a november state of mind

old fashioned pecan pie | the merry gourmet

If it is quiet, I can hear a plop as an acorn drops into the pool from the towering oak trees above. Water ripples out in a concentric circle as the acorn joins its brethren in the bottom of the deep end. A moment later, there is a plunk as another acorn pelts the roof and bounces off into the grass.

This is prime acorn season, and our abundant squirrel population should be feasting right now, or at least stockpiling their acorn stores for winter. Instead, the obnoxious rodents have avoided our back yard since it became a construction zone over the summer. The construction has been over for the past couple of weeks, but the squirrels haven’t returned. This is not a bad thing, except that I would welcome their acorn scavenging.

I am sad about the birds, though. The birds followed the squirrels’ lead and have also stayed away. Our two bird feeders, filled but untouched since I replenished them two weeks ago, swing gently from the pergola that shades our patio. I miss the cheeping of cardinals and the chatter of the Carolina wrens. I miss the birds, but I remain optimistic that they will return. (I just hope it will be soon.)

not perfect, and a recipe for apple tart

apple tart | the merry gourmet

I am not perfect.

My temper is sometimes short, and I don’t have much patience. I am stubborn, and I like to be right. (I get these traits from my father.)

Even though I love to bake cakes, I rely on store-bought birthday cakes because they’re easy. Also, I think Publix makes the best frosting. It’s so sweet it makes my teeth hurt, and I love it. I’ve been told that I don’t want to know what Publix puts in that frosting. It’s true. I don’t. But serve me up a slice, and I’ll contemplate a second, but only if I can have an end piece, with extra frosting.

My children eat cereal for breakfast nearly every morning. On weekends, I’ll sometimes make scrambled eggs and toast for the kids, because toast and eggs are easy. But even though my son loves bacon, I don’t often make it. It seems to take too long (I know that it really doesn’t), and I don’t like taking greasy bacon out of the package. It feels disgusting. Also, I’m lazy on Saturday and Sunday mornings. I’d rather someone make me breakfast.

the aromas of sweetness and comfort

ricotta-orange pound cake | the merry gourmet

My daughter had a fever Friday night. Her eyes were glassy, and she didn’t have her usual bouncy enthusiasm for our Family Movie Night. Instead, she was sluggish and tearful. After dinner – and after chewing some children’s ibuprofen – she wrapped herself up in a cozy, red blanket and headed upstairs to her room. While she read a book on her Kindle, my husband and I watched Turbo (for the third or fourth time) with our son.

Maddie didn’t stay up late reading, though, as has been her habit lately. She was fast asleep by 8:30 or 9:00, tucked under her quilt and at least two other throw blankets. My husband, expecting her to wander downstairs in the middle of the night with pain from another fever, had set out an assortment of symptom-relieving medicines where they’d be easy for us to find without having to rummage through the cabinets. But she didn’t come down that night. She slept hard until morning.