Griffin and I each grew up near a lot of nature—albeit, in different parts of Canada. Griffin grew up on beautiful properties in southern Ontario; I grew up in a house near a lake (McKenzie), where I spent most of my time with friends after school and on weekends. Growing up in Calgary, Alberta, my family and I lived near Banff National Park, Kananaskis, Dinosaur Provincial Park, Jasper National Park, etc.
Family trips to Johnson Lake were a collective favorite (I found this out recently). Mom and Dad took Griffin and me there for a hike and lunch in July of 2018. It was Griffin's first time in Banff, and I think he enjoyed himself a lot. At Johnson Lake, long stretches of sandy beaches are perfect for summer lounging. And the busyness of the area in the warmer months brings mild relief to the worry of cougar sightings. Banff's stunning mountain ranges aren't bad either.
Even though I miss the Rockies daily, my Ontario friends have helped me feel a little less homesick! Sally and her sister recently took me to a river and chain of smaller waterfalls for some natural relaxation. We went later in the day, managed to find a quiet space to camp, and hung out in the water for over 2 hours. Sally, her sister, and I had one small towel for three of us—which surprisingly held up—as well as one backpack and one tote bag which held our smaller items. We also brought lots of snacks and two cans of coca-cola. There were several large + flat rocks to keep our shoes, bags, and food out of harm's way while we were in the water.
When we finished swimming, we ventured on our tired feet several hundred meters down the riverbed. After our mini-hike, we left the area, passing the broader, more accessible set of falls. We returned to Sally's for dinner and rested up. The day was so much fun, but our feet were so sore. Tip: if you are going for a deepwater swim/hike, bring water shoes! I learned my lesson and prepared myself for my more recent trip to Bruce Peninsula National Park with Griffin.
Summer Soup: "Zummaborscht"
One of my favorite things to eat after a freshwater summer swim like this is to make (and eat) a warm soup! Luckily, my grandma passed this recipe down to me for this exact situation: it's called "zummaborscht" or "summer soup." It's delicious. This recipe makes a pretty famous sour-flavored soup—I love adding a big fresh loaf of sourdough and garlic butter to my table when I'm ready to eat.
Griffin was the absolute sweetest and went to the store to get all the ingredients to make the soup when I got home. We made it together and spent the hour-ish it takes to make soaking up all the delicious aromas of smoked sausage + dillweed.
You can find thick smoked farmer's sausage from many grocery stores. For the best results, ask for a "grittier" sausage. Farmer's markets are an excellent place to check out!
I have had to alter this recipe, replacing sorrel with kale, since I can never find sorrel (or "sour leaf"). If you do find sorrel at your grocery store or farmer's market, consider wrapping it in cheesecloth while it slowly boils with the rest of the soup before you serve. You can still add kale for texture and for holding flavor, even with sorrel leaves added.
Make sure to add your buttermilk and cream slowly before you bring your soup to its last boil. As you will find out, this recipe is tasty. It's also alterable (in size and in flavor). And I hope you enjoy it!
Check out our DLTK's Recipes section for more mindful meal-planning ideas!
Recipe: Zummaborscht or "Summer Soup"
- 1/2 lb. smoked farmer's sausage (or ham bone)
- 2 qts. water
- 2 cups chopped sorrel (and/or kale)
- 1 cup chopped onion tops
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup finely-chopped dill
- 2 or more cups buttermilk
- 1/2 or more cup cream
- 1 1/12 - 2 qts. cubed potatoes
- combine water + sausage in a large pot and cook for half an hour (if ham, cook one hour)
- add salt + potatoes and bring to a boil
- add remaining ingredients except cream + buttermilk
- boil for 20 minutes slowly
- slowly add cream + buttermilk, stirring
- bring to a boil, remove from heat, and serve
TIP: sorrel is available at many grocery stores in the organic herbs department.
I am the "T" in DLTK! In my spare time, I love to hike, read poetry, and hang out with my two cats. You can connect with me here.