It is the first day of the liturgical year for many Orthodox Christians. In church we sang the Akathist Hymn of Thanksgiving, “Glory to God for All Things.” Following, because our rector had decided for several reasons to do a water blessing today, we continued to sing the hymns and psalms and prayers of that service. The giant urn such as we also use on Theophany was in the middle of the church; afterward we drank some of the water out of punch cups. All this thanksgiving and praise and infilling made for a very rich morning.
While we were singing inside the little old church,
right outside the anemones were in full bloom,
glorifying God in their own lovely way.
On my outing to the beach last week I snapped some pictures of coastal neighborhood landscapes. The spot I visited is by a hilly village of cottages, and in former days we used to walk up from the beach and admire the unique houses and plantings. This time I drove around slowly and leaned out the window a few times.
Things have been heating up here in an atypical way, which is what I hear from people all over. It’s not unusual to have a heat wave, but electric storms, rain showers, high winds and a series of muggy days definitely are not what we are used to at this season. I do like 90 degrees better without the dampness. Still, warm evenings — if they are calm — make me feel happy and more at home on the earth. Our standard weather, being frequently chased inside by the cold and damp summer breeze, is the downside of this temperate climate, but we’re always happy to go back to it after a period of scorching.
In my own garden the sunflowers,
white echinacea and asparagus
are creating their usual jungle.
Until this summer I had eaten exactly one plum from my two Elephant Heart plum trees, which are in their fifth season. This summer they bore five green-speckled fruits, and I doled them out to myself over last week. Each one astonished me. I know that sounds overly dramatic, and sadly it doesn’t even tell you a thing about the fruit, whose flavor deserves a poem. I’ll work on that, especially if I get a few more to do research on next summer. I must mark my calendar so I’m not away on a trip at the beginning of August.
At church there are new things the current gardener has done. I wandered around the other day when the Japanese anemones were being appreciated by a bee, and lizards ran joyfully about from one hot sidewalk to another.
I hope you all are prospering in your souls,
and that your heads are not hanging too low,
like this sunflower I saw in my neighborhood —
though it is beautiful. Have courage!
At church again, this time for baking cookies for that upcoming festival. We made koulourakia, which most of us bakers can’t pronounce, so we call them “the twisty Greek cookies.”
The dough, made with seven pounds of butter, had been prepared last night and stored in the fridge. We scooped it out with melon-ballers and rolled the balls into ropes.
And outside I caught this graceful and lovely flower in bud and bloom. I haven’t looked it up yet to find out what it is….though I might have known in the past. Do you recognize it? (update: Jo tells me in the comments it is a Japanese anemone.)
After being twisted, the cookies get an egg wash and then a sprinkling of sesame seeds. They are basically a butter cookie, and though some recipes include orange juice and/or zest, our current version is “plain.” But I came home with my hands smelling anything but plain.
In our back yard now we have three cherry-sort of tomatoes: Juliet (red); Sun Gold and Sunsugar (orange); and Michael Pollan (pointy green striped). So I can put them all in a salad to colorize it! Not to mention, this year I have three colors of nasturtiums, red, orange and yellow — so I put all those petals in my salad as well. That’s a visual feast as well as a feast for the palate, as last night’s guest said.
In case you can’t see all three tomatoes, here is a close-up:
Today the thermometer reached 75° – woohoo –
so we hope we are in a warming trend.