Summer Progress (and Pesto)

Back in the days of the Tudors in England, and even before that, Royalty often left their courts in the summertime to go on ‘progress’, or tours of their kingdoms.  These days, many of us go on summer vacation, the modern day equivalent, dragging our household, coolers, and pets with us.  It’s kind of the same, although less to avoid The Plague and Sweating Sickness, and more to go to the beach or the mountains.

I can’t believe it’s been nearly 2 months.  Since I took a breath, honestly.  Summer was just kicking off the last time I blogged, and now it’s nearly over.  I knew I was going to be busy, but I didn’t quite imagine the level of busy I would be.  In just two months though, I did a few things:

  • Started a consulting company with 2 business partners and started working for our first client, which involves every-other-week travel on my part
  • Finished renovating the guest room and welcomed Helene, our favorite intern ever as a summer resident
  • Spent an all-to brief weekend in Florida
  • Spent significant time on other commitments – more on that later
  • Juggled the needs and schedules of kids, animals, plants and yard with more or less success

When I write, it doesn’t sound like a lot, but it sure took up my days and evenings.

The garden is still patiently waiting to be finished.  I got the 10 yards of dirt handled, and then another 6 were delivered, which are still waiting patiently to be spread.  That will wait another week, but I hope to be done by Labor Day.  I planted tomatoes, dill, basil, cucumbers, watermelons and squash, and the combination of rain, benign neglect,  and compost means it has turned into an un-navigable jungle.  Next year it will be finished, and only need to be planted and staked.

Our CSA, that we split with our neighbors has kept us in fresh veggies where the garden couldn’t.  This week was the first batch of canning tomatoes, and I look forward to getting those preserved for winter.  I’ve managed to blanch and freeze broccoli, and begin to make and freeze a house favorite – pesto.

Next week the kids and I head out to the mountains for a long-planned breather.  We have a routine on this vacation  – rest, hiking, a couple small, local amusement park, maybe a float down the river or some zip lining.  Back to school shopping.  It’s our week to enjoy each other and some downtime.

And then back to life, dirt moving, weeding and pesto-making.  Pesto is simple, delicious, and a tiny container can cost $8 or $10 for the good stuff.  Make batches of your own using my recipe, based on the NY Times basic pesto recipe here, but with a few updates:

Rachael’s Pesto to eat and preserve:

1 cup olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
4 cloves garlic
1 cup grated parmesan
1 tablespoon lemon juice or fresh squeezed lemon
1/4 tsp salt or to taste
4 cups basil leaves

Process all in a blender or food processor until very smooth.  This should give you plenty for dinner and enough to preserve for 3 more meals.  When you pull it out of the freezer in January and open the lid, it will smell like summer.



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