My friend Sara at Make Great Stuff has a solution to this problem, which I am hoping to try-The 20 Minute Club! She is a talented collage/mixed media artist with drive! She also offers web classes, using the 20 Minute challenge to do something every day. She likes to have lots of projects going at once so she can just pick up whatever she wants and works on it for 20 minutes, no matter how she feels. She has some great ideas for working the creative process. AND her art is really special. Check her out!
We're having a heatwave this week. I tried to sit at my computer to visit you all, but I melted! My house stays cool till the humidity rises, and it sure did this week. Swimming and wading is the only fun outdoor activity when it's this hot.
Fortunately, last week, when I was on vacation from the office, it was wonderful dry, breezy weather. Great for sleeping and getting some things done around the house. I was petsitting the whole time, so I commuted back and forth until the Fourth! Then Jim and I had a big cookout with lots of friends and relatives over-we gathered under the willows and cherry trees in the back yard and hung out all afternoon and half the evening, eating, drinking, storytelling and goofing off.
I say drinking-I think two whole 6-packs were consumed. We all grew up and stopped being drinkers a long time ago. I often think I'd like to have a little sip of something in the evenings, but I can't figure out what I want. I hate to get tipsy, but I like to relax. I don't much like wine anymore, it makes me headachy. The creamy drinks like Bailey's are too fattening. I like a highball once or twice a year...brandy is just too strong, sherry is yucky, though I think it would be funny to have it as my signature drink.
So tonight I cleaned out the fridge and made punch. I had 4 partial bottles of various sweet wines that I had tried, one was apple-maple, one was chamomile, one was blackberryish, and the other a merlot. I dumped them all in a gallon jug with a spigot on it and added a bottle of cherry cider from Trader Joe's! Only 1/3 was wine and the rest cherry cider--Voila, punch with a little punch! Enough to make a wine connoisseur cringe--I wouldn't make a steady diet of it, but it will give me a little evening sip.
The drink I made for the Fourth was gingerade. I partially peeled and cut into chunks a whole ginger root that had been in the freezer. It is easy to peel with a spoon when it starts to thaw, before it gets soft. Of course fresh might have been better, but this turned out GOOD. I boiled it in a medium pan of water for about 10-15 minutes, took out the root and added sugar to the water and stirred it well. Then I added it to cold water to make a gallon (with a spigot!) Make sure to pour the hot into the cold and not directly into a glass container. I reused the same root to make 2 more gallons, which I didn't sweeten, then sprinkled a little stevia in as I drank it. I carry it to work and in the car. I've cut way down on coffee and I'm drinking more liquids. You can reuse the root several times if you keep it refrigerated. It beats buying tons of flavored water!
When I was petsitting in Deerfield last week, I drove back and forth through Whately, which is a beautiful town. Rolling hills opening into the fertile flats by the Connecticut River. You might remember my old header picture:
There are such pretty farms there--mostly they were growers of tobacco, corn, asparagus, potatoes, cabbages, cukes, etc. Many of them don't farm anymore, but they preserve their old barns when they can. I picked this one out on two different days. One morning I looked up as I drove by and saw a huge elbowey bird with no head. Whaaa? I stopped the car, dug out my ever-ready camera and discovered a turkey buzzard preening on the roof. His head kept disappearing under a wing. He (she?) posed a while then flew away. Jim always tells me they're crows--I showed him!
Another day, driving back "to the dogs", the barn was bathed in evening light and shadow, just begging me to stop and shoot it. I love the red patina-the old wood is probably some ancient hardwood like chestnut, enduring for a century or two.
On yet another day I found these gorgeous Percheron beside the road. I do love it here!
What better time than the middle of July? Long days, yard sales, fresh sweet corn, tomatoes, blueberries, veggie stands by the side of the road. Who needs to cook with all this fresh food? I'm so inspired that I've given up sweets for the month! My body says thank you!
I hope you all have a lovely weekend!