After Thanksgiving 2009 Muse Day*

A Boy’s Christmas

Over the river, and through the wood,
to Grandfather’s house we go;
the horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
through the white and drifted snow.

Over the river, and through the wood,
to Grandfather’s house away!
We would not stop for doll or top,
for ’tis Thanksgiving Day.

Over the river, and through the wood-
oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes and bites the nose,
as over the ground we go.

Over the river, and through the wood.
with a clear blue winter sky,
The dogs do bark and the children hark,
as we go jingling by.

Over the river, and through the wood,
to have a first-rate play.
Hear the bells ring, “Ting a ling ding!”
Hurray for Thanskgiving Day!

Over the river, and through the wood-
no matter for winds that blow;
Or if we get the sleigh upset
into a bank of snow.

Over the river, and through the wood,
to see little John and Ann;
We will kiss them all, and play snowball
and stay as long as we can.

Over the river, and through the wood,
trot fast my dapple gray!
Spring over the ground like a hunting-hound!
For ’tis Thanksgiving Day.

Over the river, and through the wood
and straight through the barnyard gate.
We seem to go extremely slow-
it is so hard to wait!

Over the river, and through the wood-
Old Jowler hears our bells;
He shakes his paw with a loud bow-wow,
and thus the news he tells.

Over the river, and through the wood-
when Grandmother sees us come,
She will say, “O, dear, the children are here,
bring pie for everyone.”

Over the river, and through the wood-
now Grandmothers cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!

written by Lydia Maria Child-1844


The festivities are over.

The family came, they ate, they laughed, they played, they left. It was a wise woman who said “Mop the floors after the party, not before.” Shown in bloom, the moved to the garage deck stairway, Leonotis leonurus ‘Staircase’.

Also wise is the idea of quiet indoor activities for late November weather can be unpredictable. It was sunny but chilly during this years holiday. The offspring of the offspring are getting older now and artistic endeavors are something we encourage. From left, GA, LTB and MA had fun with paint.

Hypertufa troughs had been made this summer for the various family units allowing plenty of curing time before being planted up. Cactus potting mix was supplied as a bonus. There were a couple left over for use in the Fairegarden too.

The garden remains pleasing to the eye. Muhly grass, Muhlenbergia capillaris has lost most of the pink color, but remains upright and will be allowed to stand for another month or so before being cut down to the ground to begin the growing cycle anew. In the photo previous to the muhly, Sedum sieboldii ‘October Daphne’ is showing heretofore unnoticed foliage color changing.

A combination of favorable weather conditions and years of searching for just the right planting combinations have come together to allow the garden to be admired by all of the Fairegarden clan. Leaving the spent and dying foliage was easy on the gardener and easy on the eyes.

The family photo site was moved to the backlit gravel path outside the addition for the best shot ever. Thanks for the idea,VW! Back row from left: Brokenbeat, Mrs. Brokenbeat, Mr. Chickenpoet, Mr. Semi, The Financier, Aunt Lynn. Middle row from left: Gardoctor, Chickenpoet being silly. Front row from left: MA, Semi, LTB, Frances, GA.

*The opening poem has always been a favorite here and seemed appropriate for the occasion. Many thanks to Carolyn Gail of Sweet Home and Garden Chicago for hosting Muse Day on the first of each month.


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32 Responses to After Thanksgiving 2009 Muse Day*

  1. gittan says:

    Seems like a lovely holiday to me =) Great picture of the whole family / gittan

    Hi Gittan, thanks. It was a great holiday with the whole family together again. It had been many months since we all were in one place at the same time. It is getting harder to schedule that as the offspring and their offspring have more and more activities. The photo with the slope backlit turned out better than usual too! πŸ™‚

  2. Darla says:

    Is that Foxglove to the left of those containers in the 6th photo? What a delightful poem, the Fairegarden clan is just adorable….seems we could use a little girl in that photo though, LOL.

