Friday, October 31, 2008


( A view from our parlor)

It has been such a treat for me, a certified ghost story enthusiast, to peruse my favorite blogs and read some wonderful tales of haunted manors, castles, and the like. With the season of ghosts and ghouls at its peak, I think it’s time for a little background history on our house here where many of the Tea Society gatherings take place.

My husband and I were newlyweds when we purchased our home in June of 1994. According to the deed records, the present structure was built between 1894-1896. We delved, like most new owners of such an old home, into past deeds and documents to uncover some interesting facts like that a water line was first run to the home in 1915 paid for by a Mrs. Henrietta Bedford and that at one point the room which is in fact our parlor was used as a kindergarten complete with a sand floor.We also know that the house has been struck by lightening and has withstood a tornado. All that aside, we know of some other unique attributes that the house holds. We purchased the house from the Estate of a Mrs. Hazel G. Adams and are in fact only the fourth owners of the house (an amazing fact considering many of the surrounding homes have been converted into apartments or duplexes at one time).

The question I hear most often since purchasing this old house is, "Is the house haunted?" My answer is, perhaps. I believe we have had a residual haunting where actions or significant events have been imprinted in time and repeat with no knowledge of us. I have never actually witnessed an apparition but I have smelled roses and lilac perfume in the dead of winter, usually in February, as have a couple of guests and a family member or two. This also seems to happen whenever we begin any renovation project and my husband frequently smells cigarette smoke, yet no one in our home is a smoker. I have heard what sounded exactly like a child running upstairs, so loudly that I would have sworn it was my son( around 5 years old at the time) only to find him sound asleep in his bed when no one else was in the house.

Not long after moving into the house, a friend from college spent a few days with us here. That first night of her arrival we had a late evening in the parlor reading aloud and enjoying some red wine along with the comforting companionship of our then only dog, a regal Afghan hound named Anastasia. Anastasia was a naturally aloof dog yet on many occasions I would catch her staring into the foyer at our stairs and she would begin whining for no apparent reason. I thought it odd that she would become so agitated but just assumed it was a peculiarity or some little quirk that she possessed. Yet, not until our friend visited did I truly realize that our hound may have seen something a little more unsettling to her keen canine sensibilities. Let’s return back to our evening of recitations and flowing burgundy. Well, to fully appreciate what I’m about to share with you, it might pay one mind to understand that my friend was not a spiritual or religious person in the least. She was in fact a self-proclaimed no-nonsense agnostic and she proudly touted that title. However, this particular evening at our house made her rethink her beliefs or lack there of. Whilst I was reading a portion of a story that I had been writing, I noticed my friend looking towards the French doors that lead from our parlor to the foyer. She stared intently and then suddenly became quite ashen. She looked at me and then looked to the floor and back to the foyer. She then,visibly quite shaken, said to me, “Rebecca, I just saw a woman on your stairs.” My husband and I quickly made our way to the French doors to find nothing at all there. We looked at one another in disbelief and then asked our friend what this woman looked like and asked her to describe to us exactly what she saw. She described a woman in a white dress. She said it looked like a very old-fashioned wedding dress. She said she seemed to glide down the stairs, turn at the French doors leading to our parlor and continue on through to the end of the foyer. My husband and I were speechless. Not because either of us had ever witnessed anything remotely like this but because we had never told our friend the history of our house. We had never told her that it was built by a prominent physician in town as a wedding present for his daughter and that she and her husband were in fact the first owners of the home. Was her image what our friend saw? Was it this presence or recording of a repetition that Anastasia the hound took notice of? And, is it the lingering aroma of her perfumed scent that we and others have smelt from time to time? I rather think it may be.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Continuing with the present theme of comfort food here at the Tea Society, my favorite hearty fall and winter dish is a delicious pot roast with harvest vegetables served with a side of mashed potatoes and mini Yorkshire puddings covered in gravy from the roast. This Yorkshire Pudding recipe is one that I always use because it's very easy and it tastes delicious!

Yorkshire Pudding

2 eggs
¾ cup milk
½ cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon pepper
reserved meat drippings

Beat eggs and milk in small mixer bowl until smooth; add flour; salt, nutmeg and pepper, beating until well blended. Let mixture stand for 30 minutes. Pour 2 teaspoons of reserved pan drippings from pot roast into each muffin cup; heat in a preheated 400 F oven for 2 minutes. Fill muffin cups ¾ full with batter, bake 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve plain or topped with gravy.

Serves 6

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Lady Grey

Lady Grey is a fragrant, bright and light black tea scented with bergamot and citrus notes of oranges and lemons. It is a unique blend from Twinings. This delicious black tea has a light and gentle citrus flavour that is both relaxing and refreshing. Lady Grey is perfect in the morning with breakfast or for afternoon tea. Enjoy it with a little milk, or with sweetener, or to your liking.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


One of my favorite things about autumn is the wonderful comfort food waiting to be made and devoured. This recipe is so quick and easy and is a favorite at our house.

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 can (4-ounces) chopped green chilies, drained
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 cans (16 ounces) BUSH'S BEST Great Northern Beans
1 can (14.5 ounces) chicken broth
1 ½ cups finely chopped cooked chicken breast
Shredded Monterrey Jack or Colby Jack cheese (optional)
Sour cream (optional)
Salsa (optional)
Tortilla Chips

In large skillet, cook onion in oil for 4 minutes or until transparent. Add chilies, flour and cumin; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add beans and chicken broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 10 minutes or until thickened. Add chicken; cook until hot.

Garnish with cheese, sour cream and salsa( I don't usually serve it with salsa), if desired. Serve with Tortilla chips to dip or crumble.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


What says autumn more than the aroma of hot apple cider? Well for a nice alternative, how about hot cinnamon apple spice herbal tea? The aroma of this tea steeping reminds you of hot apple cobbler baking in the oven. This tea should be subtitled comfort tea. It's perfect for a cool autumn evening.

The all-American flavor of apples and cinnamon in this deliciously comforting herbal tea is actually a product of global collaboration, with spicy Vietnamese cinnamon and a lively tang from Thai and Chinese hibiscus. Cinnamon is an ancient spice, and was often presented to monarchs and other leaders as a highly valued gift. Its piquant flavor is the perfect complement to the sweetness of juicy red apples in Cinnamon Apple Spice herbal tea.( from Celestial Seasonings)

Thursday, October 02, 2008


The Joy of a Falling Leaf by Arthur Rackham

To Autumn

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,--
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

John Keats (1795-1821)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

( I've been invited to a wonderful gala at Willow Manor)

( Now, where could my date have gone to? Why is that dashing Scotsman still following me?)

( Oh! There's my date!!!)

( Gary, you look smashing.)

( What do you think of my gown? )