As you all know, summer is my favorite time of the year. I live on my deck, reading, drinking a glass of wine and watching as Mother Nature's kingdom unfolds.
Lately, I've been sitting out past dark and watching the fireflies dance across the backyard. When I was a child, my friends and I would catch them in Mason jars and make a "flashlight." It seems cruel to me now, because in the morning, they would all be dead in the jar.
I'm also having a great time watching hummingbirds come and go at my feeder. I think I have three or four that come on a regular basis. What has amazed me was I never new the tiny things could be so aggressive! If one is feeding and another arrives, a mini aerial dogfight erupts!
My horse-trough garden is doing OK, but not many fruits to show for my labor. I did pick a very small cherry tomato — the size if my pinky fingernail — yesterday. It was so small I couldn't really tell you how it tasted! There are small peppers on both the red sweet peppers and the poblanos, and the cucumber vines — a new experiment this year — have grown over the tomato cages that are supposed to contain them and are wending their way up the porch pillars. Maybe they'll become my northern bougainvillea and I can pretend I'm Scarlett O'Hara entertaining her beaus on the plantation porch. Well, fiddle-dee-dee ...
After many false starts, the pool is up and running beautifully. I've spent many blissful hours floating on my float and reading a book. And to my friends who have loaned me books, including the 900-page second volume of the "Outlander" series, your books are safe. My pool books are paperbacks I've purchased for under a dollar at book or tag sales. It's amazing how fast a thin paperback swells up to the thickness of "War and Peace" when it gets soaking wet! (Note to self, try putting the book on the side of the pool before dozing off.)
Each summer, I try to find a drink I can serve friends who come over to visit and use the pool. One year it was beer margaritas by the pitcherful, another year a citrus-y wine cooler — also by the pitcher. A couple summers ago, I interviewed Dominique DeVito, co-creator of the Hudson-Chatham Sangria Festival, who had just published a book of 101 sangria recipes, "Seasonal Sangria." The book has become one of my go-tos when it comes to making drinks for a crowd. And while, due to the pandemic, there are no crowds planned at Button Beach, I've halved the recipes for my own use — and any leftover sangria has been fine the next day.
Last weekend, I tried Lemon-Lime Time, which uses a white wine. It was just thing for sitting on the deck and watching the fireflies after dusk.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
1 bottle (750 ml) dry white wine
1 large orange, sliced into quarter-moon slivers
1/2 lemon, sliced into half-moon slivers
1/2 lime, sliced into half-moon slivers
1/4 cup Triple Sec
2 cups lemon-lime soda
Combine all ingredients except the soda in a large pitcher or container. Cover and refrigerate for four or more hours. Add ice and soda. Stir and serve.