The Good Old Summertime

I have been waxing philosophical lately, about Dunning-Kruger effect, workplace inequalities, neuroplasticity (the bit about learning keeps the Alzheimer’s at bay), and migraines of the heart. All quite worth pondering, but also very serious.

Time for a lighter topic, namely, what I like about summer. I can often be heard to lament The Bugs, who are much in evidence in warm weather, but what are a few flies compared to…

Birdsong. I open the house up as much as I can, and that means, I often wake to  birdsong. There’s nothing sweeter first thing in the day, and birds eat bugs, so double wonderful. (That’s a red-eyed vireo, and he sounds like this.)

Yard flowers. I went nuts this year with impatiens, New Guinea impatiens, geraniums, and gladiolus. I sit on my front porch steps and marvel at the loveliness of the flower season.

Kittens. I live in the country, and there’s a feral cat population in the area. Several of the mamas have decided to start their families on my property. I have Plans for these kittens (and their mamas, and Lars Loverboy, if I can catch him) that do not include contributing to the gene pool, which means I have to spend time making friends with those kittens. What a lovely way to take a break from everything.

The greenery. Where I live, it do be green. I love this. I love the big trees, the raspberry bushes, the horses at grass across the road. Doesn’t get any prettier than this.

The fresh air. In winter, I shut the house up, of course, and that means I don’t hear the birds, the stream, the horses whuffling, or even much traffic going by. When I’m not braced against the elements, life and nature are more at my side all day. If the cats start menacing a bird’s nest, I get the amber alert from the birds, and head into the yard, my broom at the ready. Last time the birds sounded the alarm, though, it was a big old freight train of a black snake. (Grace auditions for the 82nd airborne division while hovering over her front yard at a height of fifteen feet, muumuu flapping for all the world to see!)

The lightning bugs. Saw my first one this evening. What magic.

The sunshine. Yeah, I know, we need to wear sunscreen and hats and bug spray, but this past winter was GLOOMY. Week after week of overcast, gray, and cold, much drearier than usual. To see the sun, to see the corn coming up, the winter wheat going golden, the whole mountain leafed out, restoreth my soul.

How do you make the hot weather work for you? To one commenter, I’ll send a print version of Tartan Two-Step, (prequel to Elias in Love) which is also available now as a stand-alone ebook.




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25 comments on “The Good Old Summertime

  1. The pool. When it is 100 degrees and you have little people nothing beats the pool. Refreshing. Outdoors. Expending energy. Learning the important life skill of how not to drown. And it just feels good to float for a minute during adult swim and think about how pretty the whispy clouds look. The pool, which just opened, is the only reason to love summer when it is 115 degrees outside. It’s a production to get there. Sunscreen must be applied and reapplied, but wowie it feels incredible to go from boiling hot and miserable to refreshing and cool in one splash.

    • My mom never learned to swim, so she made double certain sure all seven of her children were good swimmers. I love the water, and prefer a pond or a pool to the ocean. I agree, that’s magic, to be refreshed in an instant. I love to dive, to go wheeeeeee! through the air, for a moment defying gravity. Not so wonderful when that Olympic swan turns into a bellyflopper though. That’s also a unique experience.

  2. Freedom that is what summer brings to me,less clothes less time thinking and worrying about keeping warm and energy bills.Windows kept shut and walks outside restricted because of severe cold wind and rain.The colour grey being the main shade of winter.So hello SUMMER welcome stay awhile and share your coloured coat with us.Let us enjoy the freedom you bring.If you are like me and retired and in reasonable health walking and discovering all that surrounds us seeing people enjoying the longer days.Children enjoying themselves outside instead of being stuck inside all and many more elements make up the freedom of summer.Shame it goes to quick but Enjoy.

    • I lived for summers as a kid. HATED the routine and drudgery of the school year, loved the unstructured time of summer. I’d get my days and nights reversed, stay up all night practicing the piano, go for a raspberry ramble at dawn, then catch a big mid-day nap. How happy I was, and how I dreaded the resumption of school in September.

