Sunday, September 30, 2012

Playing Favorites?

Yes, you are in the right place.  I changed the look of the blog, guess I got bored.  Instead of painting the walls around here I decided to change the blog a bit, don't get too used to this look though, I'm not in love with it and it might just change next week!  I am trying to make it look a little fallish!  It is not really fall around here yet, but I know it is just around the corner...right?!

We are dog sitting for a few days.  We have our "grand-dog".  I have been noticing how much more attention I pay to the "grand-dog" than to Sadie.  Poor Sadie.  Lemy (grand-dog)  has been attached to my hip for his entire time here.  He follows me so closely that he steps on the back of my flip flops (yes, I am still wearing flip flops and it is almost October...ugh!) when he walks behind me. 

This is Lemy...keeping his distance
I had a little flashback today.  When the kids would have friends over to visit I would find myself bending over backwards to be nice/hospitable to the the expense of my own children.  Why is it that we are always nicer to guests than we are to our own family?  You know this is true!  Sadie can tell you this is true.  She has been looking at me lately with the "Really?  Are you kidding me?" look.   "Lemy gets to go out into the green space and run whenever he wants and I have to practically beg to get a few minutes out there! " is what Sadie is thinking, I can see it on her face.  The dogs have decided to cohabitate... but at a distance.

This is Lemy and Sadie cohabiting....notice his close proximity to moi!
As most kids react to their parents being nicer to the company than to them, Sadie has started giving us the cold shoulder.  I am sure she is saying in her little dog brain, "Sure.... be nice to him, take him out for extra walks...but who is going to be here next week?"    There will have to be extra sweetness coming her way when Lemy goes home.  Promises promises...

Saturday, September 22, 2012

My Summer Romance

Did you ever go to summer camp or to the beach for the summer and fall hopelessly in "love" with someone while you were away?  He or she was so cute and different than those kids at school.  You were both kind of anonymous and not bound by your "status" back home.  Summer romances are so invigorating and clandestine.  You would promise each other to "keep in touch over the winter".  These promises usually lasted until school started and you were back in your real life, well at least for me.  Oh, but it is so nice to just pull out those memories from time to time and savour them. 

I have a Canadian summer romance every year!  Some years there were boys involved but most years my romance was with Canada. 
It happens every year.  I go away for a month or two or three and leave behind things like television, shopping, eating out, driving in traffic, having a yard guy....and no yard, twice weekly garbage pickup, a garbage disposal, and lots of other "stuff" and live rather rustically for the summer.  I always think I will miss the creature comforts of home when I'm away and every year I am proven wrong.  I fall in love with a much simpler, slower, rural life and Canada herself. 

Summer is over.  I am back home and already I have been distracted from my summer romance.  How fickle the heart is!  I only hesitated a few seconds when I threw away a banana the garbage and not in the green bin of joy.  My heart fluttered when I saw all the pretty clothes in the stores and the amazingly low prices.  I was smitten when TJ and I ate out three nights in one week and I did not have to pull the food out of the dirt, wash it, cook it and clean up afterwards.  My heart lept when my drive to the golf course was only 5 minutes instead of 30 and then it sank when I had my highest score of the summer.  The thought of meeting with my book club and seeing all of my friends put a giant childish grin on my face.  The biggest surprise came when I reluctantly (it was the day after our 4.5 day drive home and I was exhausted and this was the last place I wanted to go) went back to teach my ESL class and was once again swept off my feet by a room full of eager, smiling, Spanish speaking people ready to learn to speak English.  I had all but forgotten about my summer romance in a little less than two weeks.  Sorry Canada.  I promise to write....and I will come back next summer to pick up where we left off!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Weight of a Purse

"Real" life just came rushing back at me like the tidal bore and it was in the form of a purse.  All summer I have been using a very small, light purse because.... what do I really need up here?  A wallet, keys and some SPF lip balm...right?  Ok, maybe a pair of sunglasses too since it has been sunny ALL summer.  Today in my packing efforts I transferred from my small summer-at-the-shore purse to my "real" life purse.  The passport, calendar, pill box, check books (yes, that is plural, one for Canada and one for the States), reading glasses, cell phone, etc. all got put in the purse.  I am ready for the road trip home.

