The Weekend Dish – Baked Garlic

_MG_1700Since it is October and we are getting close to Halloween, I have a delicious and vampire repelling dish for your snacking and dining pleasure, baked garlic.  When cooked, garlic mellows and even develops a slight sweetness. It makes a wonderful accompaniment to bread, meats, or use it as a spread on a sandwich or anything else you can think of, get creative. Begin by removing any loose outer skins and cut the top off of the bulbs so the cloves are open on the top.

_MG_1709Place the bulbs in a pie dish or any shallow oven-proof container. Drizzle a generous amount of olive oil over and season with salt, pepper and thyme or another herb of your choice, if you desire.

_MG_1725Cover with a lid, if your dish has one, or foil and bake in a 300° oven for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and continue baking for 45 minutes, basting occasionally with the olive oil, or until the garlic is golden brown and soft.

_MG_1731Baked garlic cloves can be served whole

_MG_1742or removed from the outer skins ( I usually squeeze it out ) and mashed.

_MG_1745It’s disease fighting properties are not to be overlooked as well.

_MG_1755The smell alone will elicit mouth watering responses. Here’s a tip, to keep you socially acceptable, eating a little parsley is an effective post garlic breath freshener.

To your health!

~ Susan

“Anything can happen.”

I kiss J and a shock of static electricity sparks between our chapped lips.

blue

It is soundless where we sit outside on the patio in the late afternoon, quiet as Ash Wednesday. A blisteringly blue glints overhead.  Faintly at first, the fall decoration cornstalks begin to rustle. Sh-sh-sha-shhh-shhhhhh.

In the distance, I hear an approaching whisper as if ten thousand petticoat ladies in satin dresses swish toward us. One lone leaf at the penthouse level of the backyard sycamore begins to shimmy. Then another and another and another.  In a single elongated moment, the world changes from crackling stillness to a-roaring and a-bending. The Santa Ana winds bellow upon us. The only scent is fear of fire.

I’ve lived in California my whole life, but it wasn’t until I built a hilltop house in Trabuco Canyon, at the mouth of Santiago Peak, that the Santa Ana’s full fury bent me in awe. In one single night, a teak dining table and a ping-pong table slammed against the house walls, narrowly missing sliding glass doors. Reckless gusts flipped chairs off rockers, clattering seats like bones in darkness against rumbling tempered glass. A metal gazing ball tumbled from its garden perch and rolled down the hill, lost forever, a bowling ball flung down the canyon alley.

I stood outside in the midnight din, away from the house and trees, beneath stars so plentiful and clear they seemed an arms reach away. Parched lips stuck on teeth, I smiled and watched eucalyptus bow and dance as if directed by a drunken puppeteer.  Leaves eddied in dervishes about my shins, swirled above my shoulders and neck.  I shrieked until my voice dissolved into the howl.  I stayed outside until dawn, eyes closed against the blow, arms held to the sky just to feel nature’s unbridled power.

Wind is so very much like love. You can feel it, watch its path and effect. But you can’t draw a picture of it, nor capture it with a photograph. It exists only in the rapture of what stands in its way. When it calms once again, ordinary gifts lie scattered in its wake.

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How better to spend one night than to stand in wind’s way?
How better to spend one life than to stand in love’s way?

~Catherine

p.s. One of the most legendary literary descriptions of the Santa Ana winds is found in Raymond Chandler‘s short story, “Red Wind.” This post’s title comes from a line in that story:

There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that, every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husband’s necks. Anything can happen.

For a cool scientific explanation of the winds with illustrations, check out “What causes Santa Ana winds” by Paul Duginski.

A shorter version of this post first appeared in The Bucket List issue of Orange Coast magazine. If you live anywhere near Orange County, California and want to include a wild night in the wind on your own bucket list, here are a few prime spots to experience Late Night Theatre of the Wind.

Most raw: Drive to the mouth of Holy Jim Trail just off Trabuco Canyon, a major wind thoroughfare. Unless there’s severe fire danger, travel the 4.5 miles into the canyon on a rutted and rocky dirt road. Face the canyon and roar back. For information, click here.

Tamer: Hunker down – for a day or night – along Trabuco Creek in O’Neill Regional Park. Arroyo Campground sites 31-78 offer the best views of the pristine night sky and the wind wails down the creek bed.

