Blood Moon the night before, ruffly clouds appear to be blown across the crystal blue skies this morning; hundreds of starlings cover graveyard tombstones as they gather to migrate towards warmer climates. Cold weather is coming – that is a given in this part of the country – but today the humidity is high and my clothes stick to my body as I push my feet onward around the perimeter of the cemetery, rock crunching under the rubbery tread of my shoes. Hundreds of acres of amber-colored soy beans surround the neighborhood; harvest begins soon and large clouds of dust and dirt will dance about like a dervish as the tractor makes its way up and down each row – a routine I’ve witnessed now for nearly 20 autumns. In the next couple of months the fields and tombstones will be covered in snow making it impossible for me to walk my loop – so today I’m embracing the heat and humidity as I know Mother Nature is attempting to fake me out – because I know she is really in the process of putting this summer to bed.
6:30am. We slept with the windows open last night and wrinkled white cotton sheets cover our bodies. I hear the birds first; their songs float like notes of wind chimes in the air. The weather has been spectacular this week with blindingly-bright sun and pale blue skies.
The Professor and I were in New Orleans last week – it was the first time either of us had visited this fabulous city and by the end of the week, we were both smitten. The weather was perfect – sunny and warm with a gentle breeze; there is so much to see and do in New Orleans and of course . . . eat!
It’s a gray day here in the Midwest and I find myself pulling inward, desiring to get quiet and create – to write, to try a new recipe, to paint a wall. It’s hard work as I’m a perfectionist, always picking apart my work, always comparing, always believing someone else can do it better – and as my Life Coach tells me, ‘They can – but the others you’re referring to cannot create, cannot do what you do, Debra. You are the only one who can create what you see.’
I didn’t understand the ‘macaron craze’ for a very long time – didn’t quite get the obsession of a baked meringue cookie with, what I thought, was a filling similar to an oreo cookie. Then a few years ago on our way home from a trip to Italy, we traveled through the Charles de Gaulle airport and I found myself staring at the beautiful packages of Lauderee macarons; we bought a box for ourselves as well as a box for my sister-in-law’s birthday. One bite on the plane was all it took and suddenly, I understood. Brulee-crisp outer shell yields to an ever-so-tender and airy cookie, sandwiched together with nearly every conceivable filling one can imagine: chocolate ganache, caramel, jam, melon, citrus, nuts, herbs – it truly was a life-changing experience.
I’m celebrating this guy today – it’s his birthday and I honestly don’t know what I did to have this man as my life partner but I know I’m blessed beyond measure. My partner in business and in life, he’s my confidant and my best friend.
Well we’re home; a little jet-lagged but home and sleeping in our own bed after a 24-hour travel day. I have to admit that the last leg of our journey was grueling in a very small puddle-jumper with about 35 teeny-tiny seats of which I’m convinced were made of concrete and wooden spikes; it felt as if I was being tortured for those last hours on a plane. But Italy was so, so worth it!
We’re here in Italy for the next 7 days; it felt as if we were coming home – that familiar feeling of seeing good friends, laughing and catching up and seeing the beautiful Villa Boccelli.
We’ve waited two years to bring bees to the Smith Bites Homestead – and yesterday our journey of helping to rebuild honeybees in our area began. A friend of ours came over and helped The Professor get them settled in; Keith has been a beekeeper for several years now and we’re grateful to have someone experienced to help get us started. The bees seem right at home, buzzing in and out of their new homes, collecting pollen and finding water – stay tuned for more homesteading adventures!
Happy Sunday Friends – thanks for stopping by!
A few weeks ago, The Professor and I headed up to Chicago and hung out in the lobby hoping to catch up with friends at the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) conference. It was nice to connect with people we haven’t seen for a while and finally meet those we’ve only ‘known’ online.
2013 was a big year travel year for The Professor and me; we began in March and didn’t stop until right before Thanksgiving. One of those trips involved getting in the car and heading East, making a loop up into upstate New York and back home again; it was a fun traveling in our own car instead of crammed into those tiny metal frames they call seats on airplanes.