It’s Thanksgiving Weekend here in Canada. The first and only long weekend of the fall. This weekend, pumpkin patches will feature largely in the plans of families with small children. The momentous decision of choosing the family pumpkin must be made. The farm up the road from us which operates a garden centre and you-pick, and in the fall boasts a corn maze and gives free wagon rides out to the pumpkin fields, has been full to bursting all weekend. Hubby tried to estimate the number of cars in their temporary car park and along the roadway… and failed. Clearly, pumpkin season is upon us.

Red maple leaves on a foggy fall morning in Algonquin Park, Ontario.
Autumn morning fog in Algonquin Park

I love seeing ripe pumpkins in the fields, and the piles and piles of them at vegetable stands. It’s a sight that always warms the cockles of my little autumn-loving heart. Along with trees that have turned bright red and orange and yellow, winding country roads unfurling between said trees, and leaf strewn walking trails lit by weak autumn sunshine. I know, I’m a walking cliché.

Rideau Valley Conservation Authority  walking trail in autumn.
Autumn on the trail

For years and years, Hubby and I spent Thanksgiving weekend camping up the Ottawa Valley. I love fall camping. For four days, I’d loll around in sweatpants and old fleece, wearing no makeup. We’d walk the bush trails and drive the country roads. And on our last evening we’d get cleaned up and join the queue for the Saint Casimir’s Thanksgiving Day church supper in Round Lake.

Best of all on these trips were the evening campfires. Fall camping is great because there are no bugs, and fewer campers than summer. It’s cool enough to bundle up, and dark enough to make campfires kind of magical. I may have told you this story already, but one year as we sat in front of our campfire sipping our wine, we were entertained by an unseen singer who sat in front of his own campfire a few sites away. Hidden by darkness, he quietly strummed his guitar or played the mouth organ and sang all our favourites: Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot, Creedence Clearwater Revival. He did this each night for about an hour. A few times we clapped after a song, and we heard him say in an Elvis imitation, “Thank-you, thank-you very much.”

Anyway, on the morning we were leaving, as we packed up, I saw that the singer and his partner were about to pull away with their trailer. On impulse, I sprinted over to their site to thank him for the lovely entertainment. I stood beside his open truck window in my pyjamas and old sneakers, hair standing on end, no makeup, holding a tent pole, and breathlessly said my piece. And to my astonishment, the singer’s partner leaned over to her husband’s window and said, “Oh, hello Ms. Burpee. You teach our son.”

Fall colour along a highway in the Ottawa Valley.
Autumn in the Ottawa Valley

Jaysus. What? Crap. I attempted to smooth my hair with the hand not holding the tent pole, and tried to look sanguine. But to quote Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird when he greets old Mrs. Dubose, I’ll bet I “looked a picture.” Even more applicable is Scout’s reply, “Yeah, but a picture of what?”

I’d never in my life run into someone I know on a camping trip. And it would have to be a parent with a kid at my school. Me… who always took such care with my appearance at school, particularly on parents’ night… caught without makeup in my holey fleece pyjamas holding a tent pole. Ha.

Truth be told, that morning encounter was a kind of watershed moment for me. I mean, who did I think I was to expect to look good all the time? Actually I think most shocking for me was the fact that they recognized me. Guess my makeup and perfect hair weren’t much of a disguise afterall.

I know that I’ve always been too much of a perfectionist when it comes to my hair and clothing. I know that. But I’m getting better at setting realistic standards for myself, at accepting “good enough” as my mantra. Growing older helps a lot with that.

Autumn corn field near Manotick, Ontario.
Autumn fields close to home.

But for whatever reason, I’ve never applied those same unrealistic, perfectionistic standards to my home. In fact, I don’t like perfect homes. I like old things, and new things, and traditional things, and quirky things… it all depends on the thing. And I don’t feel the need to decorate to please anyone but Hubby and myself.

Which brings me finally to my point in writing this whole rambling post. Pumpkins. And with the advent of ripe pumpkins in the fields, pumpkin decorating season. Pumpkins abound on seemingly every porch or front step, along with gourds, corn sheaves, hay bales, and even the odd scarecrow.

Pumpkins on porches look lovely to me, but I harbour no envy for the pumpkin decorators. I do not desire to pile pumpkins on our deck. Or to lean corn sheaves in our doorway. With the exception of Christmas, seasonal decorating kind of leaves me cold. I avoid all the “How to Create the Perfect Thanksgiving Tablescape” articles. And frequently marvel at how seasonal decorating, and even decorating itself, has become a competitive sport.

