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Pleasure and Worry in the Summer Heat

The smoky haze that settles over our homes from miles or nations away (photo taken September 2020).

If it weren’t for the extreme fire hazard warning, I’d wax poetic about the summer right now. The green apples on the branches, the delicate butterflies flitting over the lavender, the breeze rustling the leaves of the birch and poplars. The “tall heat”1 of the afternoon. The stillness.

But it’s hard to immerse myself in these pleasures. There’s a note of danger with soaring temperatures, news of the town of Lytton, B.C. going up in smoke, people losing their homes. Wildfires are synonymous now with summer. We’re reminded of this, whether lurking on the outskirts of town or the smoky haze that settles over homes from blazes miles away.

Not all pleasure

I go out in the morning to light Mildrith’s fire, and it’s no simple pleasure, as it might be in the late fall or winter. With the metal doors of the wood-fired oven shuttered, air vents open a crack, and there should be little worry about fire escaping the thick cob enclosure. But sparks can exit the chimney’s spark arrestor, so I keep the roof and rear hillside clear of debris. I have a “loaded” hose at hand and soak the areas where embers can land every half hour or so.

The fact is that once the fire is established, the sparks stop, and the chimney emits only a wavering heat shimmer. The danger of a ground fire goes down, but my guard is always up.

“Peace comes dropping slow”

The early mornings are still deliciously cool. There is dew on the grass, stars in the sky and a bright moon. It’s still summer — still time to luxuriate in the heat that builds slow.

When the bread’s out and delivered is our time, and we can lie on a chaise longue or sit in an Adirondack and watch the water currents of Boundary Pass, the strange-looking dragonflies skittering by or listen to the piercing call of the bald eagle or the osprey.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

From “The Lake Isle of Inisfree,” W.B. Yeats

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Just rockin’ the Olive Sourdough at 4:30 a.m. in the morning. Into Mildrith’s fire they go!
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#woodfired #woodfiredoven #woodfiredovenbread #bread #realbread #naturallyleavened #baker #bakery #bakerslife #bbga #artisanbread #breadhead #breadmaking #breadmaking🍞 #sourdough #sourdoughbread #coboven #earthoven #earthenoven #olives #olivebread #olivesourdoughbread #penderisland #southpenderisland #happymonkbaking #happymonkbakery #happymonkbakingcompany #southerngulfislands #southerngulfislandsbakers #southerngulfislandsbakeries #penderisland
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Dog days. The beginning of summer mellowness. Baked in languor. But sometimes it's hard to let go. Shouldn't I be baking something? [See LinkTree in Profile ]
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#penderisland #southpenderisland #happymonkbaking #happymonkbakery
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Dog days. The beginning of summer mellowness. Baked in languor. But sometimes it's hard to let go. Shouldn't I be baking something? [See LinkTree in Profile ]
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#penderisland #southpenderisland #happymonkbaking #happymonkbakery
#happymonkbakingcompany #dogdays #dogdaysofsummer #southerngulfislands
#southerngulfislandsbakers #southerngulfislandsbakeries #southerngulfislandsbc
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This is James Morton, my father, who would have been 100 years old today if we hadn't lost him 36 years ago. I've surpassed him in living age and spent more years without him than with him, yet he still whispers in my ear and is a great listener when I talk to him. Taken at 14th Ave. and Burgess St., Burnaby, 'round about 1955. Handsome devil, ain't he?

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  1. From “The Whitsun Weddings” by Philip Larkin.

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