Labor Day is here, and Matt returns to school (reluctantly) this coming week. As always, there are projects left unfinished and the best of intentions unrealized as we come into September. Summer starts out with a laundry list of “I will” and “I’d like to” and all the sudden we are headed into fall, not ready to leave behind the lazy days of summer. The other thing that adds to my sad goodbye are the weeks of rain that interrupted the very best months of the year. An inexcusable amount of rain fell, fifteen inches, which would be enough to leave us debilitated if it were winter beneath 15 feet of snow.
This was our second weekend at the Manfre’s lake house in NH. We were here last weekend with the Manfre and Barlin clans, hence the lack of blog entry for last week. This time we were here alone except for the hordes of Long Islanders who make this their home-away-from-home, driving all things motorized and generally acting like they’re back on the Island. We managed to relax anyway. The previous weekend, Matt and I completed an epic canoe journey from nearly one end of the lake to the other somewhat accidentally. We were paying less attention than we thought to where we were going and managed to cruise way past the house into a parallel universe…or so it felt. There were lots of lily pads that I definitely didn’t notice on the way out and we both agreed it was strange that they had appeared since lily pads are pretty stationary. Then we noticed houses that we didn’t see and decided to turn back. A few minutes later, we noticed the marina, which is also pretty stationary and is located way past their house. We managed to paddle an extra half hour one way---against the current! Finally, we got back, starving, only to discover that everyone had been out on the dock when we paddled by. They were yelling out helpful comments like, “Hey, Lois and Clark!” and just thought we were enjoying our strenuous 4 hour paddle. We did not make the same mistake this time, taking a leisurely paddle into a small cove and then spending time on the dock reading. No stress.
Last weekend I stopped Alyson’s Orchard in NH and picked up a ton of peaches. The next evening, I continued my foray into all things canned with another round of canning. This time I was determined to experiment with a no-pectin jam. The first batch I made with Pomona’s Universal Pectin, which I’ve decided is too hard. It starts to jell instantly and the powder doesn’t completely dissolve unless you are using honey. The second method was old-school cook until it jells, which also wasn’t a complete success. I cooked it for at least 25 minutes, monitoring with a candy thermometer, and it never reached the temp it was supposed to, so I pulled it. It was extremely tasty since I added nutmeg and cinnamon to that batch and cooked it so long that it really concentrated the fruit, but it wasn’t firm at all. It’s more of a fruit spread, but completely delicious anyway. Each experiment is a useful one, and probably by November, I’ll be an expert….except there won’t be anything left to preserve.
I think an explanation of these pictures is necessary. Apparently, New England is so cold that it is akin to the North Pole---so much so, that Santa claims to live here in multiple locations. The photo on the top is from last year’s vacation in the Adirondacks. Santa’s Workshop was a major tourist attraction for little kids, complete with amusement park rides. It seemed rather bizarre at the time, until we came upon this North Pole in Putney, VT two weekends ago. It goes without saying that the moment had to be recorded. Enjoy, and if you have kids, plan to visit at least one location, if not both, to really keep them guessing (or the many more which I’m certain exist elsewhere).