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