273: Thoughts on summer

Freshly mowed

Some of the comments on my Summer Solstice post (271:  Learning to love summer) on Tuesday were mixed and thought-provoking.  I didn’t do a count to verify it but it looks like there is a pretty even split between those who love summer and those who don’t.  Those who love summer gave some great reasons for doing so.  Some of those reasons include:

  • Better weather
  • Longer days (more sunlight after the long, cold, dark days of winter)
  • Flowers in bloom
  • Sunrises and sunsets
  • Vacation

Some of the descriptions from those who love it include:

  • Carefree
  • Fun
  • Relaxed
  • Lazy days

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215: Look what’s blooming now

(The Fab Four)

The red tulips!  Yesterday there was one almost open.  Today, there are a bunch of them blooming (and getting blown around by the gusty winds).

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Father’s Day Weekend

(Father and daughter enjoying an evening at Blossom.)

To all you dads out there:  Wishing you a happy and wonder-filled Father’s Day!

Yesterday was a very full day.  I spent about 90 minutes picking strawberries out at Hilgert’s farm.  I brought home a large mound of strawberries.  I’m not quite sure how many quarts are in a large mound of strawberries but I think it’s about 6 quarts.  M picked about 4 quarts of raspberries.  We’ll be making preserves later today.

The weather was hot but there was a nice breeze blowing while I was picking.  It was hard work for the old knees and back, but I didn’t really notice it until I finished and realized I was tired.  I can’t imagine doing that all day long.  When I was younger I could.  One of the wonderful side-effects from being out in the strawberry fields was having the scent of strawberries linger in my nose for an hour or two after I finished.  Lovely.

At lunch time a friend stopped by with the sammie ingredients for our picnic at Blossom that evening.  We ate lunch first, and then put together delicious sandwiches of provolone cheese, artichoke hearts, sweet red peppers, black olives, and giardiniera (using a hot giardiniera on one and mild on another). We used loafs of sourdough and roasted garlic breads, spreading on a goodly amount of pesto before adding the cheese and other ingredients.  After assembling the sandwiches we bagged them up for transport to Blossom.

The weather predictions got steadily better throughout the day.  In the morning strong storms were predicted.  By the time we left (around 3pm), the radar was clear and the chances of rain had decreased considerably.  It was hot (in the 90’s), but look at that beautiful sky above the pavilion at Blossom.

We picked up one friend at her house on the way over to Blossom and met other friends there who were wise enough to find us an excellent spot on the lawn in the shade.  We picnicked, talked, had some wine, and enjoyed a tasty dessert of strawberry shortcake (brought by the wise friends).

During the warm-up for the show Garrison Keillor and Andra Suchy walked through the pavilion and to the edge of the lawn, singing a romantic medley.

We all hoped they would come over in our direction but it was not to be.  Most of the photos I took during the warm-up and the show had to be taken with the zoom since I couldn’t hobble over quickly enough for a better close-up.

It was a most enjoyable evening.  Those of you familiar with, and who like, A Prairie Home Companion know why I like it.  Those of you not familiar with it ought to hop on over to the website and check it out.  As for those of you who don’t like it (is it possible??), you are probably related to me in some way so I will excuse you.  The cast of usual suspects (Tim Russell, Sue Scott, Fred Newman, and The Guy’s All-Star Shoe Band) were great, as always.  The guests — Ricky Scaggs and Kentucky Thunder, Andra Suchy, and local girl Jessica Lea Mayfield — were great too.  And nobody can host a radio show (and all the parts that go with it — Guy Noir, for example), sing, or tell a story like Garrison Keillor.

Gotta love those trademark red sneakers.

Near the end of the show a large card was passed over to us from our neighbors on the lawn (who, by the way, were friendly and good sports, giving as good as they got from us in terms of joking back and forth).  The card included a note asking everyone to sign the card and then pass it along.