Recently I read an insightful article written by Haley Nahman in her newsletter Maybe Baby that goes to the main point of what I think I’m trying to say.

I’ve talked about Haley here on my blog before. She used to write for the fashion blog Man Repeller a few years ago, and left to go her own way before the blog imploded after charges of racism, classism, and toxic work environments. I enjoyed Haley’s writing when she wrote for the fashion blog, and I now subscribe to her weekly newsletter which is usually a personal essay on anything from relationships to knitting, from life in New York to social anxiety. I love the randomness of her topics, and even though she is much younger than me, I still empathize with her struggle to live her best life.

Anyway, this past week Haley wrote about decorating, about “perfect” homes, and what it means for one’s decor to be “deeply personal.” And since I have been clicking away from a ton of “perfect decor” articles lately. Particularly the pumpkin themed ones, her post resonated with me.

In her essay Haley discusses the new home of wildly popular social media influencer and YouTuber, twenty-one year old Emma Chamberlain. Apparently Architectural Digest conducted an online tour of Emma’s new home, dubbing it “deeply personal” in style. An appellation which Haley questions. How can a house decorated by a team of professionals for a mostly absent twenty-one year old owner (apparently Chamberlain was travelling while most of the work was being done) be described as “deeply personal” in style?

Haley says that to her a house in which everything is purchased at once lacks a key ingredient of personal style: the element of time. And pieces collected over time as one lives one’s life. She says despite the fact that Chamberlain has a few items she purchased herself from Etsy and her father’s paintings hanging in her living room the house seems to be “decorated specifically to solicit the envious gaze of trend-aware onlookers.”

And why are we not surprised by any of that?

I can’t help contrasting the story of Emma Chamberlain’s house with the home of the young couple I mentioned in my last post. The son of Hubby’s cousin and his girlfriend who have lovingly renovated Hubby’s cousin’s old home, and filled it with things that are quirky, and tasteful, and totally reflective of who they are. That my friends is “deeply personal” decorating.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no objection to pumpkins on porches. Or to seasonal decorating. If that’s what makes you happy. But it should be undertaken because it reflects your taste, who you are, and because it makes you happy. And not because it reflects some article in a lifestyle magazine or blog designed to guilt you into conforming to trends, and ultimately buying what needs to be bought to further said conformity.

A field of ripe pumpkins near Manotick, Ontario.
Pumpkins in the field

Anyway. Enough about soulless houses and seasonal decor trends. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. And even though Hubby and I are not camping this year, we’re heading out tomorrow to drive some country roads. We’ll pack a lunch and a thermos of tea. I’ve bought us some treats to pack in our picnic basket. We’ll walk some bush roads and marvel at the fall colours. Then we’ll head home to our Thanksgiving Day feast.

Hopefully spying a few well-pumpkin-ed porches on the way. I don’t want to gussy up my own porch, but I do love the sight of all that orange.

Happy Thanksgiving if you live in Canada. And for those who don’t celebrate an October Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving at all, happy rest of the weekend. I wish crisp sunny days, and cool snuggling down with a good book evenings. Unless you live in the southern hemisphere, then happy spring weekend.

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61 thoughts on “Pumpkins on the Porch”

  1. Happy Thanksgiving, Sue! I hope that your back is well and I’m sorry that you are not enjoying your fall camping trip
    Hopefully,the picnic, a walk and maybe a campfire near the river, could be the next best thing
    I agree with you-I love my apartment and it suits me and my family,it is beautiful through my lens,a bit eclectic,but,it does not have to be IG worthy or something.
    I hear you about camping and meeting parents (or patients,in my case-and you have much better hair than me!) 🙂
    We used to carve a pumpkin and put a candle in it for All Saints’ Day when I was little. 
    Dottoressa

    1. My back is getting better, thanks, Dottoressa. Yesterday we drove a while, and then walked a while to break up my having to sit too long. So it made the day even better!

