Summer – all of it – lovely, sun filled, warm and carefree. Not just summer “at the cottage” but summer in the town too. Breezy tree filled parks, splash pads, gravel path walkways along our lake – here in Oakville. Summer is less about routine and more about spontaneity – we give ourselves permission to be casual. Routine is good – you get things done – but summer is a much needed variation of activities and change of pace – book ended by an extra coffee in the morning – and more wine than usual in the evening. You just want it to go on forever. Forever!
In summer I cook – new recipes. This summer I drilled down hard on the Summer Entertainment edition of Cottage Life Magazine http://www.cottagelife.com – inspired by the magazines summer simple recipes for Everything Wings , Chilled Green Pea Yogurt Soup both becoming summer dinner table favourites. Hello Toast – toasted baguette slices laden with shavings of parmesan, cherry tomatoes and a drizzle of balsamic you sounded delish… but alas we did not get to make you! Thank you Lucy www.lucywaverman.com and Emma Waverman www.embracethechaos.ca your monthly column in the Globe and Mail The Six O’Clock Challenge is fun and useful for our large family! July’s Pizza dough to the rescue inspired endlesssss possibilities for fresh store bought Pizza Dough . Our kids got in on the shaping, filling, rising and baking of this amazingly creative and versatile recipe – all based upon Pizza Dough! Who knew! Give it a try! Pull-Apart Garlic Knots are sooo YUM! http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/food-and-wine/recipes/pizza-dough-its-not-just-for-pizza-anymore/article30881595/
Then there were the Kale Chips! Our cottage guest reached into the fridge and asked if he could transform two wild looking bunches of leather leafed Kale into – crispy, sea salt laden Kale Chips? Hell Yes! I Love a house guest who is an uber-talented cook, Director of www.ago.net , and also happens to be my-brother-in law (for ease of future reading I have a lot of brother-in-laws! We are Modern Family). He removed the leaves from the stalky stems, tore them into generous bite sized pieces and tossed them in a bowl with olive oil – leaving the kale to sit, rest and marinate for the afternoon. Geesh- I think I am a Kale Chip – awaiting baking – most days at the cottage! Near mealtime he arranged the “bite sized” (they shrink during baking) pieces on a large cookie sheet and set them in a 250 degree oven cooking them low (temp.) and slow (time) 30-40 min. Check frequently before removing… crispy and lightly golden kale chips from the oven. After baking, toss with sea-salt ( full disclosure we didn’t have sea-salt but Sifto brand worked just fine) and Voila… Kale Chips for the cocktail hour or as a dinner time veggie accompaniment! Thank you Stephan!
Enough with eating! I don’t have space enough to write about the drinking! Vodka Cocktails all limey, grapefruit juice, soda water and ice. On with the reading! My brilliant brother-in-law Alec www.alec.ugali.com visited me in late June and edited my large pile of “waiting to be read books” – he quickly and decisively selected from my bedside table book pile: The Past -Tessa Hadley www.unitedagents.co.uk/tessa-hadley, Beautiful Ruins – Jess Walter www.jesswalter.com, The Lowland – Jhumpa Lahiri https://www.randomhouse.com/kvpa/jhumpalahiri, and I snuck in this summer’s best seller The Nest – Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney www.cynthia-sweeney.com/ as the basis of my summer reading. Family relationships in varied forms – sibling, spousal, and parental united these summer books in theme. They were thought provoking, humorous, pill popping depressing, and hugely satisfying to read. These books will resonate with readers in a way that is unique to ones own personal life experiences and each are worth reading.
In the summer I think a lot, about life, my life – while the warmth of the sun penetrates my soul and my gaze is frequently transfixed by a large body of water in front of me – helping to clarify my thoughts. Summer ain’t all perfect – for me – distant family on the west coast – aging parents, one with albeit “fine for now” but on many days, very sobering to observe – advancing Alzheimers/Dementia. Frequent long distance phone calls to my parents entertaining and updating them on our family news. Assisting them feebly from afar with doctor and dental appointments – phoned in across this vast country of ours. Caregivers and receptionists on the other end of the phone, so kind and helpful, understanding this distance between families is a modern reality for many. Like summer, holding onto these relationships knowing they will change like the seasons, but hopeful they will return again familiar but different each year too.
This summer, Gord Downie focused our thoughts on life – it’s precious nature and it’s gift of supreme talent. He then shared it with us all, all summer long, at concert venues across the country. Us Canadians – we gathered with friends in private and pubic places – listening to him, The Hip – captivated by his abundant grace and spirit. I attended an event here in Oakville to watch the nationally broadcast “last Hip concert” in Kingston ON on August 20, 2016. Almost a third of the country tuned in and shared the magic together – a night to remember – also raising a decent amount of money for https://donate.sunnybrook.ca/braincancerresearch
Outdoor Music events in our town during the summer months are plentiful and celebratory. Street Festivals with live bands – such as the iconic Downtown Midnight Madness, The Oakville Jazz Festival and the still to come www.kerrfest.ca are all fantastic events. There are frequent music concerts in local parks- historic band shells draped in bunting emitting tunes performed by musicians for all to hear. Many neighbourhood parks are also home to old fashioned outdoor swimming pools. I’ve heard rave reviews from several sources about the length swimming in the outdoor pool: Lions Pool http://www.oakville.ca/culturerec/lions-pool.html – behind Oakville Arena (Kerr and Rebecca) – only open until Labour Day – go for a swim in this pleasant outdoor setting – one day soon- a simple summer pleasure.
Many here in Oakville participated in a crowd funding campaign lead by an OTHS teacher and his wake boarding school www.wakehui.com sending a group of youth from Kerr Street Mission www.kerrstreet.net for a day of summer fun – wake boarding. These photos tell the story best:
This coming Labour Day weekend an end of summer Cottage Art Show awaits me – celebrating Georgian Bay and our beautiful country. The event will be catered by Oakville’s renowned and talented caterer/ businesswoman Nadine Hughes www.nadinehughes.com with beverages from award winning Oakville Brewery, Cameron’s www.cameronsbrewing.com. All of these eats and drinks can be enjoyed locally too by visiting their respective Oakville retail locations! This summer of 2016 is moving fast – toooo fast. The canning and preserving of the fruits of summer await. These glass filled jars will provide my senses with the smells and tastes of summer in the months ahead – which will be good months too – just not summer with it’s sweet bucolic restorative nature. Summer is still here…for now… and we must get out and live it! In the words of Gord Downie … This is our life.
Blog Title : “I just wanna hold on to you” inspired by one of my all time favourite Blue Rodeo Song, Side of The Road
Happy Labour Day Weekend 2016 OurTownO’ers!! – Alix xx
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