September, a time of endings and beginnings artificially imposed by humans. June's excitement and anticipation has now faded into nostalgia, sweat, and disappointment. Picnics not eaten, wine not drunk; sandcastles un-built. Your bright new flip flops are faded and worn through, no longer pretty and hopeful. Instead we have hot days and too early sunsets. Homework and sports practice. I much prefer February .
All my life I have collected, read, studied natural history books. I got my first bird guide for my 6th birthday; it is still on the shelf with my many other, mostly coastal, guides. HERE
Recently I read about Celia Lewis's beautifully illustrated nature guides.
Coastal Year. Country Year:
Lewis is an English artist and illustrator. I don't buy many books anymore, but I had to have these. I found them on a US used book site finally, no big bucks UK postage.
The two books are in perfect condition except a small tear on the Coastal guide's paper cover. [I have already repaired].
The Country Seasons book goes month by month; it is out of sync with our climate here on the US East Coast, their August is like our September.
Yet I was surprised at how similar the wild things are, and yet so different, especially the seacoast finds.
A favorite quote: "All sorts of fascinating things wash up and can be found on the strandline and high tide line if you keep your eyes open...."
In my own pocket, one winter day:
I am reading both books now, cover to cover, a half dozen or more pages per day. Each page is a delight; I'm taking it slow--me, the fastest reader on the planet. Savoring. Then as my new year here unfolds next January I plan to read each month and season as that time begins. A year with Celia :Lewis's nature writing and drawing, and a year with my own environment.
Both books combine natural history---land and ocean plants and creatures, birds, clouds, weather advice---all are here, illustrated with woodcuts and watercolors, with recipes and fun craft ideas. The varying subject matter adds to the books' charm. Garlic scallops! Driftwood lamp? Paper fish for earrings, estuary worms, oystercatchers, seaweed and eels.
I'm looking forward to the journey.
I saw this plant again at the supermarket.
It is what I thought my pretty blue ''mint'' plant is. But no. I believe my blue plant is catmint, the ornamental version of catnip. I remember planting the seeds a few years ago, for Kitty and the Twins [local beloved feral cats]; but it never grew and now the little cat family have a good home and no longer visit me every evening, to be enticed by fragrant [to a kitty's nose] catnip. It has no scent for me.
This is this week's harvest of zinnias.
Just in a plastic pitcher outside. I spray them with garden Raid before they come into the house. I wait a few hours, spray again, wait; I am terribly afraid of bugs! I can't spray the plants themselves because they attract bees and butterflies, and less charmingly, wasps. I don't want to kill the good pollinators.
The main type of zinnias this year is Cut and Come Again. The other shapes and sizes are reseeds, I assume. The Cut and Come Again must be, well, cut each week as well as deadheaded, to keep them blooming though October or longer.
Something for the Weekend
This weekend I am making a special family dinner, for me and the kids, before summer beach days finally end and school begins. I'm making my mom's famous shish kebabs and pilaf. [recipes at the end.] I suppose this is a funky retro dish, but delicious all the same. I recall my mom telling me how , back in the 60s or 70s they had never seen or heard of shish kebabs or pilaf! It was exotic, like we might think of raw sea urchins? ---only with a less eeew factor.
Have a great weekend!
gone to the beach...........
|the horizontal streak of grey, center left,|
is thousands of tiny shorebirds!
Here from nesting in the Arctic.
|Young gulls, born this past spring.|
|Dredgers, replenishing the sandy beaches|
H Sandy repair continues
Shish Kebabs with Rice Pilaf.
Near East Original Mix, add garlic, sauteed onions, and beef consomme [not broth!] for the liquid, plus a little water to create the amount of liquid called for, less 1/3.
We use less liquid so the rice is al dente, not mushy.
Wooden kebab skewers are sold in most grocery stores. If you're grilling you may wish to soak the skewers for a few hours in water so they do not catch on fire.
grill or pan fry, best if served medium rare.
One day ahead, marinate the meat: Use cubes of good steaks. I use rib eye.
Marinade: red wine, olive oil, salt pepper, meat tenderizer,
and about half pack of Good Seasons dry salad dressing mix.
Toss the meat to coat, cover well, refrigerate one day/ overnight.
When making the skewers, alternate sweet peppers, sweet onions , both cut in squares,
and tomato wedges with the marinated beef.
Set the finished skewers on a plate and pour the rest of the marinade over all.
Let it sit at room temp for about 15 minutes, then grill or pan fry.
When done, if cooked in a pan, pour the hot juices over the plated kebabs.