Thursday, August 11, 2011

Eleventh of August

We've stepped aside from the heat of July. The change is considered providential by most. Morning shadows reach later into the day. Temperatures cool after supper as quickening dusk sets a pace leading to fall.

August reminds you to enjoy each summer day as it comes along. With that in mind Al went fishing today. Yesterday I took a long country drive with a friend. We enjoyed the farm fields and sparkling lakes and maybe most of all the clean blue skies overhead.

We came to the conclusion that small towns are made for August. They catch the restful gait of late summer in their leafy residential streets, kids biking down sidewalks and pretty flowers fronting well-tended yards.

These towns of modest populations have it figured out. They have an understanding that time is a commodity to use well. There's time in an August day to sit on the porch watching the cars go by, or to play ball in the park which is the pride of small towns and rightfully so. The compact little communities we went through caused us to propose that everyone stands to benefit from spending some August time in America's home towns.

The black-eyed susans at our mailbox look every bit as cheerful as the blooms noticed on the drive. The sunny patch is a friendly grouping transplanted from the back yard to a more showy presence at the curb. It's nice to think they may register as pleasantly on those who come along as on us when we were the passersby.

The letter carrier pulls up his truck to the flower bed every afternoon. His route must go past so many interesting lawns. He picks up impressions of our places as readily as he picks up mail put out for him and all becomes part of his day.

A piece of mail recently left for us was fun to open. Our former neighbor is getting married this fall. We've known this young man all his life. He was a baby brought home as the firstborn to the neighbors next door.

We watched him grow up. He trick or treated at our Halloween door, fiercely drove basketballs to the hoop in their driveway, went off to grade school, got his first job, driver's license, graduated and headed to college. We were, in a neighborly way, part of those formative years. We wish the young couple well.

The moon, full on Saturday, has been beautiful this week. It reflects in the pond behind us. There must be a gap in the thick foliage of the tall trees. The moon spills through this hole. The pond, with the moonshine upon it, strikes me as a skating rink lit up for night skaters to use.

We were at the Arboretum the other day. Late summer flowers boil with color. I have an affinity for the burning reds, oranges and yellows of the season. They're certainly August colors - Leo colors in terms of the zodiac.

At a distance from the seasonal flower beds, with their fiery colors like the August sun, a grouping of plants in shades of lavender and deep purple seemingly sinks the mercury by several degrees. This arrangement - a contrast to the salvias, coxcombs and zinnas - has a nuanced beauty which is captivating. Someday I'd like to have gardens like both of these.

The herb section at the Arboretum is never hurried through but savored as I bend to touch the scented leaves and feel the imprint of their essence.

The lemon thyme with its white flowers caught my eye. I was reminded of a recipe in my files for a cake made with thyme. I made the recipe one fall when the recipe was new to me. It was very good. It was commented on. I'm not sure why it wasn't made again. Maybe now I will.

Lemon Thyme Tea Cake

Mix together 1 3-ounce package cream cheese and 3 tablespoons butter, softened. Add 2/3 cup granulated sugar, 1 egg, 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 cup milk, 1 tablespoon snipped fresh lemon thyme and 1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel.

Pour into a greased round cake pan. Bake 25 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven. While still warm drizzle with glaze: 1/2 cup powdered sugar and enough lemon juice or milk (about 1 teaspoon) to drizzle.

Ro Giencke - August 11, 2011

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