I woke up an hour later than I normally do, just a bit past six o’clock. I knew I had a lot of things to get accomplished on this first Saturday of fall. I looked out the bedroom window and spied Venus, shining very brightly through the leaves of my black oak tree. A few wispy clouds lured me outside with the camera and tripod. Apollo looked accusingly at me when I headed towards the door, so I grabbed the leash and brought him along for a chilly pre-dawn photo shoot.
I let Apollo jump in the back seat of the Bonneville, while I put the camera bag and tripod in the trunk. I drove up the hill to the dead-end street in front of City Hall. I hadn’t taken the time to put on my walking shoes, instead I just slipped on my flip-flops. At least I remembered to grab my hooded sweater, because my toes were nearly numb by the time the sun rose shortly after seven o’clock. I walked Apollo around the dead-end street a few times, snapping a photo every time I passed by the camera. Two young deer emerged from the tree line to the south of us and we both stood very still for several minutes watching them graze. Apollo couldn’t contain himself though, and made a leap towards them, nearly pulling me off my feet in his desire to hunt, herd or play (not sure which).
The batteries in the camera started failing with just five minutes left before the sun rose. I decided not to change them out, because by the time I had finished that task, the sunrise conditions would have switched from pink/orange/gold to bleached out whites and greys. I nursed them along for a couple more photos, then packed everything up and returned home.
As soon as I walked in the front door, I headed to the microwave and put two cups of water in to start boiling. I needed tea to get warmed back up. One of my many tasks on my Saturday to-do list happened to be a trip to downtown Leavenworth to Queen’s Pantry to fill up my tin of Irish Blend loose leaf tea. I had enough left in my tin for another two or three cups of tea. I found my favorite mug on the shelf above my stash of tea. I received the mug (shown above) as a gift from an author and artist friend for Christmas a couple of years ago. In fact, she’s the one who painted the original scene that’s displayed above.
While reviewing and uploading the forty-five sunrise photos I took earlier, I received a phone call from my uncle and aunt. They wanted to know if they could stop by for a visit a day early, on Sunday afternoon, instead of Monday evening. I enthusiastically agreed. We spoke for a few minutes and made tentative arrangements for the visit. He needed to call his brother (my father) to let him know about the change in plans.
Ten o’clock arrived sooner than I anticipated. I quickly changed clothes, made sure I had my shopping list and reusable bags and headed north towards Leavenworth. I stopped at Queen’s Pantry, drove by the farmer’s market (but didn’t stop), dropped off my mortgage payment and went inside the nearly empty and neglected Leavenworth Plaza shopping mall. I had two gift cards from Catos that Terry bought for our anniversary and last year’s birthday that I needed to use. I found a couple of shirts I could live with and wiped out all but about seven dollars on the gift cards. My last stop before returning home for lunch was through the grocery store to purchase what we needed to feed the visiting family members Sunday afternoon.
I decided to re-heat my leftovers from the previous evening’s dinner at a local Italian restaurant (Mama Mia’s). Terry treated me to a Friday night out as an early birthday date. Lucky for us, the owner was celebrating his 50th birthday, so we were treated to free slices of German chocolate cake for dessert. I asked our waitress if they had baked the cake, and she assured me that was not the case. I wanted to know, though, because that slice of cake was melt-in-your-mouth exceptionally moist and wonderfully delicious.
I had just started eating the pasta side dish from the night before when Terry made his way gingerly down the stairs with Apollo and Lexy in tow. I asked him if he felt well enough for the afternoon jaunt to Johnson County for even more shopping. He just needed time to wake up and shower. I checked my sourdough starter, which I had fed earlier in the morning, and prepped the bread machine for dough making, so that when I returned from our southern shopping spree, I could shape and bake a loaf of Rustic Sourdough bread.
Terry drove us down K-5 to I-435. I noticed several trees started to turn already, mostly yellows and browns. This part of the country doesn’t lend itself to fiery red maples. The trip south to Shawnee Mission Parkway and PetSmart was uneventful. We picked up sixty dollars worth of dog food (two varieties of Iam’s Naturals) and continued eastbound on Shawnee Mission Parkway until we found Metcalf.
I detoured north to Johnson Drive to drive through Burger King to grab some lunch for Terry. I stumbled upon a construction mess that required me to get back on Metcalf and cross over Johnson Drive (not my usual route). I continued southbound until we found the Whole Foods Store at 91st street, where I bought a couple of pounds of white arborio rice so we could make an authentic risotto Sunday afternoon. Because we had other shopping yet to finish, and we had not brought a cooler with us, we refrained from buying anything else at Whole Foods except dark chocolate covered espresso beans.
After eating a handful of delightful zingy coffee beans, we drove west to the mess that is 87th street and I-35. We almost missed the exit for Marshall Drive, the road we needed to reach the Bushnell Outlet store. Thanks to various health and wellness promotions by my employer, I had accumulated several gift cards by participating and successfully completing a program each quarter of the year. I planned to purchase a pair of 10×50 binoculars as an early birthday gift to myself. I researched a couple of models online earlier in the week and thought I wanted a PermaFocus set, but after trying a pair out at the store, I instead liked the PowerView model more. I bought the optional tripod mount accessory and requested the discount available as a member of the ASKC.
Just one more stop remained before we could return home. We headed back west to I-435 and then north to the Legends. I needed to find a pair of workout pants. I signed up for a lunch-time exercise class and wanted to look through Penneys and perhaps Target for a pair that were made with wicking fabric. We parked the Bonneville and walked past this SUV improperly parked near and in a handicapped parking spot. I almost called the police to report it.
Penneys’ selection of activewear disappointed me. Frustrated, I told Terry I just wanted to go home, but he convinced me to take a look at what Target had available. I did find one pair that I hope will work. I left Target as quickly as I could and drove west on Parallel to K-7 and north to Lansing and home.
The bread machine still had over thirty minutes to go before I could transfer the dough to the bread pan. Terry asked me to mow part of the back yard, so I put my sunglasses back on and began what turned out to be about an hour’s worth of mowing. Once I finished the back yard, I mowed the side yard. Terry attached the bag to the mower and I mowed the front lawn, sucking up the leaves that had already carpeted the ground underneath the black oak tree. I took a short break to get the sourdough into the bread pan and on its final rise before baking.
I sat down to compose this blog post and realized I’d probably missed the rising of the Harvest Moon. I jumped up from the dining room table and ran outside to look east. As I suspected, the moon had risen and just started peaking over my neighbor’s rooftop. I ran back inside, got the camera and tripod, and took several mostly disappointing photographs. The moon is always a challenge to shoot and one mired in haze even more so.
I preheated the oven, found my spray bottle of water, sprinkled the risen sourdough with a seeded topping mix and scored the top of the loaf thrice. Once the oven was hot enough, I placed the sourdough on the rack and sprayed the walls of the oven with water to simulate a steam-injection oven. I repeated this process every five minutes for the first half of the baking time. About a half hour later, out popped this gorgeous loaf: