Landscape is the first born of creation. It was here hundreds of millions of years before the flowers, the animals, or the people appeared. Landscape was here on its own. It is the most ancient presence in the world, though it needs a human presence to acknowledge it.
~ John O’Donohue, Anam Cara
If we were having coffee, tea, water, lemonade, or something more potently potable, I would be delighted to see you again. Hugs if you’re open to them. Come on in out of the heat! It’s awful out there, isn’t it? Like a lot of areas in the U.S. on this sweltering Saturday, we are under a heat advisory. It was 114°F on the deck recently. The current temperature is about 94°F. Those who calculate such things say it feels like 111°F. I think we’ll stay put inside today and enjoy the air conditioning.
How are you? What have you been up to lately? Have you traveled anywhere? Taken a staycation? Learned anything new? Have you gone on any good walks or hikes? Read any good books or watched any good films?
I recently finished reading The Liars’ Club: A Memoir by Mary Karr. It was so engaging that I decided to read her next book, Cherry. Not right away, mind you. I’ll have to wait until I obtain a copy either by purchasing it or by borrowing it through the local library system. In the meantime, I’m reading Revival: A Novel by Stephen King. It’s been a good and fast read — perfect for a busy summer — and I should finish it today. The subject matter is interesting, and King does a good job, as usual, of moving the plot along.
This week or next, when things slow down, I am also going to start reading Within Easy Reach by Jane Tims of nichepoetryandprose. I’ve had the book for a couple of weeks, and haven’t started it yet because I want to be able to take my time and savor it. I love Jane’s poetry and artwork, and I’m looking forward to reading her book. I first met Jane through blogging, and we’ve exchanged a few letters and cards here and there. I was hoping I might have a chance to meet her in person when M and I traveled to New Brunswick, but we had so much packed into such a short trip that I was unable to. Next time, for sure. (And there will be a next time because I love the Canadian Maritimes and plan to visit up that way again in the next few years. Or maybe I’ll move there if U.S. politics drive me to wanting to leave for a while.)
If we were having coffee or some other beverage, I would tell you that I went to Assateague this week to meet up with a friend and her people (or “peopling” as she calls them, and those peopling consist of a boyfriend and his children) . It was hot and muggy, although not nearly as hot as it is today. It was also quite buggy. Even so, we managed to have a good time although I’m not sure the kidlets who were with us appreciated the sun, the heat, or the mosquitoes and green head flies. The wild horses looked uncomfortable, too. Fortunately, we did find some horses, including one of the new foals (there are four this year). It probably wasn’t the best introduction to the island. I’m hoping the children and their father make it back again someday when the weather is more agreeable. Late fall, winter, and early spring are, in my opinion, the best time to visit Assateague Island but, as we all know, I’m biased towards cold weather. Bring on winter!
If we were having coffee, tea, or something else to drink, you might have noticed the scent of tomatoes, onions, peppers, garlic, red wine, and spices in the air. It’s harvest time here at the ranch, and I’m making a pasta sauce for freezing. I was going to call it a “marinara” sauce, but there’s more to it than a classic marinara. The sauce has been cooking down, and I suspect it will be perfuming the air in the house for a few days to come since we won’t be opening the windows any time soon. I suspect M and I will be constantly feeling hungry just from inhaling the scent.
I also have a vegetable stifado (stew) simmering. You might not think of stew for a hot summer’s day meal, but this is filled with summer vegetables and it’s one of my favorite dishes. In the pot you’ll find onions, garlic, potatoes, eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, peppers, tomatoes, rosemary, and dill. Almost everything in the stew comes either from our garden or from the local farmers market. Only the lemon juice and black pepper come from Elsewhere. (If you want to know more about it, you can find a post I wrote on my old blog that included the recipe here.)
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am getting set to start another challenge on Monday just to get myself back in gear, so to speak. This summer has been so filled with ups and downs and all-arounds that I’ve gotten off track with my usual routines including a good exercise program, yoga, and meditation. Well, maybe not the meditation because my walks are often meditative. I also need to clean up my diet. I’ve been overindulging in a lot of junk, cheese, and meat. I need a good challenge to get back on track. I’m going to start with what used to be my regular morning routine: exercise (cardio or strength, depending on the day), yoga, and meditation. My eating habits might take care of themselves since we are harvesting tons of vegetables right now and the farmers markets make up for whatever we haven’t grown so that there is variety in my diet. There is still some cheese in the fridge that will have to be taken care of (eaten). Once that’s gone, we’ll go back to the occasional strong cheese for those occasions when we’re craving it. A vacation from alcohol may be in order, too. Since blogging about my challenges seems to bring out success, I’ll probably be writing more about the specifics of my challenge once I get started.
If we were having coffee, tea, or something else, I would tell you that it’s probably time for me to turn this over to you. I need to get the pasta sauce into freezer containers, and then I’m going out for a swim. You’re welcome to stay for a while and join me in the pool. In fact, head on out there now if you like. Later we can see about the sunset. It’s so hot, muggy, and buggy that I’m not sure I feel like heading over to the Point, but you never know. I might change my mind. Sunset is at 7:58 PM now. The days are growing shorter, and I’ve also noted that the sunlight streams in the windows in the evenings at a different angle now. I’m excited to see the change in light. It means an eventual end to summer, a season I try to appreciate but I’m always glad to see depart.
Thank you so much for visiting and joining me for another coffee chat. Be good, be kind, be loving. Just Be. 🙂
This post is in response to Part Time Monster’s #WeekendCoffeeShare. Thank you to Diana for hosting it. Also, a big congratulations for the #WeekendCoffeeShare being featured on WordPress’s Daily Post. So glad to see it being shared among the rest of the community! Put the kettle on, start the coffee maker, open a bottle of wine, or whatever your preference is, and join us. I’d love to hear all about what you were up to this week.