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.

72-Farm-081614_53

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.

72-Pound-cake_08

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.

72-Farm-081614_26

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.

PURPLE PHLOX

72-Riverside-Garden_10

As part of Betty’s Garden, the phlox stands almost a foot taller than any other flower. I’ve always loved phlox. Sturdy perennials, willing to tolerate shade, drought. Insect resistant and colorful.

72-Riverside-Garden_06

They look like wildflowers and come in a whole rainbow of colors. Purple and white are traditional, but I have seen them in shades of red, pink, and blue.

72-Riverside-Garden_05