Saturday, August 30, 2008

How To Spend a Late Summer Saturday

It all started here:

And that turned into this, multiplied by 6 (and those tomato plants are not done producing yet)!

I spent 4 hours peeling and chopping...

...eventually filling four pots.

The canning pot doing its job.

Net? 44 pints of stewed tomatoes. Not bad for a day's work.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Home Again

My grandson saying farewell to summer...

Coming back from vacation is never as much fun as heading off on one but there is a certain satisfaction in returning home. My cottage welcomed me back with a last blossoming of fairy roses, the cat with purrs and leg weavings, and the garden with an over abundance of vegetables just waiting to be picked, pickled, packed in jars or simply eaten out of hand where I stood.

I've missed reading at my favorite sites but I haven't missed being indoors. Every day in Maine was spent on the beach or near the water or just out of doors lounging in a lawn chair. Lots of salt air, marvelous seafood, and the company of family made my time away worth every moment.

Ah, but it's good to be back in my own bed, in my own home, on my own time. School starts next week and with it comes the resurgence of the alarm clock and the hurry-up schedule and less outdoor time. I will spend the last few days jarring tomatoes, pickling cucumbers, and freezing eggplant. Between bouts with the canning pot, I will take long walks and longer bicycle rides, reveling in the freedom of the open road and the waning light.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Going Away

I'm off for a week to the coast of Maine. It will be a family affair. I'm leaving the tomatoes to ripen on their own and the squash to grow to the size of ocean liners. The cukes will be transformed into pickles before I leave but the peppers are already stuffed and awaiting their appearance as a winter meal.

Both the beets and carrots will be ready for pulling when I return and the little nubbins on the corn stalks will be full fledged ears. The end of August will go by in a rush of preserving and canning.

I'll bring pictures home with me, and wonderful memories of sunsets over the water, and laughter. See you anon.

photo credit:

Monday, August 04, 2008

A Wedding in the Family

August 2, 2008

Dear Jen and Tony,

Today is the day you have chosen to show that the two of you as individuals have also become one couple. You have decided to walk through the rest of your lives together. Living is both beautiful and difficult. It helps to have a hand to hold when you rejoice and when you need comfort. The poet Kahlil Gibran had these words to say about marriage.

"You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. "

Being together does not mean every moment. Don’t forget to take time to nourish the individual that you are so that when you are called upon to give more than you think you can, you will discover a seemingly miraculous reserve of love and compassion.

"Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music."

In one sense, love is already a bond. It is the thread that runs through all our lives, connecting us one to the other. Love is such an inclusive concept—among its attributes are patience and understanding, kindness and courage, affection and truth. But a false idea of love can blind us; we can mistake possession and need and jealousy for love. Remember to recognize your strengths and share them readily but don’t sublimate them.

"Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow."

Remember to join hands and face the future together, both of you looking not at each other but outward along the same path. Help each other over the rocky places and at the end of each day, celebrate the joy you find in each other’s lives and in your own.