Thursday, 30 August 2012

These Last Days of Summer

There is something afoot in the last days of August. The nights get cooler, the colours deepen, and you can just smell the end of warmth.
 It smells a goodbye.

Yet, a goodbye to good things, that you were glad to know.

It’s not hard to make the most of these last days of summer. The garden overflows, and the speckled canning pot moves from the stove to the kitchen floor and back again.

The days are busy and long.

But most of all, they are full. Full, shaken down and running over with every good thing. Golden rod, mason jars, and late night trips to the corn patch.

Journals by flashlight and fire.


We make the most of them while we can.


Monday, 27 August 2012

Old Magazines and County Fair Pie

There’s something that happens around here, in the summer months. The advertisement section of the newspaper suddenly becomes very interesting, our good old Sienna van has some close calls with the local ditches as drivers’ eyes wander to signs on telephone poles, and a certain network of other enthusiasts springs up overnight to telegraph the latest news. It’s all about that wonderful invention, called a yard sale! I’m no expert, but I live with those who are, and apparently the finding of the yard sale is all part of the experience. One must avoid the sketchy part of town, the spectator sport yard sale, and the one where there are no prices on anything and you must awkwardly haggle. But, the best part of yardsaling, as I have observed, is coming home with loads of stuff that you don’t need, and will never use, but you got at a tremendously good price! But, occasionally, I do admit, you find a winner of a purchase.

One day, this summer, my mother and sister planned such an expedition which they would undertake while I pursued a more intellectual (and nervewracking) few hours taking tests at a local college. On picking me up after several hours, they actually had to shift and redistribute their load to give me an empty square foot space to sit upon!

But, I’m not complaining. Sometimes their purchases are useful, nice, and amusing. Like the large stack of old, musty, and smoky cooking magazines and cookbooks that Olivia bought at a ridiculously low price. The lady selling them had a good sales pitch. She insisted that we should go home, sit outside, have a cooling drink, and clip recipes. We did exactly that.

(Please note the milk glass vase in this picture. Olivia's life mission is to give all milk glass articles existing in the world, today, a good and loving home in her closet.)

I don’t know whether you’ve ever taken a good look at the subject of eighties food. I have, and I’ve come to the decision that it’s a mixture of weird, wonderful, and very, very processed (I didn’t even know you could buy cheese in a tube). But, I was actually surprised at how gourmet some of the dishes were. I found recipes for polenta and souffle and also a huge amount of bacon recipes, including bacon burgers. So, a fascination with bacon isn’t so recent, after all. Maybe bacon is just timeless.

But, the most amazing thing about eighties food is their definition of a salad. Now, to me, a salad contains a certain amount of vegetables (usually a high percentage of green ones) covered in a vinegar and oil, or mayonaisse based dressing. Not the eighties cooking queens! To them, a salad isn’t a salad unless it contains whipped topping, marshmallows, canned pineapple, maraschino cherries, and/or gumdrops. And don’t forget the good old gelatin! It’s like dessert for your main course…Hey! Maybe they were on to something!

Sometimes eighties food is just unclassifiable. Like this pie that I made:

County Fair Pie
½ cup of butter or margarine, melted
1 cup sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup butterscotch chips
1 unbaked pastry shell (9 inches)
In a mixing bowl, beat the butter, sugar, flour, eggs and vanilla until well blended. Stir in nuts, and chips. Pour into pie shell. Bake at 325 for 1 hour or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Okay so, I know about fruit pies, and cream pies. But, in what category is this pie? It’s kind of like a giant cookie in a pie crust. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a really good pie. I’m just at a loss to figure its genre. Please make the recipe and help me out!

But, before I go, I must share with you one of the most interesting, strange, and non-classifiable recipes that we found:

Salad by Candlelight
Serves 2
2 lettuce leaves
1 banana, cut in half crosswise
2 pineapple rings
1 cherry or red grape, cut in half
On two small plates, place lettuce leaves Place pineapple in center of leaf. Stand ½ banana in hole of each pineapple ring. Attach cherry half on top of each banana to represent a flame. Now doesn’t that look like a candle?

I’m sure it does, dear. But, who wants to eat a candle?

- Millie

Friday, 24 August 2012


There is a picture in my memories of me in a lake, with a black and white swimsuit with overall buckles. I’m four with bangs and gappy teeth – and I’m looking like it’s the happiest day of the summer.

Maybe it is, because after all – the Lindsay’s lake makes everything else seem far away.

It’s from that moment you get out of the sticky car, and the breeze that always blows there – picks your hair and lifts it straight up. You forget about the heat shimmering off pavement in town.

It’s from the hello hugs and sit-down-and-chat-awhile, that makes you push those other troubled friendships into proper perspective. Deep and long roots with these people make other situations fade a little.

There is just something about water and sunshine, that puts worries in their place.

