Quaint Essential Thymes

Country Home Decor, Furniture and Antiques

It Started in May

 For my umpteenth Birthday dear hubby Tom got me some Butterfly Milkweed seeds from www.LiveMonarch.com.

 Monarch milkweed seeds

I planted them immediately and in just a few days and we had germination!


The plants grew.


 I followed the instructions that came with the seeds to transplant the seedlings after 3 weeks.  We had nice full plants in no time at all and Monarch butterflies laying eggs the last part of June.  The eggs hatched and the caterpillars thrived, going through many Instar stages by shedding their skin.



They ate the plants down to the nub…..


After several days of eating at least 4-5 leaves a day we watched this caterpillar start the pupating process by hanging is a “J”.  He was about 3″ long and the thickness of a pencil.  A healthy wormy!


In what seemed like a blink of an eye, poof, a bright green Chrysalis with gold bling! They say you can tell the sex of a Monarch Butterfly by looking closely at the top of the chrysalis. I didn’t go that far.

Monarch chrysalis

This whole process has been a sight to behold!  After 8 days we are now watching with anticipation for the Monarch Butterfly to emerge from it’s gold-rimmed, jadeite-green case.  Then the process will begin again!  New life, eggs, caterpillars, chrysalises!  The Wonders of Mother Nature!


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Fuller Lake’s Autumn Leaves

Fall Foliage at Pine Grove Furnace

Fall Foliage at Pine Grove Furnace

This morning I was reminded of my family’s favorite vacation destination back in the day, where we’d go camping over the hot summer weekends and take a day’s drive in early Autumn for a picnic. Pine Grove Furnace in Cumberland County, PA was THE place we spent our many, many summer vacations camping, traipsing through the State Forest, swimming in the frigid cold mountain spring-fed Fuller Lake or Laurel Lake, spotting deer nearly every night and making S’mores over a rip-roaring campfire.

We returned there 9 years ago, Autumn, the whole family, including Mom and Dad, my sisters’ families, and a few friends for a family reunion picnic. The hikes were more difficult all these years later and not as lengthy, the two Lakes seemed smaller and much colder this time around. We didn’t stay long enough into the night to see the deer come out of the woods to the grassy pastures to feed and our campfire was limited to a State Park provided charcoal grill where we made our hamburgers and hotdogs. But we were there! ALL of us!

The days had turned shorter for our picnic that End-of-Summer Sunday, the air was brisk but bright with sun. We got to bundle up in sweaters and jackets. The leaves had begun to change color, with the fallen ones crunching under our hiking boots. Funny too how a simple hotdog can taste so darned good when it’s skewered through, shimmied onto a hand-whittled tree branch and cooked outdoors over red-hot charcoal coals.  Many laughs were had that day, lots of Walks down Memory Lane and reuniting with Family. That Family Reunion picnic was one to be remembered and not long forgotten.

Our long, hot Summer Days are coming to an end here in Sunny Florida and my heart and soul are longing for that first Breath of Fresh Air that will greet me soon when I walk out the door first thing in the morning.  But please, “would you just hurry up!” ~Donna Kiehl~

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Stow ‘n Go!



We’re just loving our new Dodge Grand Caravan Crew! 

We can still haul furniture and 4×8 sheets of drywall and plywood! Now instead of removing the middle and rear seats like we did in the green 1997 Dodge Grand Caravan, we can Stow ‘n Go! In a matter of a few seconds the seats are folded up and stored under the floor making for a flush surface just like the old van! This is just one new feature we’re enjoying. Opening the automatic side and rear doors is wonderful and they can be opened and closed remotely. This is a preowned 2011 model but is NEW to us : )

Because there was no owners manual with the van we had a hard time figuring out how to stow the seats.  It turned out to be very easy.  There’s a locking slide that has to be pulled over about midway on the edge of the folding doors.  Once this is locked the entire door lifts to stow the seats beneath the floor.

 stow n go floor lockLocke Stow n Go door

Pull the slide to lock.  You’ll see a red tab showing on the tab to indicate it’s locked into place.  Then lift the door using the ring handle and push the folded seat into the floor!  Just that simple!