    Hi Darla, thanks. That is a large foxglove volunteer by the container, not where I would have planted it! You are quite astute about the lack of females in the offspring of offspring crowd too! Hints concerning that imbalance have been mentioned! HA πŸ™‚

  3. Frances, looks like everyone had a great time! And the editor in me is excited to learn it’s wood singular–I’ve only ever heard the song sung and heard woods plural, plus grandmother instead of grandfather. Keen! Love the cardinal with tilted head. And, yes, I’m up very early today. πŸ™‚

    Hi Monica, thanks, welcome to the early morning crowd! I was surprised by the original poem too, we had always heard it as Grandmother, and even the title was a surprise. Fixed that cardinal’s head thingey. I was wondering if I needed to italicize the name of the poem!!! HA

  4. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    What fun that all the little Chickens came to roost for the holiday. Great photo.! We took a photo too. We always do at Christmas but this year we decided another photo was required. I love that old poem you posted. We often sing parts of it going to visit family who live away from here. Happy Muse Day.

    Thanks Lisa. I need for everyone to be together at least once a year, more would be better! Are you going to post your photo? I would love to see it and learn the rest of the story! πŸ™‚

  5. Les says:

    It sounds as if you had a great Thanksgiving. I liked reading the original poem, but your wise woman quote suited me better. To it I would add my own 2 cents – if company is not going upstairs, clean those rooms last or maybe not at all.

    Hi Les, thanks. If you could see my floors, you would understand what made me think of the wise woman saying. Our house is not large, we use all the rooms since my Thanksgiving feast includes every single person, all thirteen also sleeping over. It’s not just about the food here. πŸ™‚

  6. Darla says:

    If you have a minute, drop by and see our own imbalance, just opposite of yours. (we don’t have grands, yet, as that has also been mentioned here!)

    What a lovely family you have, Darla! I see your imbalance, lucky you! πŸ™‚

  7. Gail says:

    Frances, It looks and sounds like you had a wonderful holiday! The Fairegarden clan all look happy, relaxed and full of fun. The garden still shines~~an inspiration to those of us with brown the dominant color right now! Doesn’t that Bloodgrass look perfect with the violas!~~gail

    Thanks Gail, we really did. I hope your own travels were just as fun. The garden still has color, the blood grass is still reddish and the magic carpet spiraeas are full of magic. Cold is in the forecast, we’ll see how things hold up then. πŸ™‚

  8. Sounds like you had a great time with family! Art projects are great ideas for the kids. The hypertufa sounds good too, only I would rather do without the sharp pointy cacti!

    Hi Dave, thanks. The cactus mix is only for the good drainage it provides, we don’t plant cactus here. πŸ™‚

  9. Rose says:

    What a wonderful family picture, Frances! Chickenpoet has added just the right touch of down-to-earth family fun, too:) I see I’m not the only one who thought the song used “grandmother” instead–to think I’ve been singing the wrong words all these years!

    Thanks Rose. Chickenpoet rarely takes a straight photo, always acting up. Maybe the poem got changed when it went to songhood! πŸ™‚

  10. Jen says:

    Wonderful family photo, and they get a take home gift after visiting. Hope that you had a lovely time. Sounds like fun.


    Hi Jen, thanks. There are always gifts for the guests at Thanksgiving. Sort of an early Christmas.

  11. Janet says:

    I concur with Les, nothing bothers me more than people thinking the whole house is open for inspection! BTW- I hate mopping before or after!

    Hi Janet, we can’t keep this group out of rooms even if we tried, they are nosy! That is the way with family, ours anyway. Since they all spend the night, every square inch of our small house gets used too. The floor this year looks particularly bad. Maybe that means they had the most fun ever, or there was a major spill that did not get cleaned up! HA

  12. Accughfueme says:

    Sry for commenting Off-Topic but what WordPress theme are you using? Looks awesome!

    All wordpress hosted blogs have the theme used at the bottom of the page. Ours is Chaotic Soul with several css changes. Thanks for the compliment.

  13. Rosey says:

    What A beautiful pie! I am sure that was scarfed down in minutes. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving day. Your family photo is very nice. I wish we would have thought to do that! We always forget.

