Summer hit hard a couple days ago, with sun and heat and days that seem to go on forever. At this time of year, I completely lose my ability to guess what time it is, because it’s just as bright at 6 am as it is at 8 pm. I also lose a lot of my ability to focus, so this blog post will no doubt wander more than usual.
Yesterday afternoon I biked out to the lake for the first time this season, and as another first, Mo came along: Running next to my bike for an hour and a half each way, with a long swim in between! We’ve been practicing this trick at the sports track of the local high school for about a month now, and I went at half my regular speed to ensure he didn’t completely exhaust himself. It’s safe to say that he didn’t, since he then spent the rest of the evening bouncing around the yard as per usual. What a dog.
I gave my mom this hammock when I was 13 years old, in that phase where I had enough income from babysitting jobs that I could afford to buy gifts for people but didn’t have much sense as to what they’d actually want so would just buy them things that I wanted. Wait, am I still in the phase? Hmmmm… At any rate, my mother never used it, and gifted it back to me when Oats and I were driving back west from Toronto last fall. It’s so comfortable, I can’t even describe it. Mo likes to sit on me while I read (or while I take a million photos of him).
A couple weeks ago, during a big yard clean-up, we found a hazelnut tree, a currant bush, and a blueberry bush, all growing quite happily despite having been hidden by weeds and piles of brush. They’re getting more sun now, and we’ve added my old grapevine nearby for company. It’s glad to be out of its pot, and I’m glad to think that we’ll actually have some exciting fruit in the next few months.
What I’d really like to grow is a pistachio tree, but I think the climate is too wet around here. In the meantime, my dad gave me this little jar of crema di pistacchio that he bought in Sicily, and I made it into the best gelato I’ve ever had. I used David Lebovitz’s recipe from his blog (and then spent way too long reading every other recipe he has posted, and then ordering his books from the library). My ice cream maker came from a free bin in my old neighbourhood, and though I can’t say I’ve used it more than a couple times, I grew up making all kinds of frozen treats in the exact same model of maker under my stepmom’s expert tutelage. Maybe that’ll be my new hobby this summer: Homemade gelato. It’d sure be a great way of using up the jars of jam that have accumulated from the past four years of canning, and perhaps also my recent failed attempts at homemade yoghourt.
I’ve decided that the only canning I’ll do this year is teaching. Due to the big move last fall, and spending most of the winter on renovations and house-arranging, my lovelingly preserved food was hard to access until a week or so ago. I barely made a dent in last summer’s haul, let alone ate up the less popular remainders from the years before. Now it’s all on shelves and a bit overwhelming. The greatest lesson here is that I should test out each recipe at least once before making more than a single batch of it: For example, I have dozens and dozens of jars of quince jam, and we all hate it. Why did I make so much of it?!!
(Answer: Because I had a ton of free quince, was under a time constraint, and wasn’t very creative)
But teaching is different: I may only get to take home a single jar (if that), yet at the same time I have more fun and enjoy a sense of satisfaction that’s a bit different from just doing it all myself at home. Plus, it forces me to be more organized and plan ahead! Though this isn’t always something I manage to achieve: Last Tuesday I’d already reached the community garden where I was running my class, and it was due to start in 20 minutes, when Oats called to say that I’d forgotten one of the legs for my tripod propane burner… Aieeee! I turned around and went back home for it, but remained a little flustered for the entire evening. Not my best teaching moment! Since then, I’ve made myself a little checklist of everything I need to bring with me. I’ll get to try it out at this week’s class, which is at a high school, with their environmental club.
In other household news, I’m practicing being a grad school widow, in a precursor to Oats’ entry to an MFA program: She’s painting a mural on the wall of the steps that lead from the street up to our house, and I have barely seen her all day, nor am likely to as long as this weather holds.
I’m only teasing, with the grad school widow schtick: I think her art overall is fabulous, this mural in particular is totally fantastic, and I’m super-stoked that she’s so passionate about creating beautiful things. It’s also quite rad that it’s doesn’t have much to do with me, because I’ve got my own million and one things to think about and do.
That’s actually our number one secret to a sucessful marriage: We are both very easily entertained by our own funny minds, and while we do like hanging out together, we spend a lot of time doing our own things (sometimes while in the same room… for hours… without talking… I love it). Hey, am I allowed to give out marital advice yet? It’s been almost 3 months, and we’re still together… That counts for something.