Nov 21, 2014

I Know A Place.......

I love the area we live in now.  We live in a town, but in the country.  It doesn't take more than 20 minutes to get to a town with stores, but just about 7 miles up the road from our new house is a cafe that it hurts me to pass and not stop at.   At the junction of highway 59 and 86 in Neosho, Missouri, just across the road from the 86 Super Store, is a little house is called the Heart and Home Tea Room.

I had seen the sign from the highway that said Heart and Home Cafe now open (!!) courtesy of a banner outside, but was hesitant to assume that this cute little house was a business.  I didn't know, so I drove by several times, slowly, checking it out.  I have always loved the houses made from stone down here, and I think this house put a spell on me from the highway.

I finally decided to stop one day when I saw some cars there.  There is a lot to see.  The yard is full of plants and statues and really cool stuff to see.  The more you look, the more you see that you want to look at more closely.  Like a bed and breakfast usually is on the inside, the Heart and Home Tea Room is on the outside, too.

And it was a house, but now it's a business.   A business which I think will be very successful!!   How can I begin to describe this wonderful little place?  Well, you can get breakfast and lunch there Tuesday thru Friday.  It's also a shop, and almost everything you see, both outside and inside, is also for sale.  Lots of decor, wreaths, old wire baskets, candles, baskets, I could go on, but you get the idea.

They are located in an area that is just perfect for me, and I assume everybody else who lives just outside the zone where there are lots of restaurants, which is several hundred people.  If only they were open for dinner I would be perfectly happy, but making food this good can only go on so long, so by 2 every afternoon, it's over, and if you haven't gotten your pie, it's too late.  I have known places like this before, and it's always the way it goes.

When I say there is more to see everywhere you look, I am not kidding.  I noticed these quirky little additions to the sidewalk on my first visit.  I thought there was just one.

But no, these charming little trinkets are sprinkled throughout.....I smiled as they brought to mind grandma's, small children, and memories of button boxes.

It was hard to even look up, to tell the truth.  This house is of gray and yellow stones and it has a charming dignity.  It gives the impression of being both well grounded and well loved.

I gazed around and hoped people weren't staring at me from inside, but there was so much to take in!  It's gorgeous.

I wondered if the fence sections were for sale.

I've always been a sucker for angels, and there are several here.

The more you look, the more you see.

This sweet green door is the entrance, if you can tear yourself away long enough to go inside.  You should.  It gets better.

It's unpretentious and straight forward.  Every inch of space has been utilized and they know no strangers here.  Once in that door you will be welcomed like you are related, visited with and urged to make yourself at home, look around, pick a seat and come back when you are ready.  Or, if your food is ready before you get back they will come getcha.

Inside I moved slowly, just taking everything in.  Linda, the proprietress, made me feel so welcome and I had just ordered the special after a lengthy conversation with her about broccoli salads and the like.  To be honest, I'm just going to say that the first time I ate there I was blown away.  They have real food there, you guys. REAL FOOD.  Like your grandma made.  Maybe better.  I swear on all that is holy to me, they have better coconut cream pie than even my dear Nana, and it does pain me just a little to say that. But it's the truth.  Maybe it's just been so long since I had Nana's that I forgot.  All I know is this pie is memorable and to my mind, it approaches sacredness.

That pie has kept me awake at night on more than one occasion.  It really is that good.

As long as I'm being honest I'll go ahead and throw in that I have eaten there 3 times and have yet to look at the menu.  I wanted to, because I knew I was going to do this post, but I just never did get around to it.  There is always something new to see and there was just another grandbaby born and well, there is lots to catch up on.  Besides, the special has always been so good that I can't imagine anything better.  In this way good cooks keep you coming back.

One of my favorite things is when nothing matches.  It's full of eclectic, practical furniture.  Maybe it came with the house.  Maybe it was the first set that someone's parents had.  Maybe it was just a chair one of the kids drug home from college and would never take away.  You don't know but you would like to the hear the story.  Maybe that's just me.
The food is straight up down home with a little class, and the atmosphere is very welcoming.  I do not believe you will ever see instant mashed potatoes on a plate here.  In fact, I would be shocked.  The broccoli soup is good enough to have every time.  Very rich, creamy and there are croutons and bacon bits that are chewy.  I've had it every time and have wondered how much they would charge for an entire crock pot full.  I could marry that soup.

