'round here

These summer days typically start off with a cup of something warm (usually enjoyed in the garden).  Generally, it is accompanied by fruit.  Often, melon or berries.  Cherries, too, since it's their time to shine.  I find myself buying a bag of cherries every couple days and easily justifying all the dollars spent on the glorious little stone fruits based on the fact that they are not available fresh for very long, so I (we, but......if I'm honest I have to admit that I definitely squirrel away the majority of the tasty orbs) have been devouring them quite steadily. yum, yum, yum.

Also, kombucha.  So. much. kombucha.  I brew it for most of the year, but come late fall the temperature in my house just isn't quite adequate for a good fizzy batch and so somewhere along the line, I inevitably let it slide and then scout out a new SCOBY and start again in the spring.  I was the happy recipient of a healthy, happy, newborn baby SCOBY from a friend earlier in the spring and started with a gallon and have been doing all sorts of fun secondary ferments (the favorite this year so far has been blackberry lime and, for me personally, the tulsi-rose-cardamom).  Just before we left for our recent trip I started a four gallon batch and we kegged it upon returning, so now we've got kombucha on tap.  Heck yes.  I feel like we took it up to a whole new level right there.  There is a nice fizzy brew at the ready without having to juggle the refrigeration of so many swingtop bottles.  (the keg refrigeration we have covered because, um...... well.... we have a kegerator on the front porch.  we are so classy.)

Berries.  Berries, berries, berries, berries.  The raspberries started early and had a nice long several week run.  At first, as always, we started by simply eating bowls full of them.  Then we moved onto just handfuls and tossing them into smoothies (and salads, and kombucha batches, and oatmeal...) and then, eventually, I mashed up the rest and froze them on a hot day for later jam-making because I just couldn't imagine all that steaming and boiling at the moment.

There has been a color shift though, and we've since moved on to the blackberries and blueberries.

The makings of a fine lavender-peach jam.  I use Ashley's delicious peach-lavender butter recipe as a starting off point and always set aside some without lavender because the other people that live in my house seem to think lavender in food is akin to eating lotion (silly people), and I use honey to sweeten both batches, 'lavendered' and 'un-lavendered'.

The first time I've kept an orchid alive long enough to see it flower again.  I feel so accomplished, but really, the success belongs to the orchid.  She's so pretty.

Chanterelles!  yum, yum, yum.  A friend posted photos after foraging and I was having mushroom envy and thus was inspired to go out hunting myself and lo and behold, I found a basketful with not a lot of looking.  In this batch though I did collect four False Chanterelles (I tasked Mike with checking for lookalikes while I was in the shower- glad he did, as false chanterelles, though not deadly poisonous, are known to cause a good deal of digestive unhappiness).  The rest we saut√©ed in butter and put over rice pasta with some crispy kale.  Simple and delicious.  Buttered noodles become adult food when you add wild mushrooms and greens.

Pictured below is a second batch of chanterelles, from the same spot, and some recent backyard garden goodies.

A bit of canning~  Dilly beans and beets, and the aforementioned lavender-peach (and just plain peach) jam.  More pickling and jamming to come soon.  The beans and beets and peaches and berries are calling my name and I just haven't felt like dealing with them lately....... but alas, I know my six-months-from-now self will be so glad that I made pickles and jam, so... soon.  Really.

The other day I got in a bed of fall greens, along with some late plantings of bush beans and squash.  Still plan to add a small planting of root crops and green onions.  Mostly now though the garden calls me for weeding, harvesting.  The planting and seeding has definitely slowed.

Pink and purple blooms, dusky purple gloaming.

Some glimpses of these fleeting summer days~


  1. Lovely...
    I feel like we are living identical lives on either side of the border. My family life in this season is all making kombucha, garden wanderings with coffee, writing, foraging for chanterelles and a little bit of preserving here and there. I really enjoy having your blog come to my e-mail inbox. Thank you so much for blogging and sharing your life.

    1. hello Margaret! I love that. and I am so looking forward to reading through blog posts of yours- so far I just clicked over quickly to take a peek and I must say, you pretty much had me with the title alone. dulse and maple. two things I can most definitely get behind! ;)

      thanks also for your kind words~

      cheers from nc

  2. It all sounds so wonderful. I would love to know your peach jam recipe. Do you use a pectin? I started making peach jam several years ago on a whim. I love it more than the strawberry I grew up making. However, I use Sure-Jell in the recipe as that is how I was taught but I'd love to go more natural. :-)

    1. hi Laura! essentially, I follow the recipe instructions that come with Pomona's pectin (so there's your answer to the pectin question- yes). I've been using Pomona's for several years and I love how you can modify recipes easily for no sugar, low sugar, honey, and other sweeteners. When I want to make something more like Ashley's peach-lavender butter, I cook it down a bit more and add some lavender buds and a touch of strong (very strong!) lavender tea, but then still follow the Pomona's recipe when it comes to sweetener and processing because I prefer to use honey. Ashley has shared that recipe on her blog so if you search for it it should come up easily. (her blog is small measure, there is a link to it on my left sidebar).

      cheers from nc!

  3. Amanda,
    Just so lovely....I have really enjoyed your beautiful posts lately. My 4 month old granddaughter is having open heart surgery on Tuesday, and your lovely blog, just reminds me to be calm and enjoy the beauty of this day:) Thank you again....I am so thrilled you are posting more again. You remind me to slow down and live that moment.

    1. Oh my goodness, Terri- I know you must be so so so ready for it to be Tuesday afternoon after surgery is all done and your sweet granddaughter is recovering and you are able to put the anxiety of waiting-for-surgery behind you! My daughter had surgery at four months for an inguinal hernia and was in surgery for just a little over an hour ~ I know that it doesn't quite compare to the complexity and delicacy of open heart surgery- but oh my gosh I felt so unsettled and nervous that entire time. I KNEW it was going to be okay, but knowing that really only goes so far to calm a mama's (or grandma's) fretting heart. I hope you find some good ways to settle your heart and mind while she is in surgery, and I hope her recovery is as quick and comfortable as can be.

  4. mmm... the rose cardamom kombucha and the peach lavender jam sound amazing! i have been going through the motions preserving too. we have many blackberries. then there's a fair amount of tomatoes. i'm making sauerkraut again. and soon... tuna. i'm not really into it this year though. i'm yearning to get out of the kitchen and go do other things. so, i've been rushing through with the recipes that i know like the back of my hand and just get it done. then i'm off to do the other summer things that are calling my name. kayaking, attempting to photograph beautiful light, furniture painting, and planting flowers mostly :)

    1. yes, they are SO yummy.

      mmmmmm I have a batch of sauerkraut that is just about right- which means I should start another batch NOW.

      I think all your summer fun things sound wonderful- and I bet you can kayak right from your backyard, can't you? so awesome.

    2. we can whenever the tide is in. if the tide is out then it's all mud and we have to kayak somewhere else. it is pretty awesome. :) sounds like you are really getting the hang of your sauerkraut schedule!!

    3. I've LOVED the photos of you all in the muck! I very clearly remember seeing several shared at once sometime last year- such fun!


thanks for taking the time to read and comment~