    Thanks Rosey. The pie was better than average this year, I doubled the spices and took extra time on the rim crust. It is gone now. The family photo is a very big deal to me and the family knows it. Getting them to stop what they are doing and come out together is a priority for me and they humor me. It is our Christmas card each year, via Shutterfly. πŸ™‚

  14. Sweet Bay says:

    Great family shot, and beautiful views of the garden! What is that amazing sedum dropping down over the wall?

    Thanks Sweet Bay, we are very proud of this group! The Sedum sieboldii ‘October Daphne’ is having quite a year, I don’t remember it showing this colorful foliage before. πŸ™‚

  15. Tatyana says:

    Nice poem! It looks like everyone got enough energy for busy Devember! BTW, cute pants, Frances!

    Thanks, Tatyana. This is an energetic group. Thanks for noticing my witchey pajama pants! We hit the ground running when we get out of bed when the family is here. No time to get dressed! HA πŸ™‚

  16. Catherine says:

    How fun that you all got to be together and fun for us to see your whole family. The hypertufa troughs are such a great gift idea, might just have to do that next year for my sisters.
    Your garden is looking beautiful as usual!

    Thanks Catherine. These get togethers do not happen nearly often enough for my liking, but I guess that makes it even more special when it does happen. Give yourself plenty of time to do the troughs, I had some mess ups and had to start over twice.

  17. I always enjoy your posts; this was great. When I was a child we sang “Over the hills and through the woods” in school at Thanksgiving, and I was thinking about it this past week. Your garden is beautiful, even now. A great place for a family photo!

    Thanks so much Deborah. That’s a wonderful happy song, isn’t it? The garden, or this part of it does still look pretty good. So does the family. πŸ™‚

  18. Belated but best of Thanksgiving wishes to you, Frances. Glad you were able to have your family together..that’s a huge blessing. And your garden is still glorious; great bursts of colour.
    I grew the Leonotis one year and hoped it would selfseed, but if it did, I inadvertently weeded it out. That’s happened more than once over the years…

    Hi Jodi, thanks so much and so nice to see you. There is still a lot of bright foliage out in the garden, it has lasted longer than usual this year, thankfully. That silly Leo, I will not save seed from it, even if there were pollinators about to help create them. It is just too tall, over twelve feet (and still growing) !

  19. easygardener says:

    It is a lovely family photo – so much nicer to have it outdoors. Everyone looks very happy!

    Thanks EG. We were lucky that day with some warming sun at the time of the photo. It was chilly and breezy most of the time that the family was here, indoor pursuits were available. A quick garden tour is the most any of us could tolerate before running back inside to the warm house. We do love the family get togethers. They are rare enough for all to appreciate how precious those moments are. πŸ™‚

  20. I love your group photo, you all look like a lot of fun. It was a good idea to take it out in your beautiful garden.

    Thanks MMD. We make the group go outside for the photo no matter the weather. Sometimes it is quite cold, dreary and windy. We were lucky this time that the sun was shining and it was warmer for a few minutes! I could say that I waved the wand for that to happen while we were taking photos, but it wouldn’t be true. πŸ™‚

  21. Robin Ripley says:

    Oh dear. Now I’ll have that song in my head for hours.

    Great group photo!


    Hi Robin, thanks for visiting, so nice to see you here. There are worse songs to have in your head. πŸ™‚

  22. Jen says:

    How fun to put faces to the names I’ve heard you mention so often on your blog! I know I should have been looking at the garden photos (always beautiful) but got a little distracted by the bead valence in that first photo. I just painted my daughters room those very colors – looking for window treatments. No end to the inspiration you provide!

    Hi Jen, thanks. I am glad you liked seeing the family. Earlier in the blog career I would not have shown their faces, and in fact last year had them all turn around with backs to the camera for the blog shot. I am glad too that you liked the bead valance. There are two windows in the kitchen that face the street and I wanted to have light yet privacy at the same time. These are just cheapo plastic beads from walmart, be sure and get the faceted ones for they look much nicer, strung on waxed linen strings then looped onto tension rods. I put larger beads on the end of every other one to help pull them straight. A double french knot with a little glue on it is at the bottom of each string. Hope you try it, it was great fun to do. πŸ™‚

  23. I’m glad you enjoyed Thanksgiving with your family. What fun activities you planned!

    You place looks great, and that muhly grass still looks nice and pink to me. Great shot of the cardinal, too!