      When my daughter chose home school in tenth grade, I realized how much my dread of the school year was still very much at work as a parent. September came, and life was still wonderful. What a concept. I’ve wondered how many teachers have the same feelings about summer as I did.

  3. Molly, Celeste and I sit on the back deck in the mornings and listen to the birds. The trees are leafing up and Molly watches the birds hop from tree to tree. I love to spend a few minutes before work on the deck as its it’s calming– it’s my count your blessings time of the day.

    It’s still Spring here…a rainy one! We have a small family of foxes under a neighbor’s shed. It’s cute to see a few of the brave ones pop out of their hiding spots and run back in.

    The grass is very green now….due to ALL of the rain. The flowers are starting to pop. The lilacs were drenched this year..they looked pretty from inside the house!! It’s so nice to get outside to look at the flowers, play fetch with one of the dogs or take a walk.

    I have some daylilies to transplant hopefully I will remember to plant them after dog class with Celeste today.

    • We had wet, wet, wet, wet, wet, and now… no rain in the forecast for two weeks. The farmers were not happy, particularly with a late frost that nailed some of the corn.

      I like early mornings too. If I can’t sleep, I’ll get up as soon as it’s starting to get light (4:30?) and write a scene or two, then go back to bed. It’s a lovely time to be awake and percolating.

  4. Hummingbirds, butterflies, and dragonflies. I only see them in the Summer. Summer is not my favorite season. Spring and Autumn are favored above Summer. It gets way to hot and muggy around here. Thank God for air conditioning.

    And thank you God for those sweet little hummingbirds. I just love them.

    • I much prefer Autumn. I have more energy, I sleep better, I get Ideas. But after last winter, I’m OK with some summer too. So far, we haven’t needed AC–only a couple days in the nineties, and the humidity’s low enough that it’s cooling off at night. My house is also old enough to be built for the micro-climate. I can catch the prevailing breeze, I have shade in the heat of the day, and tons of cross ventilation. So far, dressing down, and a fan at night have done the trick.

      But here comes June, and that’s when the real fun begins.

  5. I have more freedom in the summer in that my music stuff is shut down until August. I can relax on days I am usually bustling. In two weeks, I will have Sundays back to being mine and can sit on my patio, with a cool drink, with the awning out and do…….NOTHING! Or read. Or stare.

    I have gained a bunch of weight over the fall and winter. I should be able to exercise more and eat local produce so that should help in the weight department.

    Hubby has started to like to garden. It used to be me only, pulling weeds and planting stuff. Or if I was especially motivated, me loudly, a-hum, *requesting* our kids do so. The last year or so. hubby has decided to take it upon himself to do some of that. The rewards are huge and there are gobs of flowers this year. Makes me want to sit and enjoy. Not yet, after next week!

    Enjoy the beauty of late spring/early summer, Grace, because ‘sumer is a cumin’ in’—we’re singing that today and next Sunday……the Reading Rota, the oldest notated bit of secular music! And I like to sing outside too!

    • Ear worm!

      I sit and stare on my front porch, and it’s the same thing: flowers! For some reason, this year was my year to go bananas with annuals. I’m often not home for much of April and May, but this year, I put the home-time to good use… and I still might put in one more bed of impatiens out along the road.

      And up by the barn.
      Or along the stream…

  6. I live in condo, so have none of your wonderful things I just have to close everything so can run air conditioner and read all my favorite historical romance books, which I love. But so envious of you, but love to hear about experiences, plans and pictures. I use to have all the flowers you had picture when lived in own home, and mentioned, they were my favorites too. Had to laugh so hard when you wrote about snake. Please keep writing your experiences and books I so love.

    • Colleen, that snake was majestic, at least six feet long and had obviously been eating well. I was surprised at how dignified he or she was, very slow moving, much looking around before making any decisions. Scared the everloving peedywaddles out of me, so there I am waving a snow shovel, promising endless retribution to the snake it comes any closer to my foundation, full profanity throttle, and then I realize–snakes have no ears. No wonder the beast looks puzzled.

