Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Five: Dog Days of August

As posted by Singing Owl at RevGalBlogPals:
Here in the snow belt state of Wisconsin we long for the first signs of spring--perhaps a crocus poking up through the snow, or a pussy willow bud popping out even beneath ice. The first appearance of robins, that most cheery little hopper of birds, causes widespread rejoicing. Spring is followed by summer, a time for home-grown tomatoes, watermelon, corn on the cob, all sorts of "fests," back yard "fry outs" (what they call a barbecue here, for some reason) and trips near and far.
I love summer, and wait anxiously for it every year. So how is it that we have arrived at the hot and humid "Dog Days" of August, and I have not done nearly enough of what I planned to do? I want to pack in as much as I can before snow flies once again. 

How about you? And what is happening for those of you who are in a different hemisphere than I, and it may be cold?

1. What is the weather like where you live?Today, is sunny, cool, and dry for a change.  We've had a record-breaking summer here in this corner of NH.  We usually get a week of above 90° weather, with really high humidity.  This summer most of July was very hot and VERY humid.  The last official word I heard was that we had had over 20 days of above 90°.  The prediction for the next 3 days is what I call perfect summer weather -- highs in the low 80°s, sunny, and dry.    August typically gives us lovely summer days, and comfortable sleeping nights, with just a hint of what is coming up.

2. Share one thing you love about this time of year.

Generally, it's the weather at this time of the year.  The warm days and the cooler nights.  I also love the garden produce -- the corn, tomatoes, and beans are peaking, and blueberries are all over the place.

3. Share one thing you do NOT love about this time of year.

The feeling of stress that starts to build.  I'm a teacher, so when August 1 rolls around, I realize that my free time is fast coming to an end.  I have this metaphor in my head:  the end of June is like a Friday night - the whole weekend beckons, with lots of time to relax, and get errands done, and have fun.  July is like Saturday -- getting some stuff done, having that 2nd cup of coffee in the morning, making plans for the afternoon, knowing there's still lots of time to relax.  August is Sunday - the chores you haven't done loom for the afternoon after you get back from church, the papers you haven't graded need to get done.  By about the end of the first week of August, it's Sunday night, and the stress really starts to build -- you forgot that you meant to get a head start on the new unit you have to do, etc.  You never did get to take the paddle boat out on the lake, and now there's no time left to do that, etc. etc.  And the back to school nightmares (the bane of every teacher I know!) make their annual appearance beginning about Aug. 15th for me, earlier for those who start school earlier than I do.  

4. How will you spend the remaining days leading up to Autumn?

I will be (and have been) attending planning meetings with my teaching colleagues, unpacking and setting up my classroom, and writing letters to parents.  I will be attending some meetings at church.  I also hope to finish a knitting project, read a few more books, and enjoy a few more leisurely mornings without having to be somewhere specific at a designated time.

5. Share a good summer memory.

Here are 2 summer memories:  
This summer I will remember as the "road trip" summer.  We took 2 shortish road trips.  The first was at the beginning of summer when we drove 1500 miles round trip for a mini-family reunion.  Four out of  the 5 Siblings were able to get together at a sibling's house  for the July 4th weekend.  We had a great time visiting with each other and we laughed a lot.  The 2nd trip was also family-related.  My niece (daughter of the 5th sibling who wasn't able to make the previous gathering) had an engagement party and we drove the 1400 mile round trip to attend that party.  Although we didn't get as much time as we would have liked to visit with my youngest sibling, it was great to see him and his family -- it had been over a year since we'd been together.  

The 2nd memory is from childhood.    For several summers in the late 60's we lived in central NJ.  My father, in an effort to save money and to eat well, would visit the farm of someone he knew from work and he would buy  50 dozen ears of corn.  We'd ride to the farm in our station wagon, watch the corn being picked, fill the back of the wagon with the corn  (and in the days before seatbelts, the younger siblings would actually lay on top of the corn!), and bring it back home.  Meanwhile my mom would have gathered freezing supplies, and when he got back home, we'd spend what seemed like hours husking the corn, blanching it, and then scraping the kernels off each ear, packing the liberated kernels into quart-sized freezer bags.  My father, ever the enterprising engineer, designed a production line.  My mom manned the stove, that had 3 pots of water boiling in rotation.  She'd dump the blanched corn into the kitchen sink.   From there a lucky sibling, usually my brother because he was the youngest, would pick up each ear and shoot it through the open kitchen window into a brand new metal garbage can (purchased for just this reason) that was filled with ice water.  Then an UNLUCKY sibling fished ears out of the ice-cold water into pans on the picnic table. (We did rotate this position!) My father and 2 more siblings would sit at the picnic table and scrape the kernels off the years and the last sibling filled the freezer bags with the kernels and ran them in batches into the huge freezer in the garage.  Let's just say, we NEVER ran out of corn to eat!

Bonus: What food says SUMMER to you?

Tomatoes.  Fresh picked, big, juicy, flavorful tomatoes.
Oh, and green beans (or purple!)
And summer squash and zucchini
And anything from my garden!!!


Jan said...

Yes, the tomatoes are wonderful this time of year.

I like imagining you living in NH. I can just picture the fall that will emerge as you are teaching.

Faith Hope and Cherrytea said...

first time to find you ! and kind of a neat 'coincidence' as regards your knitting ~ today is the memorial of st radegund, patron saint of weavers and potters - kinda close i'd say ;) so i've posted about her today as well as the friday fives ~
sorry about the pre school distractions - not fun to have that overtake your enjoyment of summer !
peace be with you ...

Joolie said...

ah yes, the corn production line! I think I had fewer siblings, but a similar process. Blessings on your teaching! Hope you get a few nice mornings before you go back to getting up much too early.

SingingOwl said...

NH and WI weather sounds pretty much the same. HOT! Lovely memories...picturing kids on top of corn...!