Archive for September, 2012

Oliver planted morning glories from seed this year, and after a very long wait, they are finally in bloom and are quite lovely.

Oliver's Flowers

Oliver's Morning Glories

Oliver's Morning Glories

Close-up of a Morning Glory Bloom

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The other day, a road sign that reads “No Outlet” got me to thinking: Is there a difference between a sign that reads “No Outlet” vs. a sign that reads “Dead End”?

No Outlet SignDead End Sign

This particular “No Outlet” sign happens to be posted at the entrance of a street at the end of which is a nursing home. So I wondered if the transportation department posted a “No Outlet” sign there rather than a “Dead End” sign because, well, it would seem sort of crass to imply that a nursing home is a dead end.

It turns out there is a difference in the verbiage. A dead end generally means the street is a cul de sac with no connecting streets for a vehicle to turn onto. Streets with “No Outlet” signs are similar because there is no way out, but cars may be able to navigate through connecting streets that might not be visible from where the sign is located. In general, if you look down the street and it’s visibly blocked, the sign should read “Dead End”. If you look down and it intersects another street, or enters a neighborhood, then it should read “No Outlet”.

In the particular case of the street that leads to the nursing home, there aren’t any other connecting streets at the end. Eight or ten duplexes line the right side of the street farther down from the sign, creating something of a little neighborhood. Across from the duplexes, a driveway on the left leads to the nursing home. There is also a service drive at the end of the street that leads around to the back of the nursing home. The service drive does not have its own street name, but as it is not visible from the sign, perhaps that is the reason a “No Outlet” sign is posted rather than “Dead End”.

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I admire people who like to cook because I don’t particularly enjoy it. For whatever reason, I find cooking to be difficult, and it takes me three times as long to make a dish as the recipe says it should, so I avoid cooking when possible. And yet here I am again writing about it.

To be more accurate, though, this time I’m writing about baking. Baking is something that I do enjoy even though I don’t bake that often. It’s probably a little odd that on the occasion that I do bake something, I tend to eat very little, if any at all, of what I’ve made. The enjoyment for me comes primarily from the creation and not so much from the consumption.

While up at Washington Island this past weekend, Al and I made an apple pie that, in a sense, was a long time in coming. More than eight years ago, we planted four apple trees, three pear trees and two cherry trees. The cherry trees have produced a handful of fruit the last couple of years (maybe eight or ten fruits in all), but sadly one of the trees died last year, so just one cherry tree remains. It was really exciting this year to see that the apple trees produced fruit for the very first time – two trees each had one apple and a third tree had two apples!Apple I was so tickled that I was determined to make a pie with them and came up with my very own recipe that, tongue in cheek, I call “9½-Year Apple Pie.” I’m proud to admit that it was rather delicious, too! Just for fun, here is the recipe. You’ll note that this particular recipe requires a little more patience than most.

1 parcel of land
4 semi-dwarf apple trees, bare-root
hundreds of gallons of water
1 recipe for apple pie Apple Pie Recipe
secret ingredient (optional)

Obtain a parcel of land, preferably in a locale that receives adequate precipitation to support tree growth. The following spring, dig four large holes and plant the bare-root semi-dwarf apple trees, one per hole. Water generously and surround the trees with protective fencing as necessary to prevent deer and other critters from nibbling on the trees. Over the next eight and one-half years, go about living your life while watering the trees regularly and generously, especially during years when rain and snowfall are inadequate. Prune trees occasionally to prevent damage to young branches.

When four small apples appear eight years later, observe them carefully as they develop during the summer. Delight in their simplicity and beauty. At their peak of ripeness in the fall, pick the apples and wash and peel them.Four Apples Core and slice the apples, cutting away and discarding any wormy spots. Prepare the recipe for apple pie as directed, adding the secret ingredient* if needed. When the pie has finished baking, remove it from the oven and set it on a rack to cool. Marvel at the warm, lightly browned aromatic result. Cut and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream to an eager audience.

Apple Pie

* secret ingredient – it’s like the joke: “Q. How do you start a fire by rubbing two sticks together? A. Make sure one of the sticks is a match!” So . . . how do you make a luscious nine-inch deep dish apple pie with four apples? Stop at an apple orchard first and buy a few pounds of baking apples. Heehee!

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