Weekend Coffee Share – Summer is here!

Let’s take our coffee in the garden today. Last weekend it was almost summer, now summer is surely here. We’re having a high of 75 today and 80 next week, before it dips down for a few days with rain. This is pretty much how the summers are here. We might have a few days in the low 80’s, but most days are usually around 75-78 during the summer. The nights are cooler. When you walk out in the morning the grass is often covered with dew. To me this is perfect. How would you like your coffee today? 

Celery in a hanging pot on the wall outside my house. I really need to thin it out today.

It is so green and lush everywhere. I walked around the house taking photos to show you some of the flowers in bloom. There are hundreds of other plants that I do not know the name of. I believe some of them are wild herbs that I could use in some way, I just don’t have the knowledge. I’ve joined some facebook groups, and read some articles online to learn more about that. In the US I had a plant app on my phone telling me, it worked really well, but I have not found anything that work like it should for our area. Our soil is rich and natures abundance is overflowing.

It’s been an intense week at work, as I expected. It’s been productive and I am satisfied with the result. I still have some work that I need to do today, not overwhelming, but some writing that I am going to tackle this morning. Due to the business of the week I had some things to do around the house yesterday, and I still have some things to do today. In the weekends I let everything take the time it needs to take, no stress. Yesterday we walked to a lake, we do that most days, but yesterday my daughter jumped in for the first time. I’ll wait and let the water warm up a little before my first swim. 

My landlords parents lives a few minutes away from us, and they invited us to fika (Swedish for coffee and a conversation between friends) yesterday afternoon. It happened that my daughter and I just baked two Tiger Cakes (vanilla/chocolate). I still have cake left, would you like to try some? My daughter is having a picnic with her school next Friday, and I am not sure I’m going to have the time and energy to bake anything during the week, so I figure we bake something this weekend and put it in the freezer. My daughter never had Tiger Cake before, but she had seen a picture and really wanted to bake one. It is just as easy to bake two as it is to bake one, so we did. Now we could bring one with us. We practiced social distancing sitting outside in their backyard. It was a pleasant afternoon. My daughter likes them a lot. She’s always connected well with elderly people, and I encourage that. There is so much wisdom there. My landlord parents are very kind people. They have a beautiful garden with a great variety of vegetables that they are growing. Among other things they have enormous amount of rhubarbs growing, and they are kind enough to let me pick whenever I want.

I picked some last weekend and made a rhubarb pie. I picked some more after our fika. I am going to try to make some marmalade today. I’ve made different types of jam many times myself, but I’ve never tried to make marmalade. I saw a recipe yesterday with rhubarbs, lemon and ginger that I am trying. I’ve had sliced rhubarbs, grated lemon peel, and lemon juice soaking on my counter overnight. I’m excited to see how it’s going to turn out. If it’s good I’ll share the recipe 🙂 I better get going in the kitchen.

How are you? How is your week? 

Love,

Maria

Weekend Coffee Share – Almost Summer

Let’s have coffee in the garden today! A sweet mix of scented bushes, and flowers are surrounding us. The sweet scent is not suffocating pungent, just a light touch of different scents touching our nostrils as the light breeze comes and goes. It’s actually pretty perfect in my book. Yes, my vegetables wants it to be warmer yet, but I like it like this. Earlier this week the days hit the upper 50’s, now we have lower 60’s. 

The place that I am renting, is located in the outskirts of the outskirts of a small town. I am renting the bottom floor of the house, there is a small studio apartment upstairs. It is almost countryside. This house is at least 100 years old, and very charming. There is a few small outhouses still there, like a woodshed, root cellar, and storage. The front yard was once a potato field. There’s some bigger pine trees, birch trees, different bushes, millions of lupins and other wild flowers. At the moment the strongest scent comes from a couple Prunus Padus, Hägg in Swedish, that are flowering at the moment. There’s a few big rocks scattered around the property. Compared to the neighbours newer dwellings this place looks wild. I love living here, but I am happy that I am not responsible for the property. The place is beautiful, no doubt about it, it is insanely charming, but wild. I don’t mind wild at all, but how to keep the place neat without doing a lot of digging and destroying some of its imperfectly perfect beauty to fit in, is a struggle of the mind. Luckily I don’t have to make any final decisions here. I’m doing my best, and enjoying the place.