  2. Well you know I’ll agree don’t you ? Competitive seasonal decorating seems to have crept on gradually over the years . We don’t do Thanksgiving of course but pumpkins are popular around Halloween . We didn’t do Halloween at all when I was a child but things change & the pumpkins are very cheerful . I remember when I subscribed to monthly home magazines years ago & found the Christmas issue deeply depressing . Perfect families sat around perfect tables in perfect homes & we were supposed to emulate that . Perfection is rather tricky where families are concerned , I’ve found . I had a ‘friend’ who would ask me what colour scheme I had planned for Christmas & was I having a number of Christmas trees ??? I like the new tradition of outdoor lights in the neighbourhood but wonder if the sky high cost of electricity will make everyone hold back this year . Is it a waste of precious energy ? Is Max getting too old to cling to the top of the ladder for the sake of twinkling lights ? See the problems I have 😉
    Enjoy your day out . I envy you your Canadian Fall colours . I’m sure they are spectacular .

    1. The colours yesterday were so good. The orange trees, my favourite, were almost glowing. I had to stop taking photos to save my phone battery in case we got lost. Which we did. Ha.

  3. I chuckled as I read your camping story and yes, to have a good campfire sing-along you need Gordon Lightfoot and Neil Young songs.
    I’m hosting Thanksgiving dinner for the first time in 3 years and had a momentary panic attack that I haven’t done any seasonal decorating. I made the decision earlier that I am doing this dinner stress free and am not going all out with decorating and cooking. This will be a much simpler Thanksgiving than in the past, but I will enjoy it more and not be exhausted by the end of the day.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and all your Canadian readers.

    1. Jackie Somerville

      I loved your reply to Sue … I’m completely on the same page this year as you are ,I think … I used to over decorate over cook and over stress every holiday! I think the lockdowns of the last two years taught me to relax , enjoy my lovely home and guests … does anyone really need all the“stuff “ anymore ☺️? Happy Thanksgiving from Canada 🍁

    2. Hi Sue,
      I throughly enjoyed your stories that you shared. The campfire story was an “oh my”!moment of shock and surprise. A good one for an ego adjustment. You have such a gifted way of telling a story.
      Good for you that you have developed “a good enough” attitude. I’m a recovering perfectionist so I get it.
      I love the way you are going to spend your Thanksgiving Day and evening. We live in Arizona U.S. . Our Thanksgiving is in late November.
      Have a lovely day.

  4. I’m with you on a distinct lack of enthusiasm for seasonal decorating, apart from Christmas when I take a fairly minimalist approach that’s better suited to our summer Christmases. And homes should never be a competitive sport. Maybe it’s our similar ages but I also favour an eclectic approach to home decor, combining family pieces, things that tell a story, or are loved, as well as the inevitable compromise pieces which, say, your husband loves and you learn to live with, and vice versa of course. Happy Thanksgiving 🎃

  5. This post made me smile! Great camping/encounter story.

    My grandfather grew giant pumpkins and gourds for carving for me when I was a girl, so I have a soft spot for them. That said, my decor is decidedly eclectic and I don’t like waste or trends, so I don’t really do much decorating for holidays (even Christmas) except bring out family heirlooms and small kitschy things I have acquired over the years (my Italian partner one year gave me a tabletop glass Christmas tree with multicoloured glass bobble ornaments, bought in Venice – acknowledging that it was probably a Chinese knock-off even though we prefer to support the artisans of Murano…so that comes out in Dec). As for Thanksgiving…. pumpkins for me are for eating. Enjoy the lovely weekend rambles.

    1. PS Love coming back to read the other comments, which are often amusing and very interesting. Great readership. Thanksgiving was always my favourite holiday when I was growing up so am missing family a bit this weekend (am in Italy so not eating my mom’s turkey or pumpkin pie this weekend!).

  6. Thanks for all your striking photos… as a fellow Canuck, they really capture autumn as I know and love it!
    And Happy Thanksgiving 2022!

  7. Happy Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday, mainly because it does, or perhaps did would be more accurate, not inspire all the fuss of some other holidays. When my son, and husband, were younger, they did a fair amount of outside decorating for both Halloween and Christmas. As our son is older, and has moved to another state, we don’t bother any more. Even our inside Christmas decor is now minimal. It’s just too much work, and not much enjoyment, since it now falls solely on me. I have become quite jaded on holidays in general; it’s just another day…

    1. We have never decorated for Halloween, except for a carved pumpkin. But I love to decorate for Christmas. Mostly because of all the family ornaments that we’ve had for eons.

