To Alex -

To Alex...who is far away in person, but never far from my heart. I miss you. Enjoy these snippets of everyday family life here in the states.

Friday, August 19, 2011

It's been quite a summer.

And I've been enjoying it immensely!

The gardens are loving the heat this year and they've certainly had a lot of it. Whew! I was practically melting there for awhile. My flowers are blooming prolifically and what's left of the food garden is producing fast and furious. I'm amazed at how early my tomatoes ripened, but it's perfect because the basil has outgrown it's boundaries and I've been forced to make bruschetta and pesto just to stay ahead of the bounty. Did you read that? Yes, forced to make our favorite summer foods. Darned bossy garden!
On a side note, I noticed last night that my compost space is looking better than the vegetable garden. Dang, I didn't plant there because I thought it didn't get enough sunlight, but the seeds have gone bonkers. What's up with that? 

We've been doing a bit of swimming at the ole swimming hole. As a kid, I don't think you can beat a lake for cooling off in this heat. In Michigan we always get high humidity along with high temperatures, which means it's been a double whammy sweltering sort of summer. Yep, swimming has been extra refreshing this year.
We celebrated a birthday for Sir S. He is ever the gracious birthday child. Oh, he knows how to make it his day, but he's always concerned that his guests are having a good time as well. What character!
We enjoyed our first sunrise at the new place. I'm sure you'll be hearing more about this in the future, we just haven't had time to properly enjoy it. You should see more updates this fall as we get into the sunrise paddling again. Heck, let's make it a sunset paddle too.
Tried my hand with the dehydrator and the results didn't turn out too bad. My favorite is the pineapple...oh, so sweet. Mango is on the left, then the pineapple and then strawberries. All of this was added to trail food for Favorite Middle Son who came back from Taiwan for a visit, but has now left on another adventure to bicycle around Lake Michigan. Alas, he's not home for good, darn it, just for 75 days so he can have a family vacation with us before his brother deploys, and to see his sister get married in October. Right, and to pedal around the lake...not like it's a big lake or anything. Ha! My brother said Alex should have pedaled the coast so I could paddle with him. Hmmm....sounds like another adventure brewing.
I tried my hand at kale chips. I have so much kale coming in and I just didn't know what to do with it. Several people have posted rave reviews about the chips, but I dunno. I think they're...okay. Not really. I sort of liked them initially, but then I chucked the whole bowl out in the garden for the birds after deciding that they just weren't good enough. Once you bite them they dissolve into nothingness on the tongue and I detected a slight bitter aftertaste as well. Did I do something wrong? Guess I'm back to freezing the excess, but I don't mind. There are plenty of dishes I can make this winter with frozen kale.
That family vacation I mentioned? Well, it seems Ruby Junes have become a huge hit up there. This pretty bottle is ready and waiting for departure. It looks and smells so good that it's hard to ignore it in the fridge. Soon, very soon.
Once you make the syrup you're left with this delicious rhubarb pulp that simply can not go to waste. I had a very unsuccessful attempt at making tarts with the leftover pulp and, well, they taste delicious, but they do not look pretty. Guess the tummy doesn't mind.
I spied this pretty at a summer festival and I've been lusting one ever since. I really am. I must have one of these. I will have one of these, but I promise to use it for more than just making pizzas, no matter how good they are. How about breads, or pies, or tarts, or...anything. How cool would this be as part of an outdoor kitchen?
So, it's been an incredible summer thus far and the best part is that it isn't over yet. The best is yet to come. Stay tuned.

1 comment:

  1. totally agreed on kale chips. my friend jill and i are in love with this kale salad they sell at a local specialty foods grocery store. i made my own version and it was really yum.
    1 bunch of kale, washed & torn into kinda large pieces
    1 cup or so of dried cranberries
    1/2 c sliced almonds
    1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
    briana's brand ginger mandarin salad dressing (enough to coat kale)

    it is deeelicious. i've been eating it all week.

    jealous you still have a garden! with 65 days over 100 degrees in austin, it just seems wrong to water anything, so ours died in late june.