And something about the memories – Mr. Lindsay telling us the water is too cold to swim, Millie and I with noodles, the lighthouse, the dinner bell, that time we took a long ride in the motor boat. I get reminiscent at the sound of horseshoes clinking and the thump of hand against tetherball. I smell BBQ and taste corn on the cob. I can even see Mrs. Lindsay feeding the leftover hot-dog buns to the ducks. There is just something comforting when you step into the cottage and smell its smell, and know there are some things that won’t change…

Except perhaps they will.

A cottage on the far end of the lake, always seemed remote and mysterious, when we were growing up. A perfect log castle in the distance. Millie and I paddled to it several weeks ago – the farthest we’ve ever been…and imagine – when we floated opposite, it didn’t seem that big, grand or impeccable, at all. A childhood imagining against the reality.

And things do change. It seems strange to me, to think of the cottage, those people, the ‘Lindsay’s Lake’ not being the same as it always has.

But there is peace with the idea too, because the memories are sweet – and no matter what lake I find myself in, the people and past shines bright on me.

Grateful to have known them. Grateful for those first happy, barefoot afternoons.

I found this today, scribbled in a notebook. I had written it a few days after our pastor moved away, so change was heavy on my mind. Funny how the capabilities and borders of change broaden in just a few weeks.



What I’d written seems a little silly and sure of  itself now. I knew things could alter, but I don’t think I realized it could be so hard.

Mr. Lindsay, our ‘adopted’ grandfather in Christ, is gone now. He knew me since I was first expected and my mom  stumbled down the church basement stairs, and he caught us at the bottom. He has always been here…the same house…the same seat in church…the same smile…



Change – the biggest of all changes; which we expect, but never at this time, this moment. Watching a dear person run the last part of their race.


And he was running. Grateful, hopeful, praising God to the end.


We truly rejoice for his change. He’s whole now - perfect in Christ, in the realness of Heaven and that cloud of witnesses. We couldn’t possibly wish him  in this land of shadow and promises, instead of enjoying the fullness of his salvation.


The Truth is hard, but it stands. To live is Christ, but to die is gain.


Change. And what can we do?


We cry our tears, pray continually for the loneliest of those left in this world for a time. And we will not lose heart…for our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweigh them all.


And in this change – even here, the God of Grace dwells.

Be still, my soul; the Lord is on thy side;

Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;

Leave to thy God to order and provide;

In every change He faithful will remain.

Be still, my soul; thy best, thy heavenly Friend

Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.



Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake

To guide the future as He has the past.

Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake;

All now mysterious shall be bright at last.

Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know

His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.



Be still, my soul, though dearest friends depart

And all is darkened in the vale of tears;

Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,

Who comes to soothe thy sorrows and thy fears.

Be still, my soul; thy Jesus can repay

From His own fullness all He takes away.



Be still, my soul; the hour is hastening on

When we shall be forever with the Lord,

When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,

Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.

Be still, my soul; when change and tears are past,

All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.





Saturday, 11 August 2012

A burnt supper post

So...yesterday I canned peaches. I love to can, seeing the full jars all lined up on the counter and pantry shelves is very rewarding. But...sometimes during the process I wonder if it is worth it! It's just that being up to my elbows in peach juice, keeping three girlies under four happy and under control and taking business calls whilst trying to keep things hot and sterile *cough, cough* is well...just plain HARD. =)  Some better planning might have been helpful...

  Like, why was I making bread on top of that! It was abandoned...except for a wack now and then to keep it from getting out of control. As you can see it still managed to spill over.

Pictures don't show the half of the "burnt supper"-kind-of-day. Sorry, but I'm not honest enough to show the floor pictures with it's collection of peach pits. But I got 16 quart-ish jars and a cobbler made for supper with some left for pie and maybe I'll do a little jam. ...and I still have hopes of getting more!

I am very grateful I have the best baby it the world! =D

from my kitchen to yours,  Aimee

P.S. if you have facebook please help me win a free swimsuit by going to Divinita Sole Swimwear's page. (I love their swimwear, my quest for a suit I love and am comfortable in has ended! =) Like their page and then like my picture in their contest album (it's number four). Today is the last day for voting so hurry!

Monday, 6 August 2012

Thanksgiving in August

-preserving, the pop of lids, the steam  and sticky apron

- kitchen sink, and our shabbysweet backyard that I love

-bagels to go under fresh tomato slices

-blue eyes and pool hair

-cotton candy, summer colours

-Mom's raspberry patch and her homemade pie


-daylilies from  the ditch

-splashing away the summer

-each breath and moment we spend with the people we love...not long for this world

Summer is a multitude of wonderful things, but sometimes we need reminding, when life catches us unawares...

Count the blessings. Count the ones you can see, and the ones that just pass through your heart and soul.
Count the hard ones. Count in the face of  grief, and fears, and the things you never thought would happen.
Count God's mercies and faithfulness. Count the times He has brought joy out of sorrow, and hope from  the hardest providences.
Count it all Grace when you experience troubles of all kinds, because we have the precious Priest and Saviour and Shepherd and Lord of all things.
Keep counting and keep going.

God is good.