  8. Every Sunday I look so forward to reading your oh so eloquently worded comments on everything. This one hit home with me on many levels, autumn, how we present ourselves to the world and most of all “deeply personal” decorating.
    You are a marvel. Thank you and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  9. Happy Thanksgiving from a Pacific Northwest friend. I love fall for its leaves, candles and cozy warmth. I am in love with the glass pumpkins and put my five about the mantle and dining table along with a couple of pumpkin pillows on the couch. I leave the front porch alone with maybe one fall/ winter container. Best thing I ever did was to quit reading the decorating articles when I went back to teaching after my two children started school. I can’t say the same for gardening magazines, though. That is now my passion in retirement!

    1. When I was younger and Hubby and I were renovating and I had to choose new furniture for the living room, I read decor magazine. All it did was stress me out and make me dissatisfied with everything in my house. Even with the things I loved. So I stopped and I was much happier.

  10. I go a pot of gold mums for the porch and that will suffice for outdoor decor. Also got down my ceramic yellow gourd and orange pumpkin for display, and will turn it to the side with the eyes, nose and mouth closer to Halloween. Here on the coast we only have sycamores that turn color and drop their leaves, and my ginko will turn the most beautiful shade of yellow soon if the evenings start to turn cold.
    My hubby, daughter and I spent 4 days in Sequoia a week ago which brought back memories of when I was age 5 and went camping there every summer with my mother, my aunt, and 3 sisters. It was gorgeous, and at my age of 82, nice to stay in a comfy lodge. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you…my birthday is always forgotten because it is near or on the US thanksgiving but that’s OK now that I no longer have to go to all the work to prepare the “feast”…;)

    1. The leaves here are spectacular this year. Your description of a comfy lodge has me thinking I might have to book in somewhere in the next while if our renovations drag on too long. A lodge would be lovely. 🙂

  11. Happy Thanksgiving, Sue. My favorite holiday, because EVERYBODY can celebrate. And sorry, but I am a decorating fanatic. I just love going over the top, especially at Christmas—I have five trees. I get antsy waiting to put them and also my house decorations out, as I have such fond memories of them all. Not much in the way of family heirlooms. My parents didn’t go in for such things, which is probably why I swung so far away from minimalism. I’m thinking I might slow down this year as, at 72, it’s getting harder to climb the attic stairs to retrieve my treasures.
    I can top your camping story, Sue. I was a high school librarian for years in a school in northern NJ. I was getting one of my first mammograms when the technician gave me a big smile and said, “You have my two girls in your school.” Talk about cringing. She on while doing her job, chatting, and I tried my hardest to stop blushing. Yikes.

    1. No need to apologize, Pam. Some of my best friends are decorating fiends. I love to go to their homes. Just don’t want people to expect me to be the same. Not sure I’d like having a parent of a student be my mammogram tech. Although a gynecologist I once consulted was a former student. But at least my hair looked good at the appointment. Ha.

  12. I loved this post! I laughed out loud at your morning campground meeting and I couldn’t agree more with your thoughts on seasonal decorating and home decorating in general. We are the house on our street that puts out one jack-o-lantern on Halloween night and a single string of lights at Christmas. Inside, our home is an eclectic mix of things that have significance to us. No designer decor or overriding theme, just stuff that we like and that brings back memories of people and places.

  13. Happy Thanksgiving, Sue! I hope you’re enjoying your weekend.

    As much as I enjoy following home bloggers, I’m discovering I’m there for the process, rather than the finished product. I’m following a few people in Britain now, and it’s fun to see someone tackle a 19th/18th/17th century property and make it 21st century livable, without destroying its soul. That’s my kind of decorating.

    Our home is a mishmash of comfort and ease, and the things we couldn’t leave behind when we left the States, as well as things we’ve purchased here to make our home perfect-for-us, which is what matters. Funny aside – I’ve been searching for a few months for the perfect pots for some succulents a friend grew and gave me, to no avail. The plants have been sitting in our kitchen window in their plastic posts, looking a little neglected, and I began to despair. Finally, last week, I bought some clay pots, and some light green spray paint, and went to town. Are they perfect? No. There are places where the coating isn’t as even as I’d wish, and a couple of spots where the primer ghosts through. But when I planted my plants, and put them back in the kitchen window, what a difference! They look intentional, and cheery, and the plants look happy as well, and I smile when I walk by, so that’s perfect enough for me.

