Shannon Fennell's Blog

My life, art, travel, make-up, cooking and the occasional rant!

The dog days of summer ended, and I missed it

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Apparently, the Dog Days of Summer ended on August 11th. I looked it up. The term refers to the hottest days of Summer, which lasted until a little over a week ago around here. The change was quite dramatic in our garden. We went from close to 30C to 20C daytime highs. We were getting sun from around 10 a.m. as it appeared over the buildings to hit the back fence, then as it moved, the rest of the garden would get time in direct sun until close to 8 p.m. in the evening. This last week it is now starting to hit the back fence around 1:30 p.m. and a strip of around four feet of ground along the fence until 4:30 p.m. Everything stuck in all-day shade in the rest of the garden has reverted to Autumn shutdown stage.

I did a bit of clean-up by removing summer squash plants that haven’t been productive and are stuck in 100% shade now. Even though they were blooming, all the flowers were male so no fruit. The last of the zucchini has several small fruits on it but they’ve been the same size for around three weeks! Not sure what’s up with that. Also pulled out done flowers and other vegetables, pruned the plum tree (apparently they need to be done late summer, not while dormant,) and have started cleaning up planters.

The cucumbers are in a perfect spot up high on the wall and are still getting all the sun – and being productive. And I move my peppers around to follow the sun as they are in pots.

I’ve finally been able to make pickles!! Refrigerator pickles as I’ve no inclination to do actual canning – an issue of space for storage really. They’ll get eaten fast enough.

I was not able to find PROPER sour dill pickles here in the UK. So I made my own and they are fabulous! Salty and sour with garlic like I was used to getting in Canada. Everything here in the UK is sweet… EVERYTHING. It is crazy.

I had six pint jars which worked out well for the amount of room I had available in the fridge. I’ve already consumed most of the cucumber dills from my first jar. I made four jars of pickles so far, with a fifth jar that is just brine, ready to add the next batch of cucumbers to. And if my hot peppers ripen I’ll pickle them too!

One jar is just cucumbers from the garden; one is “recycling” a jar of gherkins that weren’t sour enough for me with added red pepper and some mushrooms; one is recycling supposedly “New York Deli Style” pickles that in no way resembled deli style dill pickles (I couldn’t bear to throw out perfectly good food product!) with green and red peppers; and one is asparagus. I’m quite happy now. No one else in the house likes pickles so they are all mine!

I’ve been on a baking kick this week making cookies. I’ve been trying new “keto/low carb” recipes I’ve found online. They all need tweaking to suit me better, but are tasty nonetheless! I made a Tahini Chocolate Nib cookie and a Almond/Peanut Butter Brownie cookie. I substituted things based on what I had – using chocolate nibs instead of chips, using some peanut butter as I only had half the required almond butter, etc.

The Tahini cookies need more tahini (recipe was half butter, half tahini,) needed to be flattened, less time and lower temp. The Brownie cookies need more moisture (I will probably add cream cheese next time) and need to be a bit flatter. But they did turn out and are not crumbling in my hand.

I am painting my bedroom. Last Sunday I did the front wall… almost died. I was up most of the night with vicious cramps in my upper thighs which I think were from balancing on the step ladder. Not fun – took almost four days for the tightness to ease. BUT, am happy with this wall. Anne is going to paint the opposite wall for me – says she’ll be MUCH faster and can cut in better than me. I won’t argue!

I managed to match the paint colour with my curtains without taking the fabric along to match – I’ve a very good eye/memory for colours. I had an ink & watercolour I did a couple years ago that is a perfect piece to go on the green wall so I got a frame for it.

This wall painting project is making me frame up a lot of the art I kept and get it on display. The new paint is making the other walls look bad, but I’m not up to painting THAT much. I’ll just cover them with lots of art.

Oh yeah… today is my one year anniversary of arriving in England! I can’t believe that much time has passed already. And we still are dealing with the bloody pandemic. At some point I hope I’ll be able to start travelling around Europe on short trips like I had been planning for the last seven years! I am not comfortable with the travel situation (virus, delays, unrest, etc.) so will keep occupied locally.

August 27, 2021 – Arrived at Heathrow (the mask stayed on until the car park!)

Author: Shannon Fennell

Multidisciplinary artist, world traveller, make-up artist, and cheese lover. I follow a low carb lifestyle to keep my diabetes in remission. Canadian expat in the UK.

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