Suddenly, it is the middle of August.
It’s silly, I know, but I find myself feeling a bit desperate. It’s a familiar feeling. It’s one I recall from childhood when the burden of school loomed large as the days grew shorter. It’s really no different now. I feel like I’m constantly reaching out with frantic hands in an effort to grasp every morsel of sunshine and every bit of summertime fun. It doesn’t last long around here, you know. One must take full advantage.
I’m not sure how to describe our days because they aren’t the typical summertime fest. There are things like naps, breasts, and diapers to consider. Such considerations change the scope of a day, for certain, but they do not dampen our fun. We are spending loads of time outdoors with Maeve. She goes to the park or wading pools nearly everyday. She is tasting lots of different types of berries and stone fruits. She spends countless hours sitting in grass and beachy sands. A single blade of grass or a lone dandelion can capture her attention indefinitely. It’s quite amazing and absolutely fun to watch. Baby television really is the best thing out there. I never get bored.
We also took on a major home renovation project. It was a task I didn’t relish, but the timing seemed right. I realize that sounds ridiculous, but bringing a wee one into your home suddenly makes home remodeling urgent. Making our house really ours was of great import. It appears I was living in limbo for years. The house was always in a state of transition, but never complete. I painted walls countless times. I took off the cupboard doors and removed more than a little shag carpet. I planted flowers. I did my best to improve the soil. All these things were wonderful and rewarding, but there was always something a little awry. There was always the ghost of the former owners, their lives, and memories.
So we did our best to let in the light. We painted the walls for the umteenth time in the lightest shade possible and sanded our floors until they were shiny and safe for tiny hands and feet. It felt good and, quite suddenly, everything seemed sort of luminous. In fact, I was admiring my surroundings just this week as Maeve was scooting backwards across the floor on the hunt for a pink toy, but managing only to find herself farther and farther away. I picked her up off the shiny new floor and soothed her. She calmed and as I leaned over a laundry basket brimming with freshly laundered clothes, she spit up into the basket. I pulled back. I looked at her and there she was smiling and laughing.
In that moment, I knew I was done. No more renovations. And, really, who cares about laundry? This is home. We walked outside for some fresh air and I spotted a tiny log cabin we unearthed recently. It was probably buried there 30 years ago when the previous owners’ children were toddlers. It made me smile. Of course, there is room for their memories and for our new ones as well.
So we celebrated home here in the our little northwest house with stone fruits and wild berries. Catch them while you can and bake them into this super easy but utterly delicious crisp. And, please tell me, what you do around your house to truly make it home?
Nectarine and Wild Berry Crisp
6 medium nectarines, about 2 lbs.
1 cup wild berries (I used blueberries and huckleberries)
4 tblsp. sugar
2 tblsp. lemon juice
1 cup oats
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tblsp. roasted and roughly chopped pistachio meats
Leaving the skin on, slice the nectarines into 1/2 inch chunks. Mix the nectarines together in a bowl with the berries, sugar, and lemon juice. Allow to sit for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Prepare the topping by mixing together oats, flour, brown sugar, salt and pistachio meats. Add the butter and using a pastry tool or your fingers, mix the ingredients together until the mix comes together and resembles small peas.
Pour the fruit mixture into a shallow baking dish (about 9 inches in length). Cover evenly with the oat mixture. Bake for approximately 40-45 minutes or until the top is evenly golden brown.
Enjoy warm with ice cream or cool.