Sunday, July 3, 2016

Summer, this week
















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!

28 comments:

  1. Great photo's especially the beautiful double rainbow one at the end. I have never heard of Runzas before and they sound delishous. Have a lovely week. Leah x

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  2. I really wish I was able to grow basil outside, but it is dang near impossible here!
    Ellie
    Xxx

    www.thiscountrygirlsjournal.com

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  3. The cross stitch is looking so pretty. It is such an interesting pattern. I've been thinking about a scrappy type of blanket to use up some of my stash. I haven't decided on a pattern yet. I do know I want continuous rows. After sewing granny squares I need a break from a block style blanket. Have a nice week, Lisa

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  4. Your summer sounds wonderful and your cross stitch is perfect. I wish you and your family a wonderful 4th of July weekend.
    Meredith

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  5. 5 weeks already. Goodness how time flies! My poor, poor hibiscus isn't able to handle the 120+ weather we've been having. It started producing new buds but I think they are drying up without ever blooming. Will try to move it to our other balcony that doesn't get the afternoon sun. Love geraniums but they never ever last here. Have a great 4th!

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  6. Runzas are a new one on me, they sound brilliant. The pizza looks absolutely delicious as well. Fantastic double rainbow, and beautiful geraniums, your garden is doing well. Glad you've had another good week of the holidays. We are down to our last three weeks of school now, then we'll be free too, hurray. CJ xx

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  7. Another good week for you and yours, Jennifer. Your pirate ship is coming along beautifully! :o)

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  8. Your pirate ship is VERY cute! I love it!
    Lovely pictures, Jennifer!
    Yay for yarny doings!

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  9. enjoyed your post as always! lovely ship!!! fun about the garden! you sound relieved about the monsoons! I hope this day is a good one for you! and yay for your kids!!!

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  10. You have such lovely photos to share today! I enjoyed each one. I never heard of runza but it sounds very good!

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  11. Your pizza looks delicious! How do you get your crust so nice and thin?

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    1. Thanks, Julia! We just roll it out and stretch it a lot. It takes some practice and he's much better at it than I am, but it usually makes a nice, crisp crust. :)

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  12. I agree, that pizza looks superb! Love the double rainbow photo and your pirate ship is lovely. How nice that your family requests more blankets - I think mine tolerate mine at best! Enjoy the rain. xx

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  13. Great photo of the double rainbow. Sounds like an amazing summer to me, good food, a craft project, a delightful garden and great company. What could be better!

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  14. Your pizza sounds wonderful, we had mushroom pizza for lunch yesterday. Hope you have a great week x

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  15. happy 4th of July Jennifer. x oh those rainbow. WOW x

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  16. Happy Fourth of July! Your plants are indeed doing well. We like pizza with mushroom and olives too, plus onions. Your pirate ship is so sweet.

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  17. Happy Fourth of July. Your plants and food are a feast for the eyes! The pirate ship has grown so quickly and looks wonderful.

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  18. Happy 4th of July! I have a John Philip Sousa channel on Pandora that I am playing at the moment :) Your runzas sound so yummy. I will have to ask my NE niece if her family makes them. Thanks for sharing your summer days with us, Jennifer. My one basil plant is barely alive...not happy where I planted it I guess. I just propped up the lower branches of our little apple tree with some tomato cages...a good crop. Your rainbows photo is so pretty! And I love your ship! xx

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  19. Love hearing what you're up to, what's growing and blooming around your house, and what your weather is like. We've had a cool spell but tomorrow the hot and humid weather comes back - which is typical for the Chicago area in the summer. It's been a nice break to have the windows open and the fans going, instead of being closed up in the house with the AC running non-stop. Aren't farmer's markets awesome? I love them, especially the big ones like that where you can even buy freshly made delicious food and have a little impromptu picnic. I have never heard of runzas. Clicked on your link and read about them and saw the photo - yum! I would love to try one of those. I'm sure your hubby's homemade ones are delicious. Your pirate ship is fantastic - love the colors!

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  20. Love the yummy pizza and the runzas.. have never heard of them but they look delish! I think your pirate ship is my favorite of all your needlework projects. Can't wait to see it done. Great capture on that last rainbow.. really intense! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

    -:¦:-·:*'""*:·.-:¦:-·* HAPPY 4th of JULY! *·-:¦:-·:*'''''*:·-:¦:-

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  21. I love the last photo you took the sky is so dark and the double rainbow is beyond amazing x

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  22. Hope you enjoyed your 4th July celebrations, my sister is in the states at the moment and spent the day on the beach with a firework display in the evening. Gosh, lovely produce there, yummy ;) xxx

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  23. Wonderful produce and delicious food...love all your photos here Jennifer! Beautiful rainbow and cross stitch too. I hope you had a happy 4th July and that you have another lovely summer week.
    Helen xox

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  24. Lots of Summer holiday pretties Jennifer. Your garden is going so well, and producing your own grapes must be a thrill. I have never heard of Runzas - maybe you could share your recipe with us? The double rainbow is a rare and beautiful treat too.

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  25. It sounds as though you're having a very nice and productive summer so far. I do enjoy reading the snippets of your life :)

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  26. Lovely photographs as always Jennifer. I have planted hibiscus in my garden for the first time this year and they are growing really well, I like plants with papery flowers. X

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