Sunday, October 04, 2009

4th Quarter

In the world of business, the year is divided into quarters. As of the first of October we have arrived at the final quarter of 2009. I've never had a year whizz by so fast!

The two costly and fun weeks in July went by like the blink of an eye. After enjoying proper heat and sunshine we came back to our northern home and unrelenting rain for the rest of the summer. From the end of June until September we didn't see three dry days together! I found myself just getting my head down and tackling things as they came. When the first dry days in September came along, we found ourselves looking up and being amazed that summer such as it was had passed.

With all the rain, the garden has suffered again. I swear this is the third vegetable patch in a row that hasn't done well. There were a few good lettuces earlier on and the cucumbers in the greenhouse did well, but everything else wasn't great. The potatoes got terrible blight and almost the entire crop was ruined. The rain melted all the sweet pea blossom and the mice at the peas before they could sprout. I did manage three small pumpkins. They're all a good cooking size. I find the big jack-o-lantern sized pumpkins are far too watery and tasteless for cooking. Two pumpkins are ripe now and one is still quite green. I will try to store them until November.

I may give up on the vegetable garden. I know that I'll change my tune in the spring. I'll get all optimistic with the warming weather and think that there is no way that we can possibly have FOUR rainy summers in a row.
The dog walking hasn't given me anything more notable than some fly agaric mushrooms with the tops nibbled by local rodents.

There have been a large number of owls in the area lately. Dusk around here has become a noisy affair. There are at least three tawny owls hooting their territories and a couple of barn owls peeping as they hunt. I wish I was better at owl hoot identification because there is a third owl species (similar to tawny owl but higher in pitch) that I can't figure out.

In the meantime, I cracked open my new copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking and made a stunning boeuf bourguignon. Oh my! It was fantastic! It takes a long time to make, but if you don't hurry and start skipping steps, it is wonderful! Never confuse a difficult recipe with one that merely takes a long time to make. We had pot au chocolat for desert. The recipe called for 500 grams of dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids). It was so rich that we had to serve it with ice cream. I think I'll modify the recipe to make it less rich for next time.

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