This summer has flown by, especially the month of August. I am working extra hours at the hospital due to holiday and maternity leave staff shortages and will be glad to get back to my regular schedule in October. The summer has been hot and I have not had time or energy to go trekking on trails during the week. But the warm and frequently rainy weather has been great for farmers and the harvest this year is abundant and early.
I am no longer awakened by the sun in the mornings as the days shorten. I enter the kitchen to boil water for tea when I get up and now have to put on a light. Each morning someone is watching for that light and waiting for me to raise the blinds. Last year I had three Blue Jays who called for peanuts but this year a male Northern Cardinal comes to the window and chirps for a treat. Cardinals often come to feeders only at dawn and dusk and while I do not have bird feeders up in the summer, I will pass out something to persistent "trick or treaters". Mr. Cardinal is quite bold now, unlike most of his kind, and comes to the picnic table for his peanut. His chirp alerts the chipmunk and several squirrels that breakfast is served and the peanuts are gone in a couple of minutes.
I always pack a lunch for work and I try to avoid any containers which are thrown away. I bought a stainless steel Bento Box in San Francisco's China Town last year and enjoy filling it with salads and fresh fruit. On the weekend I take time to prepare some of our local produce into dishes which will keep a few days in the fridge. It takes no time at all to fill my Bento Box on workday mornings. Today I made cabbage and onion slaw, lentil sprout salad, corn and edamame salad, and pickled carrots. I love to eat fresh spring rolls with pickled carrots, cucumber and fruit strips.
I remember Mom going to the big market in Durban, South Africa and bringing home large amounts of fresh food. She would spend the afternoon cleaning and storing it for the week. When we moved back to Canada she canned and froze food all summer and stored it in the cold cellar. I seldom make preserves but do find the time preparing meals with fresh ingredients is well worth the effort.
And my little morning routine of tea, passing out peanuts and making my lunch is always a good start to a busy day.