Posted by: deadmousediaries | July 21, 2011

It’s Summertime and the Living is Juicy – from Mitchell Kyd

When-our-little-brownIt’s summertime and the living is juicy. Anything resembling real shoes has been kicked to the back of the closet not to be heard from again until September. We bare our summer soles now or adorn them with a only a few wispy straps.  Appendages that haven’t seen the light of day for seven long months are suddenly on public display, toasted and slathered with exotic oils. Kids don’t wear shoes at all, only band-aids. The rest of their wardrobe consists of loved-up t-shirts and last year’s jeans, reduced and recycled. It’s the season’s haute couture and has been designed by default to camouflage the goo of a dozen melting Popsicles.

 

The lazy hum of the ceiling fan slows down the rhythms in the house even though the screen door swings in perpetual motion. Every second-squeak of the hinges is echoed by the gummy slurp of the refrigerator being opened. Leftovers seem created by Crayola when summer comes and countertops everywhere look like Picasso went out for lunch and set his masterpiece there to cool.

Summer has a soundtrack, too. The June bugs started the party rolling by clacking against the back porch lights. The music of the day now is sung by a chorus of cicadas announcing that the Early Girl tomatoes are already lined up on the window sills for those last few days of perfect ripening. Fat, orange cantaloupes too, are waiting to be cut into thick slices and sprinkled with pepper. The very best piece always gets hidden in the back of the fridge, buried in secret as a breakfast treasure.

Our little brown bat and the lightning bugs made their way back home in early July about the same time as the smooth-skinned blueberries began bobbing up and down in our cereal bowls. Soon our fingers will soon be stained purple by the plump and rumpled wild raspberries that have taken over the fence row. June’s strawberry shortcake recipes are already being converted to wildberry muffins and cobblers and on occasion, a pan dowdy.

Local sweet corn is beginning to pop up at roadside stands. If you’re lucky enough to have planted a few rows of your own, the butter can be on ten minutes after the ear is pulled from a backyard garden. For the next few weeks, a round, stripped Sugar Daddy melon and a shaker of salt is all that is needed for seven course dining when the first six courses are corn. This is a meal best enjoyed outside when butter and juice can dribble, unimpeded, the whole way to your elbows. A growing pile of cobs and rinds says plainly: Our compliments to the chef! After that initial frenzy for fresh corn has been satisfied, it will be cut and skewered with steak, bright peppers, mushrooms and zucchini. Grills everywhere will hiss and spit while diners drool. Fresh mint, cut and steeped long before dinner, will blend with clover honey as it chills.

Late summer will continue to bring us more delights including the little heirloom pears.They might lack the pretty skins of Bartlett or Anjous but their taste cannot be duplicated by the huge producers. When the peaches are ripe, their fuzzy little orbits will twist open in your hand to reveal soft white or yellow perfection. Here in Franklin County, we are lucky enough to know how real peaches taste. We will never, ever connect real peaches with canned, rubbery chunks that line store shelves and bob about in syrup. We even have a lesson to share with others who think they’ve eaten peaches they’ve hand-picked from a pricey grocer’s bin. We know that unless you see peaches on the trees near the place you bought them, they are just impostors.

It’s summertime and the living is juicy. Take time to unwind in the long lazy evenings under fading suns . Soon enough they will be dissolving more quickly into dusk and the outdoor chorus will change again from katydids to crickets on the cusp of another season. With the continued promise of edible gifts from our beautiful rural landscape, the autumn promise is just as spectacular.

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Responses

  1. If this doesn’t get your mouth watering for the fruits of the season, nothing will! I need a snack after reading that! :o)

    • Thanks for continuing to read and comment, Karin! You are one of my most loyal followers and I appreciate it!


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