Downright Civilized: Share a margarita, and swap wind and fire stories with long time canyon residents from inside while staring out through the wall of windows at Rose Canyon Cantina & Grill.

The Weekend Dish – Hot Fudge Pie

_MG_1057In the mood for baking and chocolate? I was recently; and here is something that fits both those desires perfectly. This recipe has been in our family so long I have forgotten where the original came from. It can be made with a store bought pie crust but this time I was really in the mood for baking and made mine from scratch. It has been awhile since I did this and I forgot how fun it can be plus how nice it is knowing exactly what is in the crust you are eating and being able to pronounce all the ingredients ( which isn’t very many).

I will start with the pie crust.

_MG_1028Four ingredients that’s all:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup cold butter, I cut mine and put in freezer a short time
4 to 5 tablespoons cold water
Mix together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or fork until it resembles coarse crumbs.
_MG_1031Add water just enough water, with fork, to moisten the flour.
_MG_1043Divide dough in half and wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate for 2 hours to overnight.
_MG_1044Roll out a ball of the dough to fit in a 9-inch pie pan, so roll to about 12 inches.
_MG_1048Trim the edges and press around the edges with a fork, or fold the excess dough up and flute the edges.
Now for the filling:
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2t flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 lg eggs
  • 2t vanilla extract
  • 1 cube butter, melted
  • 1 unbaked 9 inch pie shell

Mix cocoa, flour, and sugar in a medium bowl. Add eggs, vanilla and butter.

_MG_1051Mix well. Pour into the pie shell.

_MG_1055Bake at 350º about 25 minutes.

_MG_1170It is delicious warm, on its own or with ice cream.

_MG_1180After trying it, you will come to realize why our father nicknamed it “good-bye” pie…

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Dare I say it is as “easy as pie”, and sure to impress.

May your chocolate dreams come true.

~ Susan

The Weekend Dish – Jalapeño Lemonade

_MG_0292Want to add a little spice to your life this weekend? It’s quite simple really. By adding a sliced jalapeño pepper to lemonade, you will end up with a refreshing and slightly spicy, hot, yet cold, beverage. It’s an anomaly.

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_MG_0368A backyard daughter had the idea and I am so glad she did.

_MG_0375The amounts of the different ingredients can be adjusted to suit your tastes, so think of this recipe as a suggestion more than a rule.

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Jalapeño Lemonade

  • 6 cups of water
  • 2/3 cups of lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup agave
  • 1 jalapeño pepper sliced

Stir together until incorporated. Taste, and adjust lemon juice and/or agave if you like a sweeter or more sour lemonade. Slice the jalapeño and add to the lemonade. You can add more or less according to your heat preference (remember the longer the jalapeño is in the lemonade the more heat and flavor it imparts.)  Add ice and enjoy!

_MG_0402In southern California the fall can turn hot and this is just the drink for such an occasion, or any time you feel like spicing things up a bit!

Cheers!

~ Susan

The Weekend Dish – Basil Tomatoes

_MG_9857 basil tomatoesHere we are in the midst of tomato season and perhaps, if you’re lucky, your counter has been overrun with a red sea of tomatoes inviting all sorts of possibilities. This Basil Tomatoes recipe enhances the tomato’s natural flavor with basil, garlic and roasting. The result is an elegant tomato which can be served along with bread or added to pasta or as an accompaniment to fish or meat however you choose you can’t go wrong.

_MG_9866 basil tomatoesThe tomatoes are peeled and cored and placed whole on a bed of basil leaves then garlic and olive oil are added. It’s that simple.

_MG_9868 basil tomoatoesPlace the dish in the oven and bake for an hour to an hour and a half. Your home will be filled with the most comforting and inviting aroma as an extra bonus. This recipe came to my attention via the rave reviews of a backyard son after having enjoyed it with Nana and Granddad one late summer night many years ago, and it has been a hit in this backyard house ever since.

_MG_9873 basil tomatoes

Buon Appetito!

