Ah, Summer…

It’s not that I haven’t been in the garden.  I keep forgetting my camera when I go.  It’s been a good garden year.  I was able to pickle cucumbers and this morning, I’m putting up a second batch of tomato sauce.

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I had to use the tomatoes I wouldn’t be eating in the next four days. These will be okay while I’m gone.

I work in pretty small batches of three to four pint jars at a time.  It works with the way I seem to get tomatoes and I can whip up a batch of sauce or whatever I’m making in a short time instead of making a whole day of it. Also, since I’m only one person, I don’t need lots of great big jars stored away.

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Other than pesto, there’s just nothing like opening a jar of home canned tomatoes in the winter.

It’s now late summer and the cicadas are singing and evenings are cooling down.  We had the most extraordinary few days of weather only about 80 degrees and very low humidity.  I’ve had my windows open, enjoying all the outdoor grassy smells and the cicada singing–and of course, I’ve heard the birds in the morning and evening as well.

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Heating the lids…

It’s turning warmer again in the next few days, though, which is fine by me, as I’m heading off to the beach with a friend and it must be hot at the beach, as far as I’m concerned. That way I can lie around in the sun, soaking up rays like a little lizard, run into the water to cool off as necessary, and of course, shelter under a beach umbrella and read a good mystery.

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A few filled jars, with a leaf of basil tucked in each…

Other than gardening, this summer, I have also been reading.  Most recently, some essays by Richard Russo, The Destiny Thief, which have some interesting discussions of creativity and the writing life from the perspective of someone whose professors did not expect him to be a novelist.  The title essay is about a conversation he had in middle age with a former classmate their professors expected to be a successful novelist–who went on to be a professor instead. I also read Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel, and I have to say it was pretty terrible.  I kept reading, expecting it to get better, but I can’t remember a worse novel in recent years.  It managed to be both tedious and horrifying.  Like Our Souls at Night, I wanted to throw it at the wall when I was done, but unlike that novel, whose story arc I just disliked, this one was both frustrating and pointless.

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Tomato sauces take a 35 minute hot water bath because without pressure cooking them it takes that long to kill off the spores of evil organisms.

I also just finished Warlight by Michael Ondaatje.  I must confess to having read much of his output (except the poetry; and that’s because I read less poetry than prose) and liked it all. He has moved back and forth in time and geography in his novels, showing deftness and imagination of the best fiction writers.  His prose can also be the sort that makes me, a greedy reader, slow down and stop at the end of a chapter to absorb imagery and layers of possible meaning.  Warlight is narrated by a child looking back on events, with all the acknowledgement of misunderstanding, acceptance of the puzzling as normal, and ultimately revelations in adulthood.  It’s worth a read if you want to sink your teeth into something layered and mysterious.

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I also got this eggplant from the garden. I’ll be fixing it today, since it won’t last the week.

I’ll be heading to the bookstore for something I can take to the beach with me.  I’m currently reading Good Omens by Neil Gaiman.  It’s not my usual thing, but it’s rippingly funny.  Unfortunately, it’s on my iPad, which I won’t be dropping into a beach bag. It tends to heat up in the sun.

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Some finished jars cooling…

So have a good week, all! I’ll be slathering myself with sunscreen and walking the beach, wearing the calluses off my feet.  And I’ll try to drop by some of your virtual porches to say hello.

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I wish I could share my bounteous crop of basil with you…it’s getting that end of summer look to it. More pesto!

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30 Responses to Ah, Summer…

  1. When did you move to the Garden of Eden, you lucky thing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your tomato bounty leaves me salivating….. there is nothing like home grown tomatoes and home grown and made tomato sauces of all kinds. I wish I lived closer, I’d be inviting myself over for dinner! Have a wonderful week at the beach and I hope you find a good book to take with you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      Hi Pauline! I got more books than I can read at the beach and will only take two. If you lived nearby, I’d be bringing my basil over, not to mention having you over for dinner! I had part of that lovely eggplant tonight with some tomatoes and a bit of cheese. It was fabulously tasty!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Eliza Waters says:

    Looks like you’re getting set for the winter with preserves of yummy tomatoes and pesto. Where has the summer gone? Enjoy your beach vacation. I’m rather envious. The ocean is such a balm.

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      Yes, the sound and the smell and the mesmerizing sights of the ocean are indeed balm. I do well in sight of lakes and rivers as well, but they are different. Only a few more weeks of summer, then we’ll be into the next season…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. tonytomeo says:

    Summer lasts at least through September for us, and part way through October. Some of the tomatoes wear themselves out before the first frost! I still need to get to the elderberries, but the doves and pigeons have been very busy with them, and did not leave many for me.

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  5. Robin says:

    Have a wonderful time at the beach! Looks like the weather will be just the way you like it for most of the week. 🙂

    Your tomatoes look so much better than ours which have not done well at all this year. I’ve been unable to get enough to make sauce to can. Our basil, on the other hand, is flourishing. We’ll be eating more pesto than tomato sauce over the winter, I think.

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      Thanks, Robin. It’s funny how things vary in the same region! But pesto is so lovely, you’ll be enjoying that as well. I just planted more basil than I normally do. It’s like okra; if you want a good batch, you need more than one plant!

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  6. Congrats on all the gardening, reaping, and reading, Lisa. Our garden has also done well this year. We use our basil to make a ‘sauce’ with garlic and olive oil (and a bit of salt) and slather it on everything.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Impressive produce and tomato soup. A shame about the Martel novel. Do have a really good holiday

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  8. KerryCan says:

    I love the photos of the sauce process! What mystery will you read while on vacation???

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  9. And a good week to you! Neil Gaimon is a favorite of mine. Surprise, surprise! As for summer…this northern girl is ready for it to be OVER. So hot, so humid. And no A/C.

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      Ooh, I lived here for 10 years before I had air conditioning, but I’m awfully glad I have it now. The beach was fabulous–and hot, but with a breeze and 69 degree water, just about right. Gaiman was often retweeted by people I follow and he’s so nice to his avid fans, I looked into him. When’ your next book coming out? (not to rush you…editing a book is work…)

      Liked by 1 person

      • You must have been very warm in the summer before you had air conditioning. Wonderful about Neil Gaiman! My next book—“Library Lost”—will be coming out the end of October. (You sure got that right about editing.) Thanks for asking!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Sylvie G says:

    What a beautiful garden ! I suppose the light is becoming special now, as it tends to do at this time of year. I can smell all the goodness. I share a dislike of Yann Martel, I have never been able to read more than 20 pages. I will definitely not bother with reading this one. Ondaatje is on my list but I am barred from reading until I finish my own writing/editing (takes more time than expected). The preserved tomatoes will be a real comfort in winter.

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    • arlingwoman says:

      Editing is a whole other job after a novel or piece of writing. The only good thing about it (other than that it often makes things better), is that it takes a completely different part of the brain…

      Like

  11. Maria says:

    The harvest looks exquisite. Congrats Lisa! The tomato sauce looks delicious and so does the eggplant. I bet you made something similar to this:
    https://www.fromvalerieskitchen.com/baked-eggplant-parmesan/

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    • arlingwoman says:

      I sliced it thinly, broiled the slices on both sides, and marinated them in a lemon, olive oil, garlic parsley and basil marinate. They make a lovey antipasto you can roll around cheese or meat or just roll up an eat! That, however, is a lovely recipe for eggplant parmigiana!

      Like

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