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Happy Earth Day

Cedar Waxwing on Loquat tree

 Mather Nature came to visit me on Earth Day today.  Migratory birds are filling up on Loquats in my backyard, getting ready to head North for the Spring Season.  Baltimore Orioles and Cedar Waxwings were blending so well with the russet leaves and yellow-orange Loquats I hardly noticed them pecking at the overripe fruits.

Yesteday I thought I heard the Cedar Waxwings’ high pitched whistle but I couldn’t find them.  

It’s a windy overcast day today but I catch a glimpse of a Sulfur Butterfly and Gulf Fritillary now and again nectaring in the butterfly garden out front.  The Catbirds are busy in the yard too.  Blue Jays will be squawking soon for me to refresh their birdbath.  I’m still waiting for the Blue Indigo to make his appearance.  They usually show up in April too.

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Happy Fasnacht Day

Lancaster County Fasnacht

Lancaster County PA Fastnacht

It’s Shrove Tuesday and you know what that means, Right? Oh, you don’t? It means Fastnacht Day! The day all of us from Lancaster County, PA eat our way through a dozen or so of traditional German “fat cakes” rich in sugar and fat, before fasting during Lent.

These fried delicasies are yeast risen potato flour doughnuts without the hole. Some are drenched in powdered sugar but the diehard Fastnacht connoisseur prefers just plain ones.

Lancaster County Folklore suggests that the fat they’re fried in has Magical Powers OR the person who eats the last one will end up an Old Maid or a Bachelor!

And what I wouldn’t give for one of these doughy, yeasty, melt-in-your mouth pillows of sugary goodness right now!  But, not one to be had here in Largo, FL!

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Christmas Past

Christmas in the 1950's with me on my rocking horse

Christmas in the 1950′s with me on my rocking horse

We’re all reminded of Christmas Past. Magical times when we were small. Decorating the tree with real heavy lead tinsel, Mom in the kitchen baking her favorite cookie recipes, Dad putting the lighted Santa Sleigh with Reindeer on the porch roof,  putting a plate of cookies and carrots and a glass of milk out for Santa and his Reindeer on Christmas Eve, and Christmas morning waking up at the crack of dawn or before and opening our Christmas Stockings first then tearing into the presents under the tree. 

Looks like on this year back in the late 50′s I hit the Jack Pot!  Elephant Clothes Rack, Tricycle, Rocking Horse & wood puzzles.  I must have been a good girl!

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Stone House I Called Home

Farmhouse Stone House

Farmhouse Stone Home

I’m in the process of scrubbing the vinyl siding on the front porch at the shop.  It’s a back-breaking job but somebody’s got to do it!  Might as well be me : )

This upkeep has reminded me of end-of-summer days before school started when my sisters and I had to wash the front porch at home.  The exterior wall on the porch of our old farmhouse stone home was whitewashed back in the day.  We’d scrub those stones to remove the dust kicked up from the dirt lane, then with scrub brush and bucket we’d also scrub the floor boards on the front porch. 

I guess it was in the late 1960′s the wash wash was sand blasted off the porch wall to reveal the gorgeous field stone underneath.  The rest of the house was sandblasted and repointed at the same time. 

So now I’m getting a little home sick for for those days where I grew up in the stone house in the woods.  Just look at the stone house where I grew up in Lancaster, PA.  Isn’t she a beauty?

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Bittersweet is Autumn’s Celebration



Bittersweet vine is an unruly twisted clusters of orange and yellow berries usually found growing wild in the woods of North America in the Fall and Winter. It can be gathered from fence rows or garden paths and will often be twined around trees, bushes or electric poles or in neatly cultivated landscapes where it can be controlled with regular pruning. It’s beautiful arranged in Autumn and Winter floral designs or used as colorful accents to your Harvest table. Here in Florida we resort to the silk variety but it looks so real and it’s so much fun to incorporate into your Country Primitive decor.  We usually have it in stock this time of year at Quaint Essential!

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Elvis is In the Building

Tom’s been working on restoring these old 45 Record Players and I couldn’t wait to listen to some of the vintage records we have.

Click and Listen to Elvis singing “Can’t Help Falling in Love”.

There’s just something “organic” to the sound of vinyl records that is missing from all the digital music these days.

Stop by and hear some tunes from yesteryear!

We also have a large selection of Restored Vintage Radios from the late 1940′s to mid 1950′s.

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