How to Enjoy a Perfect Peach

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 One does a whole painting for one peach
and people think just the opposite—
that the particular peach is but a detail.

~ Pablo Picasso

The Perfect Peach

Peaches are my favourite stonefruit. The perfect peach, for me, is tree-ripened and has never been refrigerated. Oh, it is so heavenly to eat—so juicy and succulent, it drips like honey when you bite into it. Best to enjoy one of these luscious fruits over the sink and not worry about the sweet honey nectar dripping down your beautiful face.

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The Joy of Summer Wildflowers II

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How does the Meadow flower its bloom unfold?
Because the lovely little flower is free down to its root,
and in that freedom bold.

~ William Wordsworth

More Summer Wildflowers

For me, summer and wildflowers are synonymous. And one of my favourite things to do is go out for a day to enjoy the wildflower meadows in the foothills and mountains of Kananaskis Country in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta. For me, it’s pure bliss.

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A Happy Little Muskrat at Sibbald Meadows Pond

For the best viewing experience, I highly recommend watching in full screen mode.

Our Little Muskrat Friend

Sibbald Meadows Pond, in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, is a beautiful little mountain pond, home to frogs, trout, wild waterfowl and our happy little muskrat friend. This short video is a collaborative project done with my partner—I shot one short video clip and he shot the rest over several visits to Sibbald Meadows Pond (see my previous post, A Summer Oasis: Sibbald Meadows Pond).

My partner gets all the credit for many patient hours of sitting quietly, watching and waiting for our little friend to emerge from his bank burrow. I did the video uploading, sorted through the footage to select the best bits and found the fun music by Rimsky. We did the story-boarding and draft editing together and my partner did all the fine-tuning and video rendering. We love working together.

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The Danbo Brothers: Teapot Cleaning Day

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“The sorcery and charm of imagination,
and the power it gives to the individual
to transform his world into a new world of order and delight,
makes it one of the most treasured of all human capacities”.

~ Frank Barron

Rainy Day Play

It was a rainy day here today, a perfect day to do some cleaning indoors. So I went about doing a bit of tidying and dusting as the Danbo Brothers followed me around, dogging my heels, very curious as to what kind of game I was playing. Several times, I almost tripped over them.

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Put a Bit of Summer Away for Winter: Cherry Compote

 

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Putting Up Cherries for the Winter

Cherry season is nearly at an end. But just before the cherries completely disappear from the markets, I like to put some up so that we can enjoy a bit of the summer sunshine embodied in those sweet fleshy red orbs come winter.

My favourite way to preserve cherries is to either candy them or make a cherry compote. Candied cherries have a higher sugar content and have a more concentrated, candied flavour, whereas cherry compote uses less sugar and has more of a fresh fruit flavour. Both are delicious, both are super easy to make (see my post on Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream for candied cherries), and both freeze incredibly well. If you love cherries, I recommend checking this recipe out and putting up some cherries—it’s such a treat to have in the middle of a cold winter.

Since everyone who tastes my cherry compote wants the recipe, I thought I’d post it. If you love cherries and still have some available where you live, do try making this—you’ll be glad you did. If you’ve already missed the fresh cherries for this season, you can make this compote any time of the year using frozen whole cherries from the supermarket.

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Urban Bees in My Balcony Garden in the Sky

 

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Recipe for Happiness:

One warm sunny day.
One lavender blossom.
One bee.
And someone to appreciate it all:
that’s me.

~ madlyinlovewithlife

City Bees

I recently read a little blurb in one of our city magazines pronouncing Calgary to be a “Bee-Friendly City”. It stated that our urban bee population is thriving due to Calgary’s rich biodiversity of plant life and due to a growing movement to reduce pesticide and herbicide use around our city. A program called Bees for Communities has brought 400 new hives into Calgary to give backyard hobbyist beekeepers an opportunity to hone their skills under the supervision of an experienced beekeeper, and the City of Calgary Parks Department has instituted a program to plant more bee-friendly trees in the city. All these efforts add up to more urban bees.

My Little Balcony Garden in the Sky

Every spring, I plant a little balcony garden. It’s a small garden, composed entirely of containers that I arrange and cluster closely together. Typically, I plant out about 30 pots each year. Except for two Amur maple trees, nothing potted survives our cold winters, so I replant all 30 pots anew each spring.

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The Jewels of Summer: Fresh Berry Fruit Salad

 

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Ah…. summertime. I love it! And this summer has been an unusually gorgeous one, exactly my idea of a perfect summer: an endless string of warm, blue sky days accentuated by a few hot days and the occasional dramatic thunderstorm here and there (bringing us much needed moisture and some spectacular lightning shows). We don’t have much in the way of humidity here in Calgary, so the dry heat is very pleasant.

For me, a perfect treat on these wonderfully languid, hot August days is my summer berry fruit salad made of freshly picked seasonal berries. For weeks now, countless flats of raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, cherries and blueberries have been flying out of the farmers markets and finding their way into kitchens all over Calgary.

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A Summer Oasis: Sibbald Meadows Pond

To fully tap into the peace and beauty of Sibbald Meadows Pond, I recommend watching this video in full-screen mode.

Life at Sibbald Meadows Pond

This video is a short vignette highlighting some of the life, tranquility and beauty at Sibbald Meadows Pond, one of our favourite places to find inner replenishment. Nestled in the beautiful foothills of Kananaskis Country (see my previous post) and surrounded by aspen groves and stands of spruce and pine, Sibbald Meadows Pond is only a 45 minute drive from Calgary.

My partner gets the credit for shooting all the video footage (taken over several visits to Sibbald Meadows Pond a couple of summers back). I did all the grunt work of uploading and sorting through hours of footage and selecting the best bits to work with. We did the video editing together and my partner did all the fine-tuning and rendering.

More importantly, however, I made all the desserts for the picnic baskets we took on our various visits to Sibbald Meadows Pond (including my homemade Rhubarb Buttermilk Cake with Streusel Topping, Angel Food Cake made from scratch, and my Honey Almond Squares).

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A Case of Mistaken Identity

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A winter get-away

The other night, as I was painting my toenails, I was reminded of a fun little encounter I had a few years ago while on a winter vacation in the southwestern United States. Sporting ten brightly painted pink toenails for the occasion, I was sunbathing by the pool one morning when I got rather hot toasting in the sun and decided to take a dip in the water to cool off a bit. I had a short, invigorating swim and emerged dripping wet, feeling totally refreshed. I rearranged my pool towel, reclined once again on my comfy chaise lounge and was luxuriating in the warm sun once again… when along came a little bee.

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Summer Green Peas: Happy Thoughts

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It’s Pea Season! And we’ve been hauling huge bags of them home from the farmers market every week. My favourite way to enjoy summer peas is to simply fill a large bowl with fresh, cold, crunchy pea pods, shell one, pop the succulent little morsels straight into my mouth, savour them thoroughly, and gluttonously carry on until the whole bowl is empty. Mmmmm… they are such a delicious summer treat.

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