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Dog Days

Early August is the beginning of summer mellowness. Time slows, the swallows swoop, the summer lawns hiss and whisper. The full-fledged season now stretches before us. It lasts only a few weeks, but in the end, it will seem like months.

Upbeat July fades away like an old postcard; the preparation and rush to the beaches and road-trip holidays, lawn furniture and picnic hampers loaded in the trunk. “Have a great summer!” the card says in barely legible handwriting. Those wishes are like promises we carry with us, entering the languorous days of August.

I drowse in the stillness, the long hours of heat tempered by a breeze off the ocean, blue skies and soft clouds. I’m on the chaise lounge, pulled into the shade of a Garry Oak. The book I brought out with me lies like a security blanket, not meant for reading but to rest on my chest while I close my eyes and dream.

Languourous days

The low thrum of a freighter moving through Boundary Pass. Voices in the distance, on the beach or on a passing boat. The shriek of an osprey that circles above the shoreline. It startles but has little power to rouse.

Darkling I listen; and, for many a time
       I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Call'd him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
       To take into the air my quiet breath
               Now more than ever seems it rich to die

- John Keats "Ode to a Nightingale"

“Shouldn’t I be doing something?” I think. I remember that wild movie on Netflix last night, Ryan Gosling chained to a park bench, fending off bullets, seemingly, with his hand.1 I invite sleep, my quiet breath, the waves, the mused rhyme, the dragonflies and mason bees.

Yet the busyness of life beckons

I can’t quite let go. It’s Sunday. We are in the Dog Days of summer, and yes, the busyness of life beckons, like the stern Presbyterian look of my father that I see just before falling asleep. But now, as the heat shimmers off the brown grass, I see his face lighten. He lights his pipe and lies down for a while on the sundeck in his white swimming trunks and tanned torso.

Those are distant days! The trees were greener, the world was fuller with bird sounds, and mom was cooking something on the barbecue.

Can I just drift into those gentle clouds for a while?

But across the Pass, in America, wildfires burn, and judges rule against women’s bodies. People are sick all over; there is flooding in Kentucky and war in far-off places. Can I just sleep in this August torpor?

An evening swim

At dusk, I walk down the stairs to our little beach. The water is flat, the pale blue and pink sky reflecting off the surface. The sun has virtually disappeared behind Tilley Point, and the air is cooling. The Living Rock Island seems to float off Craddock Beach.

Barn swallows dive and make endless tracks over the water. They swoop down from the cliffs feasting on insects, almost invisible, catching them in their open mouths at top speed. Some fly daringly close to my head but swerve away at the last minute. Sometimes they slow themselves slightly, dip their beaks into the water and pluck something off the surface.

The water is startling. I’m gripped by it, trying to calm my breath as I swim slowly out to the rocks. My arms and torso ache with the cold. I dip my head under the surface and come up again quickly.

“Why am I doing this?” I ask. Who in their right mind would subject themselves to this frigid water, this inhospitable ocean? But an answer awaits.

Bladderwrack and bull kelp

There is little else to think about but the freezing water and its effect on my breathing. I look for seals, otters, and jellyfish. My legs brush against bladderwrack and bull kelp. I pause on a set of barnacled rocks and watch a gleaming sailboat halfway across Boundary Pass.

My body is numbing to the cold, and a delicious feeling settles over me. I’m alert, hyper-attuned to the world around me.

A year ago, I swam this place in relative isolation. Someone with binoculars could watch from a distance as I move eastwards along the base of the cliffs. But at least they were out of my sight. I felt alone.

A reverie interrupted

Now, a neighbour has built a cantilevered deck over the ledge of the rocks. There is no one there just now, but there will be soon when the house is finished. If they were in residence, they could look right down on me. My white bum, my privacy compromised.

It’s a significant change, and a note of sadness intrudes on my little reverie. Will the seals and otters feel as I do, exposed, visible as we take an evening swim?

