Pentecost 15

Hello Blog Friends!

Suddenly, despite scorchingly hot weather this week, we are all now firmly running on autumn schedules. Various meeting dates keep filling up the calendar and everyone seems overwhelmed by responsibilities, big and small 😊.

This week saw several meetings around here, most importantly the monthly Day Camp committee. Of course we do meet throughout the summer so it wasn’t a “starting up” sort of meeting but there seemed to be so much more than just checking in on how Day Camps were going as we now turn our attention to the Harvest Thanksgiving Team Gathering, Season Six of the Day Camps Cook-Along and even thinking more seriously about the Advent Study Program and Carols & Cocoa, EEK!!!

Fortunately I never visit big box stores, but I understand that some of them are already selling Christmas decorations, which seems almost obscene. It is one thing to put careful plans in place so that people will have the best experiences in the season of Advent, it is quite another to start stockpiling artificial Christmas Trees 😊.

Work has continued on allocating chapters and sections of the 2024 program manual to people who have certain gifts and talents for editing and creating content. There still has not been a break through for me in fashioning a fourth Creative Connection but I did come up with what I hope are good ideas for two more of the crafts that happen while campers are gathering at the beginning of each Day Camp day. They haven’t been totally flushed out but now it’s just a case of writing the instructions and compiling the lists of supplies.

Meanwhile, the first in a series of notices has been sent out into cyberspace, inviting alumni to attend the upcoming Team Gathering and invitations about the Cook-Along have gone to all the 2023 host communities as well as to all the families who are “regulars”. Tuesday morning I forwarded a copy of the Cook-Along info to our three Season Six chefs, encouraging them to start thinking about the recipes they plan to share. Once I know about these plans, work can begin on thinking of the “extra activity sheets” that are sent to all the participants as follow-up after each episode.

The Day Camp committee meets on the first Wednesday of each month and, unfortunately, this past Wednesday coincided with several members’ first full day in various areas of academia thus two members completely forgot the meeting and one sent regrets that morning. There were still 4 of us present and we managed to cover a fair bit of territory although, if I had known about all the scheduling conflicts the meeting date could have been changed… ah well, c’est la vie 😊.

As mentioned above, it has been SO HOT across most of North America this week. The humidex index was above 40ºC here  until yesterday so garden work has been tackled extra early each morning and Thomason’s long walk has taken place each day at about 7am when it was already 32ºC. AGH!!! Mowing the lawns on Wednesday was no joke and my potted Chrysanthemums have burst into bloom so quickly that I fear they will die off much sooner than usual, which is a rather sad prospect as I had hoped to enjoy them until late October. 

Evenings I spent some time making autumn buntings as gifts for two friends who have September birthdays. Not everyone is quite as “bunting obsessed” as myself but since I rarely visit their homes my friends are not obliged to hang the buntings if they don’t like them 😊. Progress also continues on Christmas socks, yes I am someone who still knits despite heat waves!!   

Yesterday morning I was surprised by a text from a Team alumnus asking if I would be at home around 6pm and, if so, could he stop by for a visit? It was surprising as, although he does drive a car, he rarely ventures into the city and always gets lost when he does! Upon a bit more taxing back and forth it transpired that he was, in fact, driving downtown for a 5pm job interview. Since “stopping by around 6pm” coincides in my mind with eating dinner I asked if he was expected at home for dinner or if he would like to join me. He gladly accepted my invitation so, after a short period of panic, wondering what I could feed him ( he is notoriously a picky eater 😠) I realised I had all the ingredients for Tuna Panzanella. He didn’t arrive until nearly 7pm (having got lost on the way 😊) but when he did arrive I got to hear all about his job prospects and how his family is doing. He also enjoyed the meal and I waved him off soon after 8pm, washed the dishes, walked the dog and headed to bed, after quite a full day!

It is much cooler this morning so it won’t be too bad putting the oven on for the weekly Bake. Gluten-free loaves, cornmeal scones, baguettes and Granola muffins are on the list so time to wrap up this post and head for the kitchen.

As mentioned in my last post, I recently was fortunate enough to harvest a good quantity of elderberries from a neighbour’s tree so Labour Day Monday I got around to making my first batch of Elderberry Syrup. If you can harvest fresh berries that is the best way to make it but if you live somewhere with no access to an Elderberry bush it is quite easy to order freeze-dried berries online.  This tonic has proven immunity-boosting properties and with winter viruses (including the lurking COVID mutations!) I highly recommend you give it a try 😊.

Elderberry Syrup

  • 4 cups fresh Elderberries, stems removed
  • 8 cups filtered water
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 16 cloves
  • a 1” knob of gingerroot, sliced
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 cups raw honey

Place the berries, water and spices in a heavy-bottomed pot, bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered for about 45 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced by half. Strain the juice into a large glass measure, pressing down on the solids. Allow to cool until lukewarm then add 1 cup of honey to every 2 cups of juice. Whisk until the honey is completely dissolved, stir in the lemon juice. Pour into sterilised jars. The syrup can either be stored in your fridge for up to 3 months or you can preserve it by simmering it in a water bath for 25 minutes. Adults should take 1 tsp. per day throughout the cold & flu season, children ½ tsp. 

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