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Temperature Whiplash

Yesterday it was 62* at 7 am. Today it was 30* at 7 am. it was sunny today but only in the 40’s with a gusty north wind.

More red leaves on our poinsettia. This one might be in full glory by Christmas but I picked up another one to enjoy now.

Our peanuts are still drying. I’m still looking for Granny’s peanut brittle recipe. I tasted one peanut. Aside from a bit too much moisture, it was tasty…for a raw peanut. I prefer them roasted unless they are in peanut brittle.

Like everyone else, my calendar is getting filled up with events and obligations. Fortunately Tuesday mornings will be free for a few weeks. Our church quilting group is taking a break until January. I appreciate the extra hours in my week but will miss all the members. In spite of lots of talking and laughing, we get a lot done.

I was pleasantly surprised at how well stocked Aldi was this morning. I have a 14 pound Butterball turkey thawing in the fridge. They had fresh cranberries too. In fact I got everything on my list. It cost a bit more than I expected, but that seems to be the new normal.

The wind was a torrent of darkness

Among the gusty trees. The moon was ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas

Those verses(as sung by Loreena McKennit) from “The Highwayman “ came into my head when I woke up in the middles of the night and looked out the window. Today the clouds and wind are gone and the temperature got up to 64*. It was a good at to finish some garden tasks we didn’t complete before the cold and wind last week.

That included digging up the peanuts. We planted them late and let them freeze, but we harvested some peanuts. Now to let them dry and then knock off the dirt. We’ll roast some as maybe keep enough raw to make some peanut brittle. My granny made some good peanut brittle. I may have to look through her box of clipped and hand written recipes to hopefully find it.

Saturday I deep cleaned the living room and we assembled the Christmas tree. Unfortunately we haven’t located the multi-colored LED lights we’ve been using, but found older white lights. I’ll do one more search of Christmas boxes and if I can’t find the multicolored lights, we’ll go with the white ones. it’s really about the ornaments anyway.

And the leaves came tumbling down

We were on the way to the cardiac wing of mercy hospital at 5:15 this morning. Our driveway and the road were full of leaves that came down with the overnight rain and wind. It was still dark as we battled the wind from the parking lot to the west entrance just before 6 AM. Since only one person can go in with the patient, that was my mom. I hung out in the main lobby while my dad had his pacemaker battery replaced and then had a couple hours of observation to be sure everything was working properly. This new battery should be good for 10-11 years. My dad got his discharge papers about 11. After dropping them off at their place, I came home, ate lunch and took a nap.

Today never warmed up even though the sun was out for a while. It’s going to be a frosty evening of high school football championships tonight. There’s a chance of some rain about dark. The weather person mentioned seeing some snow flurries. It’s a good night for chicken and rice soup and staying inside.

Thank you for your service

Yesterday we drove my parents to the outlet malls in Branson. The colors of the trees seemed a bit subdued but that may have been due to the gray skies. The leaves may have also been just past their peak. The individual trees in Willard are still bright and colorful.

It was a successful shopping day. Dennis got yet another pair of Merrill shoes the same color and style he’s been wearing for years. My mom found cute pjs for all her great grandkids. That’s her Christmas tradition gift to them. My mom and Dennis both wanted new jeans but couldn’t find the style they like in their sizes.

Hannah and Junior have decided to get married in Springfield. They found a venue that looks perfect on the website. My friend Teresa and I have an appointment for a tour next Friday. If it meets our approval, we’ll pick a late summer or early fall 2022 date that they have available. I’ll probably be on FaceTime with Hannah most of the tour.

A cold front and some rain came through last night. Today is sunny but 54 and windy. We’re looking at 20’s at night and 40’s for highs over the weekend. Winter’s coming.

Indian Summer

I’m enjoying our sunny warm days. One more tomorrow and then back to cold rainy weather. Until then I’m soaking up all the rays possible.

Our fig trees are showing a bit of frost damage but the figs are still hard and green with no signs of ripening. this may not be a successful experiment, but we’ll give it a few more years. With global warming, they might start thriving.

