Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Summer Days Drifting Away...

Before we moved, we spent almost 8 years living in the land of endless summer.  3 years on Maui and 4 1/2 years in Southern California can cause you to take warm weather for granted. You may get a rainy day or cold spell here or there, but you don't really worry about it because you know that warm weather will return in a day or two.
But when you live in cold country, where winter means months of zero/sub-zero temperatures, summer and it's warmth are eagerly awaited.  When it arrives, it seems to endlessly stretch before you.  FOUR WHOLE MONTHS, YAY!  You promise yourself to savor everyday.  And you do, but they still fly by.
Here's what I've been doing to savor my summer:

The 4th was a blast.  

Matt has been traveling extensively this summer and was gone for the holiday.  Kade and Minda were also gone on a vacation to Texas. To spare me from being alone, Damen, Christy and the kids came up for the weekend.

There's nothing like shooting off fireworks with kids.  The sheer joy on their faces makes it all new again.  

I think we burned through an entire case of sparklers waiting for it to get dark.  

Since Smithfield Canyon is within walking distance from our house, we took the kids on a couple of hikes.  They loved playing in the little stream we found.  

This is a photo of the garden I took that weekend.  

Here is what it looked like this morning.  

I have three beautiful pumpkins ripening on the vine, two Cinderella variety and one Galeux D'eysines.  It's a French heirloom variety that has a light orange skin covered with woody, brown warts.  I can't wait to see them on my front porch this fall.  
I had five pumpkins in the garden but just last week, the deer thought two of them looked like a tasty, midnight snack.  

The tomatoes are coming along nicely.

Here's the most recent harvest of cucumbers, squash and peppers.  We've been eating squash and cucumbers until they are coming out our ears and we still can't keep up with it.  

So, I did some research on the best ways to freeze them.  Cucumbers don't freeze well, but the squash and peppers will be nice additions to soups and such.  
Here's today's bounty.  I roasted and peeled the peppers before freezing them in single portion bags.  The squash were simply blanched and cooled before going into freezer bags.  

For the cucumbers I'm trying something I've never done before.  I'm going to dehydrate them.  I found a recipe to make salt and vinegar style chips out of them and I'm going to give that a try.  I'll let you know how we like them.  

I've been babying my Hydrangeas for the past two years and it looks like it's finally paying off.  For the first time, they are actually blooming.  The plants are still really small but at least I'm making progress.  

I planted Zinnias as a border around the garden and I love how they look.  They make me happy.

But my favorite part of the yard is my garden path with volunteer Alyssum plants sprouting up between the cracks...so, cottage garden-y.  

Last week, Matt and I attended a James Taylor concert at the Maverick center.  It was a belated anniversary gift to ourselves since he was out of the country for the actual date.  
This was the 5th time we've gone to one of his concerts.  To say he is my favorite performer is an understatement.  I love me some JT!
The only disappointment of the night is that I couldn't get down to the stage to have him autograph our tickets and take a selfie.  I was able to do that with my other favorite performer, Steve Tyrell, when he came to Camarillo for a concert in the park.  It's my goal to do the same with Mr. Taylor.  
Oh well, I guess I'll just have to keep attending concerts until I succeed.  (That's a hint, Matt)

As always, the quilting weaves itself into the fabric of my daily life.  These are the tops I have finished most recently.  I finally got the backs and binding for each of them sewn, so they are awaiting their turn, in my UFO closet, for quilting. 

This is my most recent finish.  Next month, I will enter it into the county fair for judging.  

Until then it has found it's home on the guest bed.  I've been slowly putting the finishing touches on that room and it goes perfectly with the farmhouse style I love.  

Speaking of farmhouse style, here are my latest finds.  Since I know someone will ask, I found both the bird prints and the ladder at decorsteal.com.

I've long been hunting for vintage editions of my beloved "Betsy-Tacy" books and I found some just the other night at Biblio.com.  I could not order them fast enough.  

I haven't found the perfect spot for them yet, so for now they reside on the guest room dresser.  

Summer days seem endless and they kind of are.  Here in Logan, at the peak of summer, it stays light until 10: 00 p.m.  But then, immediately the days start to shorten.  Just a minute or two each day.  You can't even detect it until one day you notice that it's getting dark by 9:30, then 9:00...you get the idea.

It's hard to believe that summer is more than half over. It's been great so far.  Here's hoping the rest is just as good!