For me, the best word to sum up August has always been bittersweet. In some ways, it's a beautiful month. Both of my sisters have birthdays in August, as well as my best friend. The produce at the farmers market begins to flourish. Tomatoes are at their peak and pumpkins and gourds start to slowly make an appearance. It's still warm, which means the sundress is still an option. (My favorite option!) But in August summer feels like a hot, lingering aftertaste of a fading new romance. August still has all the qualities of summer, but you can feel it's newness wearing off. The "bitter" part of the "sweet" starts to chime in with the start of school. (Something that when I was a kid I found absolutely dreadful.) The days begin to shorten and although autumn, my favorite season, is just around the corner, I always, without-a-doubt, start to feel sad that summer is coming to a close. The excitement of finally turning my oven on to bake zucchini bread and roast root vegetables is muffled by an inner voice that screams "Nooooo! Eat more bruschetta!" (Another favorite option, particularly while picnicking on a blanket and wearing the aforementioned sundress.) The excitement of wearing a cozy sweater is dampened by Scott telling me that during fall in Portland the air never gets "crisp." WTF Portland? This news alone is enough to make me hold onto dear August as long as I can.
I'm having a particularly difficult time letting go of summer this year because it's been a good one. I didn't go on a vacation or get much of a sun tan, but I did do very "summer" things that felt carefree, wholesome, and fulfilling; the kind of things I used to do as a child or dream about doing when I became an adult. I did some of those. It was simple and everything I wanted it to be without the expectation that it had to be anything. It was perfect. Below are a few very random snapshots of the rare times I used my camera this summer. Like I said before, there has been more doing lately and less documenting. Happy end-of-summer-beginning-of-fall to you all! Enjoy!
2) Fried green tomatoes. Shall I say more? (Recipe for this fried green tomato salad with fresh mozzarella and homemade pesto can be found here.)
3) Blue skies: something I am going to miss once summer is gone. Also, Oregon farmland south of Portland is beautiful.
4) We (aka Scott) moved our dining table outside a lot this summer. We were too cheap to buy patio furniture. On this particular evening I looked up from my plate only to see the reflection of what had to be a killer sunset that was just out of our view due to tall buildings. #citylife
5) Making baba ganoush for the first time in attempt to give eggplant one last chance before I kick it to the curb. The verdict: I definitely do not like eggplants and I officially give up on trying. Thank you baba ganoush.
6) We cook nearly every evening meal outside in the summer. This cute grill was $20 on Craigslist and had never been used. On this particular night we ate grilled cabbage wedges, one of the best potato salads I've ever had, and a healthy sampling of crazy-flavored sausages from Sheridan Fruit Co.
7) I literally can't remember the last time I swam in a lake, if ever. This beautiful spot was near the base of Mt. Hood. The water was cool but refreshing and although I was very afraid of creepy crawlies on the lake bottom, I thoroughly enjoyed the view, the book reading and blanket sitting on the shore, and the picnic food we brought, which included bright yellow Mt. Rainier cherries.
8) The view from my desk: our upstairs landing on laundry day. The carpet was freshly vacuumed and the cheap mini blinds that came with the house had just broke, leaving behind a beautiful stream of summer sunshine. It's the little things, right?
9) More no-heat cooking because Portland has been crazy, crazy hot. These rainbow spring rolls were way too beautiful not to photograph. I substituted mango for peach and can I just take this moment to say that if there's one word to describe why I'm sad about the end of summer it's "peaches." No need to explain.