Summertime, and the livin’ is easy

16 August, 2015                       Summertime, and the livin’ is easy  

Earlier this week I went to a produce stand on Libbie Avenue here in Richmond. My first time ever, I am amazed to say. My friend Betsy used to buy produce there regularly, and cooked the best butter beans I’ve had before or since. Her grandson is my old friend Skye and the three of us spent many a relaxing summer evening eating butter beans, fresh corn on the cob, delicious fish, thick slices of tomato, cold glasses of lemonade and iced tea, the best that summer has to offer. I took this picture as I was leaving:

You can buy summer here for a bargain price. Unfortunately it only lasts a couple of weeks.

You can buy summer here for just a few dollars. Unfortunately it only lasts a couple of weeks.

 

When I was there I got a cantaloupe, a bag each of tomatoes and peaches, a jar of fresh local honey and a jar of blackberry jelly that’s made by the stand operator’s friend. I had my first PB&J made with homemade blackberry jelly when I was probably twelve years old. In the four-plus decades since, I’ve eaten ten thousand PB&J’s with homemade blackberry jelly. Maybe closer to twelve thousand. And this is by any measure the best blackberry jelly I’ve ever eaten. What a find! 

In the car I had all that produce in a bag and it was the most delicious smell you can ever imagine. It smelled exactly like summer. It didn’t smell like peaches or cantaloupes or tomatoes or brown paper bags – it smelled like summer. I immediately thought that if you could make a candle that smelled like that and burn it in your living room in January, you would be transported directly to August. But. Enjoy summer while it’s here. It’s better that way. 

I was on a long bike ride yesterday in Goochland and Hanover County. I have three more triathlons (short ones) this year and my training mileage is going up. So when I saw this sign I decided to stop:

See what I mean? About summertime? Too much fun.

See what I mean? About summertime? Too much fun.

Here’s the honey I got from both – Goochland bike riding honey on the left, produce stand honey on the right:

Two bottles of summer.

Two bottles of summer.

They’re both so delicious my vocabulary is inadequate to describe it. They both taste very “authentic” or “real” – not words that describe a flavor or an aroma, I’m aware, more of a quality. Which means they’re probably wildflower honey rather than from some specific type of flower, and wildflower is my favorite. FYI, I’ve had a borderline honey-obsession for longer than I’ve had a borderline blackberry jelly obsession. I recall clearly my honey experience beginning at the Montgomery County Fair in Maryland, where our family visited every summer from (literally) my first birthday (August, 1962) until I was forty-five years old. I had honey at the Fair every summer. My blackberry jelly thing didn’t start until we got the cabin in the Spring of 1974, shortly before I turned thirteen. Yet again I digress. Here’s a link to a blog post I did two years ago when Pat and I stopped at the same place for honey. It’s an interesting blog post: : “Hump Week” / Too much fun

Of course, speaking of my obsessions, my Raptor Watch continues, although it consists almost exclusively of our “local” Red-tails and Ospreys. The ospreys have been less evident, though they’re around. Sometime soon they’ll head for northern South America. And other Parts Unknown.

Here’s one of the many ospreys that live along Parham Road in Richmond. Ospreys are noisy birds in my experience – they talk and talk. Red-tails get anxious when you get near them – it’s easy to watch them watching you. Ospreys are much more tolerant. I don’t know if this is a youngster or an adult but it had a lot to say:

Lot of talking going on

Lot of talking going on

The title of this blog post is from the song Summertime from George Gershwin’s 1935 opera Porgy and Bess. That’s the year my dad was born. Here are the lyrics:

PORGY AND BESS SUMMERTIME

Summertime,

And the livin’ is easy

Fish are jumpin’

And the cotton is high

 

Your daddy’s rich

And your mamma’s good lookin’

So hush little baby

Don’t you cry

 

One of these mornings

You’re going to rise up singing

Then you’ll spread your wings

And you’ll take to the sky

 

But till that morning

There’s a’nothing can harm you

With daddy and mamma standing by

 

Summertime,

And the livin’ is easy

Fish are jumpin’

And the cotton is high

 

Your daddy’s rich

And your mamma’s good lookin’

So hush little baby

Don’t you cry

  

Summertime and the roses are blooming – still – thanks to Ev. I took this picture on Tuesday morning. That’s what perfection looks like:  

A different rose every week! They are all works of art!

A different rose every week! They are all works of art!

I’m getting an idea of where the hawks nest now. I’ve seen them fly toward it at sunset on two separate evenings. On Wednesday I was looking up on the power line at one of the hawks, lit up by the setting sun:

I think this is a youngster. Nice light too.

I think this is a youngster. Nice light too.

I turned precisely 180º and clicked the shutter ten seconds later on this picture. The bird is some swallow or swift, not a raptor. Speaking of “what perfection looks like”:

I've never thought of August as a month for natural beauty. But this is hard to beat:

I’ve never thought of August as a month for natural beauty. But this stuff is hard to beat:

The dogs and I were at the river Thursday (were you wondering how long it would take me to write that?) and when we got to the downstream edge of the trail we stopped for a moment. I took advantage of the stop for a brief break. Turner took advantage of the stop for a brief break. This dragonfly took advantage of the stop for a brief break – on Turner’s leash. This is what you call a lucky picture:

Man, dog, dragonfly - three beings catch their breath.

Man, dog, dragonfly – three beings catch their breath.

I have more pictures than time! I hope I have decent pictures next week.  

Meanwhile, enjoy your week – and come back next Sunday!

All best,

Jay

About Jay McLaughlin

I am a rehabilitation counselor. I have many friends with autism and traumatic brain injuries. They help me learn new things constantly. I hike with dogs at the James River in Richmond - a lot. I've completed an Iron distance triathlon a year for 11 years. My most recent was in Wilmington, NC in November, 2013. I currently compete in mid-distance triathlons. And work and hike and take pictures and write and eat.
This entry was posted in Birds, Dogs, Endurance, Flowers, Fun, Insects, James River, ospreys, Pony Pasture, raptors, Red-tailed hawks, Rivers, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!), sunsets and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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