Autumn Is Afoot (Apples & Walnuts with Cinnamon Caramel Sauce)

I like the word “afoot.”

On foot.

     In action.

          In progress.

Autumn wasn’t meant to be experienced indoors.  It requires participation…

With apples and camera in hand, I went exploring.

Where to take the picture?  Hmm….

                                                                                                                                                                                  (Disregard the photographer in the spoon…)

While I debate this dilemma, allow me to share the recipe.

Apples & Walnuts With Cinnamon Caramel Sauce

1 tart apple (per person), cored and sliced

1/4 c. toasted walnuts (per person)

Cinnamon Caramel Sauce:

4 T. butter

1/2 c. brown sugar

2 T. milk

1/2 t. vanilla

1/2 t. cinnamon

Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat.  Stir in brown sugar, milk, vanilla and cinnamon.  Increase heat slightly and bring mixture to a boil.  Cook and stir until “caramelly” consistency.  (I like my sauce thinner; use your judgement.)  Cool slightly and drizzle over apples and walnuts.  Enjoy!

As to where to take that final shot…

It’s Autumn!

Now go outside and play.

Enjoying all things afoot,

~ Kim

Rhapsody In Blue

Herons are never in a hurry.

When Old Boy took up his post on Saturday morning, it was my cue to watch and see how things are done around here.

The buzz of a boat motor diverted his gaze.

Nothing to get flapped about.  Just a lone fisherman on a quest for a lunker.

Clouds passed and so did the time.

But, it wasn’t time wasted.

Somehow I think Old Boy knew that all along.

Enjoying life’s little rhapsodies,

~ Kim

Toast

Did I ever mention it’s hilly around here?

Very hilly?

Three weeks ago the hubby’s pickup rebelled.  He tinkered.  He monkey-wrenched (at least I think that’s what he used.)  He scraped three knuckles and an elbow.  He crawled under, climbed over, and hunched motionless, pondering the perplexities of an ’85 engine antiquated enough to be coaxed with a bit of muscle — yet new enough to contain a “computer” — which, in his opinion, is unnecessary.  Unless it doesn’t work.

Two trips to the parts store and five scavenger hunts in the junkyard later, he shook his head at his still-defunct truck, put his hands on his hips and muttered: “It’s toast.”  Not as in: “yummy, slathered with butter, I look forward to this on the weekends” kind of toast.  TOAST.

As in: Too Obsolete And Stupid Truck.  (His succinctness floors me at times.)  I don’t call him The Man of Few Words for nothin’.

With only one vehicle and two jobs, somebody had to make the schedule sacrifice.  Yup.  That would be me.

The first week I got up at 4:30 a.m., drove the hubby to work, and dashed home to enjoy an hour and a half of solitude (or an hour and a half less sleep, depending upon how you look at it…), then filled my “spare time” with all the things working women cram into rare moments of “newfound leisure” — laundry, house-cleaning, meal-planning, etc. — done with the intent on “getting ahead” so I could come home and relax at the end of the day.  Ha.  Then I got ready for work, drove to work, did my work, and after work, picked up the hubby where he worked.  By the end of the week, I was toast.

(No acronym — just exhausted.)

The following week, Plan B went into effect.

I “slept in” until 5:00 a.m., got ready for work, rode with the hubby into town (who dropped me off an hour and a half early, or an hour an a half less sleep…), where I wandered up and down the sidewalks “at my leisure” until starting time — the appeal of which wore off after the first two days.  There’s only so much window shopping you can do in a three block area.  And 105°.

After work, the M of FW retrieved me on his way by and whisked me home, where I’d launch into all the things working women cram into their evening hours (laundry, house-cleaning, meal-planning…) until I dropped into bed exhausted.  Toast, times two.  Something had to change.

Wonder of wonders, I discovered we have public transit here.

Now before y’all start wondering, “Why didn’t she take the bus in the first place?” remember… I live in rural Oklahoma.  Bus stops are few and far between.  (As in: almost a mile from our house.)  But they sure are pretty.

And bear in mind, I haven’t hauled my half-century-old carcass up anything steeper than a recliner in a long time.

But I can tell my children, “When I was your age, I walked up hill both ways!”

And it’s worth the climb.

Bonus points for my new “fitness plan.”  Now I can eat toast whenever I want… “yummy, slathered in butter, “why wait for the weekend?” kind of toast.  Life is good.

Enjoying one hill at a time,

~ Kim

Flowergram II

I couldn’t let another weekend pass without sharing some of the flowers in our neighborhood…

My favorite Okie wildflower perked up its head recently and said, “Pick me!  Pick me!” (not as in:  pick me and take me inside and plunk me in a vase.)  No, that little beauty is too free-spirited to sequester indoors.  (But it did graciously pose for a photo.)

As I wandered closer, a bevy of beauties peeked through the grass.  They looked like young girls at a school dance, shyly begging to be noticed, self-consciously hoping…

I assured them that they were lovely and thanked them for gracing our back yard.  (The hillside is covered with them now!)  There are benefits to “group therapy” for young flowers… and young girls.

In the front yard, our irises bloomed with wild abandon.

I said wild abandon…

This is the land that I’ve come to know and love.  There’ll be time for yard work (later…), but for now, I’m content to marvel at the beauty of untamed Spring.

Around the bend and up the hill, our neighbor’s cactus was in bloom.  Allow me to zoom in on the object of my affection before the full sunlight blinds you…

Doesn’t God’s handiwork leave you in awe?  The fact that blessings like these are within walking distance of our house makes me feel especially grateful.

And then there’s the magnificent magnolia tree next to my office…

There’s a story waiting to be told in that tree.  But for now, I’ll leave you with a picture and a promise to tell it soon.

Happy Flowergram!

Enjoying life one blossom at a time,

~ Kim

Yard Crashers, Okie Style

When we moved here two summers ago, we were thrilled with the deck and our view of the lake.  But, the back yard needed a little work…

Perched on the side of a steep hill, there was no middle ground — it was Death Valley, or a river ran through it every time it rained.

A “Rock Garden” was one solution.  With a little blood, sweat and tears (and a lot of rock moving), phase one of Yard Crashers was completed.

Three hanging baskets and one fire pit later, things started looking downright cozy.  (From this angle, the fire pit looks a tad lopsided — it’s built in front of a rock that wouldn’t budge!)

It really isn’t lopsided.  (I don’t claim to be a stone mason, but I can draw a circle.)

The end result was lush and green (not counting Okie dirt, which has a mind of its own) and the overall effect was inviting.

So inviting, in fact, we had another yard crasher!

Mrs. Cardinal set up housekeeping in one of my hanging baskets!  Using grass and twigs and even a gum wrapper, she launched into her own DIY project.

Within days, the gum wrapper was gone and a scrap of paper replaced the leaf.  (It’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind, after all.)  What a delight to watch her vision of  “home” come to fruition one change at a time, like mine.  It’s not easy to tame the wilderness.

Being careful not to disturb her, I waited until Mrs. Cardinal went “shopping” again and held up the camera.  What would today’s remodeling yield?

Surprise… Easter eggs! :)  It’s a blessing to discover “new life” in progress, but especially so this weekend.

Celebrating the true meaning of Easter,

~Kim