My Birthday Blessings tell me it is fall however on my birthday I noticed my lilacs are blooming again. When I posted this on Facebook several others confirmed that theirs were too. This seems very odd as I do not ever remember regular lilacs blooming twice in one season.  Most of the trees are still green with just a light blush of fall showing, but the tall native grasses in the conservation ground are starting to turn the burgundy color they get in the fall. This week I was able to complete the picking of soup beans except for a couple late vines that are still not quite developed. The shelling of the beans is a different story. I still have several baskets and bags to shell. I have concentrated on working on Christmas presents this week and finally got one done. Only half of the lawn got mowed and the beautiful rains keep coming and in that aspect it still feels like spring.

One day I went into Ft. Wayne to spend some time with a special little girl. We went to Pet Smart and I would not have imagined the enjoyment she would have watching fish swim, seeing little rodents run on their wheels and little birds flutter around their perches. Her favorite was the kitties that fallowed her every move. By the time I needed to take her home a lot of them had names and we had a small bag of treats for her little puppy she left at home. I thought I was going to crack up when she noticed how active the one cage of rodents was. She announced they were way to hyper and needed to settle down.

I had some time to work on the bell tower flower bed this week on a day when it was to wet to mow but dry enough to dig there. I got half of my pots put in the ground and found an old laundry tub with a hole in the bottom to plant flowers in. I am going to see if daffodils and irises will survive in the tub through the winter. I am thinking of putting in some of my wild wave petunias to keep it blooming from late spring through until we get a hard winter freeze. A couple of the pots I put in the ground I want to plant blue flax and purple cone flower in, a couple have mums in them and a couple have daffodils and one of Duane’s mother’s irises. In the middle of the base of the bell tower I put a burgundy peony from my mother’s flower beds. I am hoping it likes its new home. It was getting in the way of the gate closing in the garden. When completed this should be much easier to maintain without all the weeding that I had before.

The blue flax has special meaning to me. Before I identified it I was putting in a little flower bed that it just showed up in. The foliage intrigued me and I let it grow. It became this beautiful green, airy plant with little blue flowers that showed up every morning. By evening all their petals would blow away and the next morning I was greeted with new ones. I named it my mercy plant because it was new every morning. It signified to me Jesus’ love for me. No matter what I had done the day before he had given me a new day to do better. This is the first year in a long time it did not show up in the flower beds somewhere and I missed it. I am hoping I can find seed next year to replace the old ones that I lost to weeds and weather.

Duane wanted to take me out to dinner for my birthday but I convinced him that the day before would be better. We were in town to get our new glasses and we went out to supper at our favorite place. Eldorado’s veggie fajitas are hard to beat. On my Birthday Thursday I got a couple wonderful surprises besides the wonderful wishes from my husband and friends. I was amazed to find my lilacs blooming again this year and while mowing I found a beautiful young and solid puff ball mushroom. It felt like my Father in heaven was showering me with special blessings. This brings me to this week’s recipe.

Smokey Marinated Puff Balls

Slice your puff ball into quarter inch steaks. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper enough for your steaks depending on the size of your puff ball.

In a flat bottom container large enough to lay your largest steak in mix together

1 teaspoon liquid smoke. I used Watkins

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 tablespoon tahini

3 tablespoons of tamari or soy sauce.

Wisk together in your container. I used an 8×8 baking dish. Then dip your slices in marinade coating both sides. If you run out of sauce just mix up more until you have coated all your steaks. Lay them out on the cookie sheets and cook under the broiler for 3 minutes at a time turning as you go until they are nice and brown on both sides. We usually cannot eat them all in one setting and have recently found out that they are high in carbs making them one of those foods we eat in smaller portions. The good news is that they freeze wonderfully. I just layer parchment paper from baking with the puff steaks and put them in zip lock bags in the freezer. Later we will take them out and reheat them in the air fryer or in a non stick skillet on the stove.

This weekend we visited with our grandchildren. Every visit I am more and more proud of each one. They have all had to face different obstacles and watching them overcome and grow so much between visits leaves me in awe and inspired.  It also makes me very proud of their parents for all they do while helping these children grow and become the best that they can be. I can imagine it is not always easy with 2 teenage girls (almost adults), one young man that turned double digits, a 6, 3 and 2 year old. There are six all together. It is hard to believe that their oldest will be graduating High School this year and the second oldest is driving. This weekend Duane was honored to take the 3 girls to a Daddy Daughter day at their church and I got to take the boys to a soccer game and spend the morning with them. Mom and dad had a conference they had to attend. Tonight this Oma is tired, ready for a night in my own bed and my heart is full. God is good and I am blessed here on the Wade Homestead.