Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Fall Colour

Autumn chrysanthemums are in full flush of bloom along my front walk.
Every time I write the word chrysanthemum I hear Anne of Green Gables spelling down Gilbert Blythe with a look of disdain :
"C-H-R-Y-S-A-N-T-H-E-M-U-M." Funny how that classroom memory, fictional and not even my own, stays with me.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The First Annual Butternut Beauty Pagent

What is the use of an Aunt growing butternut squashes if they cannot be harvested, decorated with markers, and judged in a butternut beauty pagent? The winner, in a blind judging (Mommy closed her eyes and picked), was taken home to be baked and the loosers took a nap in Aunt's bed.

Pecan Balls

Filed under "things that can be put on toothpicks" pecan balls are a vegetarian alternative to meatballs so good even dedicated meat eaters love them. They're also pretty easy to make.

Start with two cups ground pecans -- or, if you're like me and don't want to fuss with cleaning a food processor for a measly 2 cups of ground pecans (even if you did own one), just smash up the bag of pecans with a hammer and measure out two cups of the resulting smaller bits.

Add a cup of bread crumbs,
two cups of grated cheese (monty jack in today's batch, but I've used parm, motz, etc. before with good results too)
two tablespoons or so dry minced onion
and roughly a half teaspoon of oregano flakes.

Mix that all together, and then add two eggs and a quarter cup of milk, mixing to form a doughy texture.

On my original recipe card I have just the list of ingredients followed by only three words of instruction: "Mix, Ball, Fry." Mix we have already covered. Ball and fry come next.

Form the mixture into balls about an inch, or an inch and a half roughly in size. I use a small frying pan and a little safflower oil to pan-fry in batches, because I think that's a bit healthier than deep frying. (Though you'll get a more even color with a deep fry.) Get a nice crispy outside, the darker side of golden, then let them rest, draining over paper towels.

And they're ready to serve. Enjoy.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Focus Study

"Comforts that were rare among our forefathers are now multiplied in factories and handed out wholesale; and indeed, nobody nowadays, so long as he is content to go without air, space, quiet, decency and good manners, need be without anything whatever that he wants; or at least a reasonably cheap imitation of it." --GK Chesterton
"Are the comforts of God too small for you, or the word that deals gently with you?" Job 15:11

"Civilization has run on ahead of the soul of man, and is producing faster than he can think and give thanks." -- Chesterton

"Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him; sing praises to Him; tell of all His wondrous works!" -- 1 Chronicals 16:8-9
"Great truths can only be forgotten and can never be falsified." -- Chesterton

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Tucked in a corner of the highway my neighborhood is a comfortable one. Brick houses line up low and solid, their chimneys offering the occasional scent and curl of woodsmoke. Shabby in the way that established places tend to be, a genteel sort of aging as though rounded by the constant washing of time like a river. Polished.

Every so often a house glares, crisp and starched, from between its overgrown and faded neighbors and occasionally the road is patched with lines of tar so new and black the old paving looks white. Bleached with the same sun that turns monarch wings into dancing bits of stained glass.

Interstate engines filter through trees grown old enough to be the size for hugging, for hanging swings, for leaning against and learning wisdom. For looking up through leaves. Heard like this the tractor trailers become muffled, a distorted ocean roar. Soothing in their way.

Airplanes pass over, mark the highway, and bank right or left. Crows watch the grass grow. Today the wind whirled maple wings until the only sound was rushing air, like memories pressing to reach the sky. And yesterday the golden needles of a tamarack made a path to walk.