Tag Archives: fall leaves

W^2 – sunset

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday November 11, 2020

Herrick Lake Forest Preserve – Wheaton, IL November 8, 2020  4:15 PM

Making the Days Count even on a cloudy day there is sunshine. You just need to have faith that it’s there.

What keeps you moving on a cloudy fall day?

Sunday morning, November 8th

If you had told me that I would be sitting outside writing a blog post on the second Sunday morning in November, I am not sure if I would have believed you.

But I am. The sun has shifted in the sky from where it is in the summer. I can feel the sun on my temple, and I can see my shadow in the laptop screen in front of me. Like many summer mornings when I have written a blog post outdoors on the deck at home or by the lake, I am wearing a pair of shorts and a sweatshirt. The temperature is 67F or almost 20C , there is a gentle breeze, and the sun is shining. It is a beautiful morning.

Yesterday morning, the puppies and I, sat outside and I enjoyed my morning coffee instead of inside on the couch. They sat side by side staring into the backyard, seemingly on watch for the critters they long to catch. The two puppies are really dogs, but they behave like puppies do full of curiosity and eagerness to run, jump, and play. Ivy, the older one, will be 11 years old in a few months and Fern, the younger one, is a little more than a year and a half.

 

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looking for squirrels and I am watching the leaves fall – yesterday the deck was clear… #fallleaves #raking #fallchores

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We are repeating yesterday morning’s unusual opportunity – sitting outside in early November. Continue reading Sunday morning, November 8th

Fall day…

It’s been a long time since I wrote a post, I am out of practice. Somehow over the past year, I’ve fallen out of my routine of writing. When I began writing making the Days Count dot org I embraced the writing routine. Writing is a healthy habit and I am thankful that my fall from blogging hasn’t been a health issue, but rather a time issue.

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it’s a beautiful sunny day – gonna make it count! #makeitaGREATday

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A year ago, last summer, I had my right knee surgically replaced; six months later in December 2018, I had my left knee replaced. My writing took a back seat to recovery and almost a full year later, I am fully healed and pain-free. I can’t tell you how much better I feel and how much easier it is to move. This past summer I was able to do things I couldn’t have imagined doing before the two knee surgeries.

This afternoon my son, W, and I went for a walk at the Morton Arboretum. Continue reading Fall day…

from turkey to soup – a transformation

It’s Thanksgiving break and I am thankful. I was thankful Thursday morning and I am especially thankful as the break winds to close. It’s Saturday morning, I’ve been on break since Wednesday, really Tuesday night. Three days have passed seemingly in the blink of an eye, or rather two eyes.

I’ve been taking advantage of the break to a couple of nights of good rest. Wednesday and Thursday morning, I was up before the sun rose. Friday morning, I slept late and the sun was up and Ivy was gone. This morning, I was awakening as the sun was rising and Ivy was still nestled up against my leg.

On Thanksgiving Day, the turkey is my job. It’s a pretty simple job, though I have leared that some people make a mess of it. I follow a simple plan.

  • I remove the turkey from the refrigerator and allow to rest in the sink for an hour
  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Unwrap the turkey, rinse, and pat dry.
  • Place the turkey in the roasting pan
  • Pour 1 quart of cold water in the roasting pan
  • Season with salt, pepper, and fresh thyme.
  • Insert the oven probe in the thigh, making sure not to hit the bone
  • Place the turkey in the oven
  • Set the oven temperature down to 325F and the probe temperature to 175F.
step 1 – roasting the turkey

That’s what I do. I use a meat thermometer to check the temperature of the turkey when the oven probe reaches 175 – just as a backup. This year, I added another 5F to finish the turkey and removed the turkey from the oven and covered it with foil until we were ready to eat.

When we were ready with all the fixings – mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes with coconut topping, Brussels sprouts, dressing, and gravy, I carved the turkey and re-heated to make sure it was hot. Then we sat down for Thanksgiving Dinner. It was delicious, but it tasted better because the family was together.

After Thanksgiving dinner, W cleaned up. An hour or so later, I finished the job and got down to the business of transforming the turkey into turkey vegetable soup.

I removed all of the meat from the turkey and broke the carcass into smaller bits that fit in the stock pot.  I cover the bones with cold water and placed the pot on the stove over medium-low heat. The stock then slowly simmers uncovered and it takes several hours to render the turkey stock. Before I went to bed Thursday night, I turned off the heat and covered the stock pot.

step 2, making the turkey stock

Continue reading from turkey to soup – a transformation

temporary: birthdays and fall leaves

It’s Sunday morning and I am slowly getting a start to the new week. I am on my second cup of coffee and Ivy has been outside on patrol and she’s back inside. She’s curled up at my feet beneath the desk where I do much of my thinking and writing.

Ivy loves resting in the leaf pile, I think she feels camouflaged….