We had our propane tank filled this morning. It cost 50% more than our last tank. Fortunately we get our propane from a foamy owned business. The original parents are mostly retired. Their daughter answers the phone and does the books. She’s chatty and it takes a while to end the call. Her husband and brother do most of the deliveries but today her nephew filled our tank. We sent him back with sweet potatoes to share. He thinks we’ll have plenty of propane this winter but we won’t like the price.

Frost…finally

It was a beautiful sunny morning with frost covering the ground. Our thermometer said 30*. There was only a light wind and the temperature warmed up to 53* by mid afternoon.

After lunch Dennis finished digging the sweet potatoes. Both in size and quantity, it’s our best harvest yet. We have been digging potatoes to eat and share for about a month, but we still had 120 lbs just from today. I’m glad sweet potatoes are popular with family and friends and is also a versatile cooking ingredient.

Over the past couple of years I’ve stumbled across PBS shows with chef Vivian Howard. She may have done more, but I know about “A Chef’s Life” and “Somewhere South”. I checked out her cookbook, -This Will Make it Taste Good- from the library. She has “flavor heroes” she makes to add to different dishes. It’s a stretch for me, but I made her “Community Organizer” which is tomatoes, green peppers, garlic and onions, cooked in olive oil. I had to use canned diced tomatoes but the recipe is for fresh tomatoes. This recipe makes 4 pints which keep 3 weeks in fridge or 3 months frozen. Different recipes us different amounts of the Community Organizer. The original recipe was to add to field peas or any kind of dried beans but she expanded it to use with eggs ( microwaved in a cup) and a broccoli soup for cheese lovers. It’s healthier and fairly light soup. It also tastes good but is nothing like Panera broccoli cheese soup. Community Organizer is one of 10 heroes she makes and uses. The next one I’ll try is her kraut which she makes in 2 quart jars. Just cabbage, salt and cucumber. Jury is still out on whether I’ll buy a copy, but I haven’t returned the book to the library.

My dad got a call from his cardiologist. After 10 years of excellent service, it’s time to replace his pacemaker’s battery. Next Friday we’ll have him at the hospital by 6 am for what should be a simple out patient procedure.

Last night we watched “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society “. I read the book years ago and loved it. I thought the film did the book justice.

Dia de Los Muertos

It was appropriate to wake up to gray skies and the sound of crows this morning. Some of them seem to have migrated from the cemetery to our trees. Hopefully this is just a temporary location and they’ll move on.

Yesterday afternoon we helped out with our church Trunk or Treat. There were some very creative trunks and then those similar to mine. Purple ghosts on white plastic and the word boo. I wore my long purple coat (to be ghostlike) and kept reasonably warm while handing out candy. Lots of really cute costumes. I hope someone was counting how many kids came through. There were also games and Dennis took our tractor and trailer for hay rides. Someone else brought square bales of hay for seating. Dennis drove around the big grassy area beside the church. He’d unload one wagon full of kids and another load was waiting to hop on. The event ended just before total darkness. He must have been building good karma with this activity because he hit a deer heading home and it didn’t damage the truck. He said it made a huge crash, had a big rack, looked him in the eye and kept going. I can’t explain it, but I’m grateful for it.

In the Dark

Last year Dennis gave me a beautiful poinsettia which is now just a nice looking green plant.

Poinsettia

After minimal research, I discovered that if this plant gets 14 hours of complete dark and 10 hours of bright sunlight, it will turn red. So every night at 8 pm it gets set inside a box and stays there until 10 am the next morning. I’ll have an update in 3-4 weeks.

The trees are turning. It’s be in the 40’s, gray and rainy the past few days, so I haven’t had a chance to enjoy them.

Wednesday I drove to St. James for a girls day with friends. It was a good time. There is nothing better than spending an afternoon with girlfriends. We’ve had a long journey together and and hope it continues for many more years.

Four Days in Chicago

Now that the garden is almost history (we still have peppers and eggplants plus we haven’t dug the sweet potatoes or peanuts), it was time to make a brief escape before winter pinned us in. Hurricanes and rain nixed travel to the south and east, so we headed north to Chicago.

