The day was warm, a sweatshirt and jeans kind of day. My brother is visiting for Thanksgiving and he had already spent a couple hours puttering around my yard without me, taking care of the things that I just don’t get to, since I do both the inside chores and the outside; I also tried to do some of it this summer, but my gas mower wouldn’t start. He cleaned the spark plug, put DW-40 on the sticky part, played with the choke and started it. Then he mowed down all of my perennials up front, pulled out the crappy little cherry tree (I wanted a weeping mulberry but got this no growth dwarf cherry that had major structural issues) and mowed along the neighbors fence clearing a path between it and the rhododendrons. I was shopping for groceries and booze and cooking while he did this, but yesterday once the stuffing was made and the bird in the oven, we went out together and continued the job. We continued mowing, taking back the English Ivy at least another foot. Pulling out the flagstone wall that was mostly buried in dirt and ivy and put it all along the side of the veranda extending it past the muddy apron. He trimmed the cedar and some of the other trees hanging over the ivy, while I dragged the brush to the road. We also put a shelf up in the shed and nails to hang things on and cleaned it up. He moved the wood pile to another spot on the back porch and swept and cleaned the area around the studio door and found a new place for the rarely used BBQ grill. While we were working on that side porch, I decided to paint the other back door purple next summer. He also cleaned out my gutters for me, while I used the leaf blower to clean up corners and crannies around the yard that had lots of leaf build up. Now every time I look outside I am amazed. It is clean and tidy and there are boundaries to the overwhelming chaos that was there before. I do like things to grow wild and unruly but at the same time, this clean even look is great. It is so wonderful how easy and fast this kind of work is too, when there are two people doing it, and even though I like my autonomy, I like the fact that my brother takes charge and does what he wants without asking. Because he knows what he is doing, I trust that it will turn out okay.
This morning the backyard is alive, teaming with life, squirrels are gathering nuts and finding hiding places for them. There are many birds too, a red winged blackbird, blue jays, cardinals, chickadees, juncos and a dove enjoying the feeders, though I have not seen many of any in recent weeks. I think the cleaned out area feels safer for them, because it is far more open and they can see whether or not there are cats hiding in the brush. I have to say that every time I look at the still unfinished flagstone area I am just blown away by how beautiful it looks. I am looking forward to putting down sand and pea gravel in the area next spring, it will be gorgeous.
Dinner last night was lovely with the four of them, my daughter and my friend Michelle. Her boyfriend stayed at home but we made him a plate. He had to work from 3-11 this morning. The pirate came over for dessert, my brother and he talked hunting. And he got the thumbs up of approval from both of them.
I made a chocolate pie from Wegman’s Menu magazine. My brother’s girls are a bit picky with food and the pirate and my brother are definitely tofu naysayers. Trust me they are the last people on the planet I would ever expect to eat tofu and like it. So even if you are not a big tofu fan, but you cannot eat dairy or you are watching your fat intake try it.
Chocolate Dream Pie:
Make a Ginger snap crust, Wegman’s has a specific brand and style but I just bought a box of gingersnaps and followed the recipe on the box.
10 oz of semi sweet chocolate chps
1 pkg soft tofu
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup of raspberry jam
and decorate top with red raspberries.
Make the crust. Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler. Process tofu til smooth. Pour melted chocolate and vanilla into tofu and process til smooth. Pour over pie crust. Chill for four hours. Spread with raspberry jam and top with raspberries.