  14. Let’s just say that Architectural Digest will never be knocking on my door. In fact, after having had the living, dining, room and main hallway painted well over a year ago, I’ve not put a single item back up on the walls. Happy to reduce the visual clutter. Instead, there are several special items around the rooms: a small, beautiful jug from a trip to Italy; a carved, aged wood swan, along with a few wood ducks–one carved by a family friend (all collected on trips to Maine); a grandfather clock passed down from family; a few glass items from a elderly family friend of DH, passed on to him after her death; and some small plants here and there. Books. Of course. Read–not for show or design. Those kinds of things. Meaningful. Not space fillers. Nor am I a seasonal decorator–even Christmas is a stretch as all family celebrations–Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthdays–now take place at my adult children’s homes. For that, I definitely give thanks. 🙂

    And, thank you, for the lovely, autumnal photos.

  15. Happy Thanksgiving!
    Your camping tale reminded me of traveling as an 18-year-old in Europe nearly 50 years ago. We were camped in an olive grove on the island of Corfu, along with many others of the same mind (apologies to the owner of the grove for our youthful disregard), letting our leg hair grow long and studying our copies of Europe on Five Dollars a Day. One evening we could hear the sounds of someone playing guitar and singing “It’s Been a Long Time Coming.” Another evening we were invited to the campsite of a couple from Australia, who asked us if we wanted a cup of coffee, and did we like our coffee white. White coffee (i.e. instant coffee added to warm milk) was something new to us, but it was a wonderful treat.
    Nahman’s article on decorating was spot on. She is simply so good. (You led me to her, and I thank you!) I’ve always been puzzled by those who shop thrift stores striving for “a curated look,” as if curation is something one contrives rather than something that evolves. I appreciate the mix of old and new, but isn’t old better with a story behind it?
    I confess I do love a pumpkin or two in the fall! The good news is my husband uses them to bake our Thanksgiving pies. Win-win!

  16. Luckily my Scandinavian husband grew up without seasonal decorating (the exception was Christmas when a red tablecloth, few felted red elves, and couple of candles signified presents might be impending) so he regards my utter lack of interest in decorating our place as totally normal.

    Being the lone female in a family of males had its advantages as decorating took a backseat to outdoor activities in our home. Like my mother, I looked to others to provide the right seasonal atmosphere. Christmas skiing in the mountains meant I could leave the decorating to the elves at Chateau Lake Louise where Christmas dinner miraculously appeared while we drank hot cider next to a roaring fire after a day on the slopes. Like you and Stu, Thanksgiving was a camping weekend and our festive dinner was courtesy of a small, family-run cafe where everything on the menu came from local farmers. Mother Nature (and local farm stands) nicely handled the fall decorating. Other holidays could be managed by setting out my Ukrainian grandmother’s vintage Easter eggs—or something molded in chocolate. Edible decorating got a thumbs up in our home!

    And, living in a smallish city, I can certainly empathize with the disconcerting feelings aroused by surprise encounters with current and former students. Actually having my yearly Pap test conducted by a former student was easier than my buying books at the local bookstore where my current students could carefully scrutinized my choices before ringing them into the cash register (Whoa, does my English prof actually read THAT?) It was quite interesting encountering the adult version of the younger people I remembered—doctors, lawyers, builders, police officers, firefighters, and even instructors in courses in which I was enrolled (Trust me, you study VERY hard to pass the exams in those courses!)

    So good to hear that there are others who gape in awe at what is presented as aspirational decorating these days. And that I’m not alone in being happier kicking leaves on a trail then pasting them into a lopsided decoration. Best to admire and praise those that can, rather than try to emulate, is my motto.

  17. Happy Thanksgiving, Sue! We are camping for the first time ever this weekend. I agree about the joys of fall camping – this whole east-coast trip is gloriously free of crowds of tourists – and no bugs AT ALL! As I write, I have a weird frozen turkey breast already stuffed heating up in our oven (the RV has all the amenities!) That will have to do for turkey dinner this year, but we did enjoy fresh Maine lobster last night, so I guess I can’t complain. My daughter and her friends (I call them my bonus daughters) hosted Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner at my house in our absence. According to my mother-in-law they did amazing – cooking and cleaning up afterwards for 19 people. I missed doing it though! I looked up Emma Chamberlain’s house! Wowza. I have always said no one can accuse me of having more money than brains. (lol) My house is not “decorated” – we just cram everything in that we need for life – and there is always room for one or two more people if they need to shelter with us for a while! On social media, I have been enjoying lots of video clips of moose eating people’s porch pumpkins – imo, that is a great use for your pumpkins if you live in moose habitat!