~ Susan

 Basil Tomatoes

  • 8 tomatoes, peeled and cored. To peel the tomatoes, add to boiling water for 2 minutes and remove with a slotted spoon then plunge into ice water for a minute or so and the skin will slide off easily.
  • 1-2 bunches of basil leaves
  • olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic

Place the basil leaves in a bed at the bottom of a pan big enough to hold the 8 tomatoes. Place the tomatoes, core side down, on top of the basil. Add olive oil to come half way up the sides of the tomatoes. Add the garlic to the pan, you can chop it or add more and leave the cloves whole. Bake at 350° for 1 – 1 1/2 hours until the tomatoes caramelize and become infused with the basil perfumed olive oil.Serve with bread, pasta or with fish or meat.

The Weekend Dish – Peach Cake

_MG_9645peachesThis time of year the fruit is plentiful and delicious. The peaches, plums, cherries and berries are emitting their sweet fragrances as I walk in the produce aisle of the store. Being especially fond of peaches, I like to use them as much as possible during this season. Aside from eating them alone, I like to add them to cereal, ice cream and use them to top pancakes or add them to a cake.

_MG_9687peach cake

I first tried this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated about a year ago and dreamed about it until this peach season came around again (I suppose canned peaches could be used but I like the seasonal anticipation). The recipe takes a little more effort because half of the peaches are roasted and all are macerated.

_MG_9649peachesBut it is well worth the effort.

_MG_9652peaches

_MG_9656peachesRoasting the peaches concentrates the flavor as well as releases some of the juices thus helping to avoid a soggy cake. Panko crumbs are added to the roast peaches after they come out of the oven to further ensure the avoidance of “soggy cake syndrome.” I didn’t use the peach schnapps called for in the recipe because I like the true peach flavor to shine through.

_MG_9690peach cake

                                      Peach Cake

adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

  • 2 1/2 pounds peaches
  • 4 tsp lemon juice
  • 6 Tbsp plus 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 8 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp plus 1/8 tsp almond extract
  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs, finely crushed

Preheat oven to 425°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray with oil spray. Pit the peaches and slice into 1/2 inch thick wedges. Place 24 of the slices into a bowl and gently toss with 2 tsp lemon juice and 1 Tbsp sugar; set aside. Cut the remaining peaches into thirds crosswise. Place in a bowl and toss with remaining 2tsp lemon juice and 2 tbsp granulated sugar. Spread peach chunks on prepared sheet in a single layer and bake until the juices begin to thicken and caramelize, 20-25 minutes. Remove and cool to room temperature.

Reduce oven temperature to 350°. Grease a 9-inch springform pan. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. Whisk brown sugar, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, and eggs together in second bowl until thick and thoroughly combined. Slowly whisk in butter until combined. Add sour cream, vanilla and 1/4 tsp almond extract and whisk until combined. Add flour mixture and stir until just combined. Transfer half of the batter to the prepared springform pan and spread evenly over the bottom. Sprinkle panko crumbs over the cooled peaches and gently toss to coat. Arrange peach chunks evenly over the bottom layer of batter gently pressing peaches into surface of the cake. Spread the remaining batter over the peaches and smooth the top. Arrange the reserved peach slices in a ring on the top, using smaller ones for the center. Stir together remaining 3 tbsp granulated sugar and 1/8 tsp almond extract in small bowl and sprinkle over the top of the cake. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 50-60 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and cool 5 minutes. Loosen sides of pan by running a knife around the edge of the cake. Remove sides of pan and allow cake to cool completely. _MG_9696peach cake

Serve and enjoy!

To summer’s bounty,

~ Susan

Oh my, thank you!

Bee still my heart.

DSCN2810

Sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun, I’m so bowled over with gratitude to you dear readers who cheered and cajoled, who read and donated to the 30/30 Tupelo Press Poetry Project this month while I turned poetic cartwheels all over the form manual based on an idea hatched about trying to harness the nature of words by grappling with poetic structure. (You can reread that post, “Five Lines to Challenge Chaos ” here.)

Art happens when we’re attentive.  I photographed this heart-shaped bee swarm on vacation in June at Kalapaki Beach, Kauai and weeks later the image worked its way into my poem, “Self Preservation Techniques the Body Knows By Heart.” (You can read it on the 30/30 Project, Day 10, here.)

Creativity blends the actual with the possible, the real with the dream, all under the wings of infinite tinkering, discipline, and technique.

If you’re the type of reader / writer who likes to experiment, I’ve made it easy for you to begin your own monthlong poetry writing adventure by cataloging the forms I played with this month.  You can find all the poems on the 30/30 Project website.