    Hi Sue, thanks. We did have a great time, as always. The muhly still is very pretty and looks much more pink than it really is when the light is shining from behind it. I loved the cardinal tilting his head too and just stuck it into the post for fun. πŸ™‚

  24. Hello Frances,

    What a beautiful family! I am glad you enjoyed your Thanksgiving. Your garden is still so beautiful.

    Thank you so much, Noelle. We are quite proud of this group of people! Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday here because the whole family makes the effort to all be here at the same time, a difficult feat as they grow older and have other commitments. The garden is hanging in, but losing color quickly as the cold has finally hit us.

  25. Kathleen says:

    That’s a fantastic family photo Frances. I like your tradition of sending it out for Christmas too. I remember your leaf molds from last years Thanksgiving presents ~ you really make some great gifts. (I wanted to join the family after seeing them!) Glad you have a couple leftover for yourself. ‘Leonotis’ is doing superbly in your garden. It would have long since given up here. It’s good you had another memorable Thanksgiving holiday together. Now on to Christmas then seeds, right?!

    Hi Kathleen, thanks. Did you know there was going to be a test and studied for it? HA I do appreciate your paying such close attention to the goings on here. Leo was moved to a very protected spot between the garage and the stairway or it would have been long gone here as well. After several hard frosts, we’ll see how it fares, for it is in a container, that makes it ten degrees colder, I have been told. We did start the seeds early this year, while the room temp was much warmer with some success. Also cuttings have been taken, something different. Your Christmas card looked so beautiful! πŸ™‚

  26. Lola says:

    What a lovely poem & so appropriate. Your garden is still so pretty.
    That sure is a handsome family you have there. They all look full & happy. It’s so nice that they came home for the holidays. I know that was important to you.

    Thanks, Lola. It is very important to me for the whole family to be together at the same time at least once a year, preferably at Thanksgiving. They do try and make sure that happens, sweeties that they are, and handsome too. πŸ™‚

  27. Jean says:

    The best picture is of your family – so lovely and they look like fun! I’m lusting after your tufa pots… πŸ™‚

    Thanks Jean, I agree. My family is my greatest treasure. The hypertufa pots were a big hit. Brokenbeat asked if I would make him one before they were revealed as door prizes for Thanksgiving, so it was a nice surprise for him and the rest.


  28. Teresa says:

    Great poem! You have a lovely family. What a nice group photo of you all. I look forward to a couple of grandchildren. Soon enough I guess. Glad you had a nice time, and that pie looks not only yummy but also beautiful.

    Hi Teresa, thanks so much. This is one of our better family photos. Grandchildren are wonderful, the icing on the cake of life. I can’t describe the feeling, but feel it is universal when seeing the genes travel through the generations. The pie was the best ever, the spices were doubled. πŸ™‚

  29. Jake says:

    Looks like you had a great Thanksgiving. I would like you to know that your Muhly Grass has nothing on ANY I have seen in Florida. Yours started to show color before the ones down here and yours are still showing color and the ones down here are done and browned out. I can only think the cooler temperatures north of Florida preserve their color for a longer time.


    Thanks Jake, we did. And thanks too for those kind words about the muhly, you are a sweetie! The weather here, plenty o’ rain, has made for better shows on many of the plantings after years of drought.

  30. Lovely family portrait Frances. I love your portrait of the Cardinal too! He seems so curious about something. Your garden is still holding much interest and beauty I see. Carol

    Thanks Carol. The weather and garden hung on for the big family get together, it helped make our photo the best one ever. πŸ™‚

  31. carolyngail says:

    Thanks for your always lovely and thoughtful muse day contribution, Frances. So happy to see that you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving together.

    Your garden still looks great.

    Thanks to YOU, Carolyn Gail for imagining muse day. I will try and remember to join in, so much easier during the winter months than in the thick of gardening chores in spring and summer. We did have a wonderful time with the family and the garden graciously stayed pretty for them as well. πŸ™‚

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