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332The Last Day of Summer!

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  • thesimple_life
    Sep 19, 2011
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      The Simple Life

      No matter what the calendar says, the last day of summer is whatever day you choose. We chose yesterday, not to say there won't be another. But just in case yesterday was it. No matter what you like to do, golf, fish, hike, the last day of summer is what you make it.
      There was all kinds of work to do, fall house cleaning, wood cutting, yard work – the list never runs out, but why not just take a day to goof off, we thought.
      I love going to the beach. I grew up visiting Gram Spencer and having wonderful memories of Lake Huron (even with all the rocks), tuna sandwiches, or peanut butter, or egg salad, and her famous cookies, with all the cousins. We must have made that cold water look like a small water spout, with all the churning, dunking and splashing. Ricky doesn't have those same beach memories, but now we make new ones.
      Yesterday was in the low 70's, breezy and sunny. We packed up some hotdogs, potato salad, chocolate chip cookies and our charcoal and set out for one last day at lake Michigan. We were not disappointed. In fact, after stopping at a few last yard sales along the way, we found our way to the sandy dunes, only to find, much to our great surprise that we were the only ones who ventured out on the beach. There were not even any footprints. Usually we encounter people walking their dogs even on blustery days, but yesterday, we had the whole beach all to ourselves. I carried my book, but once we were there, I never even opened it. It was just too beautiful to miss for even a couple pages. Who needs drugs? This was a high I will carry with me as long as I live. The last day of summer, 2011. I lay on my blanket, closed my eyes, and just listened to the waves crashing for a while. That feeling of just being one with nature has healing powers I can't even describe. We drove on down the coast and then moseyed our way home, refreshed. Who knows, there may be one last day of summer left yet! In Michigan, you never know. All winter I will be able to conjure up the memory of that wonderful day.

      Wonderful Apples
      Our apple trees were simply loaded this year. After last year and exactly 3, apples that the frost didn't kill, the apple trees along the roads are loaded. I see these apples, and though some think of them as deer bait, I see them as free fruit for winter.
      If you have a food mill, its easy to can up a batch of applesauce for the pantry shelves. I just slice in half, after rinsing and cook up a big pan-full, with a small amount of water. I can it up without sugar. These apples are so sweet, they probably don't need sugar at all, just a touch of cinnamon. Boil in the canner for a few minutes and they are all preserved for winter. Sliced apples, soaked in lemon water, or salt water can be frozen individually on a cookie sheet and then place in zip bags for pies. There's nothing like an apple pie deep in the middle of winter to remind you that summer is just a few moments away.

      Wood Cutting
      We burn wood. We don't order a truck full of logs, we just spend several days a year cutting wood where the trees have been logged and the paths need clearing. I think of it as tree recycling. The wood we burn is already dead and down. There are cords and cords of this wood to heat thousands of homes in Northern Michigan. Most of the people I talk to that have outdoor stoves seem to burn a lot more wood than we do. Our home is only about 1200 square feet, but we burn about 10 face cords a year and have plenty of well, almost free heat. We have bartered with neighbors for the privilege of cutting wood they will never use, like maybe snowplowing. We pack lots to drink and a picnic or snack and enjoy a nice cool fall day, rewarded by a nice load of firewood for next year. We always cut a year ahead. So, sharpen up those chainsaws and maybe even find a few friends who want to spend the day working together to fill sheds with winter heat, free from mother nature.

      Keeping it simple,
      Sheryl