As the Boise area lurches toward a new and chilly season, I pause to mourn for the loss of longer days, warm sunshine and the sound of summer sprinklers, and new adventures in the kitchen.
Oh how I miss it already. I wish we were just starting summer again with all that it brings.
This year we were blessed when a friend gave us 5 or 6 different types of heirloom tomatoes (I’ve asked the Professor to thank her repeatedly in hopes that she’ll demonstrate the same generosity next year). Some of them – here barely ahead of next week’s first frost – have yet to ripen. No matter. We’ll pick them anyway. Fried green tomatoes, green tomato pie, sauces, and maybe even jams. And we’ll put some in the basement, wrapped in newspaper, where they’ll continue ripening. I’ve used them in salads and even had a few tomato and onion sandwiches this year. Nothing says “It’s summer!” like a ripe, juicy tomato.
There’s a tremendous sense of satisfaction in seeing and eating the fruit of your labor. I planted various peppers including a mild jalapeno this year. Next year I’ll do the same but also add a medium pepper for the zing-factor they add to familliar and new recipes. Next year I’m going to get to all of my basil before it flowers and keep the dill and cilantro alive. But I did use a lot of fresh basil and even made some pretty good pesto.
Concord and green grapes. Apricots and peaches. Red cherries from our old trees and yellow cherries from the new. The old cherry trees were prolific producers this year. I picked enough to bruise my fingers on the pitter but the cobbler was worth it, claims the Professor. The plum trees out back yielded some pretty tart and yummy freezer jam, and the apple trees, treats for the horses and flavorful chunky applesauce.
There were lots of wonderful things about summer ( and a few good things about retirement, chiefly having more time to tend and harvest the garden). But maybe most of all, I’ll miss our meals on the porch and back patio. Lesiurely, special times outdoors with the Professor and a nice bottle of red, an oasis in a busy and sometimes nasty world.
Oh, I’m going to miss summer. Maybe I’ll take a deep dive into some new soup recipes for the next nine months. Because look out. Like it or not, here comes cold weather.
I’m not ready. How about you?