It’s the middle of July. How did that happen? Our oldest son is in the middle of a two-week Scouting jamboree on the other side of our province and we’re all missing him, but hoping he’s having a grand time. Our youngest son has enjoyed three weeks of very little routine, apart from morning swimming lessons, weekly soccer games and a lot of time at home. He has taken to his responsibilities with our new dog like a fish to water. For an anxious, at times difficult personality, he has come into his own with Reggie. I guess it’s not hard when you have a dog who will follow you to your treehouse for a bit of reading up in the leaves and then a sprint home through the long grasses.
Regular games and favourite past-times have expanded to include building a diorama of a road out of plasticine and k’nex for overhead telephone poles and wires. His big brother is big on dioramas (usually of tanks from battles in WWII), but now he has shown that he can create his own. I have been told to acquire more plasticine (especially in green).
He achieved a pinnacle of helpfulness this weekend, putting away dishes and setting tables, undertaking Reggie-duties, helping me to change table linens on the dining table on our porch, and spending a long time in the garden harvesting beans and carrots. He was disappointed that there wasn’t more to bring in, while I was grateful as my kitchen and personal energy levels were at capacity (more on this below). He was so proud of the work he did on harvesting (and looks like a market seller here, in our mud room, as we’re in the midst of furniture moving to accommodate the dog and his crate – you can see our nine, yes 9!, budgies in the background here):
He and his dad also found some time to hit a few golf balls in the backyard (into our valley), with a new 50-cent golf club found at a local second-hand shop. Our land is littered with golf balls, most of them hit originally by someone who lives across the highway from us (or so we’ve been told). Would you look at that parched, dead grass? Everything here is dry and brittle and desperately craving a drink. Thunderstorms were predicted for tonight, but they ain’t happening.
Yesterday it was so damn hot that the only cooking I did involved a quick round of crepes on the stove-top in the evening as we settled in to watch the first half of Lawrence of Arabia (on VHS, as we’re such committed recyclers!). The strawberry jam I made a few weeks ago served as a perfect ready-made topping. All other meals were stone-cold, thank you very much (I know lots of you have been doing the same).
This morning it was cool enough to plan a bacon and egg breakfast, although my husband took most of the heat generation outside by cooking these up on a grill pan on our deck. I toasted English muffins and made coffee and hot chocolates in the kitchen, and that was it. Getting ready to set the table for breakfast, my son demanded clean table linens. I’ve been using a single-bed sized quilt as a tablecloth recently, and was chuffed to find it had a very fresh pattern on the other side when we flipped it over (it’s ‘main side’ is quite dark and full of colourful patterns). The quilt was a two-dollar second-hand find at a local charity shop and served as a bedroom door for my older son when we were living temporarily at a cottage while our house was being finished. I think youngest son may have a future in home decor as he also refreshed the whole look of the table by flipping over our leaf-motif table mats to their plain side!
With the weather just that bit more bearable today, my youngest and I spent a good couple of hours in the garden in the afternoon, as mentioned earlier, and then my husband and I got to work in the kitchen dealing with our harvest. With a half dozen mature turnips, a small harvest of young carrots, a couple of baskets of green beans, and even a couple of new potatoes from our lower field, as well as some lovely beets from our farmer’s market (picked up yesterday on our bikes), there was a bit to do. The beets were boiled and refrigerated for salads and snacking this week. Most of the green beans were blanched, shocked and put into freezer bags. Most of the turnips were boiled and mashed (my husband’s favourite treatment of this root vegetable). All of the carrots, along with some green beans, a couple of the turnips and a few new potatoes were tossed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a bit of honey and three kind of fresh herbs, as well as salt and pepper, and roasted. Yum. (My favourite treatment of them all.)
The kitchen got hot and steamy from all this activity, as you might expect, but we kept it short and sweet. Another movie evening after a very busy day, followed by some sprints out on our trails with Reggie (who loves languishing about on cool tile floors in the heat, but who also seems to have endless reserves for running when push comes to shove), and then bedtime.
That’s me done.