Tag Archives: summer

How do I love thee, summer

We’re nearly a third of the way through summer, by Minnesota Transplant’s accounting (I mark the first day of summer as the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend), and here are dozen more ways I’ve been savoring this sweet season.

2020.06.08 walleye

June 8: Eat fresh walleye.

Somehow, I missed listing this flavor of summer on my original list, but of course, dining on walleye is a summer-must in Minnesota. Earlier this month, we drove waaaaay up north to see my parents. My father shared his hard-won bounty with us and fried it up in a pan (he is a master at frying good food; read about his fried eggs here). My Beloved and I gobbled up more than our fair share.

2020.06.08 rhubarb

June 8: Eat rhubarb something.

After our walleye feast, Mom served up bowls of gluten-free rhubarb crisp topped with vanilla ice cream. So sweet and tangy! You should have seen all the rhubarb in her garden! She had a bumper crop.

2020.06.09 radish

June 9: Dip a fresh radish in salt.

Mom gave us a tour of her garden, and while we were admiring her rhubarb, she picked a bunch of radishes. This snack was a crunchy treat.

2020.06.09 bee

June 9: Watch a bumble bee work.

This noisy insect buzzed around sipping nectar and spreading pollen while we were traipsing around the garden.

2020.06.09 watermelon

June 9: Eat watermelon.

Are you sensing a food theme during our visit to the ‘rents? Mom dressed up lunch with a fruit and cheese tray.

2020.06.09 grave

June 9: Place flowers on a grave.

It wasn’t actually me who placed flowers on my brother’s grave when we visited; Mom watered the flowers she had placed there earlier this summer.

2020.06.10 steak

June 10: Eat a freshly grilled steak.

On our return journey south to home, we stopped at my sister’s house and celebrated being carnivores. Check out those grill marks!

2020.06.11 loon

June 11: Listen for a loon.

This bird’s call wasn’t on my original list either, but hearing the distinct, eerie call of a loon is somehow built in a Minnesotan’s DNA. It says home (and also, maybe, buy a lottery ticket). A pair of loons live on lake outside my sister’s house, and this one was making a racket when an eagle threatened her baby.

2020.06.13 al fresco

June 13: Dine al fresco.

My Beloved and I relished in a special occasion: meeting my stepson’s fiancée’s parents for the first time. We dined beneath a tiki hut outside of a Caribbean fusion restaurant. Minnesota was just opening its restaurants more widely after months of pandemic-related closures, so eating out was a real treat (as was meeting my stepson’s future in-laws).

2020.06.15 marigolds

June 15: Appreciate marigolds.

Marigolds’ unpleasant musky odor doesn’t excite the nose, but their bright color demands attention. On a walk to the post office, I admired my neighbor’s marigold presentation in a front yard caldron.

2020.06.20 bouquet

June 20: Arrange a bouquet of fresh flowers.

I can take no credit for creating this lovely crown of fresh daisies and baby’s breath beyond making a phone call to the local florist. She was delighted to create it for me since so many brides have canceled their bloom-festooned occasions this summer. I indulged in this adornment to celebrate the summer solstice, the longest day of the year (and to wear to a very small dinner party we hosted last night).

2020.06.20 bonfire

After our guests departed, I wanted to dance around a bonfire in the back yard, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” style. Alas, it was raining, so we lit some candles under the picnic table umbrella and toasted with a shot of tequila as a nightcap.

2020.06.20 sparkler

June 20: Light a sparkler.

I bet you assumed lighting a sparkler was meant for Fourth of July. Well, I might do that, too, but as a final welcome to the official first day of summer, I lit a sparkler and twirled around the patio, avoiding raindrops. Here’s to squeezing every last bit of joy out of summer, folks!

Lord, what fools these mortals be!

~Puck, in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

 

108 days of summery potential, laid out before us

every summer has a story

Get ready to enjoy the longest summer since 2009.

Astronomers might start counting summer’s days at the summer solstice (usually June 21) but I don’t. Summer for a native Minnesotan begins with Memorial Day weekend and ends on Labor Day.

Most years, including last year and next year, there are 101 days between the Saturday before Memorial Day and the Monday of Labor Day. But this year, Memorial Day falls as early as possible (May 25) and Labor Day occurs as late as possible (Sept. 7). That means there are 108 days of summer—a full week more than usual.

The calendar hasn’t been structured this way since 2009. A quick look back reminds me I was spending precious early days of that summer watching Little League baseball, running long distances and grocery shopping. Actually, those are not the worst ways to spend summer days.

Today, we kicked off the long weekend with a picnic at lunch. Thanks to fast food, picnics are easy. In fact, it was the second picnic lunch I enjoyed this week! Both times, we had the playground to ourselves. Sort of sad, really, to think of all the preschoolers playing inside on their handheld electronic toys. The swing set and the slide looked sort of lonely.

And tonight, we shall enjoy a fuel-injected evening at the Friday night races at Sycamore Speedway. While I am less than impressed with horsepower and beer served in Dixie cups, the Friday night stock car races on the dirt track speak of summer to me. So this is, perhaps, the best way to kick off a long summer. The only better way would be to go camping (but to do so would only invite a long day of drizzly rain and we wouldn’t want to do that).

Aaah, summer—that long anticipated stretch of lazy, lingering days, free of responsibility and rife with possibility. It’s a time to hunt for insects, master hand stands, practice swimming strokes, conquer trees, explore nooks and crannies, and make new friends.

~ Darell Hammond

How do I love thee, let me count the peanut butter ways

Have Minnesota Transplant’s readers been holding out on her?

How long has Dairy Queen been offering the Peanut Butter Bash specialty dessert on its menu?

Dairy Queen’s soft serve smothered with hot fudge, peanut butter sauce and chocolate chunks is like melted Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups over ice cream.

I discovered this decadence on the menu for the first time tonight, and it’s a summer dream dessert for a person hooked on Dark Chocolate Reece’s signature can candy bar.

If you like peanut butter and you love chocolate, get thee to the nearest DQ pronto!

Hell’s July inferno skipped us this year

July 2009 was Chicago’s coldest July in almost seven decades, according to this morning’s Daily Herald.

For the whole story, click here: http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=310744

Living it, I didn’t really realize the temps were below average for almost the whole month. Apparently, we hit a hit of 85 degrees only three days of the month.

But looking back, here’s how I enjoyed it:

  • I slept with covers all month! And because we weren’t sweating at 10 o’clock in the evening, I was able to convince Tyler not to turn the fan up to jet propulsion levels during the night.
  • All the yards in the neighborhood are lushly green! Though I wish our garden was bearing just a little more fruit — vegetables, actually.
  • I wore the new, three-quarter-length sleeve sweaters I bought on sale while in Dallas in June. No Texan in their right mind wanted sweaters in June, but I got them for $5 each and actually got to enjoy them!
  • On days I ran only 3 miles, I enjoyed the cool morning air, and when I took the puppy for a walk, she didn’t plop down in the middle of it, too pooped and too hot to continue. (On days I ran longer, I usually ran to Snap Fitness and watched TV while I was on the treadmill — not to combat the heat so much, but to combat boredom.)
  • While we used air conditioning quite a bit to keep the outside allergens at bay, I bet our electric bill this month is reasonable instead of outrageous.
  • Tyler enjoyed libations on the deck quite often, rather than seeking refuge out of the sunshine.
  • I wasn’t afraid to turn on the stove or the oven. We even ate Taco Soup one day. And omigosh, the corn on the cob! I didn’t mind boiling a big pot of water in order to enjoy a hot, butter-dripping cob. Or two. Or three.

Oh, so this is what heaven might be like.