A Simple Little Journal

A journal dedicated to the simple little things in life.

Barn Swallows

Too quickly once again summer's days have been flying by, and we've turned the calendar over onto yet another month. But even though the season's winding down, and I see all the stores zipping ahead to the fall holidays (and even Christmas!), I'm keeping in summer mode until the 22nd rolls around. And what is a summer without some barn swallows? Gosh I love these birds and watching them dip and dive over the growing fields and sitting in lines on the fences and wires in the heat of those summer mornings and evenings. I took this photo last summer at a farm where all these juvenile barn swallows had just recently fledged and would come to rest from their flying on this wire fence, occasionally flapping their wings and wobbling around when they weren't quite able to keep their balance. And I can't count the number of times this past summer I stopped and sat down with Cole on our walks just watch the swallows swoop over the wheat and barley fields for a while. It's too hard for me to pick favorite animals because I just am in love with them all, but if I had to have a list, barn swallows would definitely be near the top.

Here's a little poem I wrote back in July of 2014 I thought would be fitting to share today:

Summer came upon the wing
Of the swallow flying o'er the field.
Happy the tune which she did sing,
For no cloud would the sun now yield.

And underneath the shadow of
An aged barn of oak,
The little swallow built her nest
Before first light had broke.

Her young grew quickly in the fleeting weeks
Of warmth and days of light.
It wasn't long before they, too,
Above the field took flight.

And when the fields had emptied their grain,
And the swallows soared no more,
The clouds gathered once again
To shadow the sun's splendor.

The cold winds blew outside in fury;
The trees had released their leaves.
Oh swallow, do return in a hurry,
And bring back summer please!

Blackberry Pancakes

Summer seems to be beginning to wind down now, as are the wild blackberries. And because of the rains we've had, there's still quite a few sweet and juicy ones left though to bake and cook with. This morning I decided to try my hand at some blackberry pancakes, and they turned out pretty tasty:

Blackberry Pancakes (serves 2 - makes 4 pancakes)
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 and 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 egg
1 cup blackberries + extra blackberries to top off

In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together. Make a well in the middle of dry ingredients, and add buttermilk, butter and egg and stir until just incorporated. Fold in blackberries with spoon, and then spoon out batter onto a greased griddle or skillet warmed on medium heat. Wait until pancakes start to bubble, about 2-3 minutes, then flip to cook other side for another 2-3 minutes. Serve hot, topped with more blackberries and whatever else your taste buds desire!

I've got to say, nothing beats a lazy morning or evening picking berries in the summer. It's something I've absolutely loved doing since as long as I can remember and just one of those traditions that I'll always keep. It's so nice to get out and have that slower pace to think, or if you're with some company to have a good talk... but of course I'm always interrupted from my thoughts or conversation when I stick myself, darn it! But what makes it real fun this year is bringing Cole out there with me - I even caught him sneaking a few berries himself, that pup! No worries though, blackberries aren't toxic to dogs, so I let him have a few to snack on. I really got some good memories this summer with that boy, and with so many others too. Lots to be thankful for this season, and I'm sure there's a whole heap more coming with the next - the next time I go out here to pick those last berries I'm sure I'll be reflecting on that.

Looking for another recipe to use a few blackberries with? Try this one from last summer.


The branches swayed
The grasses bent
And with the wind my thoughts went
Up to meet the setting sun

The days long
But seasons short
And every year goes by faster than before
And as the light fades away
One truth remains

That life is too fragile
To take for granted
To leave things unsaid
To hide behind the fears and worries
That keep me inside my head

To see the wrongs and not the rights
To give up dreams without a fight
build up walls
To run away
To the trap of complacency fall prey
To never try
To always want
To feel that nothing is ever enough

To hold on tight
When from my grip it should part
To not love
With every inch of my heart


Little Yellow

I love these summer mornings when I take my pup Cole out for his morning romp around the yard, and how the sunlight hits my lavender patch and the flowers that I didn't harvest seem to attract all the Little Yellow and Cabbage White butterflies (and bees galore) for miles around. Cole gets a kick out of trying to chase the butterflies sometimes too, and it's so funny to watch how he sticks his nose out trying to sniff them! Watching the butterflies dance all around those blossoms gets me daydreaming about the whole field of lavender I hope to plant someday. Won't Cole have a blast then running around chasing those butterflies -- so long as he doesn't dig up the flowers like he tries to do from time to time now!