Of Thunder and Gnats and Bubbles and Blueberry Cake, Gluten-Free

by Jeanne on July 12, 2012

Greetings from sunny Seattle!  Yep, our summer finally started.  And, it is glorious.  Our days are in the upper 70s or 80s and the lows at night are in the upper 50s.  This means we have clear-as-a-bell warm days and then cool nights so we can sleep well.  This just reinforces for us Seattleites why we put up with the greyness of the rest of the year–summers here are ah-mazing.  And it stays light quite late–until about 9:45 or 10 pm–because we are so far north.  This is why our family kind of goes feral over the summer.  It stays light so late that it’s hard to stick to a bedtime schedule.  We like to stay outside until it’s dark.  And then hang out for a few hours inside before we go to bed.  And then we read for couple hours more.  I really love this feeling of being “outside of time” and is one of the many reasons I look forward to summer.

We even had a thunder and lightning storm in the wee hours earlier this week–about 2 am (ask me how I know).  Seattle doesn’t get much thunder and lightning (contrary to what TV shows seem to think–I’m looking at you Frasier), so our family always revels in the rare one that comes along.  I so remember my days in NYC during grad school when the thunder would be so loud that it would set off car alarms.  I have a particular memory of walking to NYU one summer (I was a grad student during the school year and then I worked as the Assistant Director of Undergraduate Orientation for the College of Arts and Sciences) and walking through Washington Square Park in August accompanied by some of the loudest thunder I’ve ever heard in my life.  CRRRAAACK!  BOOM!  I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I love thunder.

This summer, for whatever reason, we’ve had huge clouds of gnats (that’s what I’m calling them, maybe they are some sort of other kind of tiny flying bug).  Maybe it was because of the uncommonly wet spring.  Earlier in June, the clouds of gnats were so big that they looked like low clouds suspended in various pockets around the neighborhood and in the park next door.  I got a new bike in June (yay!) and riding through giant gnat clouds was odd.  This photo gives you a sense of how intense the gnat clouds were. This was taken in the park next door, looking at the gazebo.  The fuzziness of the photo is not due to bad photo taking skills (although that is usually my problem), it is because of the gnats:

Maybe I should blame gnats for my all of my poor photos from now on? Hm.

Yesterday evening I was sitting on the front porch, drinking a glass of wine, and looking out over my front garden.  Gnats were rising up one at a time from the miniature lilac bush in a slow, languid way.  It was magical to look at–they drifted up like tiny bubbles blown by fairies.  I was so enchanted I called Girlfriend out to see it.  She was less impressed by the whole thing.  “They’re just gnats, Mom.  Sheesh.”  Then again, she’s a tween grump, so that’s her take on just about everything. Sigh.

This wonderful weather has also finally brought the berries of the season to my farmer’s market and to my kitchen.  I love all of the berries. Of course, I love to bake with berries. And as usual, I am using my gluten-free Berry Cake recipe (among others) to do so. This recipe is awesome (if I do say so myself) because you can use any berry (or fruit, really) that is in season. Lately, I’ve been making a blueberry (tiny fruit bubbles!) version:

I cannot tell a lie: the blurriness on this photo is not due to gnats, it’s due to my Poor Photo Taking Skills ™.

I hope you are enjoying the summer so far, as well!

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