Possibly, but even without the prominent steel deck, the new neighbours could just as well be hooting and waving, standing on the cliff’s edge as I swim by. The world crowds in.

Before swimming ashore, I make one more stop on the barnacled rocks. I’m still gripped by cold, but I’m reluctant now to end this evening’s swim. I linger offshore a few moments, then slowly climb over the rocks and up the stairs. The hot tub awaits.

And the Dog Days of summer.


Happy Monk Tidings - August 10, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Double-Fermented Oat Bread; BLOG: Resuscitating Mildrith; Reminder: No Bread Next Week! [ See LinkTree in Profile ]

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It was a dirty day, Wednesday. The sky hadn't been washed, the ocean was soiled, and the air was muggy and smelled oily. Then, moments before the rain started, the sun shone through and a glorious slash of colour opened up. And a rainbow! No unicorns, sadly.

It was a dirty day, Wednesday. The sky hadn't been washed, the ocean was soiled, and the air was muggy and smelled oily. Then, moments before the rain started, the sun shone through and a glorious slash of colour opened up. And a rainbow! No unicorns, sadly. ...

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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

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
...

36 0
Happy Monk Tidings - July 27, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Whole Grain White Wheat; Blog: Call Me Ishmael; Video: How the U.S. Ruined Bread; Announcements [ See LinkTree in Profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - July 27, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Whole Grain White Wheat; Blog: Call Me Ishmael; Video: How the U.S. Ruined Bread; Announcements [ See LinkTree in Profile ] ...

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Happy Monk Tidings - July 20, 2022 🍞 - BAKER'S CHOICE: Rye and Currants; BLOG: Blessed; EXTRA: World's Oldest Sourdough? [ See LinkTree in Profile ]

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Happy Monk Tidings - July 13, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Bird Seed Bread; Blog: Down to the Crossroads, Medicine Beach; Baking your own bread guides - [ See LinkTree in Profile ]

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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?

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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Happy Monk Tidings - July 6, 2022 🍞 - BAKER'S CHOICE: Cinnamon-Raisin Bread; BLOG: Filling the Belly: Words vs. Loaves [ See LinkTree in profile ]

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42 1
How many times have I seen these loaves tumble out of the oven! If I’m not in a rush, I like to pile them up and just stand near them a moment, feeling their heat, hearing them crackle, their glorious warm aroma! Seems like a miracle, been working hard since the dark hours of morning, heard the first birdsong, seen freighters moving silently through Boundary Pass, a gentle breeze coming up from the ocean. I know I’ll pay for all this later in the day with fatigue and there’ll be several days catching up with sleep. Is it worth it all? Three years into Happy Monk Baking, I still say yes. Happy sleeping, everyone!
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#woodfired #woodfiredoven #woodfiredovenbread #bread #realbread #naturallyleavened #baker #bakery #bbga #artisanbread #breadhead #breadmaking #breadmaking🍞 #sourdough #sourdoughbread #rusticbread, #breadhead, #coboven #earthoven #earthenoven #penderisland #southpenderisland #happymonkbaking #happymonkbakery #happymonkbakingcompany #southerngulfislands #southerngulfislandsbakers #southerngulfislandsbakeries #penderisland

How many times have I seen these loaves tumble out of the oven! If I’m not in a rush, I like to pile them up and just stand near them a moment, feeling their heat, hearing them crackle, their glorious warm aroma! Seems like a miracle, been working hard since the dark hours of morning, heard the first birdsong, seen freighters moving silently through Boundary Pass, a gentle breeze coming up from the ocean. I know I’ll pay for all this later in the day with fatigue and there’ll be several days catching up with sleep. Is it worth it all? Three years into Happy Monk Baking, I still say yes. Happy sleeping, everyone!
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#woodfired #woodfiredoven #woodfiredovenbread #bread #realbread #naturallyleavened #baker #bakery #bbga #artisanbread #breadhead #breadmaking #breadmaking🍞 #sourdough #sourdoughbread #rusticbread, #breadhead, #coboven #earthoven #earthenoven #penderisland #southpenderisland #happymonkbaking #happymonkbakery #happymonkbakingcompany #southerngulfislands #southerngulfislandsbakers #southerngulfislandsbakeries #penderisland
...