  7. I live in NJ and my house doesn’t have air conditioning. I can cope during the days, but some nights, if high humidity, can make sleeping a challenge. I have some window air conditioners but haven’t bothered getting them into the windows the last few years (they are pretty heavy for me to deal with myself). I have an attic fan that helps clear out the heat, but isn’t great if humidity is high. I have ceiling fans and a tower fan which are usually good enough. I want to take a look at those portable air conditioners that sit on the floor & have a tube out the window – have to see how noisy they are.

    • I grew up in Central PA, and know exactly the climate you refer to. Basement floors dampish for most of summer, mildew a familiar scent, and not quite hot enough to justify central air. Very good climate for growing a temperate jungle, but it does take a toll on sleep. It’s also easy to not realize you’re dehydrated, because you feel so sweaty/clammy, you can’t be parched.
      But you are.

  8. Today the Canada goose couple brought their three goslings around, each the size of a chicken, to eat my weeds and give me a last chance to see the fuzz balls that originally hatched in the water weeds are fat, happy, and a few weeks from being flight worthy.

    Already bought my copy.

    • Hope you got pictures. It’s fledgling season my yard. When the birds go all splody, I know that cats have plucked some hapless young’un from the sky. If I go tearing out into the yard (you can’t own this house without keeping a broom handy), all that’s needed is usually some strong language in the direction of the offending cat, and off the birdie does fly. You’ll miss those goslings, I’m sure!

  9. Where I grew up the house was surrounded by maple trees, I used to lie in their circle and look up at the peeks of blue sky and clouds through a million shades of sun-drenched green.

    • I have maples all around the house were I live now. They are a gorgeous tree. Some years, if the weather is just right, they turn a luminous yellow, and the yard feels lit up for several weeks, regardless of how gloomy the sky might be.
      And the wind in the summer breeze in those leaves is such a peaceful sound, especially at night.

  10. The good old summertime is right. I love the sound of the birds outside my windows and seeing all the beautiful flowers in bloom. It sounds like a beautiful area where you live. We live in town and I’m thinking about how long it’s been since I saw a lightening bug. It’s been quite awhile. Thanks for sharing on this post.
    Carol L

  11. Holy cow, Grace! I did enjoy your description of meeting the snake, but I am happy to not have any close encounters of my own. I’ve had too many of them. There’s nothing like finding a huge (5 foot) snake skin and the remains of hatched snake eggs in between bales of hay you are rearranging — yes I let my family do the work for a good stretch of time while I let my heart slow down.

    I spend as much time as possible outdoors during the spring and early summer – before the 100 degree temps make it impossible for me to do more than the basics. I love watching the newborn deer frolic in the wildflowers. The local feral cats tend to avoid my part of the neighborhood (I think the word has spread about the ‘alien kidnappings’ where part of the population disappears for a couple days and returns after having medical ‘experiments’ run on them). I wish you luck in your endeavors at making progress with your local feline population.

  12. I had to think about this one. I’m stuck inside during the summer for the most part.

    Our yard compensates by giving us a glorious show starting with aconite, daffodils, early and late, peonies, roses, clematis and a hedge of lavender that defies local conditions. It’s dense enough that there isn’t a lot of weeding needed and mosquitoes don’t eat roses.

  13. Living in NW Florida, we did not have much of a winter (my gardenias and pentas bloomed almost none stop). I am super blessed to have French doors in my office that open onto our pool deck. So on days like today I have them open and have a view of my hydrangeas, lantana, and scaevola with the sun sparkling off the pool while my Scottie wanders in and out. Check back in August when we have 100% humidity and are truly grateful for the invention of AC!

  14. I’m counting downs days (8) until vacation on Sanibel Island, FL. My hubby and I have made it a tradition for the past four years to go down there when it’s super hot and take advantage of the just-right temperatures of the gulf and the sunny, shell-strewn beaches. We bask and bob, rinse and repeat, for one glorious week each year, and it’s the most rejuvenating thing we ever do for ourselves.

    Your description of your flowers puts me in mind of The Wild Hare pub from your Highland Holidays novellas, which I just finished reading. I think Megan Leonard would totally approve of your selections!

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