It's morning, and so very quiet. No cars rushing to work, the cacophony of people in the hallway bustling about.
I'm loving vacation.
Yesterday we woke up to fog.
Then it began to lift -- it looks like Avalon (King Arthur's Avalon -- not Robin Bird's lovely garden!)
Finally, clear and beautiful, only a lone duck cutting a wake.
I've been busy -- almost schizophrenically so. That's the problem with bringing too many art supplies -- which project to do first?
Composition book journals? (The colors on this phot didn't show well, and its only the first layer! Expect a progress report!)
Greeting cards for the fall shows?
Finishing my "Diana" book? (I did! Now I'm reading an enormously funny one every knitter will love, but I'll post on that later!) Or, do I ponder my old children's books that live here full time -- Trixie Belden, Donna Parker, Nancy Drew, the Happy Hollisters...
There are walks on the beach past my neighbor's lovely yard.
Then turning around and looking the other direction.
And returning home to my own, in the long shadows of twilight.
There are walks down the road to visit my mom's childhood friend and my 100-year-old neighbor.
I've bought stain to paint the porch, dumped my clothes off to Goodwill, mailed a couple of packages and watched the conventions -- all with my noble companion.
I even let him out -- closely attended of course. I'm not sure I'll do that again!
I'm loving not having a set schedule. Tonight I took my mom's childhood friend to dinner. It was simply lovely to talk to someone who remembers this special lady with so many fond and joyful memories. She remembers our lake in a different time; one with only the radio for company, no video games or ski boats. But no one could deny those kids had a great time!
After dinner we caught a bit of the sunset on her porch, four houses away from the cottage where my mother grew up. It was a lovely end to a lovely day.
Friday I'm meeting a former colleague who retired in Petoskey/Charlevoix. She hurt her hip so we'll not do the yarn store thing, though I'll take my knitting and enjoy a good time with this state fair award-winner for her quilts and knits.
I'm bringing lunch. Last week I made panzanella -- I have such a wonderful batch of tomatoes and such beautiful basil, so I brought some up here. Here's my version of this summer favorite that so pleased Rick, I made it two nights in a row!
Make your own croutons by slicing a baguette and tearing the bread into large (2") chunks. I do mine at 300 in the oven for about 25 minutes, but Ina Garten says you can do this on the stove. Just toss with olive oil, basil and a bit of sea salt and give them a toss on the baking sheet every 10 minutes or so.
The salad --
Medium dice fresh red and yellow tomatoes -- I use about six of my smaller-sized tomatoes; if you have a bigger one, you may need less.
Be sure to add some yellow ones -- the grape-sized yellows work fine when halved. You're adding these for color, so add what you like -- just make sure its enough.
Rough chop a large bunch of basil. I didn't measure, but I bet it was about a cup or so.
Dice about a half-pound of mozzerlla in small chunks. I can't find fresh here, but that would be the ideal. The other is fine and I've even resorted to cheese sticks when desperate!
Thinly slice/julienne one fennel bulb. (This is optional and this is what makes this "mine." I love the bulk it gives and the fresh springy flavor.
If you have kalamata olives and like them, throw in a few!
Toss this with sea salt and pepper and add olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste. Add in the croutons and toss again. Let the salad sit for at least an hour; longer is better. Just remember, the longer you sit, the more crunch from the croutons you'll lose!
The croutons will soak up the liquid from the tomatoes and the dressing and soften.
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