Monday, August 29, 2016

The Dog Days of Summer


Our summer has been bizarrely mild, with only a handful of really hot days tempered with cooler and even rainy spells.  Now a distinctive nip in the evening air hints at the coming of refreshingly crisp, cool fall days. 

This time of the year, as autumn swiftly approaches, life becomes increasingly hectic.  We are fully immersed in preserving the garden harvest and getting firewood split and stacked as insurance against winter's cold embrace.  The apple press is awaiting the first apples of the season and my pressure canner has taken up permanent residence in the kitchen in anticipation of quart upon quart of bountiful garden produce.   I have school books spread across the kitchen table as I sort through curriculum and write lesson plans for the upcoming school year.  Our shouse is bustling with activity as we enjoy the simple rhythm of life on the homestead.

Freshly canned green beans

What's left of our log deck

Sawed wood ready to be split and stacked

One wood hut almost full

The log splitter ready for the next batch of wood
During the these warm, productive days of late summer I often try to come up with ways I can prepare meals for my family with a minimum of effort.  This past Sunday I didn't really want to cook a big meal and I wasn't feeling particularly inspired to come up with a creative, no fuss, hot weather meal so I fell back on an old world favorite, the Ploughman's Platter. 

Ploughman's Platter

While I heated water for tea, I laid out a tray full of cold cuts, cheeses, crackers, bagels, fruit and herbed cream cheese.  It was a perfect meal for a quiet Sunday - light and simple, but somehow inherently filling.  It was just the thing for the dog days of summer.


  1. This is one of my favorite meals dating back to my time in the SCA. I refer to it a "peasants repast". And it is an easy and very satisfying meal. That set up looks amazing by the way.

  2. My summer has been the opposite; normal years are 2 days to a week over 90 - this summer over a month has been 90+ each day. I am looking forward to cooler weather (once I, too, finish getting my firewood in).

  3. Back in class (I teach)- trying to prepare for a predicted COLD n SNOWY winter in the northern plains. I have missed looking into your world. Glad to see some posts this week. I haven't had a working kitchen range for 6 months, but manage. You don't have a working generator (apparently). We just learn to deal with it. I wouldn't dream of trading this for a posh condo in NYC. Glad your garden is producing this year - mine is the best ever - although that is not saying much. I have managed to keep two strawberry patches that I started this spring alive and I have 3 raspberry plants alive this year (after starting 30 or 40 in the past 5 years). I have had much better luck with my chickens. (Lost one of 47 this year.) Is life perfect? No - still I can't (and won't) complain.

    I Love the updates on your daughter's house - it is charming. (Plus I was one of the two who commented on the linoleum that she had that is still in my house.) Enough daydreaming...need to get some rest. Tomorrow is another day of plenty to do! Natokadn.

  4. I love the platter idea! I also love your tea cozy!

  5. I was wondering what kind of wood you burn and how much you use a year. Do you heat solely with wood?