Incantation (Day 1)
Persona poems (Days 10, 12, 13, 15)
Cut-up (Day 4)
List poem (Day 6)
Concrete poetry (Day 8)
No Word poetry (Day11)
Epistolary form (Days 13 and 19)
Sonnet (Day 15)
An experiment with poetic duende (Day 19)
Cento (Days 16 and 30)
Found lines (Day 20)
Cinquain (Day 21)
Reverse poem (Day 26)
Tanka (Day 28)
Litany (Day 29)
All the other poems are lyrical free verse, including today’s, “Reseeding With Grace,” below.

marbleReseeding With Grace

Three barefoot women alone on Glass Beach wade ankle deep into black ocean
brown paper bags bulge with marbles god it’s cold! in dead of midnight.
Grace insists on ceremony.

Glinting arcs rise by fistful
cat’s eyes, corkscrews, clearies, aggies, onyx, swirlies sail through dark;
three women in silver grace tones harmonize like McGuire Sisters
          Somethin’s gotta give, somethin’s gotta give,
A plop between waves and plip! The arthritic arm has no heat.

Full moon a cliché as silver curls from hand to sea
glassy marbles opaque as eyes turning —
returning here where marble find was proof enough of lucky day
promoted to windowsill status at homes dressed with curtains now
fading and thin as pink daisy aprons hidden behind the pantry door.

God I’m cold! Grace shivers
receding, holds up blue pearl to her eye against moon
whispers under breath
for tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrows ‘s granddaughter
plip! last marble sinks into moon glowing foam.

Waves lap feet submerged in bone cold sand, sinking further and further.
Grace flings up hands to stars,
We lost our marbles!

Three silver women in moonlight clasp each other up against the tide
shimmy shudder silent laughter drowns out the cold,
slowly sinking treasure just now out of reach.

______________________________________________________________________

Back story?  A few years ago I spent several months near Glass Beach, WA, a treasure trove of marbles, sea glass and pottery shards. I met some women there who talked about how, at a certain age, they’d reseed the beach with their collected marbles – the most prized find – for the next generation. I often wonder if they ever did. Based on the women’s personalities, I imagine it might have gone down something like this.

If you’d like to make a small contribution on my behalf to the 30/30 Project, there are still a few more days in July.  In the meantime, I’ll keep turning cartwheels while wonderful readers like you help poetry grow and thrive, and small literary presses stay in business.

Hold onto your marbles as long as you need them,
but when it’s time to let go, here’s hoping you find all the grace you need.

With joy and gratitude,
~Catherine

The Weekend Dish – Watermelon Gazpacho

_MG_9092 watermelon gaz

Some meals and/or certain dishes will stay in your memory long after consumption. It can be the unique flavors, the setting and dining experience or even the plain and simple pleasure of a well-made dish. Last week, I had one of those memorable meals. Some of the backyard family gathered at a local museum for dinner and entertainment. It was memorable for the occasion (the backyard mom’s birthday), the musical accompaniment (a musician playing exotic sounding Latin American instruments; one which produced a growling jaguar sound transporting me to the rain forest) and the delicious food. I chose watermelon gazpacho for my first course and enjoyed it so much I decided to try and create it myself. Working from my memory of the ingredients listed on the menu as a starting board, I came up with this version, making a few changes and adjustments for my own tastes.

Watermelon Gazpacho

  • pickled red onion (recipe follows)
  • 1/2 watermelon
  • balsamic reduction (recipe follows)
  • cilantro, sliced
  • piece of toasted bread to float on top if you choose

Cut the watermelon into chunks and place in a blender.

_MG_9101 watermelon gazWhir at a medium speed, pushing down occasionally to move the pieces down to the blades, until the watermelon is a liquid, about 30 seconds. (This is a yummy drink on its own or with an added squeeze of lime.)

_MG_9105 watermelon gazPlace a few of the pickled onions on the bottom of the bowl

_MG_9136 watermelon gazPour the liquefied watermelon over the onions. Drizzle the balsamic reduction according to your taste, I use about 1/2 tsp per bowl of this size. Sprinkle sliced cilantro on top and lay a thin slice of toasty bread on the top if you choose and serve. Depending on the size of your bowls this recipe makes 4-6 servings.

