Local gifts spread the joy of the north country

Ellen Emery

Life in the north country is such a joy for a number of reasons including wonderful friends and this week, especially, blue skies and sunshine filled days. (I realize it does rain, but that is nothing compared to the hurricane forces others in this country are experiencing.) Among the wonderful reasons that life is good here is found in the ability of The Gardener to harvest the most delicious produce from the garden near our Bombay home.

This week, there have been Swiss chard, beans, corn, blueberries, zucchini, tomatoes, beets, cucumbers and more zucchini. I attempt to freeze the vegetables so we can continue to enjoy the garden vegetables throughout the winter months.

With an abundance of zucchini, I decided to make zucchini muffins instead of the usual bread. I opened my recipe box and pulled out a recipe a dear friend had shared decades ago. The recipe was one she had used and passed on to me; the recipe card was written by hand with notes on how to make this recipe turn out perfectly!

I remembered my friend Susan and smiled as I thought about the other cards that filled the wooden recipe box on my counter. There are countless recipes hand scripted: my mother’s — one for Marble Squares, a family favorite, and a from-scratch recipe for lemon meringue pie and homemade bread, too, also a from-scratch recipe (no bread machine was allowed in my mother’s kitchen). And a recipe from my grandmother for her Norwegian Fathigmandsbakkelse (Christmas cookies) that comes complete with grease stains on the page as her cookies are made each year. And a recipe for a delicious lemon cake in beautifully hand-scripted writing by Salmon River third-grade teacher Miss Mulvana.

I transformed my friend’s zucchini bread recipe into what those who tasted them told me were delicious muffins. The zucchini from our garden has been preserved for winter in the freezer. The important aspect of my baking, preparing meals and freezing vegetables this week, though, was not in the preparation but in remembering as I held the recipes from friends in my hands.

So much of our eating today is in restaurants or in a take-out meal. And recipes are so easily found on an internet search. I hope you have a special box containing favorite recipes in your home — one you can share with children and grandchildren. Take a moment this week and look for a favorite recipe a family member or friend has given you. Read the notes shared, try the recipe and remember.

WARMEST WISHES

An absolutely wonderful couple, Janet and David Peterson, will celebrate their 71st wedding anniversary Wednesday. Both Janet and David have given so much to each one they meet and to Massena and the north country community.

How truly blessed I am to have Janet in my life. Her handwritten notes and cards (and beautiful pin declaring “Joy!”) always mean a great deal. I always gain so much from Janet’s shared wisdom. Her friendship means a great deal.

My warmest anniversary wishes are sent your way today. Seventy-one years — amazing. What a remarkable example for each of us.

CHANGING SEASONS

The mornings and evenings have been a bit cooler this past week. Sunday, a gentleman said he thought the seasons were changing with fall not far away. And then the announcements on news reports that Labor Day is the “unofficial” end of summer (although technically autumn doesn’t begin until Sept. 23).

I love the change in seasons we have in the north country but am saddened by the end of summer. Both of my sisters live in California and have no change in their seasons. I honestly would not enjoy living where we didn’t see the change of seasons.

Leaves falling from the trees are starting to swirl in the wind. And Monday evening, The Gardener and I made our last visit to Sweet Treats in Akwesasne this season. The young woman at the window told us they were closing for the season. Sweet Treats closing is definitely the “unofficial” end of summer. We were saddened when we heard that announcement but will look forward to cooler days, the beauty of the north country autumn leaves and a visit to Kaneb’s Orchard on Highland Road for apple crumb muffins or my granddaughter’s favorite: apple cider donuts (it has delicious coffee there, too)!

BIRTHDAY WISHES

Courier-Observer reporter Bob Beckstead will celebrate his birthday on Sunday. What a marvelous reporter he is and what a terrific gentleman, too. I always enjoy our brief visits at the office and have appreciated his assistance on numerous occasions.

Have a great birthday, Bob. You certainly deserve only the best as you celebrate.

WITH THANKS

Wednesday is National Newspaper Carrier Day.

My heartfelt thanks to each newspaper carrier. Although it is terrific to receive “NNY 360 News Alerts” updating me on the news of the day, I enjoy holding a newspaper in my hand and reading the details of each story and cutting articles to be shared. I appreciate the work you do each week to make sure subscribers receive their newspaper.

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

“Help others without any reason, and give without the expectation of receiving anything.”

— Roy Bennett

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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