Summer’s End: September 2008

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These little blackeyed beauties are right behind the back entrance to our condo. I pass them every day on my way to swim laps. Summer doesn’t get much better than this!

Most of us hate to see summer end, because the long, sunny days are over, and the pace of life seems to quicken. September is the start of school and the time to “get serious.” While I like summer, because the days stretch well after sundown, my favorite season is fall, so when summer ends, I become excited to see the leaves turning.

But this summer I gained a new appreciation of the season’s foliage, from the early flowers starting in the spring—daffodils, forsythia, tulips, and azaleas—to the ever-changing landscape of flox, roses, petunias, crape myrtle, black-eyes susans, and of course, impatiens, which seem to grace the lawns all summer long. Next come the asters and the mums in their fall finery. I can’t wait! Mother Nature seems to have covered all her bases.

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A beautiful crape myrtle tree in my neighborhood.

Just as I enjoy the continuous blooming landscape during the warm months of late spring to Indian summer, so too do I enjoy the continuous, edible landscape at The Farmers’ Markets, the health food stores, and even the supermarkets. I abandon my much-loved apples and trade them in for summer’s bounty of apricots peaches, plums, melons, etc.

While daffodils and tulips herald in Spring, foods like asparagus and apricots herald in the coming of warm weather foods. Despite the fact that we can eat summer foods in winter and vice-versa, I much prefer to eat most foods when they are in season. Apples in July aren’t crunchy enough, because they have been too long in storage. And watermelons in January just don’t interest me.

So the recipes for September reflect what I think is perfect for this time of year, still warm enough to cook outside at times, but cool enough to start thinking about denser foods, like cauliflower and carrots. So Click on Kitchen Nutrition with Recipes to see what’s cookin’ for September.

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On my walk in the neighborhood I spotted these flowers on the other side of the fence around the house and thought it would make an interesting photo.

Beyond the recipes you may want to read Part II in Profiles of my interview with my mother-in-law, who turns/turned 102 on Sept. 5th. Her party was a family affair and I have included a photo of Lena and grandson Jay, visiting from LA. It was held a couple weeks before her birthday, when Jay was visiting in Philadelphia.

In the Review section, I am featuring a slim volume that I read in one afternoon, because it was so engrossing. It is called A Journey Well Taken by Elaine Williams, and chronicles her life after the unexpected loss of her husband of 20 years. In addition, Feedback has a couple of items to check out, and Peak to Pique highlights a sweet potato/cauliflower soup. In This ‘n That I have a poem about a new utensil called a knork, which is featured in Products and Services Products and Services. Finally, in Health Flashes I have a poem about the plight of the honey bees. As you can see, I have been a busy bee myself all summer!

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The photos are, for the most part, are those from my neighborhood, like the one above, which boasts of many lovely gardens, both large and small. Some owners feature flowers on both sides of their walkways, while others have a large spread of flowers and bushes on the front part of their homes. I often feel that I am walking around a miniature Longwood Gardens, a lovely spot about one hour from here that encompasses 1050 acres of gardens, woodlands, and meadows and more than 11,000 types of plants. While my neighborhood can’t compete in size and number of plants, it’s right here under my nose and costs nothing to see! (However, I did take my friend Pat to Longwood at the very end of August and I plan to feature those photos, along with some “leafy” photos next month in all their “living colors.” Here’s just one to pique your pupils!)

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Enjoy the last days of warm weather and get ready for fall’s flaming foliage. It’s coming soon…..

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