Monday, September 25, 2017

Postcards from the Lake: September Song

The days dwindle down to a precious few... I thought I'd leave you with a little music to listen to while we look at the lake's September song.

I love it here in September. Most of the vacationers have gone home. Only the weekenders remain and with them, fewer big boats and jet skis. More fishing boats and quiet.

I live on Lake Time -- get up when you're ready, eat when you're hungry, go to bed when you're tired.

Of course, the unseasonably glorious 90s have made being at the lake all the more inviting. I can't remember the last time I took a swim in the lake when it was in late September. Maybe never.

We've been busy up here -- the tree planting project has been a big one. With the help of my neighbor Jim, Rick and I got four red-twig dogwoods and two Norway spruce trees planted.

It will take awhile for them to get tall enough to block out the neighbor's septic hill or house but you start somewhere!

Rick of course has been riding, grabbing every road-second out of these days before snow falls.

I've been painting (a different post to come) and bird watching!

Yes, we call this one Henry. He seems very fond of my neighbor's boat ramp.

And he also appears to appreciate the fine fishing in the twilight hours outside the cottage.

He's quite magnificent. I have to say when he flies, I am in awe.

The ducks are here, too. I call this one Docket because he seems to love sitting on the end of the neighbor's dock. I've seen them in groups of three and six, always looking for ground food, too.

There is a surplus of seagulls...

And a delegation of ducks.

The other night there were 21 seagulls on the beach, Henry, Docket and five friends and a loon went by!

No doubt they were in to enjoy the sunset.

As I mentioned earlier, the days aren't even warm -- they're hot. 90s. Loads of sun, an occasional breeze. I swam on the 24th of September, the latest I've ever been in the lake. It was so good, I told my next door neighbor they'd better get out there -- and they did!

A glass of wine. A good sunset. Peace and quiet and birdsong. (Or maybe bird-caw is better!)

I'll take it!

Till next time...

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Cork Poppers -- Rolling on the River with Summer Wines

Well, it's about time I got back to real life and away from Quebec! Time to pop a cork or two! Take a perfect August day, nine (of twelve) Cork Poppers, and dinner and wine to die for and you have a rolling-on-the-river good time!

We love gathering at Meredith and Roger's in the summer because we know that if the weather holds, we'll have a boat ride on the Grand River.

And more on that later! But we always start with the tasting.This month our theme was wines to drink doing something you love. For some of this, it was an older favorite wine and for others of us, a new one. (Sometimes that works; sometimes it doesn't!)

We started out with Barb's white sangria. We could have just stopped with that.

Honestly, this was so good -- and probably relatively lethal if one had free reign and all day, say on the beach or in the sun or just hanging out.

Here's how she made it. You'll have to juggle quantities yourself!

Mix one super-big sauvignon blank with
1/2 c. peach schnapps
1/2 c. triple sec
1/2 c. simple syrup
1/2 bottle club soda
1/2 bottle 7-up (2 litre bottle)
Add loads of fruit and chill! Serve over ice!

The first wine from Dick was Robert Mondavi 2014 Fume Blanc from Napa Valley. Fume Blanc is a dry sauvignon blanc. Everyone said it smelled good and I thought it nice and peppery but that was when the nice comments stop. Dick said, "I don't like Mondavi wines. Yet I hear people I trust who say there are good Mondavi wines."

Barb said it had undertones of skunkiness. Roger thought it had an acidic aftertaste and Cheryl -- who pretty much only drinks white said "Not the best white I've ever had." We agreed that you could throw it into the sangria and all would not be lost. But at $14.99 I'd think twice.

Roger was next with Moselland Arsvitas Riesling from the Mosel area. It clearly was the best bottle design with a beautiful floral motif that one could view from both sides of the bottle. He found this at World Market for $12.99.


I wrote "This is very good" and Meredith said "I really like this one." Cheryl said, "I love it!" and Meredith added, "You could buy that again!" At this price I would buy it just for the cool bottle!

I was next with Atlantique 2016 Rose from the Loire Valley. (World Market) OK, I did something I never do. I bought it for the pretty bottle. Don't do that. It was pretty dry and Dick said "It's nothing offensive." I wrote "for a Rose, I don't mind this too much." (We are very good at damning with faint praise.) Cheryl, on the other hand, said "Where's the slop jar?" At $12.99 I would not recommend it.

(I should say that both Dick's first wine and my Rose did lose points from all of us for not being cold enough. It was a warm day when we met and the wines were sitting out a bit too long before we began tasting. Whites should be well chilled. Ours weren't, except Roger's -- and he lives there!)

Pat was next with Apothic Red, 2014 Winemaker's Blend. Apothic is very available at most groceries and at $8.99 we agreed it was a very good wine for the price and "well worth having in the house."

Clayton and Anne brought Reserve Mouton Cadet 2013 Bordeaux from Baron Philippe de Rothschild.

Again, mixed opinion. "I really love this," I said. Roger said "This wine is a little too much for me -- too strong after all the light ones." "I think this is lovely," Barb said, but Roger said "This is like a shock to me." He got it on sale at Meijer for $12.99. Several of us thought it a very elegant wine.

Cheryl, who rarely drinks red but is "Hamilton"'s greatest fan brought The Federalist Dueling Pistols. It is a one of a series of wines honoring America's founding fathers and their ideals. A blend of half Zinfandel and half Syrah, it's from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma.

I loved it and Dick said "This is wonderful, I wish it wasn't so good!" Someone (probably Barb) described it as a smooth, good, supple mouthful." I wrote "Pretty fabulous. This is really good!" And at $32 (Meijer) it should be!

Then it was on to the river! The sun was bright, the sky blue. Captain Roger knows where to go and where not to (he's been beached before) and it was just beautiful out!

First we saw one of Harry's cousins, a lovely blue heron.

And we had a wonderful sighting!

Yes, these are Sandhill Cranes. I rarely see them, though they do hang out in this area.

It's pretty hard to get a good photo, zoomed, on a moving or idling boat. But I was happy with this one.

And this.

You remember I mentioned "perfect day" and "sky was blue." Well, it was -- till it poured. We all clustered in the back of the boat -- which made it a little low in the water. And all the water in the top rolled down to the bottom. As did the dropping from the canopy. I was sitting on the end here and got the brunt of it.

Let's just say I was grateful to our hosts for letting me shed my soaking shorts, shoes and undies and deck myself in a beach towel sarong!

Dinner -- to die for. First, Meredith set a delightful table with a summer fun (golfing) theme.

Our party favors were jars of home made peach chutney!

And dinner! Mere is the master at Frogmore Stew. How she could work in the hot kitchen over a steaming pot, I don't know, but I'm glad she did!

Barb's salads are always to die for.

And Anne raided her garden for the freshest tomatoes, cukes and basil.

What's not to love on this plate!

Dick and I had birthdays to celebrate.

I was on top for the dessert -- madeleines and Nigella Lawson's Lemon Meringue Cake. It's one of my go-to recipes for a delicious, not-too-difficult and impressive looking dessert!

No one left hungry!

For past Cork Popper posts, check the link on the Marmelade Gypsy menu bar where posts are categorized (Italian, French, Bordeaux, etc.).

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