One last visit to the Arboretum 

With our time in Texas rapidly nearing an end, this little wombat took one last wander; I wanted to see the 12 days of Christmas display at the Dallas arboretum, so we took a break from our packing and went for a quick visit.

ArboretumGazebos

I love visiting the arboretum – it has been the one place in Texas that I have visited the most. From now until January 3rd, the Arboretum has a fabulous, exquisite display: the 12 days of Christmas. Each of the 12 days are displayed in a giant gazebo, beautifully displayed and with Christmas carols playing.

Here is the poem and some pictures:

On the first day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
A Partridge in a Pear Tree

ArboretumDay1Gazebo

On the second day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the third day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

Arboretum_Day4_CallingBird

One of the four calling birds

On the fourth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the fifth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the sixth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the seventh day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the eighth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the ninth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Nine Ladies Dancing
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the tenth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Ten Lords a Leaping
Nine Ladies Dancing
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

Arboretum_Day11_pipersOn the eleventh day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Eleven Pipers Piping
Ten Lords a Leaping
Nine Ladies Dancing
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the twelfth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
12 Drummers Drumming
Eleven Pipers Piping
Ten Lords a Leaping
Nine Ladies Dancing
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

Merry Christmas to everyone!

And if you get the opportunity – go visit the arboretum in Dallas.

At the moment – the remnants of the pumpkin patch display is still about:

Aboretum_Us_PumpkinPatch

 

Halloween, All Hallows’ Eve, Samhain!

Tomorrow is Halloween! And how fortuitous that it falls on a Saturday this year.

Halloween can be traced back to the Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced Saah-win, or sow-in), celebrating the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter. At this time, the veil between the world of the living and the realm of the dead (the Otherworld) is at it’s thinest and the departed souls ghost could cross into the land of the living. If you would like to know more about the history of Halloween in America  – check it out here.

Americans go crazy for this time of year – it’s not just the kids who dress up and trick-or-treat, the adults do it too. Decorating your house at Halloween is also very common (approximately 50% of Americans decorate their yards at this time of year) – some go to great lengths, with a full on light and show spectacle (similar to Christmas light decorations). Google Halloween House Decorations and see what images pop up – amazing!

As Halloween isn’t really celebrated in Australia, and we are here in the US where Halloween is evidently an all in event, I thought I might embrace the culture and get involved – just a little, and try my hand at carving a pumpkin.

I acquired myself a pumpkin (not the prettiest of the bunch, since I left it a bit late and all the good ones were gone), I bought a simple carving kit and went for it. Scooping out the middle is the worst bit, but all in all, it wasn’t too bad.

My hollowed out pumpkin

My hollowed out pumpkin

Meet Jack!

Halloween_Jack

Or maybe it’s Jackie?

Halloween_Jackie

Not too bad for a first effort. I didn’t use a stencil, but did this freehand. And since I just can’t embrace the horror aspect, he’s reasonably friendly looking.

Tomorrow, we are going to our first Halloween party and Jack’s coming with us! It should be a fun night!

Fun trivia facts about Halloween:

  • One quarter of all candy sold in the USA annually is for Halloween
  • Jack-o-lanterns originated in Ireland and were made from turnips or potatoes – they were used to scare away ghosts and spirits. It wasn’t until Irish immigrants in America discovered pumpkins that a new tradition was born
  • 120 million people in America dress up for Halloween
  • Orange and black represent the colors of Halloween – orange is associated with the Fall harvest and black is associated with darkness and death

 

It’s Pumpkin Season!

1pumpkinI think I may have only just realised that Americans are just a little bit obsessed with the humble pumpkin.

If you have ever been in American during the autumnal season, you will know that Fall brings cooler temperatures, and colour-changing leaves, but it also brings an overwhelming display of pumpkins and anything and everything associated with pumpkins. I believe the pumpkin must be the unofficial symbol of autumn in the US; pumpkins are literally EVERYWHERE! I can’t liken this to anything similar in the Southern hemisphere, it is something uniquely American.

If you read my last blog about visiting the Dallas Arboretum’s Fall Festival – you might get a bit of an idea of what I am talking about – you will have seen some of the photos I took of all the pumpkins there – and the parents and children clamouring for photos with them. Yes, even I got amongst it and got a photo with some of the thousands of pumpkins on display there.

Catherine_PumkpinPatch

Decorator pumpkins

Decorator pumpkins

 

When I have been out shopping, it is impossible not to note that it is the season for pumpkins! Pumpkins adorn all sorts of decorator and household items for you to take home. Both food stores and hobby stores are all too willing to help you decorate for the Fall/Harvest season. Pumpkins themselves are also used as decorator items – you can buy bags of mini pumpkins, as well as the larger varieties (both real and artificial) to decorate with.

Pumpkins

Pumpkin_pieBesides decorating with pumpkins, the flavour of pumpkins has infiltrated it’s way into just about every food group as well. The pumpkin pie is, of course, an old favourite, but consumers are now inundated with pumpkin-spice flavoured everything!

PumpkinSpice_coffee

Dunkin Donuts pumpkin spice coffee

The fault probably lies with Starbucks who introduced a seasonal pumpkin spice latte in 2003 – since then the number of items with a pumpkin spice flavour seems to have risen exponentially. Others have jumped on the bandwagon and offer pumpkin spice flavoured coffee at the supermarket:

Pumpkin_Coffee

McCafe pumpkin spice coffee

You can now find pumpkin spice flavoured Oreos, pumpkin spice flavoured M&M’s, pumpkin spice air freshener as well as everything from pumpkin-spice flavoured beer to pumpkin-spice flavoured chocolate! I am convinced America has gone a little pumpkin-spice crazy!

Here are a few items I came across whilst shopping recently:

Pumokin-Ale_Shocktop

Pumpkin Ale

Pumpkin_muffins

Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin_cupcakes

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Pumpkin_Cider

Pumpkin Cider – no, I didn’t try it!

Pumpkin_Chocolate

Pumpkin Chocolate!?

Pumpkin_almonds

Pumpkin Spice Almonds

Pumkin_BelVita

Pumpkin Spice biscuits

I have to admit, I haven’t actually tried any of these, but – has it all gone too far?

Pumpkins at the Arboretum – Autumn is here!

One thing I really love about America is how the arrival of each season is celebrated wholeheartedly.

Autumn has now arrived in the northern hemisphere, so there are plenty of decorations around celebrating Fall and Harvest; with many scarecrows, hay bales and pumpkins! All the stores and so many porches and balconies around town are displaying their Fall decorations. It is wonderful!

harvest-decorfall-home-decor-2

Fall_signToday I went to visit the Dallas Arboretum with a friend to take a look at their Fall Festival, which features a huge pumpkin patch – with more than 75,000 pumpkins, squash and gourds. It was amazing! I had such a wonderful time; I just had to share – Here are a few photos:

Fall_Texas_pumpkins

Fall_UglyPumpkinPatch

Fall_PumpkinBed

Fall_PumpkinPath

I have been to the Arboretum twice before (one of which was for the Springtime bloom event) and it has been great every time. A visit to the gardens is truly delightful and there is something to see at any time of the year. If you are ever in Dallas – go; you won’t regret it. It also has a fabulous Children’s Adventure Garden for the kiddies (and adults).