My summer vacation, part. 2

So as a new twist on the “week in pictures” format I am so fond of, I thought I’d construct an imaginary day out of all the best parts of my last two weeks. Sound fun? Ok!

Day breaking over the Avon in Stratfortd… A highly unusual sight for me, who usually sleeps until this mysteriously slow and quiet time of morning has long evaporated. But every time I make the effort to start my day early I vow to learn how to be a morning person. The misty golden glow… the birds and insects clicking and chirping themselves awake… it’s just so sacred and surreal. This particular morning was even more spectacular, due to the real reason I was awake at such an early hour — 12 trombones and a soprano in a canoe performing a 20 minute R. Murray Schafer composition choreographed to the sunrise.

The jumping fish and swans played auxiliary percussion.

It was really cool.

And then, breakfast perfection: fresh local strawberries and blueberries, local goats cheese and yogurt, amazing organic sourdough grain explosion bread from the local bakery, sweet whole walnuts, and the bestest little espressos this side of Italy (fair trade & organic, natch), all on the sunny picnic tables outside our favourite cafe in Montreal.

Followed by parfaits! Did you know the word parfait in French means ‘perfect’? These parfaits we made with minted goat yogurt, fresh local peaches and strawberries, and homemade ginger-nut granola really lived up to the name.

With a full tummy it’s off to complete some craft projects. Remember that stained table cloth I rescued from the church bazaar so many months ago?

It’s been reincarnated in skirt form. It took a fair bit of careful creative cutting to come up with enough fabric that wasn’t stained – not even counting the waistband, the skirt is made from 8 pieces. I am quite fond of it’s ruffled twirly action.

Now let’s take a little break and have afternoon espressos and amazing, delicate, pistachio and almond studded sweets.

I want to come up with a way of replicating their dainty cookieness without so much processed white flour and sugar. Maple syrup and homeade jams? Powdered almonds? Stay tuned, I’m sure there’s a way. In any case, it was like eating jewelery. Yum.

And now more crafting! (I told you it was the perfect day! hee hee!) Finishing off the crocheted orb project.

Here is all dressed up with a handle made from salvaged copper wire.

It ended being gifted to our good friends J & E who just celebrated their marriage in Montreal. I was sad to see it go, it turned out so well. Another (larger, better!) one is in the works for us to keep.

Ok, and now for dinner, an impromptu potluck dinner in the parc with some of my favourite people, featuring more fabulous organic local produce. We have just been gorging ourselves on the glut of beautiful seasonal summer produce lately. Since committing to prioritizing seasonal, local produce I have really noticed how spectacular and exciting it is when something new appears at the farmer’s market. It’s given me a whole new rejuvenated appreciation bordering on reverence for the spectrum of colourful deliciousness that comes from the earth. We dipped these cherry tomatoes, blueberries, figs, and tender young cucumbers in the same minted yogurt from breakfast — it makes a lovely simple sweet/savory dip for both fruits and vegetables. If you want to try it yourself it was about 1c. of plain yogurt, 2 tbsp pure maple syrup, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 c. chopped fresh mint (green, not peppermint). Adjust the salt and sweetness to taste. Delicious!

Relatedly, my partner and I have been listening to a recorded version of Barbara Kingsolver’s book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, which I highly recommend (in either print or audio format). It’s a non-fiction narrative about her family’s experiment in eating local for 1 year, and besides giving a well supported argument for why we all should consider doing the same, it’s a fabulously engaging story. It sure made the many monotonous miles on the 401 between Hamilton and Montreal fly by!

And watch the sunset over lake Huron at the family cottage, with cold brews, good company and a full tummy. (Yes, my time has been largely occupied with eating delicious food. It’s a good life! I’ve also been doing a solid bit of job hunting, career focusing, portfolio revamping work, but that sort of picture isn’t nearly as pretty to look at. You could check out my newly reorganized flickr site if that kind of thing interests you.)

And as the sky darkens again, let’s light the candle lantern and watch it throw dancing spirals of shadow on the ceiling. Only a few more days of this view before we move permanently into our new apartment in Toronto. Goodnight and happy days until then.




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