Rumor has it that the card was for Garrison Keillor as this was his last performance at Blossom.  I have not been able to verify that rumor.  Written on the note:

Hi  Please sign card and pass it on … When full take to stage and [paraphrasing here as I’m missing part of the note] give to usher Rick.

The wording may be off.  It’s possible it should be “give to usher.  Rick.”  It’s hard to tell from the photo.

Rumors are only rumors.  For all I know, the card is for an usher or another member of the Blossom staff who was working their last night at Blossom after years of good service.

Based on some of the messages, a lot of folks believed the rumor as they addressed their notes to Mr. Keillor and the cast.

After the show M and I came home and sat on the porch and listened to the green frogs ponging and the Great Horned Owl hoo-hoo-hooing as the bright light from the half moon peeked out from behind the clouds every now and then.

It was a full and fun day.  🙂


Is it just me or does soccer (as we call it here in the U.S.; football to the rest of the world) seem even more exciting when the announcers are speaking in Spanish?  As some of my regular visitors may recall, M and I do not subscribe to cable television services.  Cable internet, yes.  Cable television, no.  We don’t watch enough television to make it worth our while or money.  Having cable might get us into the bad habit of watching enough (or too much).  The bonus to not having cable is that when there is a high-profile sporting event that M wants to watch, we go out and watch it in a local bar or pub with a bunch of other people (usually strangers) which makes it much more fun.

The only sporting event that I follow is the World Cup.  We don’t need cable television service for that as we can pick up Univision over the air.  I do not speak Spanish or understand more than a few words here and there.  Every four years I keep thinking some of the language might sink in as I watch the football/soccer games on Univision.  So far, no luck.  That makes it a little difficult when calls are made and I can’t understand what the announcer is saying.  That happened to me yesterday while watching Slovenia vs. USA and they didn’t count one of the goals.  I had to get online when the game ended and look it up.  But it always sounds so exciting compared to the American and British announcers on ESPN (who sometimes sound as though they’re watching golf instead of soccer/football).  And when the announcer yells GOOOOAAAALLLL!!!!! it’s pretty darn amazing.  That guy must have an incredible set of lungs.

The plan for today, if all goes well, is to go strawberry picking at Hilgert’s this afternoon and then it’s off to Blossom for A Prairie Home Companion with friends.  We’ll be picnicking and sitting on the lawn this year.  No VIP tickets as we did in 2008.  That’s okay.  I like sitting on the lawn.  It’s live radio.  I don’t need to see what’s going on (although it was fascinating to be able to watch it from front row seats and I’m glad I got the chance to do so).

(Thursday’s moon)


(080:  Teamwork.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

M and I arrived at the field where the Balloon Classic was being held around 6:30am.  We timed it just right.  By the time we walked around a bit to get an idea of where things would be, the teams were starting to bring out the balloons.  There was still some ground fog, but it was beginning to burn off.

08.01.09 006

(Heavy ground fog.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

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(Laying out the tarps.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

(Bringing out the balloon.  Photo © by Robin)

More photos to come soon.

Yesterday was a LONG day.  After spending two hours watching balloons, I spent another 4-5 hours prepping, blanching, and freezing broccoli.  I think this is the first time I managed to process all 17 lbs. in one day.  My big hope now is that we don’t have another major power outage like we had last year when Hurricane Ike blew through.

In the evening we went to Blossom where we sat on the lawn and listened to a Schumann Piano Concerto (the pianist, Ingrid Fliter, was wonderful) and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5.  I think I may have slept through some of the Tchaikovsky symphony.  The music did weave its way into my sleep.

Sunday signage

(073:  Feels like cotton.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

I’ve seen all sorts of things sold at the various summer festivals held around here and most of those things sort of fit in with the festival somehow.  I haven’t yet figured out how sheets (even if they feel like Egyptian cotton) fit in at an Italian Festival.  It seemed more flea market than festival to me.  But hey, a guy’s gotta earn a living somehow.  With the high unemployment rate here in Ohio, and the loss of all those manufacturing jobs, sales isn’t a bad way to go.

