We love it in the country

School holidays mean disappearing to the country for extended periods of time - summer is finally upon us and the weeds and grass is growing so fast that you can HEAR it growing if you stop and listen.  Nightingales and cuckoos are singing in the woods beyond the house, and the perfumed air is soft and warm, even when you wander out into the permanent dusk that is "nighttime" in midsummer in this part of Europe.  Midsummer eve is but a week away, and the fields are full of wildflowers of all description.  The other day I needed to race back to Riga to do some folk singing, and managed to make a traditional wildflower wreath for wearing with my folk costume rather than the dour headscarf I usually wear in the colder months. Gotta love the array of blooming plants to choose from!The boys have willingly taken to the great outdoors, and disappear for hours into the yard, playing fantasy games of riding on magic carpets (the hammock), or finding bewitched swords (sticks) and going on magical adventures (bashing through shoulder-high weeds).  We bought the boys pocket knives, and they have been very responsible so far, proudly clipping them to their belts, and using them to scrape bark of sticks and cut this and that.  Back to Riga next week, sadly, to do a bit of work and such. Being in the city at such a glorious time of year is no good.  No good at all.  The beer gardens in the old town make up for it a little, I guess, but we will definitely be racing back to the country asap!

I've been watching the peonies in our garden burst into bloom, from fat, round-ball buds.   Ages ago, when I was into a jag of reading novels about China, I always wondered what peonies looked like, because they were mentioned so often in these books.  I then fell in love with "pujenes" in Latvian gardens - their luscious, joyous, frilly extravagance in  in early summer - and was pleasantly surprised later on to find out that these were the very same peonies I had read so much about.  I am planning to plant more and more, white ones and pink ones and reddish purple ones.  I'm told that they're quite a "lowbrow" flower here, not really the de rigeur bouquet to give when going visiting.  Don't ask me why.  You can give me bunches of peonies any day. 

It's also the perfect season for making salted cucumbers - not marinated - yummy, crunchy, salty.  A total no-brainer to make, even I can get the recipe right.  Cucumbers in a jar.  Dill, garlic.  Pour over water with salt + a bit of sugar added.  Voila!  In about 5 hours you've got salted cucumbers.

Who are these cheeky kids making themselves cups of tea?  A big hit has been the Donald Duck camping and survival book, which got pulled out the other day.  Under its influence, we've been digging fire pits and making damper-on-a-stick (which, of course, the kids insisted on making but refused to eat.  I couldn't even convince them to eat it by saying "this is what they eat in AUSTRALIA when they go camping... )

One Response so far.

  1. Fifee says:

    What about ticks??? Perhaps the fires will keep them away. ps I think Mikus looks like he will grow up to be a glam rocker!!! lol xx

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