What a glorious summer day we were given this Sunday. After weeks of intense heat, apocalyptic thunder storms and one dreary Saturday, Sunday showed up with brilliant blue skies, low humidity and a cool breeze. In a word, perfect.
I spent the day getting reacquainted with my yard and my kitchen. The family and I have been blissfully lounging away the last week at the beach. We returned very late Friday evening, with all fingers and toes accounted for – no shark sightings for us thank goodness. I spent yesterday unpacking and running to the library and grocery store, but today was just for me. I woke up late to the sunshine pouring in and spilling like honey over my bed. Seeing that always starts my day off right. I had a leisurely coffee before throwing on an old t-shirt and a pair of shorts. I brushed my teeth, but not my hair, and out the door I went, children in tow.
First, we went to the back of our property, and managed to pick a basket full of what my Grandma called “cooking apples.” They are small, green and delicious when cooked down with butter, sugar, and cinnamon (what isn’t). After collecting our apples, we went to the garden and picked plenty of basil to freeze for the winter, cucumbers, peppers and our one ripe tomato! My sweet flower and I then picked lemon balm and peppermint and added some basil and off we went to give our chickens a treat. It apparently tastes great but also makes the coop smell much better!
Once back inside, I peeled, cored and simmered those apples down. While doing that I made a cucumber salad and a batch of chocolate chip cookies, fixed my children a hot lunch, did five thousand loads of dishes and generally just got back in touch with what makes me feel good as a person. I cut the air conditioning off, opened the windows and turned my “light classical” Sirius station on. That paired with the smell of my freshly cut yard (thanks, Honey), and simmering apples put me in my happy place.
After all was cleared away, homemade applesauce cooling in jars and children forbidden to grab any more cookies, my husband and I wandered back out into the yard and began collecting wild blackberries. Many of you who live in old neighborhoods or near wooded areas probably have access to these delicious berries. I love having them grow wild all around me, and so do the birds! As I picked, I reassured our bird friends that there was enough to go around. After a brief encounter with a black snake (Mr. Black Snake, to the children) slithering through our grape arbor (those are not quite ready yet – love those muscadines) we finished torturing ourselves (those blackberry bushes are prickly) and headed back inside. I then made some lemon blackberry muffins – enough to feed us in the morning and some to freeze.
I told my husband this evening I feel so content when I can enjoy the bounty of the earth, especially those things that grow right in my yard, and feed my family with it. I enjoy cooking from scratch, picking fruit and vegetables from my yard and turning them into something to sustain us. It brings me great satisfaction to see my family enjoying something that I made with my hands and my heart. I guess my sweet girl is right when she says, “Mama’s secret ingredient is LOVE.” It surely makes me smile to hear her say that. I do hope that they know how much I love them all and how much love we all have to share with the world.