_MG_9142 watermelon gaz

Pickled Onions

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced

Mix liquids with salt and sugar and stir until dissolved. Pour over the onions in a jar. Sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Keeps in the refrigerator 2 weeks. Also, is a nice accompaniment to meat.

Balsamic Reduction

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp honey

Bring the balsamic and honey (in a heavy-bottomed, non-reactive saucepan) to a boil over medium heat. Adjust the heat to maintain a steady simmer and keep simmering until reduced to 1/3 cup and it becomes a honey-like consistency. (This takes about a half an hour and gives your house a strong vinegar odor but is worth it.)

Just the thing for adding refreshment to a summer evening of dining al fresco, watch out for the jaguars.

Happy Birthday again Mom!

~Susan

The Weekend Dish – Roasted Vegetable Salad

salad 1

Salads are the ultimate creative dish. With lettuce as the canvas, the possibilities for additions are practically endless. Then, there are the other types of salads that don’t even use lettuce. Just look at the length of some salad bars! This backyard sister’s nightly dinners invariably include some sort of salad. The same is true when we have a gathering of the extended clan. It was just such an occasion, a gathering of the extended clan, that the youngest backyard sister served this roasted vegetable salad. She is one for creating sans recipe but she so kindly shared her salad creation technique.

Roasted Vegetable Salad

  • Asparagus, cut into inch long pieces
  • Potatoes, cut in to bite size pieces
  • Green Beans, whole or cut in half if you like
  • Baby Carrots, cut in half lengthwise

Roast these vegetables in enough olive oil to lightly coat and a bit of garlic at 350° until just fork tender, the potatoes will take longer than the others. Everything but potatoes will take about 20-30 minutes and the potatoes will take about 45 minutes.

  • Romaine lettuce torn or sliced in to bite size pieces
  • Red Onion, thinly sliced and cut in slivers
  • Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar

For assembly, tear or slice the lettuce in to bite size pieces. Place the lettuce and the remaining ingredients through the cheese in a salad bowl large enough to have extra room for tossing the salad. Dress with equal parts olive oil and balsamic vinegar using the amount you prefer for your salads.

salad 2The youngest backyard sister simply adds the oil and vinegar straight to the salad. Finally, season to taste with salt and pepper.

Note: the amounts of the ingredients will depend on how many you are serving, generally one head of romaine lettuce serves 4-6. Also, feel free to substitute other vegetables for roasting: red bell pepper, eggplant, or mushrooms, if any of the others are not to your liking or in season.

There you have it – the steps to a delicious and healthy accompaniment to any meal or maybe even a meal in itself if you are so inclined.

saladMaybe you have some of these vegetables in your own garden, lucky you if you do.

~ Susan

Endless Summer? Not quite.

July is summer’s Saturday. It’s hugged on both sides with summer months so it feels long and free and endless. While there’s still plenty of time to celebrate all the joys of the season,  there’s no denying we’re almost at its halfway point. How are you doing on your  Weekend Dish – Summer Scavenger Hunt?

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Grab a friend, get inspired and go make a memory. Remember to take a photo each time you complete one of the 101 Days of Summer activities.  Post photos on Instagram, #backyardsisters_101days

Race you to September!
1. Perfect your go-to summer barbecue meal.
2. Learn a new grilling technique. For a great veggie grilling video, click here.
3. Invite a new neighbor for dinner. Make it potluck.

Mem Day potluck1
4. Eat outside. Every night. Unless there’s thunder and lightening.
5. Eat by candlelight. Every night. Outside. Unless.
6. Sit on the grass with your dog’s head in your lap.
7. Watch fireflies.  If you catch them in a jar, be sure to let them out before you go to bed.
8. Learn 5 new objects in the night sky.  The free app SkyViewFree uses an i-phone’s camera as viewfinder.
9. Plan ahead to find a dark viewing spot for the Perseid Meteor Shower, August 11 and 12.  You’ll catch the summer’s best display of shooting stars. More info here.
10. Make your own ice cream. You don’t even need an ice cream maker. Check it out here.
sunset11. Stay up late.
12. Get up early. Photograph your days.
13. Learn the names of 5 birds in your neighborhood.  The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has an amazing library of birdcalls. Link here.

photo-29

14. Take your morning beverage on the porch, patio, or near an open window.
15. Prop your bare feet on a ledge.
16. Plant one living thing, even in a small pot if you don’t have a yard.
17. Plant something you can eat. A few green onions. Parsley. One tomato plant.
18. Visit a farmer’s market.
19. Take home something you’ve never eaten before.
20. Eat it.