    1. Happy Thanksgiving! Our son was in Waterloo for 3 years completing a post doc and we learned of Canada’s Thanksgiving b/c it was always around his birthday. Beautiful time of year. Enjoy all your family and friends. I love your posts.
      Best ever from Missouri.

    2. So happy you and Don are having a wonderful trip, Nancy! One of the comments that Haley Nahman made about Emma Chamberlain’s home is that she (Haley) would feel guilty and undeserving if she’d had that kind of money at age 21.

  18. Happy Thanksgiving – which is not celebrated here in NZ. Pumpkins here are for eating, preferably with a nice leg of roast lamb.
    Like you I am also not a holiday decorator other than a tiny tree and some baubles at Christmas. Going the whole nine yards here would be overwhelming and make the house seem hot and stuffy as Christmas is in the middle of summer. Real trees die in record time in the warmth.
    Home decor could at best be described as eclectic. A friend tells me I have an awful lot of “stuff” in my house but items range from things inherited to things bought on trips to the purely functional. I have a glass fronted cabinet with a lot of the little things in it which one grandchild called my ‘remembery ‘ cupboard. I rather liked that description as a lot of our belongings do cause me to remember the original owners or places they have come from.
    Love your camping story. As a retired teacher I too have come across ex-students around the globe. We came down the stairs to the dining room for breakfast in an hotel in Paris to find two boys I had taught. I have also been shoulder tapped by more ex-students in Disneyland and also on the Gold Coast in Australia. I think the worst was being told by a skin specialist who had just performed surgery to remove a skin cancer from my nose that I then had to strip off for a full body skin check. I happened to have not only taught him, but he was also a friend of my daughter. Not my best moment!
    Enjoy the lovely fall colours on your walks and drives this autumn.

    1. We had always considered pumpkin as a sweet (to be eaten in pies and jams and preserves) until we travelled to New Zealand and saw pumpkin soup on every restaurant menu. And when we said that to a waitress she was agog … pumpkin… a sweet??!! I think there must be as many embarrassing old student encounters as there are retired teachers. Ha.

  19. Thank you for a chuckle while reading this delightful post. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your Canadian community!

  20. I think the quickest way to a soulless home would be to furnish it one go. When I first came to Greece many years ago it was the thing that the in-laws would buy most of the things that a newly wed couple needed. The result was a museum-like decor, and not in a good way. It probably doesn’t happen now, although maybe young couples now go for an everything from Ikea look instead. Our house is furnished with things we have bought over the years plus my treasures that I couldn’t bear to leave behind in the UK. I think we have an eclectic decor, a bit shabby chic, I hope not scruffy chic !
    I loved your description of camping trips in the Autumn, am a bit envious . Hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving day out !

    1. When I looked at the house that the twenty-one year old “influencer” owned I thought how sad that she missed all the fun of furnishing one’s first apartment or home with cast-offs from parents and older siblings, plus junk store or flea market finds. I still remember my roommate being so excited when our landlord said we could paint our kitchen and then we painted an old wooden rocker and some wooden kitchen chairs to coordinate. When we were kids and my mum was a single parent with no money, she regularly dyed curtains, and made matching coverlets for our beds, or covered old orange crates to make bedside tables. And even when we’d moved to the farm and there was more money, I loved to arrive home from school after Mum had been spring cleaning to find my bedroom redecorated.

      1. Aw, yes! I have fond memories of my first apartment at that age—bricks and boards bookcases; a covered-mattress-on-plywood-and -blocks “sofa”; beanbag chairs; burlap curtains; and an old farm crock filled with dried grasses and cattails. Everything made by me, except for a rag rug made by my grandma to celebrate my first home. “Deeply personal” decorating, indeed.

