Posts Tagged ‘summer’

66.  Kayaking.

Eli has been used to riding with one of us when we take to the lake in our kayaks.  This year, he tried his hand at paddling his own boat… while getting a cozy little tow from my mom.

67.  Dressing beachy.

It’s probably no dramatic surprise that I love to dress my babes in nautically-inspired clothing.  My own style of dress is equally relaxed and beach-y.  My sister has said, “You always look like you just stepped off a boat.”  Not sure if that’s a compliment or not, but I’ll take it as one.  Anything that makes me feel like I’m at the beach is a good thing.

68.  Kite-flying.

It’s a true summer pleasure to take to a windy beach and watch a kite dance wildly.

69.  Sleeping with windows open.

I’ve so loved the breezes that lap at any exposed limbs during the night, keeping us cool and refreshed.  Our windows are inching lower and lower now as the cooler night air of September slinks in.  We’ll keep them cracked as long as we can…

70.  Cherry tomatoes.

We’ve had such an abundant tomato season in our little yard.  Delicious chocolate cherry and egg-yolk cherry tomatoes have graced our salads and made their way into salsas and coulis.  The best thing to do with these beauties though, is to roast them with some olive oil, maple syrup and salt and then top everything and anything with them.  Delish.

71.  Wearing skirts.

I’ve had happy, carefree knees for many a summer day.

72.  Campfires.

73.  S’mores.

74.  The summer triangle.

This constellation is the true mark of summer.  My first summer baby, Eli, has the summer constellation marked on his cheek with three freckles.  He carries summer with him all the time.

75.  Summer feet.

2 1/2 months of barefoot exploration can certainly toughen the feet.  Feet that used to wince at a pebbly driveway can now make their way easily (well, easier, at least) across rough terrain.

76.  The sound of cicadas.

77.  Beach balls.

78.  The summer-squash overload.

So what I really mean is chocolate zucchini cake which is always the natural consequence of too much squash.  And it freezes really well, which means they’ll be more cake come January!  Our summer squash days have made way to winter squash days and those too, bring delicious delights all their own.  It’s almost time to roast up those kabocha squashes that were happily harvested as compost pile surprises.

79.  Colorful produce.

Purple peppers, pink carrots, purple beans, yellow beets….  Vegetables are even more fun when they come in pretty and unexpected colors.

80.  Water tricks.

“Mama watch!”  “Okay, now, NOW, watch this one!”

81.  Cucumber Agua Fresca.

It was a good cucumber season for our CSA and while I do heartily like cucumbers, there are only so many you can eat (and only so many pickles you want to put by).  Cucumber drinks have kept things deliciously interesting.

82.  Kitties napping in secret places.

We lost our sweet orange kitty, Nowan, this summer.  He was here one day, and gone the next.  While we at first were hopeful that he was merely on a little vacation, it’s looks likely now that our furry family member has moved on to kitty-heaven.  We miss him terribly.  Nowie was calm and patient, sweet and still. Affectionate.  He smelled like sunshine and fresh laundry.

Losing a cat is heartbreaking in a surprising way.  Our cats have been the undercurrent of our household.  They don’t demand much of our attention, yet their presence offers a steady and significant feeling of well-being.

Cats nap with carefree abandon, particularly when they are curled up or stretched out in the sunshine, soaking up the warmth and light.  The feeling that they evoke, that relaxed, carefree goodness is really the essence of summertime for me.  I intend to carry this with me into the autumn that is just days away.  And, I’ll carry the image of a sweet orange cat aglow in the afternoon sun, emanating a constant rattle of purring.  We love you, Nowan.  Thank you for sharing 13 years with us.

83.  Sandals.

84. Pretty toes.

85.  Summertime meals al fresco.

86.  Shucking corn.

It’s so nice to have  some extra (and eager) helping hands when it comes time to shuck the corn.  Oh corn-on-the-cob, how I love you with butter and salt.  I can eat a plate of you for dinner with nothing else.  You are what is divine about summer.

87.  The company of songbirds.

88.  Big sun hats.

89.  Lavender.

90.  Sun-dried laundry.

It’s really not a chore for me to hang the laundry on the line.  It’s a sunny meditation, really.  I watch the clouds, listen to the birds and the chatter of a certain 1-year-old pattering around the yard.  It’s a quiet treat disguised as a chore that yields crisp sheets and clothing that smells like summer.

91. Preserving.

Though it can easily turn into an entire day’s work, I get such a feeling of accomplishment from preserving food.  While what I’ve put by might be modest by farmer-standards (our farmers measure their canning progress in quarts vs. my pints), this is certainly my busiest year of preserving thus far.  Our pantry shelves are bursting with strawberry, blueberry, raspberry and nectarines jams as well as beet relish and pickles.  Our humble freezer has delicious tomato sauce, pesto, corn and greens pressed within its frosty walls.  It’s going to be a lovely winter…

92.  The smell of grapes.

Driving around these parts in late summer with the windows open, one can catch a heady whiff of grapevines heavy with wild concord grapes.

93.  The license plate game.

With road trips all over New England this summer, we’ve had plenty of time for our favorite car game.  Our last trip to Maine, we grossed 46 states.  Including, I might add, Alaska and Hawaii.  It was Idaho, North Dakota, West Virginia and Nevada that eluded us.

94.  The hostas in bloom.

The previous owners of our home went a little hosta-crazy.  We have many, many hostas.  Truthfully, these leafy shade plants have never been high on the list of my garden loves.  When late summer rolls around; however, these beauties transform our walkway into a lilac-colored fairyland.

95.  Secret swimming holes.

We’ve found a few winners in our days of summer exploration.