I was lucky to get tickets to the Immersive Van Gogh exhibition for 10 AM Wednesday. The rest of the trip was planned around that.

The Chicago Art Institute Museum was walking distance from the hotel. That’s where we spent our Monday. In addition to the permanent exhibits, they had a special display of “What I Saw” by Joseph Yoakum. He was born in Ash Grove MO, which is just a few miles from Willard. He was born in 1891 and as a teenager, ran off to join the circus. He was drafted into the army in 1918. Then he spent years wandering around the world. Then in 1962, at the age of 71, he had a dream and began painting the places he’d been during his life. He produced over 2,000 drawings before he died at age 76.

Route 66

For some reason, many places were closed on Tuesday in Chicago. We decided to explore Chinatown. One one side of Chinatown Square were 12 statues representing the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac. Dennis and I were born in the year of the snake; my mom in the year of the dog and my dad in the year of the rooster. We all had a good laugh reading about our “characteristics”. We bought some souvenirs and gifts before deciding it was time to eat. We found Moon Palace, which was recommended by our hotel concierge. Unfortunately it was one of the many places closed on Tuesday. We back to the area near our hotel and had hotdogs at the food truck parked by the Field Museum. We then walked around Grant Park. We found Buckingham fountain but it had been turned off and drained. Deja vu from a past trip to Kansas City.

Wednesday morning we experienced the Immersive Van Gogh. It’s a combination of feeling like you are inside the painting plus the music. The blades of the windmills turned. The flowers blew in the wind. I made sure my parents had seats in case it became sensory overload and they might get dizzy but it didn’t happen. If it were to come to Springfield, I’d see it again.

We spent the afternoon at the Garfield Park Conservatory. It is landscape art under glass. The greenhouses are as amazing as the ones at the St Louis botanical gardens, but they are more extensive. In the Aroid House, there is a waterfall and stream flowing in the middle. Surrounded by plants found on a rainforest are also Chihuly blown glass Persian lillies.

On our final day the weather changed. It was gray and 50* with some sprinkles. While my parents sipped coffee in the cafe inside the Chicago Botanical Gardens (actually located in Glencoe) Dennis and I braved the weather and explored the gardens. We were not alone either. It wasn’t crowded but there were a lot of other people walking around, including moms pushing strollers with bundled up babies and small children. We made a list of new plants/flowers we’d like to grow next year. Also new plans for front yard low light under the trees landscaping. Grass is no longer an option.

Chicago was fun but I m not a city girl and my own bed felt good Friday night.

Indian Summer?

I’m not sure if you can call it Indian Summer if there hasn’t been a frost, but it’s 86* and 90* is predicted for tomorrow. Maybe we’re just in a rerun of summer.

Thursday evening Dennis and I celebrated my birthday at Springfield Brewing Co. in addition to some good beer, they serve good food. Dennis chose the Ghost IPA And I had an ale. We started with chips and salsa with a side of queso. Then we split their “brewben” sandwich. They have the proportions of meat, cheese and sauerkraut just right. It’s served o n rye from a local bakery. We don’t often drive o Springfield just for a meal, but when we do we try to be sure it’s special.

I spent much of yesterday finishing _White Ivy_. It had some interesting twists and an ending I wasn’t expecting. I didn’t like any of the characters by the end of the book but it’s well written.

This morning I stumbled upon the final episode of “A Chef’s Life “. I’ve seen several episodes over the past few years and find Vivian Howard an interesting figure. She’s someone I’d like to have as a friend or neighbor. I’d definitely like to eat her food. On this episode she found pawpaws and used them to make a version of banana pudding. It will probably be 3 more years before we get pawpaws from our trees. She also made chow chow to serve at the final dinner. Since she was serving it and not canning it, she included ripe yellow cherry tomatoes and watermelon rind with a bit of ripe watermelon on it. I may have to see if she has a cookbook, although she never seems to measure any of her ingredients.

I have my fall decorations out and today spent a few minutes selecting a few favorite Halloween decorations to place here and there. Every year my seasonal decorations get more minimal.