We stayed in on Saturday, Mr. Michie was a bit under the weather. Which was just fine. I cleaned the house, he rested, we listened to music, made dinner, the house was calm and quiet. It was a lovely feeling compared to the hustle and bustle of the week.
Today we ran in to Marylebone as I needed to run a few errands and Mr. Michie came with me. The day was cool and sunny, it felt like Autumn. We took a short stroll through Regent’s Park to sit beside the miniature waterfall within the island part of the Japanese garden. Being there restores my soul. I feel as if I have stepped in to another world and it is all my own.
Slowly, the leaves are beginning to change, there were the hints of gold and red and orange around us. As we headed back out we walked by a ginormous sunflower that was starting to lean over as the starburst of a flower head was just to heavy.
We stopped by the Farmer’s Market before heading home. The air was filled with the scents of sausages being freshly cooked, sizzling away in a large cast iron skillet with onions slowly browning next to them and the heady scent of apples mixing with that to perfume the air in an intoxicating way.
We stopped by one stall selling a variety of vegetables and fresh eggs. He had the most beautiful duck egg blue fleshed heirloom pumpkins. One of them just jumped right in to my hands and came home with me. It was lovely to be out for a few hours, that is not something we normally do on a Sunday as work seems to take it over, but I was happy to reclaim back some time just for us.
The weather is changing now, as if Mother Nature knows everyone has gone back to school. Summer is slowly but surely dipping into Fall. We went on a walk over the weekend and the crunch, crunch, crunch of leaves under our feet made a happy sound before it melted into the sludge of wet ones buried underneath on the wooded path.
The evenings are getting darker sooner, the mornings are taking longer to light and there is a cozyness in that, we are moving into hot chocolate weather! I miss not being home this time of year. I grew up near the prettiest mountains on the face of the earth and I got to watch them evolve with the seasons.
This is the time for hay bales and pumpkins, Indian corn hung on your door in fat bunches, apples dipped in warm ooey gooey melty caramel and harvest moons. The leaves are beginning to crunch under our feet, I feel that it will soon be Fall.
It’s hot here! This is the hottest weekend of the year so far. As a girl raised in the South, I am used to heat. Heat, mixed with humidity that seems to dew on your skin the moment you step outside. Heat, mixed with humidity that takes your breath away when you open the door. Heat, mixed with humidity that feels as if you are breathing through a wet cloth.
Summer, in the South, symbolizes the beginning of so many things. It means fresh fried chicken with sliced tomatoes straight off the vine, cucumber salad and cantaloupe dripping its melon nectar to mingle with the vinegar of the salad on your plate. All purchased that afternoon from the Farmer’s Market. A large shed that held inside its walls the best of Summer: fresh vegetables, watermelons, boiled peanuts. Bushel baskets by the door to place your selected items in as you shopped. The smell of the sun and warmth, on the vegetables, that had not long come in from the fields.
Not all Sundays, but on some occasions after church we would head to the local family restaurant in town. A place that served Southern food at its finest! No calorie counting here! Turkey & Dressing is always served on Sundays with a choice of vegetables and fresh yeast rolls. That was usually my choice over ham or fried chicken. That lunch mixed with the Summertime heat would often make you sleepy and an afternoon nap on the hammock would ensue.
When my grandmother was a child in the South the big meal of the day was eaten at lunch, or as people called it then, “Dinner” and “Supper” was a lighter evening meal of cold lunchtime leftovers, sandwiches or biscuits, grits and frizzled ham. They lived at the top of a big hill and when my great-grandfather Red would come home for lunch, each child would have a turn during the week riding up the hill with him.
He would place his arm out of the window and help the “rider” onto the foot board, holding onto them with his big worn hands as they gripped the open window frame, they would ride up the hill with their daddy, squealing and laughing all the way as the wind blew through their hair.
For that is the South. Sweat rolling down your back; ice clinking in glasses as it slowly diffuses into sweet tea. The laughter of gossip carrying over the yard as children swing higher on their swing hung on the boughs of an oak to feel the breeze cool their faces.
Harper Lee described Summertime in the South best, in one of my favorite books, “To Kill A Mockingbird”:
Somehow, it was hotter then: a black dog suffered on a summer’s day; bony mules hitched to Hoover carts flicked flies in the sweltering shade of the live oaks on the square. Men’s stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o’clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum…A day was twenty-four hours long but seemed longer.
I love that line: A day was twenty-four hours long but seemed longer. The days did always seem so much longer when you were little, with one day slipping into the next an endless parade of Summer days. Now, time seems to fly, there are never enough hours in the day to accomplish everything. But, that I suppose is how it should be, there is a time to everything and so there should be a time to rest as the sun comes to its end and our pace slows to match the softness of the moon.
(Peach Truck Image: Re-vamped Allman Bros. Album Cover, Pink Tag & Tape on “To Kill A Mockingbird” Image, The Pugly Pixel, Background on same image: The Graphics Fairy, Farmer’s Market & Palm Tree Images, copyright J. Michie)
Yesterday, was the perfect farmer’s market day! The sky was an azure blue, filled with puffy little clouds and the air was fresh and crispy. It made me long for home, to jump into the car with my family and head up to the farmer’s market in Asheville. There is a major market there that overlooks the Biltmore House, it is my favorite market in the city.
The long rows of sheds are filled to the brim with delights. Jars of honey glisten in the golden sun, cured hams hang from poles in their cotton sacks, baskets and crates overflow with seasonal vegetables and fruit, jars of homemade jams and jellies stacked up on tables and right about now the pumpkins would be out for sale. For someone who is not familiar with Southern food culture, it is quite an experience.
There is this wonderful smell in the air of warm hay, soil, vegetables, peanuts being boiled and apples just picked from the orchards being dipped in rich oozing caramel, all intermixed with the coolness in the air and the warmth of the people around you.
Yesterday, would have been a good market day if the weather in Asheville was like it was here. To just stroll through the sheds and stock up on apple butter and fresh honey and a few pieces of country ham, to sizzle up on Sunday morning with grits and fresh buttermilk biscuits.