Monday, August 8, 2022

Beaches and Sunflowers

 Last Friday   PH and I went to the beach.  This was a  particular state park new to me and I think it's my new favorite.  Our state parks are tributes  to Michigan and the lake.  Our Great lakes outline  Michigan and define it in so many ways. You can easily find Michigan on a map of the U.S. because there it is, surrounded by big water.  You can't see across. The lakes are, in my mine, inland seas. Fresh water, no sharks, clean,  they are our pride.



 
We walked the pier and this was a long pier walk. It was a very hot day Friday and we felt every bit of the 95 degrees.  I show this photo  because it turned out PH was the  hit of the day on the beach, on the pier, in the parking lot, well - everywhere.  Do you see what's on his shirt?  It says, "Yes, Dear."  I had this shirt made for him many, many years ago.  I told him it was the correct response to everything.  But never has he gotten so many comments on it.  Old people sitting on the beach - husbands and wives, young girls in bikinis, men in the bar  where we stopped for lunch, young husbands, young wives, everywhere we went people passed him and commented on his shirt.  He said he felt like he was a chick magnet.
 
 
Just like our fruits and veggies, everything has its season.  While we are now eating corn on the cob and peaches August is also sunflowers.  Aren't these great?  A friend  brought them to me when  they came for dinner the other day.  She can always be counted on to bring a bouquet of sunflowers! I keep cutting the stems down as they start to droop so we can enjoy them as long as possible because the next season is chrysanthemums and apples/pears/pumpkins.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Blue Berries

This morning we picked blueberries.  Never, ever have I run out of blueberries in the freezer but this year I did.  We have to do a major restock and that means 30 pounds.  This morning we got about 10 pounds (I forgot to pay attention so figured it from what we paid) and judging from  the scarcity we realized we are a bit late at this game this year. Blueberries last well into  mid to late August  but we were also at a place new to us and weren't thrilled with their picking rules.  PH and I have each picked berries our whole lives, and together for 50 years. We know what we are doing and pick well and  clean so we were taken aback at the rules of this place. I suppose it's because we go to favorite places so often we've come to know the growers and they know us and this place didn't.  So, for now, we got  some berries but not all.



 

 

And look! I attached the border yesterday and I do love it.  Thus the title for this post...blue  berries, in this case  the blue strawberries and  our pickin's.   One is one word and one is two.

I was so excited to see it I just whipped it off the machine (groan) and  put it on the floor, thus the wonkiness of the layout.  It isn't straightened nor ironed. 

 I really love it and  thank all of you who weighed in on using this fabric.  It IS perfect.

And our berry picking turned into a foraging expedition because we stopped at two farmstands and at the second we found  THE FIRST SWEET CORN OF THE SEASON.  This is almost as exciting as the first strawberries.  When this happens PH and I make a supper of it.  We each have two ears and call it supper. I can't wait for tonight!



Thursday, July 21, 2022

Strawberries and Tomatoes

 I don't usually do this.  I usually  do my own  choosing of fabrics...well, with PH's opinion sometimes, too. If I like something I  put other somethings in the mix and then ask his opinion.  We usually agree.   

Last night I went into the stash to try to find a border for the churn dash quilt and my eyes fell on this. It has been living in the stash for a few years (but not as long as some have!)   I absolutely love it.  It's blue.  It's strawberry.  What's not to love?  So, like a favorite blouse, I didn't want to use it.


But I do think it plays well with the churn dashes.  The blue seems to fit, the berry theme of many of the middles seems to fit.
So I'm thinking this could be when I use this favorite, special, much stroked piece of fabric. What do you think?  I won't cut it till I hear from someone else.  Like I said, I don't usually ask for outside opinions but  I do love these blue strawberries and don't want to be sorry I used it here.


AND would you look at these!  The first tomatoes from my two  robust tomato plants!  I have a very, very hard time getting a tomato plant to produce.  I try every year because I want the convenience of   going out the door and picking a tomato for a BLT.  But every year I am disappointed.  I vow every year "never again." But every spring I try again.  This is the first time in living memory I am getting actual edible tomatoes for ME before the squirrels, mice or latest tomato disease gets them. I planted two plants, they are small, which is good because I'm really not a tomato alone eater. But I love a good BLT.

 In the summer, during tomato season I have a BLT every single day. Yup. It's the one time of the year we have a steady supply of bread in the house.  A BLT is only as good as your T and your B. Sometimes I substitute basil for the L but otherwise it's a basic sandwich everyday that I have a good T to contribute.  So this is 12 days worth!  So far. There are many green to orange ones out there and it's so hot they are  ripening fast.  Yesterday I picked  4, today I picked 8!

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Churn, churn, churn

 Churnin' right along with  Chooky's churn dash SAL I've completed the squares and put them together. I decided on the row look rather than the on-point look. 

I like it, it's subtle. Blues, centers with reds, surrounded by soft green and sashed with a quiet blue stripe.
But now I think it needs a  border. So I'm stuck at least for awhile till I think it out. What do you think? Border?

 

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Pea Pickin'

 It's time for peas.  I don't eat them.  PH does and a few years ago we found a place that grows and sells them from a little stand in their driveway.  This year we thought we were going to miss them. The word has gotten out about this place and these peas and they are going fast.   But Sunday I got the word. "We have peas!!  We will open at 10:30!" So  we got in the car and headed out.