The first day I brought a book but never read any of it.  You can see why, even from here.  Every shelf has something else that draws the eye.  I wandered through the rooms and kind of hated to come back and sit down.

This is the room I always eat in.  So far.  I usually end up in conversation with some of the other patrons.  Mostly working men and older ladies who lunch.  Presumably on their way to town, I haven't found out where they are going yet, but I'm sure before long I will.  There is also 1 regular guy that I know of.  He has his own place to sit.  I don't think he would throw you out if you sat there, but you would never be invited to sit there.  I am pretty sure it's his place.  Linda's daughter was expecting a baby boy any day and her son-in-law wandered in last time I was there.  He told the ladies that it wasn't here yet, but it was a boy, and that he was done.  "God hears you!" I sang out.  He looked over and smiled.  I told him that's how I got twins.  I fully expect their 3rd child to be a girl.  I think she should be named for me.  :D  Anyway, I'm wandering around the place, and there are 3 different rooms you can eat in.  If you are an adult.

Or I guess just have tea.  I am assuming they have tea also since I've yet to see the menu, but I will make a point to study it the next time I'm there.   But there is plenty of choice in where you sit, should you desire to have lunch without random conversation from newcomers to the area, however prophetic it may turn out to be.  Ahem.

Birdhouses, candles, angels.  She's 3 for 3 with me and stuff I like.  I think the odds of you finding something you want are good.  You have been warned.  I said there were 3 rooms you could eat in if you are an adult for a reason, because there is another room.........

And when I say room, I mean, explosion of girly-ness.  Squared.

 This room tore my attention away from baskets and crucifixes that are displayed in the closet in the hallway.

And kept my attention for awhile.  I had to turn around and just take it all in.

Turns out one of their services is tea parties for little girls.  Parties.  That sort of thing.  And if you don't have anything to wear, well, that is not a problem.  It never is among girlfriends, is it girls?  No.  There is plenty to choose from.  Just come right on over.

I don't think you can actually take a bath, but it would just ruin the feathers anyway.  I mean, look at this room you guys!!

So I am thinking that I may be attending some parties in this room in the future, surrounded by little princesses who love me.  I see Charli having one of her first birthday parties here.  Yes, I did say "one of".  You drive right past this house to get to mine--We're having a party there!!  Also, Abigail is 6 now, and I feel the time is short for her princess obsession.  We must make the most of it!  Rosie, she is just the perfect age and will be for a couple years still, so yes, I see lots of tea parties.  Look at that cuteness!!!

Now, this is in the bathroom.  It's a very cool bathroom.  It has a chair where you can picture yourself just coming in and locking the door and collapsing.  Or maybe that's just me, but it's very inviting and comfortable.  The sink kind of steals the show, but there is lots to see here too.  I could spend hours in there!

But that would be rude so of course I didn't.  Actually I don't think I could have anyway because at least one lady came in either specifically to see it and a lengthy conversation was had right there in the bathroom and hallway about it.  It's that kind of place.

Even the old rusty trowels are well loved here.  This one sits in the basket of the bicycle sink that's not going anywhere.  But it did once....this is the kind of house that makes you wonder where it went when it could still go.  Or maybe it's a reproduction.  I don't know the difference, and that's part of the charm.  You should stop by and check it out.  Let it cast it's spell on you.  It's that kind of place.

You can find the website here, oh!  and a menu!!!  :D
You will be very happy you did, or my name's not Melinda Moss.  Heart and Home Tea Room

Nov 16, 2014

First Snow of the Season......

We had our first snow of the season today.
We were burning the last of the boxes when it started.
The momma cows with their babies have been moved into the hay field that just got mowed and baled a couple of weeks ago.  
They are there, day and night, noting my presence each time I come out the front door.
They warn me with their eyes to stay away from their babies.
Their babies often run about and make me smile.
As you can see, we got some frost out on the pumpkin.

