Postcard from the summer, Ai Casoni

Italian summer

Autumn is upon us, and I love it. Candlelit evenings, large cups of tea, the lemon/honey combination, the crisp air, the wind, the colours; autumn is definitely among my top four favourite seasons.

We’re adding a room to our house. The garden’s a mess. The living-room, kitchen, office and entrance are currently combined, and that room is also a mess. I want to buy flowers, I want to add some prettiness, but the furniture is stacked, layered, or crowded, there’s no room for a vase. So I look back at the days in Italy. This is from the Ai Casoni Agriturismo near Treviso in Italy. A tranquil little spot with flowers in abundance.

The end of the endless summer of 2014

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The summer of 2014 has been long and wonderful. It has been so long, warm and delightful that it has felt a little unnatural. I’v caught myself wondering what could be wrong with this world and realized quickly that I don’t want to know. I have enjoyed the sun, the warmth, the long bright days and the precious time with my family. But lately I have been expecting autumn. Almost waiting for it. I don’t mind having summer, but it was as if my body was expecting something else: warmer clothes, quiet dark evenings, crispy brisk air, and a new colour palette. Autumn arrived two weeks ago.

Well, autumn arrived, and then left again. But every time it left it left a little more of itself. First came the cold mornings, then the colours, and then the crispy air. We had a few days of autumn last week, which left us with dark, cold mornings. Now all we’re missing is the unpredictable weather.

It’s been an easy transition this year. Normally I don’t like the transitional phases of the seasons, I wear the heavy coat on warm days, or I wear too little on the cold, I forget my raincoat when it pours, or I carry my umbrella around in the sun. This year there’s nothing to complain about.

The last evening I’ve spent surrounded by candles. I’ve drunk large cups of tea and I’ve been sporting a proper cold. Autumn is here, and I like it. 

Embrace the cold season

IMG_2507I’m wearing layer upon layer. Wool underneath. My hands are cold and so is my nose. I’m sneezing, often. I embrace my scarves, or they embrace me, on a daily basis, and hours every day. Winter is coming.

I’ve gone back to uni for another year while staying at home with Daughter for another year and for six weeks I’m working in a lower secondary school. I think refreshing has to be the right word to describe it. My mind is turned on again. I get to be myself outside the house without having my supernatural mother-power turned on constantly. I also have a very decent-length walk to get to work (although I often use the car) and I get to walk in silence and solitude with the brisk, cold air twirling around me harmfully caressing my bare cheeks.

The season is changing and the weather is protesting violently. The sunrise is bright pink and orange and the sky has just changed to a bleak blue before heavy grey clouds cover it up and drench themselves of bucketloads of water. The sun sets before, surprisingly early, and earlier every day and gives way to howling winds and thundering clouds.

The colours, the changes and the heavy dose of new impressions made by the young hopeful are making me feel poetic. I feel like I should find somewhere to sitsurrounded by the cold air and amid the magic colour combinations and pour all these feelings into words.  But it’s been done before, and I don’t really have the time. But I breathe it all in: fill my head with the bright pink and soothing green, the surrendering orange and daunting red; fill my lungs with the cold; and push the darkness out of the corners of our house with candles burning with mellow yellow flames.

Lago di Garda

Autumn is here and the rain has set in. The little heat we had over the summer is disappearing fast and the temperature is just above two digits most of the days (actually ranging between 12 and 17 – but it’s getting cold). I like these days. I’m quite handicapped and have to spend most of my days indoors. The dark cozy evenings that I can spend snuggled up on the sofa with a huge cup of teas I welcome with open arms. And I can always dream about the paradise we visited this summer.

I’ll leave you with a few photos from the Garda lake area. Don’t let the dreary weather get you down!

Mashed swede

Please join me further down the path of Norwegian delicacies. Today we have a very simple dinner planned: sausages and mashed swede (or rutabaga if you like).

The big, round root is first sliced, then peeled (using a small knife, don’t bother with no potato peeler) and diced. Put in a pot, add water to just about cover the root, put a lid on and leave on medium heat to simmer for a while. To check if it’s done pierce a piece with a sharp knife, if the knife won’t hold the piece of swede then consider it done. Drain, add a pinch or two of sugar, add a wee bit of milk or cream and a spoonful of cream cheese (if you like). Mash it all up using either a masher or a hand blender. A swede can without problems be mashed using a hand blender (potatoes should not). I often add a carrot or two to the mash. The carrots are then sliced and boiled with the swede.

I served this with lamb sausages (which you really should try if you’re in the area!)

Swedes are people too and should not be confused with the root-vegetable which is the subject of this post. No Swedes were hurt making this dish.

Autumn

I’m quiet, I know, I’m not dead I’m still here, I’ve just been very busy living.

Autumn is here and now it’s here to stay. I really don’t mind. I bought this cute, little umbrella this summer and I now get to use it every day. I enjoy huge cups of tea at night (and at work) and I have a son who at least every weekend gives me plenty of reasons to go outside and enjoy the season.

Son has a few favourite activities that I must admit I don’t participate in as much as I should. For some reason it seems more of a hassle dressing myself properly before going outside than it is to dress him properly. The big puddles are thus reserved for my wee man. 

Another favourite activity is to pick rowan berries, throw them high up in the air and see them dance around us as they fall down. Before the berries stop rolling about, Son tries to smash them flat by stepping on them. In this activity I participate joyfully but I do restrain myself a wee bit and let him get most of the berries. 

And for those of you with culinary interests, the black gems hidden in the bushes at this time of year are the blackberries. In Norwegian they’re called ‘bjørnebær’ which translates to ‘bear-berries’. Many of Son’s teddy-bears have suffered many a stomach ache after stuffing their faces with these sweet things

Plums, plums, plums, plums

This Saturday I bough about at least a kilo (two pounds) of plums. By Sunday night they were all gone. I bought twice as many as I normally would, as I planned to have a go at making jam, but I had to change those plans.

Look at these beauties. I love the colours, the texture, the taste, and how you can bite off one piece of the plum and it is so ripe that you can simply shake out the stone. 

Autumn is here and I love it! (I just ignore the fact that the temperature this weekend was above out average summer temperature) It’s raining outside. I’ve come home soaking wet a few times already (despite dressing well). Evenings are filled with huge cups of tea, plums, burning candles and cuddling on the sofa. Life is good!