96.  The first apples.

What’s better than the hearty crunch of a just-picked apple?  Maybe only the promise of the apple crisp and applesauce to come….

97.  Stone fruit.

How many nectarines have I eaten in the last two weeks?  Too many to count….  It’s the first year that we’ve picked them and after so many happy bellies (the neighborhood kids come into the kitchen… “Do you have any more of those nectarines?”) and jars of jam on the shelf, I know it won’t be our last.

98. Crickets.

99.  September swims.

September is really the best time to go to the beach.  The ocean is still warm and the beach is empty.  We never know exactly which swim will be the last of the season (we’ve been lucky enough to swim on Columbus Day in years past), but we know to really, really savor any September swim.

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51.  The zip line.

A zip line runs across the backyard of my parents’ house in Maine.  Prior to this summer, in order to even get at the zip line you needed to climb to the top of a ladder precariously leaning against a tall pine.  Once at the top, you needed to pivot around on a space barely bigger than your feet.  Only then could you attempt to get your balance and grab the handlebars before careening down the line and slamming into another pine tree rebounding.  On our last visit; however, Jeff and my Dad constructed a substantial new platform complete with ladder rungs for access.  It’s still a little too scary for some of us, ahem, but it remains a whooping testament to summertime fun.

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45.  Raspberries.

I couldn’t help but shove berries into my mouth by the fistful when picking these beauties.  I wasn’t the only one.  Soren took to raspberries right away and was soon scooping them out of my berry baskets almost as fast as I could pick them.  Who can blame a baby with a hankering for the taste of sweet summer?

In addition to gorging on fresh berries, we enjoyed them with cereal and desserts (can anything beat chocolate cake with raspberries on top?) and yes, they were made into (yet more) jam.  What a sweet winter it’s going to be…

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44. Hummingbirds.

These sweet, small friends only visit us in the summertime when there is plenty of nectar to be had.  It’s a special warm-weather treat to be out near the honeysuckle or beebalm near dinnertime and hear the hum of tiny beating wings.

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43.  The light on the water.

Our afternoon and evening swims are always accompanied by the loveliest light.  I love to watch it dance upon the rippling water at the lake.

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42.  Waves.

Leaping through, diving under or riding them into shore, waves make swimming (which is already my best) all the better.

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41. Clam shacks.

We love to finish a great trip to the beach off with a belly full of clams.  Aunt Carrie’s is always hoppin’ at the end of a good beach day.  They make these amazing clam cakes that are just perfect for dunking into a bowl of steaming chowder.

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37.  Garden bouquets.

Every morning we make the rounds in our little yard and see what is happening.  So much can change in the garden from one summer day to the next.  The little everbearing strawberries that weren’t quite ready yesterday are now quickly seized up by a baby’s chubby pincers and shoved into an eager mouth.  And flowers that had only begun to open are now wide and unfurled towards the sun.  It is such a treat to bring in fresh cut flowers.  They are truly the colors and smells of summer.

38.  Summer rain.

What is more wonderful than the smell of the earth soaking up a good summer rain?  Maybe only playing in it at the end of a hot day….

39.  Compost surprises.

It’s always fun to see what wonders are going to manifest in last years compost.  Squashes tend to always make a showing and we like the mystery in the early summer of what types they will turn out to be.  We’re still not sure about some of them… but this one, to my utmost delight, appears to be a Kabocha!  My favorite winter squash of them all!

40.  The baby backpack.

This old backpack was a hand-me-down when we used it in Eli’s baby days.  And while we did upgrade for Soren, the good ol’ tried-and-true backpack still lives on.  It stays with my parents in Maine just waiting for a baby to visit.  I love the comfort and history of this well-worn pack.  It’s blessed with many, many a happy hiking memory and still provides the perfect perch for a little one to take in the summery views of mountains and sea.

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36.  Summer reading.

Sometimes a summer read is just so good that you can’t even put it down to, say, walk to the lake for a swim.  And sometimes it is so, so good that you can’t even put it down to, you know, just rest your eyes for a minute. 

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33.  The drive-in.

We’re lucky enough to live near a drive-in movie theater.  We make it a point to see at least one movie there each summer.  Usually more.  It’s all about the novelty of waiting for dusk to descend and then getting cozy inside the car while the big screen lights up.  Technologically speaking, our windshield doesn’t make for the greatest viewing and our car stereo doesn’t produce the finest sound, but the whole experience of the drive-in makes it a well-loved, celebrated yearly event.  This time we saw Cars 2.

34.  Blueberry picking.

I love the sound of blueberries plunking into a bucket.  Eli and I always think about the well-loved Blueberries for Sal by Robert McClosky.  Plink-plink-plunk.

I’ve noticed that different people have different blueberry-picking strategies.  I watched a family pick a tiny pint of blueberries by skipping from bush to bush nipping a few off here, a few off there.  I like to tackle a single bush from head to toe.  I love to get right under the bush and discover the branches heavy with sweet blue jewels.  When I can scoop them up by the fist fulls, that’s blueberry picking at its finest.

Our first round of picking yielded blueberry-lemon and blueberry-cinnamon jam as well as blueberry crisp and lots of handfuls shoved into mouths.  Yesterday we went back for round number two.  This batch will be combined with raspberries and gooseberries for yet more jam.  You can never have too much jam in the middle of January….

35.  Big shade trees.

Big, glorious deciduous trees that cast sweeping shadows of shade make me want to scream hallelujah.  The majesty of a centuries-old tree sharing its cool shady patches with us on a hot day… such lovely, green, oxygen-filled refreshment.

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