Saturday, December 6, 2014

There's Something About Fog

These images may or may not reflect the mood around here, but they do speak to the weather.
Oct. 2006 West Virginia
I grew up mostly without fog and still find it noteworthy and mysterious.
July 2005 Newfoundland

May 2007, Ecuador

October 2006, West Virginia

Monday, November 24, 2014

Break out the beaters

Pie time is almost upon us.  I have been working on several blog posts about books, gardening, and metaphorical roots, and none of them is coming together well.  Still, I'm thinking about pies.  Like everyone else from the middle of the U.S,A,, pie baking is in my roots, and Thanksgiving, in particular, is the time to connect to these roots, via baking and eating pies.

Well, almost everyone else from the middle of the U.S.A.  Except most of my students.  And the Mister's extended family, some of whom seem to think that chocolate cherry cake is acceptable Thanksgiving food.  And my (competent adult) cousin who has never whipped cream.  And my grandmother on the other side and . . . well.  Anyway, I think that I am rooted in Thanksgiving pie culture, and I'm looking forward to baking something that looks like these on Wednesday.

Pumpkin and Mincemeat Nov. 2012
Pumpkin and Cranberry Walnut Nov. 2013

I don't have photos of the guests (my parents or the Mister's parents) at either of these Thanksgiving dinners, but I guess that doesn't surprise me as much as the fact that I could only find photographs of the most recent four Thanksgiving pies in a quick search.

Note to cousin K: Buy some cream.  Chill a bowl and some beaters.  You can do it!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Phenology Report: Fog

With the tenure document, strep throat, pink eye, and all, I missed most of October (although I did get out of town three of the four weekends and learned fall was beautiful in other parts*).  I recall October being very warm.

November started out with a dreary gray weekend just to prove that it wasn't still October, before reverting back to the warmth of October.  The boys and I planted bulbs on Nov. 8 and the asters and cowpen daisies were still blooming and none of our leaves had turned, much less fallen. I was out counting the last of my main population of cyclanthera (345 individuals, in an area we've never had more than 170 and had as few as 14 in 2011) in short sleeves on Monday, Nov. 10 (it was 78 degrees F, after all) before the wind swept in and our first freeze hit the low 20s that night.  During the days of bitter cold that followed, all of the pecan leaves (still fully green), freeze dried and fell off, mostly coming down on Thursday night.

Saturday we had a great time playing in the leaves and Sunday (Nov. 16) it snowed all day, with accumulations enough to cancel school on Monday.  (Something that would not have happened back in my day, I tell you.)  Thursday and Friday were lovely days for playing outside and today was foggy, almost all day.

A full foggy day is weird.

I hope to write about my roots soon, in the meantime, enjoy whatever November is throwing at you.

*including camping in far Western Oklahoma for BioBlitz during which we inaugurated our new tent on a cold frosty night that came out of nowhere.

Monday, November 10, 2014


It is rather frightening how fast they are growing up . . . sometimes.
Aster glowed as a firefighter and Dianthus rocked the classic ghost look.  Our jack-o-lantern was also modified classic-- my parents were big into ears and I've decided in recent years (okay, the last twenty) that eyebrows are an important touch.
I had nothing to do with Dianthus lining up his loot (75 pieces visible.  We only went to 9 houses! When did some houses start giving ten pieces per house?), so it also scares me, a bit, that he came up with this behavior entirely on his own.  Five year-old me would have sorted by color and size.
To see just how much they have grown, you can visit Dianthus as a black cat in 2009, Dianthus as a young punk in 2010, Aster as a black cat and Dianthus as a Hawaiian firefighter in 2011, Dianthus as a firefighter and Aster as a rock star in 2012, and the mysterious costumes of 2013.

To better see the eyebrows

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Still not flat

Sunrise and shadow selfie in Central Kansas over the weekend.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Forward progress, results not in

Some updates on some of the many things going on in our lives:
1)  The Mister will be the judge at the Tree to Table Event to support on Tuesday.  I'll be contacting those of you who offered to pitch in.  I'm very excited, having found both a sub for my lab and a babysitter.  I had even figured out what to wear before I heard the recent weather forecast. 
2) The Royals are in the World Series!  Yes, we are excited.  It is tied 1-1 as of writing.
3) My tenure document in all of its beautifully tabbed, color-coded glory, was turned in on Monday.  I should hear in April about the outcome.
4) We are headed to Kansas for the funeral of one of Jeff's uncles who will be much missed.  I've mentioned before that I am not sure about how to write about such things, other than to remind my father, father-in-law, brother and brother-in-law that you are somebody's cherished uncles and please take care of yourselves.  It is also the anniversary of the death of my uncle who died far too young, and a colleague just died and . . . . Well, life is uncertain.  Please enjoy it.
5) I have three times as many plants in my study population as in the past.  This is not making the field season finish quickly, although it is interesting.
6) 90 degrees F in late October it too hot.
7) Soccer in the evenings makes the boys in my life cranky.  Or maybe just me.  I'm okay that the season is ending on Tuesday.
8) Eastern Oklahoma was beautiful last week, even though most of the trees hadn't turned.
9) The boys are growing up.
10) I still can't rotate photos when I use this computer.  Hmmm.  Happy Fall.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Bid Rigging

There's a lot going on in our lives right now, from the fun (Dianthus and Aster had a great time camping at BioBlitz), to the very sad (loss of part of the Mister's extended family), to the annoying (strep throat, bacterial pink eye and weird metallic taste in my mouth within two weeks, and now the Mister is sick).  And then there are the exams I'm grading.  And the Broncos winning.  And the ROYALS SWEEPING THE ANGELS!
And that pesky tenure document that is not organizing itself.
Anyway, I am not writing about any of those at the moment.  Rather I am seeking your assistance in securing a great birthday present for the Mister (The Royals shirt is great, and, fortunately, the Royals have won since I washed the shirt-- otherwise we might have had an issue on our hands).
See, for our special birthday meal this year I decided to take him to a food competition/benefit dinner because the theme interests me ("tree to table") the competition looks good, and the cause (trees; specifically orchards near schools and shelters and help re-planting tree after tornadoes) is something I support.
Alex Guarnaschelli and Dave Cathey, both of whom I adore (one of whom is an Iron Chef, the other is the local "Food Dude") are the judges, and the third judges spot goes to the highest bidder.  Wouldn't you like to see The Mister, instead of some rich socialite or snobby food industry insider, judge such an event?  One a whim I bid for him for a birthday present.  Then, when I wasn't immediately out-bid, I realized that I really think it would be a lot of fun, and that he would be a great judge.  If you would like to contribute to Oklahoma orchards, please consider donating through me so that I can bid again should the need arise (only one person has bid against me, but bidding ends tomorrow and who knows what will happen).