It hardly seems possible but the summer-that-never-was is over and we’re back to school tomorrow. It rained. A lot. It was cold. We stayed inside and we read books and we watched movies and we drank hot chocolates. We managed the occasional mad dash to a park for some fresh air. We had one lunatic day of op shopping.
My favourite find was a knitting bag. What originally drew me to it were the twenty plus reels of sewing thread stuffed inside. Totally worth the $2 price tag just to own the thread. I’m not quite sure what to do with the almost 50 pairs of knitting needles in every size imaginable including small fence-post. The buried treasure, however, turned out to be the knitting bag itself.
After some no nonense treatment with soap and a nail brush, years and years of grime were washed away to reveal the most beautiful bright red leather in perfect condition. I’m hardly a knitter (three wash cloths and a bee so far this year ) so this bag has become my new take-everywhere because it’s roomy enough for wallet and keys and phone AND diary and pens and current library book.
And look how it matches my red shoes. Like they were made for each other.
We are inundated with beautiful pink and red stalks. Not that I’m complaining, I love the stuff. There has been lots of rhubarb syrup making… I quadruple this recipe and store it in pretty cut glass bottles. Henry is a dab hand at the Ruby Jan which is his kids version of SouleMama’s Ruby June. He mixes some syrup and some fresh-squeezed lemon juice with Schweppes sparkling lemonade and pours it over ice. Truly fabulous.
I get the rhubarb pulp leftover after he’s dripped the syrup mixture through a sieve. ( It’s like jelly making, don’t be tempted to press the pulp in the sieve to try and get more juice out, you’ll just get a solid grey layer at the bottom of the bottle.) I mix it with apple, cover with a crumble topping and bake. Or add it to raspberry jelly and evapourated milk to make great fruit foam. We eat half and then freeze the rest for the yummiest rhubarb and raspberry ice cream in town. The recipes are up top.
“It was drowsily warm with dozens of bees
Lazily buzzing through flowers and trees”
So begins my favourite Lynley Dodd book. I’ve always thought that bumblebees in the lavender are one of the best things about summer.
I’m taking a break from the knitting of baby washcloths to help Amy with a bit of graffiti knitting. These little bees are surprisingly addictive. As is the concept of graffiti knitting, which is explained in a great article in the latest World Sweet World . I wave it militantly at anyone who asks me what I’m doing.
The idea has captured the imagination of the twins who are sitting on the couch opposite me knitting lavender tree scarves with purple wool and massive 9mm needles. The council has just planted new trees down our street, nice and skinny and easy to wrap. I’m allowed to contribute a bumble bee.
The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls the butterfly.
In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.