Summer’s End

Here, in Northwest Montana and in all of the U.S. Mountain Daylight Time area…Summer ends at 8:29 p.m. this evening – or more accurately, it is the time of the Autumnal Equinox in my time zone:

The September equinox occurs the moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator – from north to south. This happens either on September 22, 23, or 24 every year. source: www.timeanddate.com

Ironically, we are to have a week with temperatures in the low 80’s, i.e. Summer temperatures. But we are down to 12 hours of daylight and the sun’s path is lower to the south than during summer, so it takes all day to hit the high briefly before it cools quickly.

This weekend was to be in the mid-70’s with lots of sun and it was. Bear and I started the weekend with a dash to town for a few supplies and the farmer’s market. Our market stops the third weekend in October so there are only 4 more left :( !

We were at the organic grocery I like at 7:50 a.m. and I was 1 of 2 shoppers when I started. I noticed the SNAP sticker on the window. It has probably been there always but I had no idea what SNAP was until several weeks ago. As I shopped, I took a better look at prices. The bins and produce area have prices I think doable on a tight budget. An advantage of the bins – and I often use them this way also – is the opportunity to buy/try small bits of things. I did notice that flour per pound in the bins is higher than buying a 5 pound bag – but not too much and if I was starting from no supply and small budget, I could buy what I needed to make bread items for a week. Rice and grain varieties as well as all of the beans are more reasonable. And while nuts are expensive, again…from the bins you can buy a very small quantity and maybe add some nuts. I will have to try a real shop to really know how low I could go.

I’m not sure why, but this store always seems to have the best organic produce. I picked up some items that would work for a week, weighed and calced the price – doable, I think.

When I checked out, there were no other customers so I asked the checker if the SNAP option was used much. She said yes. The SNAP benefit is loaded on an EBT card in our area. The store computers know which items are eligible so a customer hands over the EBT card and then gets a total that must be paid for in cash which would be non food items. Seems a much better procedure than the old food stamp books and the buyer having to separate things and then maybe the checker having to negate something…all making it VERY obvious to others.

At any rate, more learning on my part.

On to the farmer’s market. Some commenters on Beth Moncel’s SNAP Challenge which she is writing about on her blog Budget Bytes , noted that many Farmer’s Markets are working with SNAP. I was at the market at the starting time. here were lots of vendors, lots of people and the Market Organizers were very busy so I did not have opportunity to ask.

I did have opportunity to get some nice vegetables! That huge bag of spinach – I’m going to freeze most of it and this year in addition to puree for sauces and soups, I’m going to try freezing some chopped to use in different ways through the winter. Most of the spaghetti sqush, I will freeze as well, although Lasagna stuffed spaghetti squash is on my supper list this week. I’ll eat as many of the tomatoes as I can this week, then chop and freeze the rest. The cabbage I use in my salads: I’m stuck on a mix of cabbage, cashews, pecorino with a honey mustard vinaigrette ( Rachel Ray’s honey-mustard vinaigrette). I also like to put a chili-beef sauce over the cabbage and sprinkle some cheddar. It will be a good eating week and the summer/winter squash as well as pumpkins are coming on strong. I also noticed some local apples, but he was jammed with people …next week.

There is always a branch or 2 of the larch that get a jump on Fall color. The larch typically peak in another 3 weeks: October 12-14.

Auggie suggested that I was dragging my feet on cleaning up the wood cutting venue. The wood cutting happened 2 weeks ago, so he had a point.

Sunday, I put on my work clothes and just got ‘er done! On the advice of my neighbors, I saved some of the larger pieces of bark to put on the ground between the new wood that has to dry for future years and the damp ground. I also sorted and restacked what we didn’t cut.

The burn pile is not too bad and maybe I will wait until Spring to burn. Although if I got with the program and gathered up some downfall, I could have a Fall burn. We’ll see.

Wild Thing is still at Billy Bob’s RV and Truck Service waiting on a back-ordered part. Maybe this week she will come home!

Meanwhile, rest and relaxation…

…catching the last Summer rays.

I did “last weekend of Summer” R & R my way!

Snippets from Thursday

Work deadline met.

A good meeting had.

End of Thursday!

A bit of Fall color.

The woods is coloring up also.

A very serious Auggie!

Bear in the yard and there is nothing wrong with my camera…the forest service started several burns for forest health…on Monday. It remains to be seen how this will affect people and critter health.

It is VERY smoky.

Blech!

I’m all for forest health, but I have a wonder about the timing…what do I know???

***Update: I don’t know much! This morning’s paper reports that the smoke is from California fires and came this way on the unusual southwesterly air flow of last week. However, the air flow is back to our west-northwest normal and NOAA says things should clear today.

An Auggie tail…

The front part of Auggie…under the chair…

Snippets from Thursday.

A simple supper

It has been a “nose to the grindstone” kind of week so far.

Work goes well, but a bit intense for a Thursday meeting/deadline.

Auggie and Bear are well. Auggie and I have had a chat and I’ve had a chat/prayer with Him and as always with my cats, ultimately I must let them be cats and trust in His Hand. I’m kind of 50/50 with that but getting better :)

Meanwhile, tonight…

A favorite meal of toast with tomatoes and capers and mozz and under the broiler…

A simple supper.