For the first sixteen years of my life, I spent a big chunk of every summer in Northport, Nova Scotia, a tiny dot on the seaside that borders the unusually warm waters of the Northumberland Strait. One whole side of my family would retreat here together (a feat in itself to arrange schedules and vacation time) and spend two long weeks living, breathing and being in a huge, old farmhouse overlooking the ocean.
As a child, this time, this place, were magic.
On the day of our departure, I was always the first one awake, and much like Christmas morning, I would urge my family to follow suit, and quickly, please. The earlier they awoke, the sooner we could get there. The three hour drive always felt longer than it needed, but the fun came in the last five minutes when all eyes were fixed forward and the question who would see the house first? became a game of the utmost importance.
We shared rooms with our cousins and spent the days exploring the farm land, playing on the beach and swimming in the ocean, while trips into town (Pugwash, Nova Scotia) and meals at seafood-oriented diners broke up the norm. Every night, a ritualized ice cream cone at the store down the road became dessert with a post-dinner card game following soon after. After too many hands, each of us would wander off to our respective bedrooms and prepare to do it all over again tomorrow, a night of sound sleep ahead of us.
I hadn't been back to Northport since we stopped going nine years ago. I'd heard rumours that the farmhouse, now without vacation tenants, had slumped into disarray, but I had to see it for myself. And so this past weekend, I went back. Just for a quick look and an even quicker walk on the beach. Though the rumours proved true and the whole property felt profoundly lonely, I was very at home roaming the sloping lawns and peering in the dusty windows. I like to think if the house couldn't have us, it wouldn't have anyone, and so it spends its days in shambled protest.
Kale's homelier cousin gets a makeover... sort of. In July and August, good old swiss chard is available in a new hue. Ruby red is the colour of the season and this vegetable is all the more appealing because of it. Beware: red chard will wilt down into just about nothing when met with a bit of heat but it does a good job of holding on tight to its assertive, earthy flavour, making it a somewhat surprising powerhouse (small bark, big bite). I can't stop eating this leafy green. Try it sauteed with garlic or stir-fried with red peppers.
1. This book: The Family Meal by Ferran Adrià
2. This recipe: Carrot Cake Donuts by The Faux Martha
3. This article: Virginia Woolf's Idea of Privacy by Joshua Rothman
4. This hat: Brigitte Bardot's sombrero (photo source)
5. This collection: Wallpaper by Rifle Paper Co.