 I went to eat dinner tonight at my parents cottage and grabbed my purse on the way out the door, ugh!  It weighed a ton!  That's when it hit me...."real" life weighs a ton!  I have not even left yet and I am already weighed down.  Can you see the sad face I'm making?  All the trappings of "real" life are going to hit me one by one as I head south over the next few days.  There will be no more looking out of windows at the water or the open fields in my yard and breathing fresh air.  No more long walks on the sandbars with Sadie until next summer, if we both survive "real" life for the next 8 or 9 months.  No more open windows with curtains blowing in the breeze.  I will no longer be surrounded by close friends and family.  No more carefree lifeystyle that seems to fit my nature.

Yes, Sadie, we will both miss this daily ritual!

So I will pick up my heavy "real" life purse tomorrow and leave another summer in paradise.  The weight of this departure will be heavy on me all day until I come to terms with reality and decide it is time to move on.   There is more to life than the shore....I guess.
Stay tuned for some "real" life in the next couple of weeks.  Until then, I will sleep well tonight...with the windows open and the cool breeze to keep me comfortable!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Death By Eggplant

You know that episode of the I Love Lucy show where she is working on a candy assembly line and it keeps going faster and faster and she can't keep up so she just starts shoving the candy in her mouth?  I know how she feels!  At first, the thought of working around candy is enticing, but even too much of a good thing is just... well...too much!  Take the garden for instance.  The thought of fresh produce right outside your door is something we all would agree is a nice thing. 

Who doesn't like fresh peas, carrots, onions and tomatoes right outside the back door?

Making dinner usually involves going out to the garden and seeing what is ripe and available and planning a meal around the pick of the day.  Easy enough!  The produce trickles in as the summer goes along, first the lettuce then the peas, carrots, spinach, Swiss chard, herbs, potatoes, cherry tomatoes, leeks, onions, tomatoes, artichokes, peppers, beans, turnips, beets, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries.  Any one or two...or three of these vegetables is great and when the house is full of family or friends it is nice to have meals planned by whatever is ripe and plentiful.  As each thing ripens it is always exciting to eat the first harvest.

Ok, we can eat all of this....that is a lot of tomatoes though....

This summer was one of the warmest and driest in history, fact.  Apparently that means the garden will grow with wild abandon.  It also means that the fruit trees at the farm will produce abundantly.  Who knew? addition to all of the fruit and vegetables we have planted, the trees that just happen to be growing here have record crops this year. 
These beauties almost plum tuckered me out!

As the population at the shore dwindled the produce in the garden increased exponentially!  Who will eat all of this food?  We invited friends we travel to NYC with every year to visit us for a week and Mrs. NYC is  a very skilled chef/baker.  She was all into making the most out of the garden.  My problem was that by the time they arrived my excitement over the garden was waning.  I was already in "time to pack everything up and leave" mode and they were all in "wow!  Look at all this food and think of all the yummy things we can make with it"  mode.  As the week went on I began to feel like Lucy and the chocolates.  So much produce!  We picked beans, peas, carrots, strawberries, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, leeks, and a million plums.  Her enthusiasm for the produce knew no bounds!  She was not alone either, TJ and Mr. NYC were more than happy to harvest the bounty.  We may have all doubled in weight because of all the delicious food Mrs. NYC prepared.   We (well "we" may be one too many people, really Mrs. NYC) made...

Plum tart

grilled artichokes and radicchio
homemade tomato basil pasta sauce

Tomato pesto tart

Plum jam

A huge apple, plum, blueberry crisp
The list goes on and on...and it was all delicious!  Don't say anything when you see me and notice I have gained a few pounds!  We ate like royalty when Mr. and Mrs. NYC were visiting.  Once they left it was down to two people and now...just me.  Right before the master gardener himself left on a business trip he deposited this at the doorstep!

tomatoes for one?!  Can I bring these across the border?

Exactly what I need/want.... enough tomatoes to feed a family of 20!  We leave in 4 days and I'm here alone ....hmmm, tomato sauce in between packing and cleaning the farmhouse?  As my mind raced through all of the possibilities for these tomatoes and the time and energy involved to make something meaningful out of them he brought one more thing into the kitchen....and this is when I went off the deep was the straw that broke this camel's back....

an chocolate too many! 

So as much as I enjoy the garden and it's many fruits, when it's time to go, it's time to go.  I can't take it with me so I'll just have to leave it for the deer and the raccoons.  It's time to clean the very full fridge and freezer until next summer.  Time to put away all the toys of summer, put the flower boxes in the shed,  take the chairs off the deck, clean the floors, beds and bathrooms,  do all the laundry and throw away all the garbage, compost and recycling.  That poor eggplant will probably never get cooked.
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