Oh hi! Maybe you didn’t notice but I went missing for eight days. You probably didn’t. I know when other people leave I just keep doing normal life and then I’m all, you’re back already?!
Aanyway, I have lots to tell about the mountains and the desert I saw, about the long lonely miles of highway between this and that, about whether or not we saw Kristen Stewart in a backwoods Utah swimming hole, about how quiet a canyon can be at sunset, about why horse-back riding is, maybe, the best way to meander through a valley of sage brush and aspen groves. Lots. But—I’ma just decompress for a day or two before I get into all that, okay?
100-degree heat is only acceptable if it lasts for no longer than 48 hours and then on the third morning you wake up to a cool cloud cover and a quiet kinda misting rain that’s so light it’s just barely, barely there. That’s how we do it in Oregon, anyway.
Pile up on the couch with the AC unit on high.
Pug geezer and pit bull, both champion layer-arounders.
A bumble bee in my California fuscha. Everything I do in my flower garden is for those li’l buzzers—they’re having a hard time of it, you know.
I’m not good at funerals. Who is? Went to one recently for someone I did not know personally and remembered how hard it is to watch people you love hurtin on the inside and not be able to do nothing about it. For the next few days, I simmered on the subject of how important our people are to us—how they ARE us, to a certain extent, and I felt strangely lucky to have all my peeps gathered around me right now, whether in essence or in reality, keeping me honest and whole and stuff.
Reminds me of the below pic of someone’s public art I came across one day on the Internets. Can’t remember who shot it or who the artist is or really anything about it, but it’s nice, right?
An entire saga of summer skate camp just ended (yay!), and without further ado, we packed up the car to go camping out on the Oregon Coast. To make summer and stuff. But I don’t know. All the camp sites in every campground in a 50 mile radius were full. Grid lock traffic. Coffee shops packed with the obese and children wearing rollerblades. So Much Ice Cream being consumed. It was a horror show. So we cooled out at the beach for a bit and then split for Portland. The coast on a sunny summer weekend—I don’t even want it. Let the kooks have it.
That’s a sandy doggy.
Later that night, the Bracewells had a lil backyard ramp jam and called it the Salmon Jam. Loads of bros came through, old friends, new friends, people I didn’t know. So much fun. Not another thing I’d rather be doing on a summer night.
Wouldn’t be nice if nature doled stuff out in little bite-sized parcels? A couple carrots here, a sprig of dill there, plus an ear or two of corn for you to roast with your beer brat? But noooo, that’s not how it works. One minute you’ve got tumbleweeds rolling through your refrigerator, the next minute you’re watching YouTube how-tos on pickling, saucing, and dehydrating—just so you can clear up some space in your crisper for the squash and zucchini that’s out there rotting on the vine.
Last month, I wrote about what to do if you had a cilantro blowout in your herb garden (cilantro pesto! http://burtongirls.com/health-and-beauty/cilantro-pesto-fast-fresh-potently-delicious/). Now it’s time to talk about basil—that leafy herb whose deep fragrance can make the simplest cheese-and-tomato sandwich something else entirely.
Now, basil’s a little sensitive. It doesn’t stick around too long after you chop it and bring it inside, but if you try to nurse a plant in the ground for too long, it’ll just give you the finger and go to seed. Also, it’s not one of those herbs that dries very well. It’s definitely best when it’s fresh. So, when the basil’s bangin’—that’s the time to act!
Here’s an easy, quick way to preserve fresh basil’s voluptuous perfume:
- Chop up a pile of the stuff and sprinkle it into ice-cube trays until they’re about half full.
- Fill the trays with water.
- Stick ’em in the freezer.
- Use at will.
P.S. This treatment works well for lots of different herbs, so don’t be shy.
I’ve been wearing the same jean shorts for a week now. Why? Because it’s August! It’ll be fun when the heat breaks to remember about wearing pants again. The size of your wearable closet, like, doubles once pants get thrown back in the mix. But we’re not there yet, you guys.
So, this weekend: three rivers in three days. Or, two rivers, three spots, if you want to be technical. And real swimming, where you dive in glide under the surface for a while—not just paddling on the top with your sunglasses on and not getting your hair wet.
Actually, Saturday on the Sandy got a little wild. Lance and I tried to be lazy and forge down river to find our friends instead of going back up the trail and around. Have you seen The River Wild? It was kinda like that, without the Kevin Bacon and John C Reilly characters trying to kill us. We definitely scaled cliff walls. I definitely had to save frantic li’l Lefty from getting swept away by jamming my feet in some rocks and and bear-hugging him against the raging current. And we never did make it down to our friends. But that’s okay, it was kind of fun after the fact—a little adventure that bonded the three of us.
The road home from the river. I could live right there, on that farm with the neat row of poplars or whatever they are and those golden fields spreading out all around. I mean, right?!
I think you can tell by this picture what the heat feels like, how it sorta drains everything of color and you just scurry from shadow to shadow until there’s nothin to do but lay around and pant.
But: imagine if you had a big hairy suit you could never take off? What then? Just find a shady spot and nest.
“I sit by the fire of my life in Paris and wonder when this life here will start to burn brightly. So far it looks like those electric logs in artificial fireplaces burning with moderate glow and without sparkle or warmth.”—from The Dairy of Anais Ninn.
Do you ever feel like that? I do.