Speaking of enjoying myself, my daughter and I spent all day yesterday outside planting seedlings in bigger pots outside, scrubbing the porch freeing it from spiderwebs, weeding a spot in a garden bed for my daughters pumpkins. We might not have enough warm days for pumpkins but she wants to try. We are enjoying a long 4 day weekend, Thursday-Sunday this week. It’s the calm before the storm, the next two weeks are going to be insanely busy at work; a long evening meeting on Tuesday, oral and written evaluations to finish, organising outdoor meet and greet for new parents/children that are starting in the fall, preparing a graduations ceremony while practicing social distancing and of course the usual fun with the children. I foresee busy days, and long evenings for the next two weeks. I have been managing my time well, and I am not behind with anything, but there is still a lot to do by the end of the semester. I love my work, I feel that I have a lot of freedom and a lot of responsibilities. I am looking forward to a relaxing summer with my daughter, and then going back to a new group of children doing it all over again 🙂 I feel that I am in the right place. 

Are you comfortable? Can I get you a refill on that coffee? Or tea? Maybe you would like to taste an oat& rye ciabatta fresh out from the oven? Maybe with some cheddar cheese? Just relax and enjoy the beautiful day, I’ll run inside and get it for you. There you go 🙂

The feeling of summer just around the corner gets more intense as the weather gets warmer. I’ve updated both my daughter’s and my own closest with some necessary items. In these times online shopping is just the perfect way to go. I’ve noticed that with all the changes in my daughter’s life lately she benefits from less choices, hence I picked out a few new summer dresses, a windbreaker jacket/pants, running shoes, and sandals for her. I tried to let her pick herself, but she just couldn’t (I gave her plenty of time putting the choices right under her nose but nothing happened.) She is doing great in school, and her Swedish is progressing but I have noticed that she is really tired, maybe a slight underlaying stress about the pandemi as well? There have been some huge changes in her life. I got some extra time off this summer to spend with her, I think she needs it. School is out mid June and we are going to enjoy time off until August 3rd. 

This summer is going to be about quality time together, resting, exercising, nature, reading, crafting, hiking, photography (more about that in another post,) yoga, gardening, picking berries, going swimming in the lake, and some outdoor/social distancing playdates for my daughter. We’ve had a fabulous but very intense year. One of my goals is to get my daughter more involved in the kitchen this summer. Since leaving California I’ve struggled to get her to eat enough fruit and vegetables, because frankly they don’t taste as good as the ones we grew in our garden there (and on top of that they are really expensive in the stores.) This will be easier as we start harvesting vegetables from our garden here. There is also rhubarb growing wild in our yard, there is one black currant bush (I believe) and there is strawberry plants scattered all around the property. The surrounding forests are filled with blueberry and lingonberry, if we go a little further there is even cloudberry. The prognosis for a healthier, more varied diet for her is good. I already eat very healthy, both at home and at work (with the occasional orgie of chocolate, but hey..who’s perfect?) I enjoy the Swedish cuisine immensely and it is packed of healthy food that my daughter isn’t accustomed to yet.  During the school year we haven’t had time or energy to experiment as much as we usually do in the kitchen. I am hoping that we will do some cooking together. I often try to involve her, and it is easy as long as it is her favourite recipes; burritos, tacos, pasta, pancakes, or any type of baking, but it would be wonderful to expand that menu a little. She used to eat everything as a toddler, not so much these days. I like to cook. We eat good food made from scratch, but she need to add more fruit and vegetables, and exercise more. We’ve started to do a little bit of yoga together, and I am thinking that we will do more of that. She seem to enjoy it. 

I also tried to make another exercising deal with her. She wants a hamster so badly for her birthday in July, and I said that given that our landlord says that we can have a hamster in the house I would get her one for her birthday, and a new mountainbike. I would get her bike (using the money I was saving for our plane tickets to Iceland, that we wont be using due to Corona) right when schools out for summer and she would agree to ride with me for at least 30 min every day until her birthday, to get the hamster. She freaked out and called me a lot of awful things! Very unlike her. I know she doesn’t enjoy bike riding, but still…she would get a new mountain bike that she also could ride with her friends now in these social distancing times, AND the hamster she’s been asking for. My daughter is absolutely not spoiled when it comes to material things. In fact we live a pretty minimalistic lifestyle. These would be big expenses for this budgeting, single mom. I thought it was a good deal for both of us, right? I’ll keep trying to find ways for her to enjoy exercising, without pushing. I have offered her many different types of exercising. I’ll just keep it up. Any suggestions? Luckily she likes exploring the forest, and going to the lake, I’m going to suggest other forests and lakes slightly further away..there’s many within walking (or bike riding..) distance.

I’m thinking that most peoples summer will be different this year. Maybe humanity will learn something from this and spend their time enjoying life closer to home even in the future? I know that there’s many places right here close to home that I have not explored yet, barely touched. This is an incredible region, and I am looking forward to seeing more of it this summer. Now it’s your turn to tell me about YOU. How are you? How is your week? Weekend plans? What is your thoughts about the summer? 

Love,

Maria