~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~
Every Thursday, here at Like Mother, Like Daughter!
Our front rosebush is just excited about this beautiful fall weather as we are. Helllooo, reasonable temperatures! How lovely to see you here at last!
I spent nearly every morning last week working in the garden, trying to get it into shape before things get cold. Our front garden held a water feature when we first moved in, which we later ripped out (because we may be many kinds of crazy, but it turns out we’re not Water Feature Crazy) in favor of the oh-so-elegant Dirt Pile landscaping feature.
The kids loved the Dirt Pile, and so we just went with that for a long time, but the neighborhood cat loved it too. Ew. And so did the wasps. (Add to the list of Ways Rosie is So Much Tougher Because of Living in Oklahoma: I had a large colony of cicada killer wasps living by my front door this summer. Cicada killers are, according to the Internet, not particularly aggressive, but they are, according to my experience, Enormous. Really. Large. Wasps. And we coexisted. Because apparently I am tough now.)
The Dirt Pile had to go.
RIP, Dirt Pile.
Long live the front garden.
That’s not a great picture of the garden, but it’s a pretty hilarious one of Molly, who was not asked to pose — that’s just Molly being Molly with her walking stick and her flower and her deep thoughts.
Anyway, we’ve got some herbs, roses, a few native plants, and lots of bulbs, so here’s hoping that it looks somewhat respectable come spring.
We love brussels sprouts around here, and usually I just roast them with salt and olive oil, because that’s easy and delicious and basically a surefire way to eat pretty much any vegetable. But I already had a chicken roasting in the oven (spatchcocked, laid on a bed of potatoes and onions and garlic — again, easy and delicious!), and my oven isn’t big enough to do both at once. And I was feeling like I was in a little bit of a rut, side dish-wise.
So here’s what I did instead:
I minced a few strips of bacon and tossed them into my cast iron pan on medium-high heat. (Which I’m not in the habit of using, actually, but was inspired to take out again from my mom’s post the other day.) As they crisped up, I washed and trimmed my brussels sprouts, and cut them in half. When the bacon was about 80% crispy, I turned the heat down a little, added my sprouts, and quickly turned them in the pan so they were flat-side down as much as possible.
While I let them get nice and brown (don’t touch them for 3-4 minutes so they can get that delicious golden sear), I washed and chopped some mushrooms, and then added them to the pan as well, stirring occasionally, and adding salt and pepper. Finally, I deglazed with some white wine (apple cider would also be delicious — as would chopping up an apple and adding it after the mushrooms!), lowered the heat again, and covered the pan for a few minutes to allow the vegetables to steam a bit more until they were crisp-tender.
Very quick and simple, but oh-so-tasty, and just a little more interesting to go with our chicken for Sunday dinner.
In other garden news, remember how I showed you this tomato plant in July, when it was growing like a banshee and producing flowers but no fruit?
It never did give me a single darn tomato, but it’s still growing. I gave up on it months ago, but the kids like to water it, so I just let it do its thing. It keeps growing big enough to topple over (despite staking), at which point I hack off big sections so it doesn’t shade my basil (see what’s hanging over onto the ground now? I’ve hacked off at least that much already), and it just starts over with new growth from the roots. Still occasionally blooming, still no fruit.
(Go home, tomato plant, you’re drunk!)
All this boy wants to do these days is climb trees, and I’m finding it a struggle to balance my desire to let him be adventurous with my desire for him not to break his neck. Is it the mother cat in Milo and Otis who I’m thinking of? “Raising boys is very simple. It’s very important to stay calm, and never ever raise your voice, and always to maintain… GET AWAY FROM THAT TREE!”
(For instance, you might look at that picture and wonder to yourself, “what is that boy even standing on??” I asked myself the same thing. He was unconcerned and, in fact, on his way up higher.)
Playing “sleep” with beds for herself and her two bears.
My little sidekick has been doing a lot of growing lately. She really desperately wants to be big enough to run around with the big kids, but since she can’t, she contents herself with being held by me at every possible moment, day or night. At least we’ve been getting in some late-night reading — she can tell I’m really enjoying my book, and wants in on it, too.