Friday, July 12, 2024

Oh, Sweet Summertime!




"If spring is all about looking forward, and
autumn about dying back, summer surely
is the present moment: a long, hot now that
marks the sultry climax of the year . . . and a
stillness settles over the land."
MELISSA HARRISON, Summer Anthology, "Introduction"


What floats up from the Tickle Trunk of childhood memories on this sweltering day is remembering how exciting it was, as a girl, when the temperature climbed as high as 80F (we didn't use Celsius in those days). My little sister and I would study the thermometer, peering up to where it was securely attached to the kitchen window sill. We were much more used to temperatures being in the high 60s to mid 70s. But on a day when it actually hit 80 degrees, well, we knew we were in for a treat. Running through the sprinkler would be a lot more fun and not quite the shock when the cold water hit already slightly shivering skin. Watermelon definitely tasted better when it was really, really hot out. And, of course, there was the exciting challenge of licking Popsicles fast enough to keep them from dripping a syrupy trail through your fingers onto your fresh, clean shorts. You could smell the fresh cut hay in the fields as the warm air moved.
 
I smile because it's all part of that sweet summertime feeling. Here are a few other little things that added to that feeling this week.

Summer Reading
I've got Madeleine L'Engle's children novel A Wrinkle in Time on the go. And I just purchased Kate Quinn's newest novel The Briar Club. Hot off the press, it's a "haunting and powerful story of female friendships and secrets in a Washington, D.C., boarding house in the McCarthy era (1950)". Looking forward to it. I still hope to reread Kate's wonderful WWII novel The Rose Code which is a firm favourite of mine. And I think I'm going to tackle Homer's ancient Greek tale The Odyssey. I don't think I've ever read, except maybe in a children's collection decades ago. I won't be reading it in Greek, although I should ask my niece and brother if they could read it, since they studied the language in college.)

A Summer Meal
Smash burgers are new to me. Until I started seeing reels about them on social media, I'd never heard of them, so I chased down some recipes to have for supper one of these sweltering days. The recipe I found is called Smash Taco Burgers. It uses soft flour tortillas instead of buns with a simple but delicious sounding burger sauce (all your favourite condiments mixed into one tasty sauce). The trick is to take a mound of seasoned ground beef and squish it flat-flat on the grill or pan with a large spatula so it spreads out about the same size as a 6" tortilla. For the recipe click HERE. Our first attempt was fine but we need a little practice before showing any pics. It was delish.

Summer Evenings
One of the nice things about hot summer evenings is watching the neighbourhood come alive as the day begins to cool. Some people are out watering their plants or washing their vehicle by hand; others stand on the sidewalk chatting with people walking by. Dogs are definitely happier to be out at this time of day. There's a gentle buzz in the air that is just so right. Makes me feel 'ah, now this is the life'. We sit out with a book; we read a few pages, stop to gaze into the blue skies, listen to the bees in the flowers, watch the fellow now polishing his car with great TLC. We track the gulls climbing higher and higher on the thermals until they are a tiny speck way, way up. Our little neighbours who are up way past their bedtime come for cookies and a visit. But hey, it's summertime and the livin' is easy. It feels good.


As I type this closing paragraph, it's now Friday morning. The air is cooler and the breeze wafts through the window, bringing with it the scent of mock orange. It promises to be a beautiful day. And that's what I wish for you, too. A beautiful day and a pleasant weekend ahead.



Heart hugs,
Brenda
Photo credits:
"Last of the Peonies"
Brenda Leyland @ It's A Beautiful Life


My Summer blog schedule:
I post on Fridays




Friday, July 05, 2024

Friday Five: Favourites This Week




"Nobody sees a flower—really—it is so small
it takes time—we haven't time—and to see takes time,
like to have a friend takes time."
GEORGIA O'KEEFFE


I only have to walk into the room to catch the scent of freshly picked peonies sitting on the dining table. Although the deep magenta blossoms make quite a show, it's the soft pink ones (name escapes in the moment) that fill the room with their unforgettable fragrance.

Summertime, summertime... oh the joy of garden delights in the summertime.

Here is a mix of favourite moments from my week, mostly in the shape of flowers... either from my own garden or from the small but delightful botanic garden at Greenland, a local garden centre.



One
"Peonies are always fully themselves. We never
mistake them for some other flower. No one ever says,
"Oh, that peony looks just like a double-flowering tulip!""
CHRISTIE PURIFOY, Garden Maker  



Two
"I am excessively diverted."
JANE AUSTEN, Pride and Prejudice



Three
"At some point in life the world's
beauty becomes enough."
TONI MORRISON, Tar Baby



Four
"We might think we are nurturing
our garden, but of course it's really our
garden that's nurturing us."
JENNY UGLOW



Five

And outside my study window wafts the fragrance of hundreds and hundreds of blossoms on the mock orange shrubs blooming beneath it. Planted four summers ago, they now nearly reach the second story of our house. And if I lean out my window, if I dared, I could almost pluck a few sprigs for my desk. We planted a mock orange about 20 years ago, which is almost as tall as our house. A gift that keeps on giving, it's the most successful plant in our garden and continues to thrive.




"And because the breath of flowers is far
sweeter in the air..."
FRANCIS BACON



Bonus

Ever beguiled by the next new book that crosses my path, I must tell you about one that arrived on my doorstep this week. I first heard of it from Lorrie who blogs at Fabric Paper Thread. It's called Dear Paris, The Paris Letters Collection. Oh my, I can already tell this is going to be a summer favourite. The author, Janice MacLeod, is a fellow Canadian who lives part of the year in Paris. Her book is a collection of illustrated letters that celebrates her life while living in that beautiful city.


Before I sign off, I want to extend to you an invitation to visit me where I am also guest blogging today. My piece is titled In the Shape of My Words in which I reflect about shaping our words into beautiful thoughts for good.


Wishing you a beautiful day,
Brenda

Photo credits:
Photos by Brenda Leyland @ It's A Beautiful Life


My Summer blog schedule:
I post on Fridays