other hand, believes any vegetable, other than a potato and sometimes a tomato, is just a necessary evil.

He likes this dish!

I don’t know if this qualifies as Pasta Primavera or not.  I do know, it is easy to put together and very good.

I served the pasta with a salad and peasant bread.  This was one of those half baked loaves, found in super market bakeries.

White wine is a nice addition to the meal.

Pat’s Pasta

1 package fettuccine…

1 large can crushed tomatoes…

1 or 2 packages Steamers Basil Medley Vegetables.  This has basil butter sauce.

Add basil, oregano and garlic powder to tomatoes, to taste and simmer, while pasta is cooking.

Microwave vegetable mix.

Add about a tablespoon of EVOO to large bowl, add drained fettuccine and toss, then mix in tomatoes.

Serve topped with vegetable medley and freshly grated parmesan cheese.


There is still a little bit of ice on the lake. We’ve had warm temperatures the past couple of days.  The snow is disappearing.

I shot the following photos from our deck, this morning.

It’s beautiful, even in winter.




Thanks so much for stopping by the Back Porch. 

Have a wonderful weekend!