This was our fifth week of summer break.
The monsoon has arrived, right on cue. Rainfall totals have been modest so far, but the afternoons bring the clouds I long for during relentlessly sunny June. As summer months go, I prefer July and August. Friday evening brought a brief storm and a lovely double rainbow.
Our hibiscuses are in bloom now, along with roses of Sharon and my hardy, hard-to-kill volunteer nicotianas in the planter around the water feature.
Our vegetables and fruits are doing well. The grapes, planted three years ago, will have their most prolific harvest so far. There are a few ripe cherry tomatoes every day and our lettuces have produced enough for a few really nice salads. The apples are only weeks from ripeness, with the boughs nearly touching the brick patio in the backyard.
We're eating basil almost every day. Finally, I've managed to have a basil plant survive outdoors. It's harder than it seems, at least for me. This week's standout meals using basil were homemade pizzas (with our favorite toppings, mushrooms and black olives) on Saturday night, and a pasta dish for dinner earlier in the week - penne pasta tossed with chopped tomatoes, basil, ricotta cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper. That recipe came from a woman I knew when I was teaching, before the small Bears were born. I've made it again and again.
On Saturday, we went to the Downtown Grower's Market (in Robinson Park at 8th and Central, if you're local). It was jam-packed with people and so many good things to buy. We made a picnic lunch, eaten there in the park, of a baguette, creamy cheese with capers, a slice of raspberry flan and an almond croissant, all split between the four of us. Absolutely delicious - fresh and local too.
My pirate ship is almost finished! I'm kind of sad about that, actually, though I love the way it's turning out. I just have a few more rows of watery shapes to add under the waves - some fish, bubbles, etc. There are plenty of other projects lined up but this one has been really fun.
The geraniums I planted in the whiskey barrel have done so well. I'm actually a little surprised at how lushly they have grown, but as I learned a couple of years ago, all you really need is (lots of) water.
Our library visits have resumed after our little trip to Colorado. This week, there was a musical performer who taught the children about nutrition. I've been proud of both of my kids for participating in the shows this summer. They were shy about before now. I think it's great because I never got over that shyness myself. They're having fun and gaining confidence. (Also, the book in the jar this week was The Fellowship of the Ring; I'll let you know if I win).
The Bear made a special treat one night, runzas. Have you ever had them? They consist of a dough pocket filled with a mixture of meat and cabbage. Some people call them cabbage burgers. He grew up eating them in northern Colorado near the Nebraska border. Runzas are popular in Nebraska, Kansas, and other parts of the Midwest. There's even a fast-food restaurant that serves them. I like our homemade ones much better, though. They're a lot of work, but we love 'em.
I started playing with yarn again. Nothing to share yet, but I'm thinking about blowing through my worsted acrylic stash with a new lap blanket for the living room. Every time I think I have enough blankets around the house, someone suggests that I make another. They like having lots, they say. Who am I to argue?
I hope you're having a good weekend. Happy Fourth of July!