Summertime time time

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A jar of summer

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Over the years we’ve had fun teaching ourselves to preserve our favorite summer foods with a little help from Youtube and my grandmother’s Ball Blue Book.  We’ve canned peaches, jammed and jellied strawberries and cherries, and had fun pickling cucumbers and red onions.  However much fun, canning can also be a lot of work, and over the last couple of summer seasons, we decided that biggest pay-off came from canning tomatoes.

There is nothing as wonderful to me as a summer tomato, and canning means that even in darkest winter, when all the tomatoes in the grocery store are mealy and flavorless, we’re able to open up a bright, delicious jar of summer.  We usually set aside a Saturday, order a bushel of seconds from our regular farmer, and roll up our sleeves.

Last year we were caught up in so much summer travel that we decided to skip canning, and as winter wore on and on (and on and on), we grew sadder and sadder that we hadn’t made the time to put up our usual jars.  That was a mistake we didn’t plan to make again, so on one of the only weekends we spent at home this summer, we spent the whole day blanching and peeling and boiling and sealing.  This year, a friend who wanted to learn came and pitched in.  We wore him out, but in the end we are ready to take on the winter armed with 24 jars full of summer goodness (and 12 for our friend).

Do you ever can your favorite summer foods?

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Summer forever

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Thanks again, Michigan, for another lovely summer.  I hope I see you again next year.

Coming to an end

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Paw Paw, MI. August 2014.

You’re ever welcome with me

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Paw Paw, MI. August 2014.

Rain rain rain came down down down

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Rainy little day trip to Holland, MI. August 2014.

Canoe racing

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What would a lakeside holiday be without a few friendly canoe races?

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Lakeside accessories

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Who needs bangles or sandals when you can accessorize your cut offs with a fish cleaning knife?

Wanderings: Michigan summers

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There is nothing like a Michigan summer.  I’ve spent part of the summer there for six of the last nine years, sometimes for just a few days and sometimes for months at a time.  It’s a magical place and I was happy to be back again this summer, staying on the same peninsula as last year, this time with a few additional friends.  We canoed, cooked, swam, overslept, and generally forgot about all our worries back home.  For the next few days, I’ll be sharing some memories of those lazy lakeside days.

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Rooftop picnic

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Summer’s not quite gone yet and on a recent lazy Saturday afternoon, we decided to take advantage of the remaining warm weather by having a romantic rooftop picnic.  I picked up baguettes, a bottle of rosé, and a couple of cheeses from on my way back from ballet class, and the Mister cut up ripe peaches and heirloom tomatoes from the farmers market.  We toted all of it up to our building’s roof deck, and spent a few hours picnicking and enjoying the breeze and the sunset, and a little quiet time together.

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California love notes

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This is the last of my love letters to California, at least until late September when we’re scheduled to be back for another couple of weeks.  I already miss her rocky coastline and golden fields.  I want to buy avocados 9 for $1. I want to take long drives with the windows down and have the air switch back and forth from smelling like the salty sea to eucalyptus every few blocks.  I want to stuff myself silly with tacos, and then I want to burn a little in the sun, only to have the landscape taken over by rolling fog few minutes later.  I want to drink a bottle of local wine very slowly and sleep in late, all curled up against my Mister.  We have a bunch of other adventures lined up for this summer, but right now my heart belongs to the west coast.

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I didn’t hear the night song

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Wanderings: California summer

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As much as I longed for summer during the long winter, late June is when my part of the East Coast starts to get uncomfortably swampy.  Lucky for me, we’re in California for the rest of the month, and the mix of sun, fog and the ocean breeze have me in a very happy place.

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I feel it in the air

Memorial Day usually marks the beginning of summer, and I’m feeling excited about the days ahead.  We have a lot of traveling to do over the next few months, but mostly I’m ready for warm nights, the smell of freshly grilled food, and long days spent in the company of good friends.

Blueberry Plum Upside-Down Cake

Blueberries and Plums

Blueberries and Plums

Summer fruits seem to be peaking.  Peaches are heaven right now and blueberries are just about gone.  I’m wishing for another slice of this blueberry plum upside down cake.  I’m more of a savory person, than sweet tooth, so desserts that go easy on sugar are just right for me.  I believe this recipe came from Martha Stewart.

Fruit in the Springform pan, pre-batter

Fruit in the Springform pan, pre-batter

Blueberry plum upside-down cake

Blueberry plum upside-down cake

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