Welcome to the weekend at the cottage! Here are a few things that have been happening around here lately. Grab a cup of coffee or tea, or maybe treat yourself to a hot chocolate or a glass of wine (it’s five o’clock somewhere!), and settle in for some reading and browsing.
Still Here, Just in a Different Place
I can’t blame you if perhaps you’ve been thinking I’ve disappeared from the blogosphere. I’m here, but I’ve spent most of this summer of extreme heat and humidity mired in yet another move. I was lucky in that when a great opportunity arose to move on to something better, I was able to take advantage of a hot real estate market and sell the Urban Cottage quite quickly.
On the other hand, I. Am. So. Over. Moving. Not that I’m counting (oh yes I am!), but this was my fourth move in five years, including emptying out my mother’s home after her death. The good news is that I’m loving my new home and it was worth every bit of worry, strain and pain to get here. I’d love to say I’m never doing it again, but I know better than that.
I’m in the same neighbourhood, but I’ve traded in the Urban Cottage with its quarter acre of lawn, gardens and old trees for condo living. I know I’ll fully appreciate it when the first good snowfall of winter arrives and I won’t have to shovel a six-car driveway. The apartment is filled with glorious light that has me very excited about the food photography possibilities and it offers stirring views which you’ll be seeing here from time to time, starting today.
I’ve pretty much settled in, except for the office/studio. I’ve more or less tunnelled through the boxes to my desk so I can deal with a glut of work in my editing business (always a good thing). Once I’ve gotten through that, there’ll be lots of time for organizing and making myself at home. In the meantime, I’m finding myself back in the kitchen after a summer of mostly not cooking and eating heaven only knows what. It’s been so satisfying to turn out meals like the ones above. This is one of the nicest kitchens I’ve ever had and I’m excited to see what I’ll be creating in it. I hope you are too!
But What About the Name?
I’ve been asked countless times if I’m planning to change the blog’s name, since I’m not living in the Urban Cottage any longer. The answer? No, I’m not, because I’ve brought the Urban Cottage spirit with me here. It’s the spirit of modern scratch living, which I’m embracing even more fully in this new, more functional kitchen where I hope to do more make-ahead cooking and focus on reducing food waste. It’s the spirit of making things by hand, which I’m exploring in another direction these days by revisiting the world of crochet (finding the talented, colourful and inspiring crochet community on Instagram got me through some of the low points of this move). And, it’s also the spirit of hospitality, which I hope to get back to once things are a little more settled here (and I’ve caught up on my sleep).
Out and About
Now that I’m living off the ground again, I’ve been struck by two things. One is that even when it’s pouring, I can’t hear the rain unless it’s actually striking the windows. It feels awfully strange, especially since I’ve always enjoyed the sound of a gentle rain.
The second thing is that I’m so much more aware of the sky. The first time I was in Alberta years ago I was struck by that “big sky” phenomenon. Now I can enjoy it any time I look out the windows here. I’m treated to an endless, slow-moving panorama of clouds and every shade of blue and grey and white, and each day (and sometimes each hour) brings a new display.
Coming Up Soon
Not to be a muffin tease, but I’ve been playing around with an old favourite recipe by Anne Lindsay for oat bran banana muffins that I’ve been making for about 25 years. I’ll be sharing the recipe here soon, and thought you might like a sneak preview photograph. I took this shot this morning, on the breakfast bar at the end of the countertop. The room was full of light from the large windows looking north and east. After years of challenge in finding enough light for decent indoor photos, I feel like a kid in a candy shop! The dark granite counter also gives me the option of exploring that dark, moody feeling too. I can’t wait to get fully back in the swing of my food photography!
The last edition of Urban Cottage Weekend was at the end of June. Yes, it’s been that kind of summer! I did manage to publish a few blog posts. If you missed them, why not check them out now? There were Pickled Peppered Strawberries, a Strawberry Roundup (17 ideas for strawberries, and I saw local everbearing strawberries at the market today!), Honeyed Walnuts, Pickled Strawberry Vinaigrette, Pickled Strawberry, Goat Cheese and Honeyed Walnut Salad, a review of The Canning Kitchen, Blueberry Sweet Cherry Nice Cream and a roundup of No-Heat Dishes for Summer’s Swelter. That’s nowhere near my usual output of blog posts, but I’ve impressed myself considering the summer I had!