Last Hurrah of Summer

We had one last hurrah of summer over Labor Day weekend.

One last weekend together with my family before the activities of the fall sucked us into it’s whirlpool.

10653704_699084826851910_2769751935112440105_nMy parents. Siblings. Spouses. Nieces. Nephews. Cousins.

Family.

Three generations under one roof.

Filling every minute. Squeezing out every bit of fun.

10665127_699086726851720_4637055652839721326_nTubing down the West Fork with cousins – twice.

Eating.

10698500_699086250185101_2754532246494617138_nHiking to the rock – twice.

Eating.

10414519_699084843518575_95587905122534132_nLaughing till our sides ached.

And eating some more.

10639453_284309921761555_8818700014860785146_nSitting on the porch watching the storm blow in – feeling the changes that were surely coming.

Remembering the past.

Relishing the present.

Anticipating the future.

Making hot sticky memories to enjoy all winter.

One last hurrah.

Summertime

After a wet cold spring , we were all kinda wondering if summer would ever get here.

It did. This week.

And not just the weather! (Which is really hot and humid…)

We had our first guests of the season – 2 of my sisters, one soon-to-be-niece-in-law, one niece and her bff. (best friend forever)DSC_0218

Can you say shopping?! At a thrift store of course!

Pedro wasn’t here – he spent the week house sitting for a friend, leaving Buddy as the lone male in a house full of girls while Jan was at work.

So of course the the electric fence charger got knocked down in the mud, the entire fence was down, all the cows got out, and the water tank sprang a leak.

Oh – and we had a baby calf!

belted galloway calf

We miss you Pedro. Come home. Now.

We planted two more rows of sweet corn, two more rows of green beans, and lots of herbs. Still no weeding though. Maybe next week…

And we enlarged my flower bed!

DSC_0224

Okay – so it may not be the flower garden of my dreams – it is twice as big as last year!

Baby steps are still progress. ๐Ÿ™‚

Don’t you think the wire fence adds to the charm and beauty of the scene?! Not. But it is a necessary evil to keep the silly chickens and cats out until the flowers get established.

Speaking of cats – we also had our first litter of kitties for the season. Still haven’t found them though.

And to top it all off – we’re packing for our annual family camping trip.

There’s just something about sleeping bags and Hershey bars and bug spray that says “Hello – it’s summer!”

Oh – and did I mention that it’s hot and humid?

 

By Plane, Train and Automobile

My house is quiet.

Really, really quiet.

Quite a change from a week ago when this place was buzzing with activity.

Pic

I had kids in and out of the house at all hours – we ate everything on a bun – and there was laughter well into the night.

Then it was over. In the blink of an eye – by plane, train and automobile – they were gone.

My nephew Sammy left first – by automobile, followed by Kimmer and her gang.

A few days later we said goodbye to Lainers at her grandma’s house. And cried.

Pic 2Then it was time for my crew to depart.

Yesterday morning Matt flew to Summit Ministries headquarters in Colorado to start work and Dagmar took the train to Aunt Julie’s for a visit.

And the house was quiet.

Now, when Pedro leaves in the morning with Jan for his summer job, I have 2 children.

Two.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t enjoying it. ๐Ÿ™‚

But I’d also be lying if I didn’t admit that I’m glad this is temporary – because deep down there’s a sadness knowing that someday the house will always be this quiet.

And that someday is getting closer.

Cherish every moment.

Corn-a-Thon

It all started with an innocent question.

My husband called at lunch – as he always does – and as we were chatting about the mornings eventsย  he mentioned that one of his buddies from work had some extra sweet corn.ย  Did I want some?

Of course I wanted some! Our first picking had been good – we enjoyed all the corn we could eat and had about 30 “fat” quarts in the freezer – but our second planting was stunted from the drought and our third planting was weeks away.

So we gathered some buckets and boxes and set the boys in toย  meet their dad after work and pick us some corn.

I wasn’t expecting a lot – the guy told Jan they had been picking all week – but I was hoping for an all-you-can corn fest for supper and a few more bags in the freezer.

They brought home a Suburban full!

sweet corn

Boxes and boxes and boxes of sweet corn. Jan said they barely made a dent in the field.

They guys started husking right away and I got some water boiling.

We took a break for some supper – but by 6:30 we were back at it!

The next few hours are a blur.

Put corn in. Set the timer. Move the cooled corn to the table. Get fresh water. Cut some corn. Bag some corn. Clean some corn.Run out to grab more corn. Husk a few ears. Run in and take the corn out. Put corn in. Set the timer…

By 8:30 it was getting dark but the guys were still husking. They moved operations to the work shop. The table was covered with cooked ears but I sent Angel Girl out to help them finish.

Corn

By 9:30 the husking was finally done and all hands moved inside to help cut. My table was full of cooked ears, one counter was full of raw ears, and the other counter was covered with full freezer bags.

By 10:30 all four kids were cutting corn as fast as they could and listening to the 2nd Adventures in Odyssey CD. My feet stuck the floor in the kitchen from all the corn juice splattered.

By 11:30 the last of the corn went in to cook and the freezer was so full that I couldn’t find room for more.

By 12:30 the last ear was cut and the last of the freezer bags filled. The kids started cleaning themselves up and heading to bed while I looked at the disaster that once was my kitchen.

By 1:30 AM I had washed the dishes, scrubbed the counters and table, and was scrubbing my floor.

Finally tally – 58 fat quarts (a quart bag stuffed as full as it can be – usually between 5-6 cups), 4 exhausted kiddos, one trashed kitchen, and one wiped-out mom who kept shaking her head and saying, “What was I thinking?”

I know what I was thinking :

“Boy am I glad the kids are home to help!”

“Corn in the freezer is like gold in the bank!”

“This is sure gonna taste good come winter!”

“What a gift – all this corn for free! And I didn’t have to plant it, weed it, water it or try to keep the coons out!” ๐Ÿ™‚

Fresh Picked

I love this season of the year – when my meals are planned around what I pick fresh from the garden.

Corn on the cob – all you can eat. Green beans – lightly steamed and dripping with butter. Summer squash in every form imaginable. And what about the tomatoes!

TomatosIs there anything as wonderful as a fresh, vine-ripened tomato?

Unless it’s something made from that fresh, vine-ripened tomato! Something like BLT’s, fresh salsa, bruschetta, or our favorite – pasta with fresh tomatoes.


Just peel 8 medium tomatoes. Chop, seed and drain.

Combine 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1 clove of garlic (crushed), 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley chopped, 1 teaspoon basil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 of a green pepper (chopped) and 16 black olives, sliced.

Add tomatoes and set aside at room temperature.

Cook 8 ounces of pasta according to directions. Drain and place in serving bowl. Add tomato mixture and toss. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Yum!

We’re still in the honeymoon stage with tomatoes- enjoying all we can eat fresh – but don’t have quite enough yet to can.

WatermelonThen there’s my pride and joy – my watermelons – both of them.

The melons didn’t like the heat and drought of July. But thanks to the boys faithful watering, we saved one watermelon plant with 2 watermelons on it.

I was a little scared to pick the big one – but my friend Martha just gave it a thunk and proclaimed it done.

She was right – it was perfect!

I may just have to call her to come and thunk the next one in a few weeks. ๐Ÿ™‚

So what’s on tonight’s menu?

All you can eat fresh corn on the cob (Pedro holds the record with 6 ears at one meal) and chicken wraps (with roasted yellow squash, green peppers, onions and garlic for the more adventurous eaters!)

Lip-smacking goodness!