We  watched as the washed peas were scooped into bags and sold as fast as they could be scooped. Cars constantly coming in and out.
I wandered around the back of the shack and found the owner/farmer washing the peas.  He said that the day before they sold this black horse trough full of peas (full to the very brim) in 56 minutes. Notice there are two of these troughs there. 
The peas are double washed, stirred with kayak paddles, and sold faster than they can manage.  The owner/farmer told me they have people from all over Michigan, a man drove over from the lakeshore in his Mercedes for a bag of peas, they had people from Indiana and Kentucky!  For peas?  Really?  Who in Kentucky says to spouse, "Let's drive 12 hours for a bag of peas???"
Lucky for us, it was just a 20 minute drive but considering how fast they were selling, that can be too far!  PH bought  6 quarts.   I was advised to wash them again and put them in the freezer but they keep very nicely for a couple of days if you just cover them in water.
 

Friday, July 8, 2022

Concerts

 When we moved to Lowell and I saw how the riverfront walk was used I  said it was Lowell's front porch. It's where you can see someone reading on a quiet afternoon or strolling with a dog or eating at a restaurant open to the river or meeting a friend. The area runs from Main street along the river past the library. It's a beautiful space.

It is also where concerts are held on the stage on Thursday evenings all summer.  And let me tell you, nothing fills this front porch like the concerts.  Last night was no exception.  People talk about a perfect storm?  Well, combine the Thursday night concert with a hugely popular band, the absolutely gorgeous summer evening, the Riverwalk Festival beginning at that moment and you get 

this, the biggest crowd ever. 
And this is only part of it.  People were sitting every single where possible, even in the parking lot. They were dancing, walking, hugging, enjoying every single thing about last night.  This empty space you see? Not for long. And you know what?  It was peaceful.  People were happy.  People were there to enjoy the music, to dance, to be together and I doubt even one person worried someone would spoil it.

One of our Lowell people, Bruce Doll, is a photographer. Bruce makes it his mission to document life in Lowell.  He is everywhere,  documenting everything and we are all grateful to him for his passion.  If you want to see what life in Lowell is then look up his FB page. We are all there.  We are so used to seeing him with his camera pointed at us no one ducks.  We all smile big for him.

Last night, silly me, I thought I would take some photos to show what WE do on concert nights.  But we were slammed, busier than we've ever  been, sold out of everything we had and hardly looked up. Bruce generously said I could use some of his photos here.  Like I said, he really is generous with his mission of documenting our lives.

And here we are, our little booth that PH and I work in more than half of the concerts.  He is grilling (green apron) and I am in the navy shirt.  Don ( in stripes) is PH's bun man.  PH needs a someone to hear the order and put the buns on the plate, open, so he can just slide the burger or dog on. It can get intense.  The  friend in blue checks was there to learn PH's technique and tips because we aren't going to be there next week.
  Our Adelaide is a popcorn maker, too. She loves making the popcorn and we get many comments about how nice it is to see a middle schooler working with a bunch of  old fogies. She is a take charge kind of kid and so good at it I'm a bit afraid for my job!   She spelled me last night so I could be the runner when we needed more supplies in the stock room.   It's a simple set up but last night we were absolutely gobsmacked. 

                                                 It looks so peaceful from afar!
 
And this lady with the Mona Lisa smile is enjoying her last Riverfront Festival as director of the Chamber of Commerce.  She is retiring and everyone is scratching their heads wondering who the city can possibly find to fill her shoes. Under her care Lowell has done nothing but grow.





Thursday, June 30, 2022

June 30 and Strawberries

It's the end of the month so this is the end of clothes hanging on the line photos. It was fun to revisit some of my photos and remember  what I did to get the shot.  Sometimes a little trespassing was happening and sometimes some hiding in bushes but mostly not.


The end of June also marks the almost end of strawberry season.  There are some pickings left but it's more work now.  I think we will go picking  one more time for one more pie.
 
This is almost exclusively what we do with our berries.  We aren't jam people, it can take us a whole year to eat one jar of jam so I don't bother making it, but accept a gifted jar once in awhile.

Yesterday I read Friend Laurie's post and started thinking of the many different ways we would rather eat strawberries.  When we were sitting in her kitchen this morning we clarified things a little. It just goes to show ya there is a different way to do everything and we all do what we were raised doing -  most of the time. This brought me to thinking of  "would you rather."  We used to  have conversations that started this way when the kids were younger and there always was some thinking in the replies.  Lots of wishful thinking. 


After reading Laurie's post I got to thinking, WE cut the berries, sugar them a LITTLE and wait for them to juice a tiny bit  to put on ice cream. WE don't eat  strawberry shortcake with biscuits, it's pound cake for us. In fact I can't even remember when we've last had strawberry shortcake because this pie has taken over our strawberry life.  WE don't munch the berries to partial mush and then sugar them and put them on a biscuit because that just creates soggy bread.  I have a physical reaction to soggy bread ( no French toast or bread pudding in this house.) Laurie said it's a sacrilege to put ice cream on pound cake and then top with strawberries. For her, it's absolutely no ice cream and only whipped cream is allowed.  Whipped cream is the fattening part, right? So it's ice cream for us.

We laughed about the rights and wrongs of strawberries  but one thing we agreed on, strawberry season in Michigan is just too short.  Of course we have to gorge on them.