SEPTEMBER INSIDE AND OUT

BOUQUET FLOWER LIVING ROOM SEPTEMBER

The calendar warns the end of summer is near, but so far, summer clings to the leaves. The sky is bright blue. Usually I’m eager for fall, eager for the crisp weather and the foliage.

And the photo opportunities. New England’s autumn is the most photogenic season imaginable. Unless we are hit by tropical storms and heavy rain, it is also the most pleasant.

picture window living room September summer

This entire summer has been delightful. Almost like early autumn and for the whole summer. July and August have had little rain, lots of bright sunny days and clear skies with warm, rather than hot, temperature. You couldn’t ask for better. So I vote for keeping it. As long as summer wants to hang around, my welcome mat is out!

bouquet living room flowers september summer

Denial only goes so far. I took a few pictures of the trees in the woods … and a bright patch of yellow caught my eye.

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Earlier, when we were out in the car, I noticed the edges of the maple leaves are beginning to turn a bit rusty. It’s still warm and sunny. Even a bit humid. Regardless, change is coming. Seasons are non-negotiable.

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RIPENING CORN WITH WINDMILL – GARRY ARMSTRONG

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“When the corn is high.” It has a ring to it. Having corn fields in the neighborhood definitely improves property values and gives us the opportunity for the ultimate summer treat — fresh corn on the cob.

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This one windmill probably produces enough electricity to power the farm all year round.

GETTYSBURG

Horse and carriage

Real carriage. Fake horse.  It’s a small lane in the middle of the old Gettysburg.

This is one of the many things I love about tourist towns. I know people get all snobby about “tourist traps,” but towns set up for the tourists, while heavily commercial, also have plenty of places to eat, lots of motels, and activities for everyone. Best of all, they are always glad to see you.

Tunnel-Lane-Gettysburg

That’s no small matter, especially if you have been harassed in less hospitable destinations. No matter what your color or nationality, your money is good in a tourist town. It’s also an easy venue for people who have disabilities and special needs. These towns are ready to cater to your unique requirements.

Blue and gray souvenirs

There’s always a reason a town becomes a tourist mecca. It holds attractions or is very near them. Nice beaches. Historic sites. Skiing. Roller coasters. Gambling. Fabulous food.Terrific views. Wonderful weather. Amazing shopping.

Gettysburg faux horse

A town doesn’t draw crowds without a reason.

The down sides to popular destinations are obvious. Higher prices, crowds and traffic. If you want to travel  where everyone else also wants to go, try to find schedule it off-season. Even a few days before or after peak can make a huge difference in the size of the crowds and the price of accommodations.

Ghoul Soldier

 

But check it out. Some places close down right after Labor Day, or have nothing open except during peak periods. Beach towns are particularly likely to be locked up tight by early September.

main street Gettysburg

Martha’s Vineyard, for example, bustles with life on Labor Day. The next day, more than half the restaurants and shops are closed. A few stay open longer or are open year round — but that may not be what interests you.

Just make sure the stuff you really want to do and see is available before you book a bargain vacation.

Gettysburg buggy

SUMMER LIES HEAVY IN THE DEEP GREEN LEAVES

Today the man who sets the prompts in motion, wants me — us — to talk about the end of summer. The start of school, the end of long, warm, sunny days. How I feel about that.

I feel a lot of things, but I’m not going to talk about any of them. Because I don’t want to talk about the end of summer. I’m not ready to talk about it. Not even to start thinking about heating oil and boots, icy roads and frozen woodland.

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I’m stuck happily in summer. I love autumn with its amber sunshine and scarlet maples, but after that? Someone else can fill in the details. I’m not there yet, mentally or physically.

It’s beautiful today. Warm, bright, sunny.

Entirely green. Not a hint of anything but languid late summer. And that’s where I’m going to stay until I get pushed, screaming and kicking, into the next season.

August Blues – Daily Prompt

FLOWERS FROM THE DECK

deck flowers summer petunia

Summer is passing too fast. Slow down, summer. Autumn will wait and so will that nasty old winter. I’d like the warm weather to hand around longer. Let the flowers keep blooming, the dark green leaves of late summer heavy on the branches.

deck flowers purple petunias summer

And my deck garden. It’s just one season long, then it’s gone. One summer of purple and white petunias and white begonias, hanging on their post on the deck.

deck flowers petunia summer

Hang on summer. I still need your heat!

deck flowers summer petunias

For those who would like to know, I used my Olympus E-PM2 (4/3 format) with the Olympus 45 mm 1.8 portrait lens to give the pictures a super shallow depth of field and lovely bokeh (fuzzy background).

WEEK 25 – ODDBALL PHOTOS ARE BACK!

CEE’S ODDBALL PHOTO CHALLENGE WEEK 25

This was a good week for oddball photographs. Lots of pictures that have no reason to exist except I just saw something and tried to capture it.

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Successful pound cake with copper kettle

My pound cakes came out well. Baking them was something of an accomplishment since I can’t remember the last time I made one. But Garry wanted pound cake. He said he would just go buy one. I said if he’d never had homemade pound cake, he’d never had pound cake at all. Now, I think he would agree.

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Collecting ingredients for the pound cakes triggered a trip to the farm around the corner to get fresh eggs. You need nine eggs for this recipe (some call for as many as a dozen) and I thought I’d like to use the best possible ingredients.

Eggs fresh from the hen

Eggs fresh from the hen

And while we were there, I bought some milk. Their milk is nothing like grocery store milk. It’s as thick with cream as half and half and you have to shake it to keep from skimming it.

Cows chatting in the pasture

Cows chatting in the pasture

Maybe it’s so good because these have to be the happiest cows in the world. They ooze contentment.

VISITING THE FARM

Garry wanted pound cake for which I needed eggs. Our half and half was going “off.” With pound cake, we obviously will want coffee, hence we need fresh half and half. I wanted new pictures; Garry needed a photo airing too.

We accomplished it in one fell swoop (click here for a history of fell swoop), merely by driving around the block.

fresh eggs at the farm

It’s a dairy farm. Milk, eggs. Sometimes local honey. Today they had homemade jams and organic lip balm. The eggs come from the chickens wandering around the yards and are often fertilized. The milk is from the happiest bunch of cows I’ve ever seen. They loll around the green pasture which lies along the Blackstone River.

farm an windmill

There are several pastures. The pasture further down the road has a small creek running through it. They take the cows there in very hot weather so they can wade in the cool stream and graze on the wildflowers and weeds along the banks. It’s shady there. The calves have a pasture of their own and graze together along a hillside on the other side of the barn.

The milk isn’t homogenized or pasteurized, which means it’s very close to half and half, but you have to shake it before using because the cream rises to the top.

cows in pasture on the farm

I splurged on a jar of homemade elderberry jam. They had fresh corn, but I don’t need corn today. Maybe I’ll go back Monday, get some corn then. We don’t eat a lot, so I try not to over-buy things that will spoil and end up getting thrown out.

elderberry jamAnd we got pictures. I haven’t downloaded most of them yet. These are the first batch.

Here’s my recipe for pound cake. I’ll be baking as soon as the butter softens.

  • 1 pound (3-1/3 cups) flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 4 sticks softened sweet butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (use the real thing)
  • 9 large eggs, lightly beaten.

It makes two cakes in standard loaf pans. I’ll freeze one. We will happily devour the other. I can feel my hips expanding as I write.

The elderberry jam is delicious. And 2 pound-cakes are baking in the oven. The smell is … wow.