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The Cove Journal

by JoDee Samuelson

Artwork by JoDee SamuelsonIt’s been a long dry summer. Leaves are crispy and brown around the edges, slugs have gone into hiding, and mice are moving into basements to sip droplets of condensation from water pipes. 

Summer cottages at the Cove feel more like saunas than places of retreat. Then lately we’ve had nasty thunderstorms that remind us of the power of riotous unbridled nature.

Weather is a reality that connects us all, though we deal with the heat in individual ways: air conditioners, table fans, swimming, walking on the shady side of the street, iced tea, gin and tonics. My heart goes out to those hardy sunburned souls who work outside painting, roofing, repairing roads. Last month, while traveling along the Airline Highway in Maine (Calais to Bangor) we waited impatiently in a construction zone for our turn to proceed, and watched workmen following a machine that was melting the asphalt—with actual roaring flames—as the new pavement was laid down. That certainly isn’t a job for the faint of heart.

We hope that this heat isn’t a taste of things to come. I mean, a small amount is fine but it’s hard on everyone, and occasionally I find myself thinking about my mother and other elderly friends who have passed on, how they felt a sense of relief knowing that they could stop worrying about the future. For those of us who expect to be around for a while at least, there are practical matters to consider: Is our sump pump up to snuff? Should we get a generator? When you have a basement, water always finds a way to get in.

The heat has been a good reason for cold suppers. The other evening a friend brought out a watermelon and I thought that was just fine. However, she proceeded to cut the watermelon into thick slices and drizzle a tasty marinade over the top; then she fried strips of halloumi cheese till each one was crispy and golden brown; lastly, she lovingly laid two slices of the fried cheese on each portion of watermelon. Then with knife and fork in hand we proceeded to devour this delicious salty sweet spicy appetizer. Try it yourself: the recipe is on the Internet. Buy a watermelon and impress your friends with something entirely different.

Something reliably the same is a bag of new potatoes. Each little earth-flavored gem is a gift to humanity. Boiled with skins on and served with butter and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, or wrapped in tinfoil and roasted in the coals: there’s nothing better. Perhaps new potatoes are just as good in other places—I hope so—but I’m sure that they can’t taste any better than ours. When you have a vegetable garden you feel like a rich person for a few months. Almost everything on your plate is from your own garden. And then you have too much and you wonder what you were thinking about?

The fireweed is giving way to goldenrod. We welcome the cool of autumn as much as we enjoyed—and survived—the heat of summer.

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