A different kind of summer

I came across this post from last year… I know what I did last summer just after i had been saying to someone what a different summer we were having this year. Not just because of Covid and the changes to weddings, birthday celebrations and social distancing, but because of Bill’s work, and moving my mom from her condo to a smaller apartment with some assisted living. It’s been tough emotionally, mentally, spiritually.. physically all around.
Just a couple weeks before her move.. a choke cherry tree fell on mom’s porch during a Sunday afternoon windstorm. It’s roots were literally choked by other nearby trees.

Due to Guillermo’s work, he is unable to get away at all, and in desperate need of sleep, (which I’m not very good at doing right now..) so my sister Geri and I took ourselves away for a few days a couple weeks ago. We began our trip touring for a couple hours through Prince Edward County on the North side of Lake Ontario.

inside the Handy Dandy Pocket Map of PE County

We ended up at “the Point” for a couple of days – this is a beautiful parkland piece of property in Eastern Ontario that has been in our family for a couple generations. It features water access on East, South and West sides, so you can capture gorgeous sunrises, beautiful lake views day and night, and extraordinary sunsets.

– 2 sleeping bunkies, a fully stocked open air kitchen, a shed and 2 outhouses, one of which is very well appointed.


Guillermo’s hours at the steel plant have increased to ~11+ hours a day, 6 days a week for the last 4 weeks. I’ve picked up some of the workload of what he does around the house & property – there’s a lot I can’t do, and by the time he has his one day off on Sunday.. he really has nothing left to give, so there’s things we are just “living with” right now. THANKFULLY it’s been a very dry summer, and the grass only needs cutting once every 1-2 weeks, instead of some wet summers when it needed cutting every 2-3 days.

Old Faithful, our 15 year old van is chugging through 1100 km a week, still blowing AC with the radio keeping him company. Even peacocks find it acceptable (photo taken at a friend’s house – they have several peacocks roaming their hobby farm..these girls chose to park themselves to watch the sunset on top of Guillermo’s van)

Our renter who lived in our backyard cottage for 12 years moved out a few weeks ago – and we’re waiting for time to do some much needed repairs to the foundation and walls before re-renting it. It’s really cute. 253 SF, with a bedroom big enough for a queen size bedroom suite, kitchen & living area together, and a 4 pc bath. If I was single again, I would love to live in it. We really do miss our songbird, Melissa Shriner, who’s beautiful voice sang out the open windows on summer evenings as she prepared for one of her concerts or teaching voice lessons to students. She was a fabulous tenant and a great neighbour to have in our backyard. In the meantime, until we can get the repairs done, I’ll be lightly furnishing it as a temporary ‘guest house’ for family & friends who want to visit.

My dearly beloved usually arrives home around 7 pm, just 2 hours before bedtime, so he’s rarely hungry for more than watermelon and a light snack – but I still like to cook up a nice meal at least once a week. Last week’s meal was bacon wrapped sirloin steaks, with buttered mushrooms, beet green salad, grilled golden beets & mini eggplants from our garden.

Grilled mushrooms are simple and one of Bill’s very favourite things to eat. Just wash/trim/dry baby bellas (or whatever mushroom you prefer -but i find bellas grill the best) add a wee bit of butter, and some steak seasoning. (I added in some mini eggplant as well) Grill on a foil pan for a bit longer than steak takes. (approx. 10 min on medium) They turn out beautiful. No turning required. The juice remains in the cap, and is fantastic over the meat.

In case you wondered.. the beans are growing slowly on the East side of the pergola, we’ve only harvested a couple handfuls so far. They definitely would have fared better on the South side, but still, for my initial “living privacy on the pergola” project.. not too bad.

As for the rest of the garden, I have one remaining kale plant from last year that I harvested seed from, and within a few days of planting, I already have several new seedlings ready to transplant in the garden.

I seeded more golden beets for early fall harvest, and planted nasturtium for late summer salads. Today’s small harvest includes cucumber, tomatoes, jalapeños, over ripe eggplant and nasturtium for tonite’s salad.

How does your garden grow? How is your Covid summer?

Published by billandamyskitchen

Bill (Guillermo 'cause he likes pretending he knows Spanish) and I (Amy) have been married since Sept 2005. We live in Southern Ontario, Canada - Niagara Peninsula in fact, smack dab between 2 of the Great Lakes. We love God, our family, our church family, and making each other laugh. (ergo the profile pic, he decided to make our photographer laugh by throwing a leg up on me just before the shutter clicked, which made ME laugh) When we married, I told Bill: "I don't know how to cook" but he had faith in me. So 15 years later, I'm still learning, and having fun. I've never (in my whole life) cooked a whole bird, chicken, turkey or otherwise. I've never roasted a beef, other than in a crockpot on low for 8 hrs. I like trying to find healthy & easy recipes and then I rarely follow them. I don't enjoy recipes that take hours or intricate steps. I have a special fondness for the Podleski sisters, writers/creators of the Looney Spoons, Crazy Plates and Yum/Yummer cookbooks. In 2018 we suddenly decided to rip our small house apart from stem to stern, moving out for 4.5 months while the house was demolished inside and out, and then rebuilt with an addition. If you go back in the archives to July-Dec 2018 you can follow that story. It's made our house open and so much more conducive to entertaining, small groups and large. It's given us the kitchen I've dreamed of to create and learn in. We feel incredibly blessed to be able to write about our journey, our faith in God and some fun recipes along the way. Thanks for joining us.

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