Birches, Robert Frost
When I see birches bend to left and right
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy’s been swinging them.
But swinging doesn’t bend them down to stay
As ice-storms do. Often you must have seen them
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
After a rain. They click upon themselves
As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
Soon the sun’s warmth makes them shed crystal shells
Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust—
Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
You’d think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed
So low for long, they never right themselves:
You may see their trunks arching in the woods
Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground
Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair
Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.
But I was going to say when Truth broke in
With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm
I should prefer to have some boy bend them
As he went out and in to fetch the cows—
Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,
Whose only play was what he found himself,
Summer or winter, and could play alone.
One by one he subdued his father’s trees
By riding them down over and over again
Until he took the stiffness out of them,
And not one but hung limp, not one was left
For him to conquer. He learned all there was
To learn about not launching out too soon
And so not carrying the tree away
Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise
To the top branches, climbing carefully
With the same pains you use to fill a cup
Up to the brim, and even above the brim.
Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,
Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.
So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
And so I dream of going back to be.
It’s when I’m weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
From a twig’s having lashed across it open.
I’d like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
May no fate willfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth’s the right place for love:
I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.
I’d like to go by climbing a birch tree,
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.
Let’s not let reality overtake us too long. As truth breaks in so should fairytale. At least every now and then.
Rustic Birthday Party In The Woods
We had the most incredible rustic birthday party in the woods for Titus. The boys ran around doing whatever boys do in the woods while Pat and I prepared a hearty pasta dish and set out this lovely cake. We have been celebrating Titus’ birthday in the woods every year for the last four years which probably makes this our longest-running family tradition. That and Hobbit Feast. Which is exactly as it sounds… anyway. This year Titus’ only request was a magnificently moist and decadent chocolate cake.
I thought this would be a good time to try out one of those always pinned but never tried recipes from Linda Lomelino of Call Me Cupcake. IT WAS AMAZING! The cake itself was so so good but that chocolate hazelnut cream cheese frosting was superb. Rich, creamy, fluffy, and perfectly balancing for the dark ganache. Yum. I was very thankful we had company join us for cake and then the next morning when I wanted a piece for breakfast I was very upset that we had company join us for cake. But I suppose that’s for the best.
We had buttermilk-brined chicken with pappardelle and parmesan cream. Which was lovely, creamy, and tasted like parmesan and roasted garlic heaven. I would like to try again when it’s not so cold outside. We slurped those noodles fast. One of my favorite parts of this meal was the charcuterie. Not just for the convenience of finger foods for the boys as we put the final touches on our meal but also for the color and texture a small dish can bring to the setting. Recipes below
Buttermilk brined chicken with pappardelle and roasted garlic parmesan cream sauce
Ultra tender and moist chicken piled on top of lemony pappardelle pasta and creamy garlic parmesan sauce garnished with fresh thyme. simple to make and oh so satisfying.
Brine the chicken breasts up to 24 hours for tastiest results.
Buttermilk brined chicken
- 4 chicken breast fillets
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 3-4 cloves roasted garlic smashed
- 1 tbs pink Himalayan salt coarsely ground
Pappardelle pasta and garlic parmesan cream sauce
- 1 8oz package lemon pepper pappardelle pasta
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 2 cloves roasted garlic smashed to paste
- 2 Tbsp flour
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese shredded
- fresh thyme leaves garnish
- high quality olive oil garnish
In a large sealable container add the chicken fillets, buttermilk, garlic, and salt. mix until chicken is thoroughly coated and brine in the fridge for 12-24 hours.
Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Remove chicken from brine and grill 5-8 minutes on each side, depending on thickness, until juices run clear. Tent chicken with foil and let rest in a warm oven until ready to serve.
Cook Pappardelle pasta according to package instructions.
While pasta is cooking, make a roux* with the butter, flour, and roasted garlic by melting the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat, add in the garlic then flour whisking constantly for 2-3 minutes. Slowly whisk in the cream and simmer until sauce is smooth and thick. Remove sauce from heat and mix in the cheese until fully melted and incorporated.
To serve, add a generous amount of garlic parmesan cream sauce to each plate. top with a serving of pasta and sliced chicken fillet. Add fresh thyme leaves and a drizzle of olive oil for garnish.
*Roux (roo) a cooked mixture of equal parts flour and fat, by weight, used as a thickener for sauces, soups, and other dishes; cooking the flour in fat coats the starch granules with the fat and prevents them from forming lumps when introduced into a liquid. – The Pretence Hall Dictionary of Culinary Arts
Charcuterie For Four In Simple Tins
- 8 extra large multi grain crispbread crackers such as wasa
- 8 slices cured salami
- 2 oz sharp white cheddar
- 4 oz picholine olives or any olives of your choice
Slice cheddar into 8 equal portions. Roll salami.
divide ingredients among two small trays or tins. Stack crackers then salami and cheese into the tins and fill in the empty space with drained olives.