Bread and Fire

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It was Saturday. I had time. So I baked some bread. And it was light and fluffy. Bread flour, that does the trick, I tell you. All that extra gluten stretches things out. Like magic. A big round fluffy loaf of goodness. Hot and fresh and delish. It went well with the soup I made. I put kale in the soup. Trying to be trendy? Nope. It just works in a vegetable soup. So, yeah, fresh bread and hot soup. Can’t beat it.

We lit up a fire outside Friday night. All summer I was thinking it would be great to have a fire in our fire ring outside. Look out over the dark field, watch the stars, flames dancing, sparks drifting up. All that romantic business. But the sun sets late in the summer. Start a fire just before dark and you’re up until 11:00. Some of us have to go to work in the morning.

But this time of year the sun sets much earlier. So crackling flames while we  hang out and listen to the coyotes sing? That’s a good deal. We did smell a skunk that night, but we talked loudly enough we hoped to keep it away. Apparently we did.

Saturday we cranked up the fire pit again. It was windy, but at least that kept the flames alive the whole time. We nibbled on Halloween-themed Oreos, talked about summer and Christmas and school and traveling, and we watched the stars pop in and out from the behind the clouds that were whipping across the sky.

It was so much fun that when friends unexpectedly came over on Sunday night we lit a fire one more time. We polished off those Oreos, and the bread, and laughed under a starless sky. We wore jackets. Some of us had to go to work in the morning so were were not out there too late. But three nights in a row with the comfort of a fire on a beautiful night? Stellar.

End of the Day

Warm night. Lightning bugs dot the field. Children sleep their innocent sleep, half under blankets.

Summer has arrived. I watched the sun set on the lake tonight. The Adirondacks outlined in pink and red. Peepers still sing to one another in the darkness.

I am in love with everything around me–my wife, my children, this world. I am love with the lightning bugs and the sunset. My heart leaps up.

Dew settles as the air cools. The wind has the night off. The sun wakes the other side of the earth. Somewhere outside the house, a skunk searches for breakfast.

How can I sleep with such wonder? How can I sleep with such beauty? And what about love? That, too, keeps me stirring long after my family sleeps, long after I have risen and left my bed to gather the day’s dust.

About Night

Crickets call. Fireflies twinkle across the field. Children asleep. It is just about dark.

Peonies and roses still let their scents sneak out into the dark air. Fresh cut grass lingers under the dew. Pineapple plants and dirt.

A small breeze. Peepers singing in the pond and the ditch. The air cools. A few cars hush past. The solstice prepares its visit.

In winter it would have been dark for hours by now. The green world grays. Later, the moon will rise. Quiet.

Quiet.

Not a Mouse

A few days ago I posted in the middle of the night how I was being kept awake by a mouse in the walls. Set out some traps, wait for it to come in and bang–catch a mouse.  The traps are still sitting there. We don’t have a mouse. I think we have a chipmunk. The thing is driving me mad. Every night it does more damage. Every night I try to scare it away. Every night I get no closer to figuring out how to get rid of it.

There are plenty of ways to catch a chipmunk, some lethal, some more pacifistic. The problem is that I do not know where to set any trap at this point. It isn’t coming into the house yet, thank the mammalian goddesses, but I also can’t find where it is traveling in and out of the walls. I naively filled in one tunnel early in the invasion. It hasn’t touched that spot since. Now I can’t find any tunnel. The spot it seemed to have gotten into the house has offered no signs of animal travel lately. It has another route in and out.

Rat traps, Haveaheart traps, hot pepper, whatever, I am willing to try it at this point, but where to place any such device or deterrent?  That is the question. My plan at this point is to get some traps and just set them out and about near where I thought it was getting in. Maybe I will get lucky. That will tomorrow’s task. Too late tonight. Maybe by filling in its tunnel it is trying to find a new way out by tunneling in the wall. I don’t know. If I set out traps and they offer nothing, maybe I will unclog the original tunnel and set the traps there.

In any case, this critter needs to go. And soon. Chipmunks are cute, but I am willing to resort to violence if necessary. I would prefer I find a way to simply get it out and keep it out, but that may prove fruitless. Stay tuned for more reports from the front lines.

Mouse Trouble

One AM. Our nocturnal guest is back. It has chewed right through the wall for the second time. I plastered up the hole it chewed last night, but I guess I started that project too late in the day and it was wet enough for our friend to smooge through. Persistent little bastard.

I bought a couple traps a week ago and set them outside, on the outside of the wall in which our tiny mammalian guest has decided to be so industrious. How can you not catch a mouse when you leave a trap outside? But I didn’t. One of the traps disappeared. I never found it. I’m thinking it became a couch in the new pad. But that’s just speculation.

These traps are called “the better mousetrap.” I bought them on the recommendation of a fellow hardware store patron who said “Those work really well.” Better mouse trap? Better at what? Causing frustration? Offering free meals to rodents? They don’t stay open, which is a good feature once a mouse has been caught, but not such a good feature before then. I moved the remaining trap inside, next to the new hole in the wall, and propped it open with a rock. I am not hopeful.

Lying in bed, typing on my iPod, I can hear something downstairs, but it might just be my imaginaton. Tomorrow I am going to get some standard mousetraps. And plug the hole again. And hopefully get a better night’s sleep.

Pizza on a Chilly Night

Pizza for dinner. That is a standard one in our house. We sat at the table and ate together. I want to make sure we do that as often as possible. It matters. It was a quick dinner to make. The dough was made already, half what we usually use. but it did the trick. My wife had made it for a pizza breakfast this weekend. That isn’t so typical, but why the heck not? We were out of standard breakfast fare, so dinner for breakfast. I rolled out the remaining dough tonight after letting it rise a little. It was way thin. It was awesome. I’m going to use less dough more often. The super thin crust makes it crispy and just plain old dee-lish.

It is chilly. Fall is full on, winter on the way. The woodstove warms the house. I just came inside. The kids and I went out to see where my son found a cool rock. We looked at the stars, at Jupiter trying to outshine the moon, at the crescent of the moon in its humble glory. Clouds drifted. Smoke rose from the chimney. Hard to get more beautiful than that. Excepting my wife, of course.

Soon the children will get wrapped into their evening routine–showers and pajamas and books and a story. I like the routine. Cleanliness and literacy, two good things. They also need to scrub the sauteed leeks and onions from their teeth, some of the last produce from our garden. That made for a good pizza topping. I have been trying to cook more lately. I made bread over the weekend and that should be a more frequent event. I need to make some pumpkin soup, and some pumpkin pie. I want to make some pasta as well. It has been too long.

The nights are shorter. Our home feels cozy. The children already are showing signs of resistance to heading up to bed, but once they get into it, they will glide along. Here is to a quick drifting off to sleep for them. Maybe the adults in the house will have some quiet time before they as well need to go to sleep. I plan to rise early in the morning. There will be frost. The stars will be out. I want to get plenty of sleep.

I had hoped to run this morning but was feeling off, and way tired, even though I woke in time to get in some miles. It is hard to start the week without running. It needs to happen tomorrow. Venus and Saturn will be waiting to greet me. That should help me pick up the pace, my headlamp beam bouncing on the road as I go. Just imagining that, it makes me look forward to waking tomorrow. I only need to slumber well before then. And some pleasant dreams will help–give me something to stir my thoughts as I move through the cold of morning. As I run though fall.