Friday, June 26, 2015

Five Things for a Dry, Hot Friday!

The promised Paris Eating post is almost completed, but rather than rush through to put it "live" today, I'm going with a Five Things Friday. Do tune in again soon if you want to know more about where and what my sister and I ate in Paris. In the meantime, though, Five Things. . .

1.


I know that many of you are used to extended periods of Hot and Dry. Here on the West Coast of Canada, though, we expect temperatures of 20-22 degrees through June, with the occasional happy surprise of what kids might find to be good swimming weather. Often, June includes enough rainfall that gardens and lawns can stay green without much additional watering.

Not this year. We've had about six weeks of drought now, and there have been worrisome forest fires on the nearby mountains. My neighbour's having her roof redone today and I'm wincing every time I hear the torch. Everything's dry, dry, and more dry. It's supposed to hit 29 today, higher inland, and there's a Weather Warning posted alongside the longer-standing Fire Risk Warning. And we've been on twice-a-week, before 10, after 4 watering for a few weeks now. The government weather office forecast for the next week shows expected high temperatures of 27 to 30 degrees. No precipitation at all.

So we've been trying to do our bit to conserve water (the crude grey-water system we inherited from the previous, pre-code owners having been sadly dismantled at our reno years ago). I keep a big bowl in the kitchen sink to catch all the water that gets used washing and waiting for the right temp and emptying pots out to use for something else. A good way to see how much we generally consume.

I've also been plugging the tub when I shower. Even though I keep my showers as short as possible, I can fill this plastic watering can at least twice. . . (Lisa posted about water conservation from her Californian perspective several weeks ago).

2. What gets first dibs on all that grey water? No question that home-grown, vine-ripened tomatoes are worth toting and hauling for. Besides, these are growing right by the back steps, so we don't need to splash too far. . . Pater was so gratified to see so many promising green globes this early in the season. (all those nasturtiums surrounding, by the way, are volunteers that have sprung up from seeds left by last year's plants.)


























3. I can't even imagine how much water it takes to grow watermelons, and perhaps we shouldn't be indulging. They're certainly not part of a 100-mile diet! But oh, do they scream "Summer"!

As do bright, fresh salads. For this one, I cubed a few cups of watermelon, added perhaps 1/3 cup of pitted Ni├žoise olives, crumbled up feta cheese (1/3 to 1/2 cup?) and sprinkled in some fresh basil (maybe 3 tablespoons, torn into small pieces). Ground some black pepper over it, then mixed it all up with a dressing made from balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Easy, delicious lunch.


4. Perhaps I'm hoping for some cooling effect from the title of Fred Vargas' latest Adamsberg mystery, Temps Glaciares (the English title will be Ice Age). That's probably too optimistic, but it is perfect for reading in the shade. Perfect in a few ways, actually, because any guilt I might feel about lazing around mid-day reading a mystery novel is assuaged by the conviction that I'm "working on my French." Win-win! If your French doesn't want to be worked on at the moment, you could check out Vargas' books in their English translation. Highly recommended!
























5. The last item here might seem to be the "one of these things [that] doesn't belong," to quote a Sesame Street song, but the segue is that I've had a reprieve, because of the extended spell of hot, dry weather, in finishing the baby blanket for Fergus, born back in March. I've actually had his finished for a while, but was waiting to block it until I'd finished one for his big sister -- at 2 1/2, she's hardly a baby anymore, but everyone needs a cuddly blanket, no? Somehow, I never made one for either her or Nola, and it seemed a good time to remedy that. I'm finally ready to cast off on hers, so I got his blocked and out in the sun for a photo op. Although I don't think either of them will be snuggling up in wooly garter stitch anytime soon. . .

I'm pleased with how the blankets turned out, but I think I'm even more pleased with being able to cross another project off my list. The beginning of my retirement seems to be weighted with finishing quite a few projects that have been dragging on thanks to the ambitions of my last several years. It's good to get these tasks done and clear the space they were taking up, but I'm getting a bit impatient to start something new.  . .  . For now, though, I think I'll try to hold the line. And with my very next post, I'll be crossing off the Paris Eating post from my to-do list. . .

For now, though, I have a rendez-vous in the shade with a certain Parisian Commissaire. Talk amongst yourselves. Feel free to leave comments. . . You know I love to hear from you.

25 comments:

  1. I love these photos. So comforting. And I keep thinking about gray water systems - right now it's a red plastic bucket in the shower:). Thanks for the mention, and I'm thinking I need to offer a class in How To Lie Around And Feel No Guilt Whatsoever;).

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  2. Ha! I'd sign up for that class but with little hope of passing. I have an entire Catholic upbringing to counter plus the eldest-sibling-of-twelve's conviction (acquired before I was 6, I'm quite sure) that there is always something to do, someone to help, and that I am, despite many rational indications to the contrary. Lazy. Lazy. Lazy. Today, though, I'm going to Wallow in the Guilt of being Lazy and make some pleasure out of it. 'cuz why not, right?

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  3. The blanket is lovely. We installed (supposedly) water-saving irrigation a few years ago, and are down to watering twice per week now. With the exception of my roses, everything's looking pretty parched and sad. I'm looking for some professional help to replant our front yard again with drought-resistant natives, but in the meantime am letting it go. Looking forward to your Paris post!

