It’s that time again, folks. The point in the summer where I realize just how little is left and finally get myself in gear to do some of the things I intended to in June. As of last weekend, my summer to do list looked this this:
Go to Tanglewood – x2; I’m getting a little obsessed with that place
Make ice cream. Repeatedly. – unbelievably, I only made ice cream once.
Run a 5k
Furnish the guest room – done! Thanks to hand me downs and tag sales!
Make potato salad – Brian took care of this one
Go blueberry picking – twice + we made jam!
Buy ice cream from the neighborhood ice cream truck
Attend my 10 year high school reunion (!!!)
Experiment with making non-alcoholic beverages
Hang out on my porch
Check out the Downtown Pittsfield Farmers Market
Explore yard sales
Have a picnic
Actually, I didn’t think I was going to cross off that many things. Maybe I was selling this summer a little short. But I don’t think anyone ever looks back on their summer and feels like they did everything they wanted to do.
I was thrilled when my CSA still had pickling cucumbers available, even after my busy schedule caused me to delay getting any for a couple weeks. I bought 15 pounds of cucumbers and Brian helped me turn them into pickles on Monday afternoon. It wasn’t until we began the process that I looked at my 2011 pickling post and discovered that ten pounds of cucumbers had resulted in 17 jars of pickles. Apparently we had a lot of pickles ahead of us.
Of all the things I’ve canned over the past three years, I find pickles to be one of the easiest to make and most quickly eaten. Brian and I are not huge jam people (I’m planning on stopping at one batch this year), but pickles are an entirely different story. After a few hours, we had 27 jars of cucumbers in brine. That should last us a while.
One thing I intended to start doing the moment we closed on the house was have people over regularly. I had visions of dinner parties and casual get togethers and game nights and tea parties. But it hasn’t worked out that way. Granted, we had a lovely house warming, and since then we’ve hosted overnight my parents twice, Brian’s parents once, three friends from college simultaneously, and my sister and her husband. In addition, we were out of town for three weeks, in total. So there has been a bit of a scheduling problem.
Tuesday night we finally had some friends and their children over for dinner and games. I employed my always successful “when in doubt, make lasagna” strategy which always comes in handy when planning a menu on somewhat short notice and/or serving children. I made a 9×13 plan of my favorite lasagna (I increased all the amounts by half), focaccia and salad. It’s an excellent meal for company because everything can be assembled ahead of time and be ready to come out of the oven shortly after guests arrive. Overall, the meal went well, though I think the children may have been a little puzzled by the plethora of broccoli in the lasagna. We had an really nice evening playing Wits and Wagers, Get Bit and, a belated housewarming gift, Run for Your Life, Candyman!. Hopefully there will be a lot more evenings like that in the future. I often imagine hosting dinner to be much more effort than it actually is; the amount of work is far outweighed by the enjoyment of the event. If you’re interested in joining us next, let me know!