Thunder Moon actually began over a week ago (last Saturday – complete with New Moon Pizza featuring roast duck, rhubarbicue (in lieu of tomato) sauce, diced green onions, shredded kale, and dried cherries – it was a really sweet pizza) and, yes, it’s been raining – less thunder and more drizzle, most of the time, but raining – for much of the week.
It’s that time of year.
Atypically (I think… I’ll have to check my records) for this time of year, though, it’s been really, really cold (for a given value of “really, really” wherein “cold” means a high of 23C rather than 36C) – right up until about yesterday, anyway. Usually it’s a lot, well, hotter than it was last week – though the temperatures have climbed back up to waht I think of as “normal”, which is nice.
None the less, the tomatoes (in my neighbourhood’s many front-yard gardens) don’t appear to be suffering, and the squash and beans continue to do their Thing in spite of the chill. So there’s that.
I’ve been checking out the plants that grow along the weedy margins of my neighbourhood – the cliff-grown scrub along Bronson, for example, and the edges of people’s un/der-tended front yards, and I’ve found (a) Catnip, (b) Soapwort / Bouncing Bet and (c) Mugwort. I didn’t even know we had mugwort growing around here. 😀 As a side note, while I’m doing roast pork for Fabulous Friday Dinner this week, if I can swing a chicken thighs to braise in the near future, I might just do it like a tagine with fresh catnip (which tastes like lemon and mint combined) and red currants thrown in with the cinnamon, paprika, sweet potatoes, onion, and cilantro.
The apple tree up the street from me is starting to drop its green-and-red apples all over the street. I put a Hidden Harvest Ottawa flyer in their mail box, and we’ll see if they call – the house is for sale, so they might not. Who knows. Hard to believe that apple season is already upon us. It feels like the summer’s going by like it’s on wings. O.O
Lammas is this weekend – we’ll be spending it on the acreage of a couple of friends of ours (the folks who let me
pillage “tidy-in-exchange-for-free-veggies” their garden last year) – and its influence hangs over Thunder Moon every year. Just like the rain, the harvest comes in torrents: Ontario’s Yummy Season, I’ve heard this time of year called. Case in point: I went to the “Marche Vieux Hull” today at noon, a fairly small farmer’s market just up the street from my contract-building where people had everything from kale, patty-pan squash, and snap-peas to eggplant, garlic, and even bell peppers available. I got half a dozen baby-beets with their tops still on, a little bouquet of garlic scapes, and a moderately sized eggplant for the bargain price of $7 (which is better than I’d get for Ontario produce at the Metro, so I’ll take it). Now is the time to be bringing in those annual veggies, enjoying them fresh-and-delicious, but also preserving them to eat through the cold months ahead.
In the same vein, Thunder Moon can be a tad bit overwhelming. Maybe you’re freaking out just a little at the thought of having to stock up on Back To School supplies (for yourself or your kids), or else are running yourself ragged trying to display (and sell) your wares at the last of the big summer festivals and fairs. Maybe you’re like my wife, and the time between June and September is when you’re work-load basically triples what with all the boots coming in for repairs.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, some gentle social time – think small groups of people you know and love – might be a good way to give yourself a break (and enjoy the season’s bounty). Backyard barbicues and pot-lucks focussed on “extravagant salads” are one way to do this, so are days at the beach (if you’re good with crowds and it’s not too drizzly). If some Alone Time is what you really need, getting away for an overnight camping trip (midweek, if you can swing it, ‘cause there’ll be fewer people around) might be just the ticket.
Myself, I’m hoping to spend most of Thunder Moon (starting on Tuesday, if not slightly earlier) putting up peach butter, peach chutney, and tomato-peach salsa, along with freezing golden zucchini in various forms (grated-and-drained + diced-and-blanched) for later use this winter.
Cooking is my self-care. What can I say? 😉
Meliad, the Birch Maiden.
 Think “grilled eggplant, peppers, mushrooms, and patty-pan squash tossed with olive oil plus fresh rosemary and lemon-thyme” or “chilled steamed beets – roots AND tops – served with goat cheese and crumbled walnuts” or “diced cucumbers with fresh dill and cilantro dressed in yoghurt” or “a rainbow of halved cherry tomatoes tossed with tiny mozzarella balls and shredded fresh basil, drizzled with balsamic vinegar” or “quinoa tossed with quick-steamed golden zucchini rounds, fresh (shelled) snap peas, fresh red currants, and shredded catmint”… You get the idea.
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