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Mangosteen

21. Learn to make the perfect margarita or mojito or favorite frozen treat.
22. Invite neighbors over to help you drink it.
23. Visit your mom and dad.
24. Look at photos from childhood family vacations; yours and theirs.
25. Record favorite memories either on video or audio.
26. Visit your children.
27. Look at photos from family vacations; yours and theirs.
28. Record favorite memories.
29. Create a family yearbook of photos.
30. Do one thing that scares you.

get wet

31. Swim in a natural body of water.
32. Cannonball into the deep end of a pool.
33. Play Marco Polo.
34.  Learn one new water skill: surfing, body surfing, paddle boarding, water ballet moves.
35. Teach your new skill.
36. Pick fresh blueberries.
37. Make a summer fruit cobbler. For the Backyard Sisters favorite cobbler recipe, click here.
38. Eat dinner on a blanket under a tree.
39. Walk after dinner through town or your neighborhood.
40. Listen.
Waimea
41. Hike a new trail.
42. Learn the names of 5 new native plants in your region.
43. Visit 3 new state parks. The rangers there will know the names of the plants.
44. Take a new friend with you.
45. Volunteer for a park clean-up day.
46. Tune your guitar, your piano, your cello, your drum, your voice.
47. Learn one solid song.
48. Lose your inhibition.
49. Make a campfire.
50. Sing under the stars.
51. Make s’mores.
52. Sleep under the stars.
53. Learn how to remove ticks from your dog. (Same concept applies to humans.) Great video here.
Art

54. Sketch, photograph, or journal what distinguishes your local ecosystem from others.
55. Learn 5 edible plants.
56. Learn 5 poisonous plants.
57. Learn to pack lightly.
58. Learn to clean up after yourself.
59. Learn to read a map.
60. Get lost.
61. Go to a car show.
62. Attend your state or county fair.

stevenson quote

63. Submit something: homemade beer, photography, literature.
64. Hold hands on the Ferris wheel.
65. If you win a giant stuffed panda, give it away to a neighborhood kid.
66. Visit the booths with prize-winning pies and jams and wines.
67. Congratulate the blue-ribbon winners. Ask one fine question about their process.
68. Hear an outdoor concert.
69. Watch an outdoor movie.
70. Wait for the Milky way.
71. Visit your local library.
72. Remember summer reading when you were a kid? Check out ten books.
73. Visit an independent bookstore. Buy one thing.
bookstore

74. Hear a live author reading.
75. Thank the author in person.
76. Perfect one aspect of your craft: Great openings. Killer closings. Trimming the fat from word count.
77. Slow dance under the Full Flower Moon on May 25.
78. Sip strawberry wine under the Full Strawberry Moon on June 23.
79.  Dance with abandon under the Full Thunder Moon on July 22.
80. Fish under the Full Sturgeon Moon on August 20.   For full moon name meanings, click here.
81. Invite neighbors over for a pancake breakfast.
82. Visit the housebound neighbor who couldn’t come.
83. Bring flowers, or stories, or one of your photos.

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84. Call your grandmother or grandfather or aunt or uncle or long lost cousin.
85. Tell them about the trees and birds and stars. Ask about the view from their window.
86. Ask about their favorite summer memory.
87. Remember to return your library books.
88. Lie on your back on the grass and watch the clouds.
89. Swing.
90. Swim again. Again. Again.

balcony art
91. Travel.
92. Learn five bits of history about one place you’ll visit.
93. Read before you go.  You can find a literary companion for more than 20 destinations from Whereabouts Press where the mission “is to convey a culture through its literature.”
94. Attend an outdoor art show.
95. Bike ride. On a beach cruiser. Along the beach if you’re lucky.
96. Learn hello, goodbye, please, thank-you and I love you in five new languages.
97. Learn how to come home.
98. Harvest and eat your one small thing standing barefoot on your own patch of ground, balcony, stone or wood.
99. Cut flowers from your yard. Take some to your neighbor.
100. Send an old fashioned hand-written note, with some herbs or fragrant leaves.
101. Set 5 small items – a shell, a rock, a poem – from your summer on your desk.

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With water in my ear and sand on my toes,
~Catherine