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Happy Monk Tidings - June 29, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Rustic Peasant Bread; Blog: A Pinch of Salt, A Pinch of Life [ See LinkTree in Profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - June 29, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Rustic Peasant Bread; Blog: A Pinch of Salt, A Pinch of Life [ See LinkTree in Profile ] ...

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Happy Monk Tidings - June 22, 2022 🍞 - Bakers Choice: Sprouted Rye and Seed Bread; BLOG: Henry Miller and the Staff of Life — [ See LinkTree in Profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - June 22, 2022 🍞 - Bakers Choice: Sprouted Rye and Seed Bread; BLOG: Henry Miller and the Staff of Life — [ See LinkTree in Profile ] ...

28 1
Happy Monk Tidings - June 15, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Cranberry-Pecan Sourdough Bread; Blog: Breakfast on Bloomsday https://mailchi.mp/4c924688ed54/happy_monk_tidings_june15

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Fun at 4 in the morning … first load of bread in the oven, first light, first birdsong, making the treacherous walk back inside with a tower of bannetons. In the rain.
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#bakerslife #bakersofinstagram #baking #baker #woodfired #woodfiredoven #woodfiredovenbread #coboven #earthoven #earthenoven #bread #sourdoughbread #sourdough #bbga #realbread #naturallyleavened #artisanbread #artisanbreadbaker #rusticbread #breadhead #breadlove #breadhour #penderisland #southpenderisland #happymonkbaking #happymonkbakery #happymonkbakingcompany #southerngulfislands #southerngulfislandsbakers #southerngulfislandsbakeries

Fun at 4 in the morning … first load of bread in the oven, first light, first birdsong, making the treacherous walk back inside with a tower of bannetons. In the rain.
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#bakerslife #bakersofinstagram #baking #baker #woodfired #woodfiredoven #woodfiredovenbread #coboven #earthoven #earthenoven #bread #sourdoughbread #sourdough #bbga #realbread #naturallyleavened #artisanbread #artisanbreadbaker #rusticbread #breadhead #breadlove #breadhour #penderisland #southpenderisland #happymonkbaking #happymonkbakery #happymonkbakingcompany #southerngulfislands #southerngulfislandsbakers #southerngulfislandsbakeries
...

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Happy Monk Tidings - June 1, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Fig and Fennel Sourdough; Happy Monk Blog: The Golden City [ LinkTree in Profile ]

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Post to The Happy Monk Baking Company
Happy Monk Tidings - May 25, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice this week: Sprouted Kamut Bread; Blog: A Paean to Rye Bread: Deeply Felt and Honest [ See LinkTree in Profile ]

Post to The Happy Monk Baking Company
Happy Monk Tidings - May 25, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice this week: Sprouted Kamut Bread; Blog: A Paean to Rye Bread: Deeply Felt and Honest [ See LinkTree in Profile ]
...

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Happy Monk Tidings - May 18, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Olive Bread; UPDATE: Canal Bridge project postponed; Assume normal delivery schedule; BLOG: The Breadman's Quest for the Stanley Cup - [See LinkTree in Profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - May 18, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Olive Bread; UPDATE: Canal Bridge project postponed; Assume normal delivery schedule; BLOG: The Breadman's Quest for the Stanley Cup - [See LinkTree in Profile ] ...

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Happy Monk Tidings - May 11, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Rye-Spelt Sourdough; Blog: Road/Bridge Closure: Be Here Now - [ See LinkTree in Profile ]

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34 1
Happy Monk Tidings - May 4, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Polenta and Rosemary Bread ☀︎ Blog: An Artisan Bread Manifesto ☀︎ [ See LinkTree in Profile ]

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  1. “The Gray Man” directed by Anthony and Joe Russo.

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