I can't believe my brother said I was optimistic for bringing 2 snow shovels.
When will he learn that I know a few things, too?  :D
We spent the rest of the day with good food in a warm house.
The fireplace is going.
Enjoy your first snow and accept the fact that winter is here again.
You might as well.
It will be here for the next 6 months.
I hope I get to keep the company of the cows.

Nov 11, 2014

Winter's Here! Retreat........

One of the things I am most excited about in this new house is the garden tub.  I like it even more than the dishwasher, which really cannot be measured by any device known to man.  I thought about what to do with the counter area around it.  It's quite a lot of space.  There were a bunch of baskets with fake greenery in them when we got here but I changed that quickly.  With the skylight this area gets a lot of natural light every day.  It's warm in here.  Aaaaannnndddd all the flower pots and gardening stuff and nurseries were having great sales a couple of weeks ago.  So........

I grabbed several pansy's and some bulbs.  Tulips, Hyacinths, Muscari, Jonquils......

I planted them down under the pansy's, it was kinda crowded, and do you know, they started coming up?

This was a week after I had gotten everything planted.  I was delighted!!
Then I grabbed my green onions that I always keep going in my kitchen window, just in the water?  
And I tucked them in too.  Then, I saw some Lamb's Ear growing in the yard, and I found a pot for it too.  There is lots of good stuff growing in your yard too.  Start noticing it, identifying it and digging it up for little pots if you have a place for any.

During this time, I ordered a beginner's guide to wild flowers and herbal medicines.  And then I used some ginger to make my hot toddy mix, so I threw it in a pot also, because it's another thing that it's crazy to buy when you can just throw in a pot of dirt.  Like cabbage!

I didn't take a picture of that, but just look at all the stuff coming up in my bathroom!!
Oh, and I grabbed an Aloe Vera plant on sale for 1/2 price too, because, well, Aloe Vera.  Everybody needs that!  All the time!

In between I put some oil lamps that are too fragile to risk anywhere else in the house, some housewarming presents, and some of my oldest, dearest pretty bowls and possessions.  Things that have moved with me every time since I left home.  Things that have always had a place in my home and always will.  Precious things to me.

Then I read about teas and infusions in my beginner's book and decided to save my petals.  They can dry right there and I found some good jars with lids and stoppers at a Habitat for Humanity Restore that's near me.

So while winter may have arrived, it isn't going to change a thing in my bathroom.  I have stuff to keep me busy all winter.  In fact, there were some raised flower pot holders at a flea market I was at the other day.  I may go back for them, because I can do all my spices in here too.

 It's starting to feel like home.  And it smells wonderful!!!  It's easy to water and clip and sort all right here, from the tub.  I know it sounds a little crazy, but when isn't life a little crazy?  It's a great pay off and will continue to be throughout a long winter.  

No telling how big this may get.  I can't wait to start the book either, and I can do that in the tub too.  :D
I have an imaginary friend who's always saying to bloom where you're planted.  I think I'm gonna check that one off my list!

Nov 7, 2014

Home Remedy Prep Time

Did you see that moon??????
And are these not beautiful fall days???????
This is a repeat but after moving I had to remix my popular hot toddy mix again.
If you missed it before,
Grab a canning jar
Cut up a couple oranges and a lemon in slices
Cram them in the jar
Grab 2 finger lengths of ginger, give it a rough chop.
Cram that into the jar also
Throw the left over ginger in a potted plant, it will regrow.
Now grab some honey (local is best but any will do)
And fill the jar with honey.
That will take longer than the entire rest of the process.
This is best done while eating cherry cordial Hershey's kisses.
When the honey had filled the jar, 
cap the top and store in the refrigerator.
Stir occasionally.  Like every couple of months.
It will form more of a gel. that you will be able to see.
That means it's ready.
When someone feels a cold coming on use this concoction in 
tea or with a shot of whiskey
for relief and a feeling of well-being.
Especially if you use it with whiskey.  hahaha
Just do it.  It will last you for years.
When the time comes that you notice you need more honey just add more honey, fruit or ginger.
It will never get old.  Honey is a natural preservation with antiseptic properties.
If you are really feeling bad, you can drink it straight out of the jar.
It's still better than theraflu, and that's a fact.
It also makes a wonderful Christmas present.