        I was so proud of my efforts every time I walked through the door and sincerely hope that young “influencer” feels that same thrill…

  21. I love love love decorating the entrance to our driveway for fall and most of all for halloween. The more skeletons, ghouls, witches and pumpkins the better. Our home sits on a secluded lot that not many people can see, except for two neighbor homes and of course the UPS delivery man when he comes up the driveway. I decorate it because at our age it’s something fun to do that brings joy to others, and the two neighbor children love it. It’s never a competitive thing since there is no one to compete with. My sister hates halloween, and she never really decorates her home for any holiday other than putting up a tree at Christmas. I feel sorry for the lack of joy in her life. When we are old we need to have things to be excited about to keep life from becoming stagnant, lonely and depressing as our health begins to fade. BRING ON THE SKELETONS!! LOL

    1. Like you, my sister-in-law goes all out. Her ghost and skeleton concoctions are a hoot and she has so much fun with it. But I’m like your sister about decorating for Halloween. And far from feeling a lack of joy in my life, I just feel relief that I no longer beat myself up about not doing what everyone else seems to be doing. Different strokes, I guess.

  22. I just had to pop back and say that I sooo agree with Diane. We don’t do halloween where we live, but I love decorating for Christmas, I get as excited as a child !

  23. Having just come through Fiona and landing back in Ontario after securing the PEI property my last thought was decorating for Thanksgiving…or cooking for that matter. Hastened to Costco, bought desserts, pulled a formerly fresh turkey breast from the freezer, cooked a few veggies and called it dinner. Husband did the LCBO run.. the babies don’t care as long as there are luridly coloured Loblaw’s cupcakes to smush, their Dad doesn’t care as long as there is salmon and vegetarian gravy, their Momma doesn’t care as long as she doesn’t have to cook, their uncle just wants stuffing and Grandpère only cares that they are gathered around the kitchen table.. tile floors being easier to wipe that distractingly bright icing from then the dining room’s Indian carpet…
    Halloween is the season the babies decorate for, we’ll go all out this year as Covid has backed off…just pray the rude little girl who last year demurred the second box of Smarties goes to another house…who knows what this old witch will give her!!
    BTW my mom used to go all out Martha Stewart decor/cooking long before MS was a glimmer in her old man’s eye…how exhausting to not only go flat out but to do so TASTEFULLY! Oh yeah our Toronto home was visited not once but twice by the local CBC station…my mother was tired and bitchy from Thanksgiving to New Years! Not worth it…she must be clutching her heavenly pearls watching my ‘naked’ house this year as her great granddaughter rubs a crazy amount of orange icing over herself, her high chair and anyone within her chubby little arm’s reach!!! Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. I hope your P.E.I. property is okay. Our friend’s son recently bought a cottage rental business there and is in for a lot more work and fix-up than he had bargained for. Everything was floating. My mum was always exhausted and cranky at Christmas too. But she never cut back on the number of pies, fruit cakes, and delicate cookies she produced every year. Now at 95 she doesn’t care if she has Christmas dinner or not. During the pandemic she and my cousin had takeout fish and chips. No pearls.

      1. Our place is fine it was built by an old Islander, well back from the shore but still on the water. All 2×6 construction no groans or moans during the storm. Off islanders who bought on impulse or to cash in on the rental biz might be in for some ugly surprises. The Island has just introduced a building code and there will be restrictions on proximity to the water. Ours is a summer rental too which we use in the spring & fall. We had the help of Islanders in narrowing down our purchase and did our exhaustive due diligence…’don’t buy on the North shore’ was a warning we heard years ago. It ain’t all Anne o’Green Gables and that’s the hard reality.
        I am sorry for your friend’s son, I hope he has insurance which of course does not cover salt water storm surges but might help with repairs.

  24. I say do what makes you happy. I decorated my mantel ( I say I but my daughter did it) and she did some flower arrangements since I was hosting my book group. She found my wicker pumpkin with lights and some orange lights for the mantle and some plastic bats for the wall and it was done. I spend at least an hour every night enjoying the lights. My granddaughter loves it and that’s why I do it. I love lights on the mantel.

  25. Hi Sue,
    I’m belatedly wishing you a happy Thanksgiving and, in general, a very happy fall. I’m behind on my reading and so glad that I finally got to this post.
    What wonderful photos. I’m always said to say goodbye to summer, but fall always rewards us. The colors, the crisp fresh air, the energy! And you have captured it.
    I love pumpkins and corn stocks. I don’t decorate with them, but they are a great part of fall.
    I need to look up Haley’s newsletter. I agree with the appeal of a home that is personal and reflects one’s history and personality. Our house is a hodgepodge and not to everyone’s taste. But, it is full of collections and gifts and stories from our lives. It feels cozy and lived in. And a little dusty.

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