Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Our last Halloween before she gets braces. Enjoy the sticky stuff while you can, Pirate Girl!

Why Bradford Pear Trees Are Not A Good Choice

Fifteen years ago, the developer who built the houses on my street decided to plant two Bradford pear trees in each front yard.  The effect was stunning, especially for those two weeks a year when they flowered with beautiful white blossoms.

About 3 years ago, a landscaper friend warned me that Bradford pears are notoriously weak trees, and that once they reached the 10-12 year mark, they start losing branches and breaking in the winter.  Sure enough, that year, two neighbors lost trees to the snow and ice.  The following year, my own Bradford pear bit the dust.

And this week, we had an unusual October snowstorm.  The combination of heavy snow on the not-yet-fallen leaves proved too much, and every one of my neighbors saw their trees split and crumble.  My block looks like a war zone right now.

Word to the wise: you're better off with a flowering dogwood or cherry blossom tree.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

October Snow

Early snowstorm here in the Northeast, and the trees and flowers in my neighborhood are NOT happy.  We've lost power briefly a couple of times, so I'm posting this while I can.  As I'm typing, I can hear loud "CRACK" sounds coming from outside...the trees on my street are dropping, one by one.  My next door neighbor's tree came down across our driveway just a few seconds after my husband pulled his car into the garage. He and his car are fine...our mailbox wasn't quite as lucky.
My mailbox, or what's left of it. No bills for us, today!

This is the view looking up towards the top of my street.
Access is completely blocked by downed branches.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Food: Wild Boar Ragu with homemade Pappardelle Pasta

I saw Anne Burrell make this last week on The Food Network and knew I had to try it.  Finding the wild boar meat wasn't too of my local grocery stores just got in shipment of wild boar roasts, so I lucked out.  It took a long time to make--over 4 hours including prep time--but was absolutely delicious.

I had a little trouble with the pappardelle (can't seem to get the hang of it, it always ends up too thin), so I ended up making wide fettucine instead. It held the sauce well and I was happy with the end result. I forgot to take a picture of it while it was on the plate, so here it is in a not-so-fancy plastic storage container, ready to go into the fridge to save for a quick lunch during the week.  I know it's hard to tell from this photo (which I took with my crappy cell phone) but the color of the ragu is a rich, deep brown with red undertones. The boar was good. You can definitely taste the difference from beef, but it's not exactly like pork, either. It picked up the flavor of the red wine and was very tender after cooking all day.

Here's a link to the recipe: Papparadelle with Wild Boar Ragu

Dog Day Afternoon

Yesterday, we attended the annual DogFest event, hosted by a local animal rescue organization.  Our dog, Scooter, had a great time meeting and greeting dozens of fellow canines who turned out with their owners to support this great festival.
We adopted Scooter from an animal rescue group three years ago this month. We don't know exactly what breed he is (the vet says he's part beagle, and others swear he's got Australian kelpie in him) but he has been a wonderful and much-loved addition to our family.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Way of Grace

If we need to change
and we do not do it on our own
oftentimes the world steps in
and does whatever it must
to make the change happen.
One way invites grace,
the other does not.
Choose the way of graceful change.
Do what needs to be done.
--Daniel Levin

From his book "Zen Life"

©2009 by Daniel Levin

I bought Mr. Levin's book a few months ago. It's billed as an "Open-at-Random Book of Guidance. Lots of great stuff there. Check it out.