Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Real Fall Day

The leaves suddenly started falling this week. I think my kiddos noticed it the moment it started happening. We may be breaking records with the temps. We may be breaking records with the lack of rainfall. My kiddos may be wearing shorts and sleeveless shirts regularly (still).

But the leaves are finally falling.

It really is fall now, or so my daughter tells me.

She can tell ya know, because now they've had a real fall day.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Carvin' Time!

Every year for the last two years, we've been working on a tradition: the Littles draw Jack-O-Lantern designs, and Mama cuts them out. (see our previous years' designs here: 2012, 2013) This year marks the third year in a row that's found us outside on the picnic table with Sharpies and gourds, and I love love what these kids come up with (vs. more traditional designs).

Not so traditional this year was the addition of power tools. RotoZip, where have you been all my life? Like butter, people. I carved these babies up like a hot knife through butter. Granted, I was way messier in the end, but I was able to get every little fine line carved into the masterpieces that they are.

The evening after carving, we ceremoniously watched It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (for the 26th time), gathered candles and the Aim 'N' Flame, and carried the lanterns to the front porch. Despite the wind, we got the lights to stay lit, and there was much celebration.

It's too bad they'll be in the compost pile in another week or so. They're pretty rad.

That's right, rad.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Right Now

Right now, I'm...

...choosing to celebrate these record-breaking highs with chalk outside, gardening, landscaping, tidying up, trimming, planting... choosing not to wish for fall-like weather, dampness, crispness, a chance to wear socks and long sleeves, a chance to stop watering and hear rain falling once again...
...still humming the kid-geared songs that are just catchy enough to stick with me from the Trout Fishing in America show we went to Saturday to celebrate Gramps' birthday (and true to the man, the outing was kinda all about the kids!).
...feeling that autumnal pull inward towards the hearth and home, and feeling freshly aware of how bare some of our spaces still are, despite the fact that we've lived in this house for a year already. I need some more art on these walls, some window coverings, time to reupholster a chair and footstool, and something over the fireplace in the formal living room. Like now. Oh, and a few more rugs, too.
...looking forward to Halloween! My kiddos' costumes have been almost entirely thrifted, recrafted, home-made and improvised, and they're awesome! They're excited about them, too, and that's winning all by itself.
...loving the winter rye in the woods. What a transformation! Now rain, baby, rain, so it stays alive out there!

Right now I'm feeling torn between my gut pulling me in to nest for the oncoming change in the season, and my head pulling me out into the fair weather to work like it's still mid-summer. This weekend my head won. Maybe my gut will prevail as we roll into November, only one short week away!

Wherever you find yourselves this week, be it hearth or garden, may you have a happy Monday!

Friday, October 24, 2014

This Moment

Playing along with Amanda today... in her words: 

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

How to Save a Burned Pot Roast

It happens to the best of us, and I'm certainly not one of the best.

You put on a pot roast. You go out to check for eggs. You realize you really need to water the garden. You're outside for over an hour without thinking about it. Oh, and you might also have forgotten to turn the heat down from browning the roast.

Or was it just me?

Anyho, you get back inside and instead of smelling tasty roasty smells, you smell burning. D'oh.

Now the roast and veggies are burned and you only have an hour before dinnertime. Definitely not enough time to start over (like there's even a "spare" roast to be had).

All is not lost, though. Here's what I had:

...and here's what I did:

First, I carefully lifted out all the veggies that were loose (not charred-stuck to the bottom and sides) and set them aside,
and then I worked the meat loose and put it in a new pot. (Do not try to scrape anything loose that is stuck in the char. Do not add liquid to the pot before removing the un-burned and salvageable pieces.)
I then got the charred pot a-soakin' in the sink. 

To the veggies, I added butter and fresh herbs, to offset the bitterness of the burned essence
and the dryness of being overcooked. 
In the fresh pot with the meat I added 2 cups of liquid (unsalted broth, white wine or beer, or water would work) and
about 1/4 cup olive oil. Once it was simmering I also added a couple new bay leaves, some garlic and onion powder,
and some cracked black pepper. I covered the pot and let it cook just below a boil right up until serving time.
This dinner was not wasted because I remembered the #1 rule of salvage: do not scrape the pot once something has burned. It is tempting to rush in and dump a cup of water over the hot, dry, crackling contents of the unwatched pot and start trying to work everything free, but don't! The more you can pick off the top without disturbing the charred bits, the less your final dish will hint at any trouble.

The downside to my story was time- picking apart my foible and starting over left me with a scant 45 minutes to finish the meat, and it ended up a little dry and a little tough. Another hour in the new pot, with the liquid refreshed every once-in-a-while, would have done wonders... but I'll have my chance to make that right tonight when I turn the leftovers into BBQ sandwiches!

See? Everyone has their moments, y'all!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Morning Mist

"...careful the morning lest it wake from slumber
the city half-encumbered
by the morning mist..."
~ A Familiar Rain by John Geddes 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Right Now

Right now, I'm...

...feelin' buzzed, y'all. I don't know what's off the charts at the moment, but I'm having an allergy attack worse than any I can remember to date, and have actually voluntarily started taking allergy meds (which I hate, because they make me feel buzzed). At least I can kinda hear out of my right ear again....
...lining up the week with a little crafting for the holidays (finding inspiration from this book these days), a visit to the park with friends, and some down time for all who were a little over-extended this past weekend.
...enjoying the almost daily viewing of It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (it wouldn't feel like a proper October without it).
...smiling every time I look out at our cleared area of woods, which now has a light green haze covering the raw earth, thanks to the winter rye germinating!
...loving the way this week is shaping up: I think I can finally raise my head above water and enjoy the rest of this beautiful month!

This week promises to follow a steadier, less manic pace for us around these parts, and I must say that has me feeling better already.

May we all find time this week to just be, and while we're hoping... may we also start seeing a little rain in the forecast!

Happy Monday.