Backyard Lessons from a Novice Homeowner

Having recently entered the level of adulting known as “Homeowner,” the past few months have taught me more than I thought possible about measuring responsibility and achievement, and added an entirely new category to my ideas of “productivity” and “busy-ness.” Always a student of life, I have gratefully, and sometimes grudgingly, accepted the many lessons I have encountered. This is a short collection of just a few of the lessons I have learned, and I am sure there are many more to come!

Ecology
I am continually amazed at the astounding amount of life that exists in the nooks and crannies of my backyard, whether in the dirt, carefully nestled among the plants, or waiting to surprise me just beyond the steps of my back porch. This veritable microcosm of the eco-universe offers me a small-scale view of the grand systems of nature. A few of the key lessons I have absorbed from my time in this microverse:

  • Always use DEET when in the backyard for a period of longer than 30 seconds
  • The snake with the pretty brown diamond pattern is not your friend. Admire from a very far distance
  • When left to its own devices, the jungle will thrive
  • The ground is full of gross, squirmy, squishy things. Try to avoid stepping one them, but more so try to avoid looking at them
  • The air is full of gross, flying, buzzing things. Pretend they don’t exist
  • If you CAN”T EVEN, walk away and come back at a later time. It is more likely than not that the situation has resolved itself in the interim
  • Nature is living, breathing, evolving resilienceIMG_0714

Humility
In my attempt to convince the jungle it would rather be a backyard, I have learned the incredible value of persistence, persistence, water breaks, and more persistence. I have yet to learn, however, how to accurately estimate the time, energy and stamina necessary for any yard work endeavor. If we learn from our mistakes, I have quite a way to go before I achieve some level of education. A few of the things that have managed to stick in my head:

  • Do all things with enthusiasm. Dive in head first, even if you have no idea what you’re doing
  • Water is good. Water is great. Drink your water and rehydrate. Especially in the midst of a hot, humid, heat index-busting summer
  • Keep going, keep going, keep going
  • Even five minutes makes a difference
  • A helping hand (or a few!) can make a world of difference
  • Try again tomorrow

IMG_0944Serenity
And of course, the whole purpose of having a back yard is to appreciate in awed stillness the miracle of Life, the Universe, and Everything (that is the purpose of a backyard, isn’t it?). What could possibly bring more satisfaction and a greater sense of connection than taking just a few moments to pause and exist, and then consider the impossibility that anything could ever be better than it is right now? A simple lesson here:

  • Life is good

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Ramblings

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

IngredientsDSC02664
3 C cooked shredded chicken (about 2 chicken breasts)
2x 4oz can diced chilis (or one can diced chilis, one can jalapenos)
1 C chicken broth
1x 10.75oz can cream of mushroom soup
1x 15oz can refried beans
½ green pepper, dicedDSC02668
½ red onion, diced
10 corn tortillas
2 C shredded cheese

Directions

Cook diced onion in a pan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add diced pepper and cook 2-3 minutes longer. Add in refried beans, cook until heated through.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, except tortillas and shredded cheese.DSC02670

Cut tortillas into quarters.

Layer half the tortillas on the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Top with half the mixture and half the cheese. Repeat layers of tortillas, mixture, and cheese.

Bake for 1 hour at 375.

Enjoy!

DSC02674

Leave a comment

Filed under Recipes