Friday was my birthday. It was also the coldest day of school year so far. I checked the temperature and it was 16°F. I smiled and thought back to when I was 16 years old. I’ve grown up, but in many ways, I am still that kid who at the age of 16 was looking ahead at the future and wondering and dreaming. It’s been 40 years since that birthday. You can do the math, but I don’t feel like a 56 year-old, however a 56 year old should feel.

Age is a number and it’s temporary. I am constantly learning and growing, or I should be.

Yesterday, I slept late. It was nice to sleep past my normal weekday wake up time of 4:30 AM.

It’s Fall and the cold weather has zapped the trees and the fallen leaves have covered the lawn like a thick blanket with leaves sticking in the beds along the foundation and fences, wherever there might be a stopping point from the wind.

the yard before work began in earnest

The leaves are temporary. They sprout in the Spring and last until the Fall. The cycle is lasts a little less than 200 days from mid-April to early November, sometimes longer, sometimes shorter depending on the year. We have a couple of trees that are now leafless and several trees which are relentlessly holding on to their leaves. By the end of the month, the trees will release their grip and the leaves will fall to the ground. Continue reading temporary: birthdays and fall leaves

peek – a photo challenge

It’s Saturday night, it’s late. It’s the night before we fall back and return to standard time.

It’s been a full day. I’ve set the all the clocks back an hour in anticipation of the time change. I am looking forward to driving to school in the morning light, it’s been slowly getting darker each morning over the last couple of weeks. But, conversely, I am not looking forward to driving home in the dark either. There is hope, though the days are getting shorter, they will begin getting longer again soon. It’s the cycle and I don’t need to peek ahead, I know the days will get longer soon.

I ran errands this afternoon and took a side trip to the Morton Arboretum. It’s nestled along a highway, though you’d never know it. It’s bounded by housing developments and a river runs through it. It’s a peaceful place to visit and walk. This afternoon I enjoyed the view from the top of the hill facing west into the rainy Saturday afternoon. I’ve watched the sun set from the same spot before and even though I tried, I could not see the sun peeking through the clouds today.

the sun is nowhere to be found…

While I was there, I stood beneath a pine tree and marveled at the pine cones and the water dripping off the needles and branches. It was peaceful and calming. Rainy fall days tend to bring a sense of calm and serenity. The pine cone seemed to be just peeking through the needles at me.

Continue reading peek – a photo challenge

shine/sunshine: a photo challenge

Sunday was a beautiful day in the Midwest. Actually, Saturday was a beautiful day, too and I am not referring to the Chicago Cubs.

We’ve had a run of beautiful days. Warm sunny afternoons followed by cool nights. Tonight, the sky was clear again when I took Ivy outside. Since she and Mr. Skunk met in August, she gets an escort out in the evening. I looked up and I could see several stars. Living so close to a major city, my stargazing is limited by the light pollution. I am thankful for the stars that shine bright enough for me to see.

ivy leaves shine a brilliant red-orange
ivy leaves shine a brilliant red-orange

I spent most of my day hunkered down in the basement working on school and other things. I popped out of my cave to enjoy a slice of O’s birthday cake. It was O’s birthday and W was over to help celebrate.

It was that time in the afternoon when the sun’s angle illuminates and shines across the landscape in a special way. It makes the grass greener and the fall leaves redder, oranger, and yellower than they are in the midday sun or morning sun.

the leaves of the maple tree peak through the other trees lit by the sun
the leaves of the maple tree peak through the other trees lit by the sun

The backside of our home faces west and is surrounded by mature maple trees and a lonely ash tree. Among the maples is a maple tree that turns the brightest orange-yellow in early fall. It is so bright it appears to be afire. The other maple trees turn a pale yellow and drop almost simultaneously after the first heavy frost in mid-November. One of the maple trees has a vine that climbs the trunk and had turned a brilliant red-orange. Continue reading shine/sunshine: a photo challenge

Thankful, once more and always…

The turkey is roasting and it smells delicious. B and O, my wife and daughter, are still out of town. They’ve loaded the car, but haven’t hit the road, yet.

I’ve alluded to it in the last several posts but haven’t been direct. B’s mother and my mother-in-law, my favorite mother-in-law, I might add, passed away a week ago Monday morning. The funeral was last Saturday. Her wake, funeral, post-funeral gathering was a beautiful tribute to a wonderful woman who led an extraordinary life. She leaves behind three children, a son-in-law, a daughter-in-law, and seven grandchildren. We will miss her.

I drove home with W, my son, Sunday afternoon. He slept, I drove thinking about the two days I had to teach my 8th graders.

Instead, I thought of all of the parts of my life for which I have to give thanks.

I am thankful for so much. I am third.

I am thankful for my faith in God, who has sustained me over the last several years as our families have struggled with loss.

I have a wonderful family, a great wife and kids, and a great dog, too. My mom, step-mom, my brothers, my wife’s brother, sister-in-law, her sister, and all of nieces and nephews, who are strong role models for my two children and always make time for them. Continue reading Thankful, once more and always…