Walking the dogs. Good for them, good for me. But honestly walking the same route over and over is boring. We aren’t hardcore walkers here. Little woman, little dogs, we’re what you might call amblers. The dogs are sniffers extraordinaire and though I try to follow the teachings of dog guru Cesar Milan I’d say I’m only about halfway successful. With two dogs it seems like I’m always stopping for one or the other to “mark the spot” or sniff out a particularly lovely squirrel tree. One is always dashing ahead to the end of her leash and the other one often seems to need to take a break from his exertions and lie down in the shade for a bit (to be fair he has pretty short legs). Along with being bored by taking the same route(me, not them, they always seem to find new smells to be excited about), we also have the issue of constantly running into other dog walkers, bike riders and runners. No I’m not totally anti-social (ok I am a little bit)and it’s great that others are out and about getting their fresh air and exercise, but my cute little babies are not always the most well-behaved little doggies. They aren’t bad; they don’t bite, but they do charge at bike riders and bark at runners, and before you ask, yes I’ve watched the “Dog Whisperer” and I’ve trained myself to be the ‘pack leader’ but it can get tiresome always having to yank them back, staying aware of whose coming at me on a bike, or jogging up behind me (btw if you’re running and you come up on someone walking their dog(s) give them a heads up unless you want to get tangled up in an extendi-leash, just sayin’). Between getting bored with the route, and hoping to avoid too many encounters with other outdoor folks, I have been known to make a turn down a side street or into an alley if I see someone coming toward me walking their dogs. Luckily my town’s alleys aren’t New York City alleys and I’m sometimes met with very pretty surprises. Apparently a lot of people here live in their backyards and decorate and garden accordingly. Who knew? My “alley” dead ends into three of my neighbors driveways and goes nowhere, and it ain’t exactly pretty. One recent walk found me wandering down a couple of the local alleys to avoid a lovely lady and her pretty, big and I’m sure much better behaved dog, and I couldn’t resist taking these snaps of “alley gardens” in my neighborhood using my cell phone camera. Cheers to these folks for making themselves a pretty spot in an unexpected place and thank you for sharing, even if you didn’t know you had. I’m sure I’ll be taking more detours, even on purpose. 🙂
I love lemon. I love the smell of lemons, so tart and sharp but also sort of sweet. I love the color of lemons, such a bright yellow that a bowl of them draws the eye from anywhere in the room, giving a bright jolt that pleases my senses. I love lemon anything I’m always buying lemons and I use them to add flavor to plain water; I squeeze the juice down the kitchen sink drain to freshen the sometimes funky smell, I always pick the lemon scented cleaner on the shelf, and I’m currently trying a recipe for a household cleaner that I found in “Woman’s World” magazine that uses white vinegar and citrus (in this case lemon) peel put together in a spray bottle to use as a general cleaner. You put them together in the bottle and let them sit for several weeks. I love lemon meringue pie, and lemon poppy seed muffins and today while searching for a recipe for wings in a crockpot I came across this recipe for a lemon blueberry pound cake, http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/recs/1700/lemon-blueberry-pound-cake145088.shtml
Since I had just cleaned out my freezer and knew I had half a bag of frozen blueberries and I had two fresh lemons sitting on the kitchen table (Do not refrigerate citrus please) I decided I was going to make this recipe. I did need to go to the store for that pound of butter (two sticks) that goes into a pound cake but I was going anyway so just added butter to the list. It’s a simple mix, butter, sugar, eggs, lemon juice and zest, mixed with some flour and the blueberries, and baked for 80 minutes, it took me almost longer to wash the mixer blades, grater and bowl than it did to mix the cake! I have to admit that I’m guilty of being one of those people that can’t wait until things cool down before I start tasting, (admit it, who of us hasn’t burned the roof of our mouth getting that first, still warm chocolate chip cookie off the baking sheet so the warm, melty chocolate can coat our taste buds?). So I tried the pound cake warm, and I tried it cooled, the one thing I didn’t try was grilled, though I meant to…really, I don’t know what happened. It was there, and then it wasn’t. Mmmmm it was yummy though, so since it’s blueberry season and lemons are always a tart refreshing addition to baked goods maybe you can try it for your Labor Day get together. I’ll bet it’s even better with fresh blueberries, and if you make two, because pound cake freezes well, you could pull one out of the freezer some dreary winter’s day, slice it up and put it on the grill, or warm it in the toaster oven, drizzle it with warm blueberry syrup or a sweet, lemon glaze, take a bite, close your eyes and remember summer. Lemons, a sight and scent that always brings you summer.
As a writer I am always looking for inspiration. I observe the world around me and and am inspired by so many things. I am also opinionated and love to share my opinions about books, tv, magazines and issues related to global women’s rights and the protection of the world’s children. I love gardening and cruising farmer’s markets. One of my inspirations is Mireille Guiliano, the author of “French Women Don’t Get Fat” and her passion for freshness in food and enjoyment of life. Reading her book got me started on an obsession for reading books by authors who had moved from other countries to France, their experiences and what they loved about the country. It has created a huge desire in me to see France someday, starting with Paris of course! Which is kind of why I picked the new Chateau template for this, my first blog. It looks so French! Another author who inspires me (believe me I was more surprised than anyone…) is Tori Spelling. I honestly didn’t think I would like her beccause all I had known about her previously was the show 90210, but she hooked me with her reality show about her life and family and her energy has inspired me to try living my life more in the present moment. I’ve read all of her books, and find them surprisingly amusing and touching. She has a new website http://www.torispelling.com that she updates regulary with ideas about style, fashion, food and fun. She is like a refreshing, sparkling, cool drink on a hot summer day. Mostly my hobbies are reading (lots!) and watching tv (hello HGTV!) that gives me ideas about changes I want to make in my home and my life. I’ve got several home projects lined up so I’ll be writing about those too. With summer finally here in the upper Midwest I’ve actually gotten a start on my garden, including getting a compost pile started, and love to hear others tips on what works and what doesn’t while trying to grow things organically. I’m a big believer in trying to live with the creatures in my environment and except for the time that the squirrels tried to take over my garage I live an let live. I made my first foray to the farmer’s market today. I look forward to seeing all the fresh produce and handmade products that the vendors bring for all of us to buy. Today I wandered around getting the lay of the land because this was a new market that I hadn’t been to before-the South Milwaukee Farmer’s Market. I bought a huge bag of lavender because I just love the smell and my tiny pot hasn’t started producing any buds yet. I really enjoyed talking with the woman running the table, finding out that she gets her products from her husband’s family’s lavender fields in upstate New York. I bought a couple of muffins from the Puppy bakery for my dogs Maggie and Jake. I share fruits and vegetables and a little bit of eggs and meat with them but not sweets so this was a little treat for them. They definitely liked the muffin and I’ll check back with the woman running the booth when I go back next week, as she told me she changes things up pretty regularly. I forgot to go back to the lady with the local honey (I’m out of the stuff I bought last year), but there is another local market on Saturday morning the South Shore Farmer’s Market, and I’m hoping the guy I bought honey from last year will be there. I stopped to talk to the boys from the SM High School Robotics Club. They had a totally cool robot that they had designed and built and that got them all the way to the National competition in their very first year! They were clearly excited to share their accomplishment and answered all my questions. Rock on guys! Today was a good day for summer and I really enjoyed today’s Freshly Pressed post “104 degrees and ten great things about summer”. The writer Rachel (http://aspenandella.wordpress.com/) did such an awesome job of evoking the things of summer that I’m probably going to pick up a watermelon when I go out to get groceries later even though I don’t live in Texas and am very thankful that it isn’t 104 degrees in my not air conditioned house!