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    1. I'm surprised you wouldn't have been on 2xweekly earlier, honestly. Maybe we're more conservative because we're less used to drought . . .it usually doesn't hit until mid-July or August, and we can usually water every other day through the summer...I'll be curious to see what you choose when you replant.

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  4. That blanket is wonderful. Here in northern England we are having a cool and damp summer but with 30 degrees headed our way. At present, a beautiful summer evening. Watching Glastonbury festival on TV and listening to a lone blackbird getting ready for bed outside in the trees. Pretty much the perfect Friday evening.

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    1. Oh, that does sound like a perfect Friday evening. . . I can almost hear that blackbird.. .

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  5. When I was about ten years old (the Anne and Little Women time for me), I decided reading qualified as 'doing something'. I have never wavered from that stance and it has served me well for more than 45 years!

    Hope you enjoyed your lazy day, Mater!

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    1. I love that attitude, and I've always tried to adopt it, but can't seem to get rid of the twinges of guilt and defensiveness. I guess I just need more practice!! ;-)

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  6. The blanket is beautiful. It was a cold wet winter but it grew too hot too fast with little rain and most everything looks a bit parched. We are supposed to have rain this weekend though, the farmer's market in the rain sounds nice about now.

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    1. I'd happily trot along to the Farmer's Market in the rain with you. Ours was on Friday, and they've switched to afternoons, weirdly imho, to accommodate what they see as most consumers' schedules. But there's no way I'm budging from the ocean breeze in the afternoon, 30 degrres being far too warm for me. Hope you got and enjoyed your rain. . .

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  7. Reading in the shade seems like a wonderful activity on this hot day. I've noted the Vargas book and will be looking for one in the library.
    Everything is looking so dry - we save our water consumption for the vegetable garden, too. Stay as cool as possible, Mater.

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    1. You too! It's too hot for us, although I suppose you can draw on your South American experience with heat. . .

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  8. A delightful blanket for Fergus, but really, for anyone who appreciates unusual and striking colour combinations.

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    1. Thanks! The combo was a bit of a stretch, but I think it works in the end.

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  9. It is hot!
    The water from our salad spinner watered the geraniums last night. I am planning to use more grey water too...as we have to be mindful of our water consumption.
    Looking forward to your Paris post but it's the weekend and hot perfect for relaxing in your chair and reading a few chapters of your book.

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    1. Yes, it's too hot for me, honestly, although if we ever get back to normal, we'll likely be complaining soon about rain and cool . . . So I'll take your advice and relax with my book and try my best to enjoy this weather.

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  10. We have had a cool summer so far but there is mini heatwave forecast for next week. We do a lot of water conservation here because all our water has to be pumped up the valley. Current count is eight water butts taking water from the roofs of outbuildings and greenhouses and one two and a half thousand litre tank taking water off the house. Then there are two one thousand litre tanks by the workshop and two one thousand litre tanks by the barn. It does mean that we don't have to do a lot of carrying when we do need to water! I do love your blanket. I must get back to the jacket for daughter's baby due in August. Somehow I put it down and now I realise that time is rushing on!

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    1. That's some serious conservation! I'm thinking this might be the summer that pushes us to get a cistern or a few rain barrels in a few strategic spots in the yard. Especially if I'm hoping to grow more vegetables in retirement.
      That's a lovely deadline to be pressured by, really, isn't it? And better to get your knitting in now than in the heatwave!

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  11. Oh, that salad is gorgeous! I want some. And I can't remember what drought is like (not that I'm asking for it). Must be very strange for you in BC!

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    1. It is strange, and worrisome, to have these conditions so early in the summer. Of course, there is quite a bit of BC that's always very dry in the summer -- even an actual desert, which might surprise those East of the Rockies to know. And we generally get 6 or more dry weeks late summer. But this year, it's not only begun way earlier than normal (no appreciable rain since the beginning of May), but the mountains have been pretty much bereft of snow all year. On tenterhooks here when I see someone with a cigarette -- so many trees all around us. . .

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  12. I was just talking to O about grey water last night. Yes, it's an exciting life I lead! Okay, a bit off topic but about conservation - our building doesn't allow hanging laundry outside. ?! It seems a bit of a daft bylaw but a common one throughout the city. And here we are going gaga for bike lanes. It's hot, hot, hot.
    I adore the blanket you made. I'm glad you're feeling the satisfaction of getting through your list.

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    1. OH, you'd fit in well in island conversation. So often, at parties, chat here turns to consideration of septic tank pumps and grey water systems. . .
      Yeah, that whole thing about hanging laundry is ridiculously leftover from a different understanding of class and property values. Serious re-education is needed quickly, imho!

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  13. The blanket is so nice combinaton of colors! And I like the plate and a table cloth match together!
    Never tried watermelon in a salty salad combination.
    So sorry about drought
    We usually have high temperature and fire alert at the coast starting june,but this year I had two days of heavy rain during my mini break
    I agree with Georgia,reading is "doin something", and what a great pleasure!

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  14. Sorry,forgot to sign
    Dottoressa

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    1. I knew it was you, can recognize your "voice" now! We would welcome those two days of heavy rain now, but I imagine they got in the way of your mini break. So sorry.
      And yes, what a wonderful treat reading is. I can't imagine my life without it!

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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