Summer's end
Summer's end

TO:

But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.
-William Shakespeare,  Sonnet XVIII

How can one not help but have an affair with Summer?  Everything about it is sensuous.  Intoxicating fragrances linger heavily in the air.  When your lips have the opportunity to get close enough to a cheek or a neck, they can actually taste the sun on the skin.  Flowers, fruits and vegetables put on their most seductive coats to seduce the birds and the bees.  And, of course, there are plenty of reasons for running around half-naked.

So I board the train knowing that I confront the inevitable task of bidding farewell to my seasonal fling.

T’is now the summer of your youth. Time has not cropt the roses from your cheek, though sorrow long has washed them.
–   Edward Moore. 1712-1757,  The Gamester, Act 3

I often conjure memories when writing the blog, and digging up those memories seems so easy.  And have you noticed?  They all seem perfect and romantic.  Obviously life is not perfect or romantic, but I find solace that my memories can make it so.  This summer was full of life on Beekman farm, and I know that somewhere in my mind bits and pieces are settling amid the sulci, and 20 years from now I will write with passion about Summer 2008, about fading youth, about sunsets, about lying in the grass, about fireflies, about thunderstorms over the hills, about cloudless nights and a million stars, about too much wine and too much food, about flowers, about gardens, about laughing, about crying, and about hopes and dreams.  Always about hopes and dreams.

Goodbye, my lover.

A summer store
A summer store

I know I am but summer to your heart, and not the full four seasons of the year.
–   Edna St. Vincent Millay

“TO” TRAIN REPORT: (Each week I’ll give a quick status recap of the train trip to and from The Beekman)

Trying to squeeze as much out of the last unofficial weekend of summer and to celebrate Josh’s birthday, we took an early train on Thursday.  It was only half-full and wonderfully quiet.  How romantic!

FROM:

Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.
–  Russel Baker

Having the long Labor Day weekend of course meant that we would be doing lots of laboring on the farm.

chickens-eating-weeds

Farmer John’s father gifted us with several chickens from his own farm that he did not intend to keep through the winter.  In preparation for their arrival, we decided to clean out the indoor portion of the chicken coop.  The chickens rejoiced.

Tractor
Tractor

We then learned how to drive the old Massey-Ferguson and spread the manure over the hay fields.

“Do what we can, summer will have its flies.”
–   Ralph Waldo Emerson

img_1785
An essential tool on the farm

Late summer brings swarms of cluster flies to Sharon Springs, and I have become a very skilled hunter especially when they cross into the no-fly zone of the kitchen.  This is my weapon of choice.  It’s made from a bit of window screen and some old feed bags.  It’s lethal.

Homemade ice cream
Homemade ice cream

Josh’s mom gave us an old ice cream maker, and I thought this was so beautiful.  Why, oh, why did we ever invent plastic?

Making homemade ice cream
Making homemade ice cream

Recipe tip:  In order for hand-cranked ice cream to form properly, it must be turned while wearing a bathing suit and no shoes.

Vanilla ice cream with wild berries
Vanilla ice cream with wild berries

After the ice cream was formed, I molded it into cakes using a muffin tin and then garnished with a compote of wild summer berries and mint leaves.

Hyndranges as summer's end
Hyndranges as summer's end

One of the saddest displays of summer’s end:  trimming the hydrangeas.  Their days of glory are just a memory now.

Hydrangeas at The Beekman
Hydrangeas at The Beekman
Pear muffins
Pear muffins

Homemade pear muffins to accompany the business meeting with Deb to discuss the inspiration for the Month of September soap.    The winning scent is reminiscent of tomato leaf, basil, and end of summer.  It is incredible. It should be ready for shipping by the third week of September.

Summer is the time when one sheds one’s tensions with one’s clothes, and the right kind of day is
jeweled balm for the battered spirit.  A few of those days and you can become drunk with the belief
that all’s right with the world.”

-Ada Louise Huxtable

When we launched BEEKMAN 1802, we dedicated the business and all of our efforts to seasonal living.  We live in a world where we can have pretty much anything pretty much anytime we want it.  But such access makes us under-appreciative, so we’ve vowed to experience every season to its fullest.  Saying goodbye at the end is never easy, but we are to sure to truly appreciate the glory of Summer the next time he rolls into town.

Tomatoes
Tomatoes

Perhaps because I am not fully willing to give summer up completely just yet, and because the tomato season this far north is miserably short, I’m announcing my “30 Days of Tomatoes”.    Beginning next week, I vow to make a recipe using our tomatoes every day of the week for a whole month.  If you have a tried and true family recipe with fresh tomatoes as a centerpiece, send it to me.  It may just become a Beekman favorite!  Also, check out the Nepenthe blog this week to see which wine to pair with fresh tomatoes.

“FROM” TRAIN REPORT:

The train was 20 minutes late, and because my skin had received a few too many sun-kisses this weekend, the air conditioning felt extremely cold.  But isn’t that feeling one of the best of summer?

The girl beside me talked on her phone for the first hour of the trip.  Then she shut up.

by Dr. Brent

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