I wonder if he sold any sheets that day?

M and I went to Blossom last night.  We had hoped some of our friends might go with us, but they wimped out.  That might be unfair.  I’m sure they had other things they needed to do since in some cases they’re just in town for the weekend.  Still, I’m sorry they didn’t make it.  The weather, which had been stormy throughout most of the day, turned out to be lovely.  We hit a few rain squalls on our way to Blossom but once there it pretty much cleared up.  I can prove it:

There were not the usual large number of people there.  Saturday nights at Blossom are  pretty well attended, especially on the lawn.  I’m sure the off and on rain storms throughout the day played a role in that.

M and I had a lovely time.  We set up our blankets (we layered since the ground was wet) and picnicked on the lawn.  By the time we finished eating our dinner the music had started so we sat back and just enjoyed the music and what turned out to be a beautiful evening.

(The Blossom cup holder.)

Last night’s concert included George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.  In a letter to a friend, Gershwin wrote about it:

I heard it as a musical kaleidoscope of America, and of our vast melting pot, of our national pep, of our blues, our metropolitan madness.

I’ve never been a fan of Rhapsody in Blue.  I didn’t expect to enjoy it much.  Perhaps I never really listened to it before.  Or perhaps it was the way the Cleveland Orchestra performed it, playing the original jazz band version.  Whatever the case, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  The pianist, Inon Barnatan, was fantastic.  Bravo!

Some of the other music the orchestra performed included Richard Rodgers Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Lady, Cole Porter’s Night and Day, and Gershwin’s Final Ballet Sequence from Shall We Dance.

Because the night was so nice we rode home with the top down on the convertible, going through town(s) rather than taking the highway.  (Riding in the convertible at high speeds is brutal.)  I especially like the back roads at night and looking up at the stars as we speed along.

All in all, it was a great evening.

All sorts of stuff

We had a fun weekend.

Friday evening we went to Akron where we met up with some friends at 69 Taps and hung out for a while. We had an excellent dinner at Crave and then watched some of the fireworks that were shot off after the Aeros baseball game.

(Kathy’s fruit salad. YUM!)

I spent Saturday in the kitchen, prepping and freezing beans and peppers, then making a salad or two to take for our picnic dinner at Blossom. We went with friends and had a good time, enjoying the Empire Brass as well as the fireworks afterwards. Blossom’s fireworks were much better than the Aeros’.

(Sourdough bread and some of Mary’s cheese. Also YUM!)

(Fireworks. Oooooh!)

In addition to the fireworks, we watched the full moon come up over the pavilion at Blossom on Saturday night. Beautiful. Unfortunately, my photographs are not so beautiful. It’s been a while since I took photos of the moon. I need to practice. I haven’t done this poorly with moon shots since I first got my digital camera.

(Full moon coming up over the pavilion at Blossom.)

Today I have to get to work on a bushel of peppers that I got from Hilgert’s farm on Saturday. They are big, beautiful, gorgeous green bell peppers.

(Green bell peppers. More YUM!)

Once those are finished it will be time to get ready for canning tomatoes. The Romas are in and I hope to can at least as many as I did last year. More, if I have the time and energy.

Move 2008 stats: Not great. Here’s my total mileage for the year:

  • 703.29 miles

A little less than 300 miles away from my goal with 4 months to finish. That’s really not so bad.

However, the past 2 weeks or so have not been so good. My weekly mileage is down to about 15 miles/week and I usually don’t manage more than one yoga or strength workout.

Last week a lot of that was due to sleep deprivation attributed to watching the Olympics. The Olympics will have to continue on without my late-night viewing (perhaps I can catch up during the day) as I plan to get back on the Move 2008 track early tomorrow morning. That means going to bed at a decent hour tonight.