Showing posts from September, 2018

At the end of September

The end of September hangs suspended between seasons. One day the balance tips towards summer, the next, towards autumn. This past week has been gloriously summer-ish, with golden light and warm days. The garden shows the effect of waning sunlight and cool nights with burnished colour on leaves and flowers. The fig tree leaves fade to yellow and begin to fall. Dry oak leaves scuttle along the street, swirling up into the wind caused by passing vehicles. 

On Friday afternoon it was impossible to stay indoors. My grade 9 Spanish class begged to study outdoors. I promised them a short walk around the playing field if they would work at the beginning of the class. They agreed with alacrity. How lovely it was to be out in the sun with the students, watching them race ahead and fall back, reach up to pick a few remaining sweet blackberries from the bushes along the perimeter, laugh, and talk.

After class, I bought groceries and brought them home, then went out for a little walk. When Tim came…

Seasonal Eating - Friday Bliss

As the nights draw in and temperatures drop, all the salads and grilled dishes of summer lose their appeal and I long for the cozier foods of fall. 

Recently I made an apple crisp and served it, once again, with creme anglaise. I'm planning to make some Apple Pastry Bars soon, too, perhaps over the weekend. 

When my brother and sister-in-law were here in early September, I made Salted Caramel Pots de Creme from Laura Calder's Paris Express cookbook. Oh my. Rich and so good with that sprinkle of sea salt on top.

We're eating more soup again, hearty roasted vegetable soups like this Roasted Cauliflower Pear soup, and 

Roasted Tomato Soup. Oh how good the house smells! Do you save your chicken bones and carcasses to make broth? I make broth in my slow cooker, adding water to the roasted chicken carcass, plus a carrot, an onion, some celery leaves, parsley stems, peppercorns, a bay leaf, and salt. I leave it on low for 8 hours and a lovely clear broth results, which I freeze in qu…

A Puttery Day and a Special Visit

It's Saturday, I haven't gone anywhere, and it's perfectly lovely. The past three weekends have been full with guests, and/or going away. It was time to stay home and get some things done. 

One thing on my list still isn't done - picking the grapes. With the purple ones I'll make and can juice, and we'll eat the green ones. Both varieties are sweet and delicious. 

I went on a very special outing this week to meet up with two blogging friends. Honora of Pondside and I have visited several times; she lives in town, but Mary of A Breath of Fresh Air lives in North Carolina. She let us know that she would be in town and Honora made reservations for dinner at the Oak Bay Marina Restaurant.

How lovely it was to sit at a table overlooking the water and watch the lights on the boats begin to sparkle. Conversation was non-stop and we were some of the last people in the restaurant. Our husbands came along and their end of the table was lively, too. 

It's the first day of…

Visit to a Smaller Island

This pretty pot of petunias welcomed us to the home of our friends' parents, who offered 8 of us a weekend stay on Pender Island.

Their home is on the water, with a dock where we caught sweet Rock Crabs. Although the weather is feeling autumnish, we sat at the picnic table outside and cracked crabs without worrying about the mess. It was a great start to dinner. We all provided elements of the dinner so it wasn't a lot of work for any one person. 

My contribution was dessert - a maple-flavoured unbaked cheesecake with a ginger cookie crust and roasted pears on top. It's a light cheesecake, which was a good thing because we certainly had a sumptuous dinner to precede it.  

We did go for a hike before dinner. The weather alternated rain and cloud with sun and blue sky. From the top of Oak Bluff, the misty blue islands and silvery water of the Salish Sea look like something out of Tolkien, or C.S. Lewis' works. 

"Farewell we call to hearth and hall, Though wind may blow a…

Between the Seasons

"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks"  John Muir

Indecisive September hovers between summer and autumn. Indecision about what to wear every day reflects the fluctuations in temperature. No socks and a light top one day, sweaters and closed in shoes the next.

"The air is crowded with birds,  beautiful, tender, intelligent birds for whom life is a song." George Henry Lewes
On my walk yesterday I stopped to watch this little bird gorging herself on Mountain Ash berries. She knows she needs to eat now to build up energy reserves for the weather to come.

Acorns litter the path under the sprawling branches of Garry Oaks. 

In my garden, blithe roses put out bud after bud, happy, I think for cooler temperatures and more moisture. Winchester Cathedral showing off just now, and I see that another white rose, Bolero, is getting ready to shine soon.

Our menus also reflect the waffling season. In the morning I think that a warming meal would be appropriate for…

Rainy Weekend

Listening to the rain falling at night must be one of the coziest sounds there is. Autumn rains here are soft, more of a drizzle than a downpour, and most welcome. Rain fell intermittently most of the weekend here. 

A few of my dahlia plants (just the pink ones, apparently) finally bloomed. During the summer, when I cut flowers for the house I take care to leave plenty in the garden for show. Now that autumn is here, I cut with abandon, knowing that rain and wind will hasten their demise.

The perfect symmetry of dahlias in their multiple forms is such a marvelous thing. I chose the dusty olive-coloured leaves of sage, and parsley gone to seed as fillers.  

Our son challenged himself to cycle the Whistler Gran Fondo on Saturday. He biked 122 km from Stanley Park to Whistler in 4hrs 50 min, with a total elevation of 1900 metres (6200 ft). He and his wife went over on Friday night so we had the grands for the weekend. 

The weather put a bit of a damper on our planned activities, but we manag…

These Days

These days, early in the morning, I pull up the covers over my shoulders as cool air blows in through the open window. Later, the shower nozzle is turned just a little bit more to the warm side.

In the morning the dew is heavy on the car windshield. Swish swish go the wipers before I pull out of the driveway.

In the morning I turn on my seat heater for the ride to school, but still wear my sunglasses. In the afternoon I turn the air conditioner to full blast.

These days, in the evening, when I go out with my white bowl to pick a few raspberries, the light slants low and golden. The dahlias are finally blooming; they've been so slow this year. Tomatoes ripen and burst with improbable sweetness in my mouth.  

These days Winchester Cathedral blooms once again with creamy petals that fall quickly in the heat of the afternoon. Soon there will be buds on my other rose bushes. 

These days I remember the times spent with my grandchildren over the summer. There were together times, as well as a…

Hanging on to Summer

Here we are. The great blue bowl of September skies covers us in the afternoons. The first day of this month was a great day to pile 6 adults and 2 children into the boat and take a short ride to Sidney Island for a day of sun and sand.

Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful,  for beauty is God's handwriting Ralph Waldo Emerson

Together we walked along the wooded trail to the walk-in campsite, then circled around to the other side of the small island, took steps back down to the beach and meandered back along the sand. Water + sticks + sand + children = unending entertainment.

Sticks and sand also provided entertainment for our son, who found this pointy-headed creature and thought he needed sunglasses. 

Not even a hint of wind ruffled the tidal pools in the morning. Calm waters and perfect reflections hint at the resignation of summer's soon end. Meanwhile, we soak in the sun and delight in the thought of cooler nights.

Go out, go out, I beg of you, and taste the beaut…