Leftover Thoughts of Summer
Ode to Summer
"Then followed that beautiful season...Summer....
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood."
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
I'm a "Summer person". I just absolutely love everything about "that beautiful season"! From the tasty goodness of fresh picked fruits and vegetables, to the aromatic and beautiful plants and flowers that adorn every neatly landscaped yard, Summer has ALWAYS been my favorite time of the year! But now that my favorite season is quickly departing, as evident by the subtle turning of leaves and the hint of orange pumpkins popping up in the place of juicy, striped green watermelons, I decided it was time to pay tribute to the wonderful sights, smells and tastes that make Summer such a favorite season of mine, and so many others!
Summer's Tasty Goodness!
I am fortunate enough to live out in the country, and even more fortunate to have an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables growing within a few short steps of my house! With two good sized gardens between ours and my in-laws, we are blessed with all the fresh corn, green beans, butter beans, tomatoes, and other tasty vegetables that we can pick, shell and freeze! And even though, this year, we had one of the driest and hottest summers on record in this part of the country, we are still harvesting late beans, squash and peas even as I write! (I just got back from picking a bucket of butter beans about an hour ago!) There's nothing like sitting down to a table filled with fresh-from-the garden cooked vegetables like string beans, corn, potatoes and squash! Cut up some cucumbers in vinegar and salt, slice up some fresh off-the-vine tomatoes and wash it all down with an ice cold glass of good old Southern sweet tea, and you'll be in "Summer Heaven!"
I've also got a small, raised vegetable bed where I grow spicy hot banana peppers (pictured here), juicy cherry tomatoes and peppery cayenne peppers, along with herbs such as sweet basil, sage and mint! It's so much fun to grow your own herbs and dry them out to use in homemade sauces and salsas later! Plus, I can put them up in pretty glass containers and give them to family and friends at Christmas!
Another good thing about having a Summer garden - its great exercise and the best way to get a "natural tan"! You won't find many fat, fair-skinned farmers in the Summer! lol!
Summer's NOT SO Forbidden Fruits!
Fresh fruits are also plentiful around the farm during the Summer, as well! Granny Smith apple and Bartlett pear trees are all loaded down with ripe fruit, ready to pick and eat right off the limb, or stewed and baked in a juicy pie or cobbler! And if you're feeling especially adventurous, you can pick a mess of wild blackberries alongside the woods; just be careful of thorny briars and red bugs! In late Summer, you can snack on the sweet, juicy Scuppernong or Muscadine grapes, that will soon be made into deliciously sweet and tasty homemade wines served at Thanksgiving and Christmas! These, too, also make special Christmas presents for the discriminating Southern wine connosieurs in your circle of family and friends!
Blueberries, strawberries, figs and watermelons are some more favorite Summer fruits that are healthy and tasty whether they end up in a pie, cobbler, smoothie or preserves!
My Favorite Summer Tastes and Smells!
Ahhh.... the sweet, tantalizing aroma of fresh honeysuckle! Nothing "smells" more like Summer! I remember sucking the sweet nectar from this "Summer candy" as a child, and still consider it a treat today, even as an adult! There are lots of smells and aromas that permeate the air in Summer. Here are a few of my favorites:
- The clean, grassy smell of a freshly cut lawn
- The tangy, BBQ-d aroma of pork or beef ribs slow cooking on the grill
- The lemony freshness of an ice cold glass of homemade lemonade
- The juicy, sweetness of a slice of fresh cut watermelon - flavored with just a hint of salt
- The earthy goodness of boiled red potatoes, served hot with a mound of sweet butter on top
- Freshly picked and simmered vegetables such as butter beans and green beans, seasoned with ham hocks or fat back
- The tropical aroma of Hawaiian Tropic tanning lotion
- The fresh, earthy smell of the air after a Summer rain shower
- The crisp, clean linen smell of line-dried towels and clothes
- The refreshing smell of salt-air breezes at the beach
- The perfumy aroma of a gardenia flower
- The romantic, sensual scent of an old-fashioned red rose
- The pungent chemical smell of a chlorinated pool or hot tub
- The sweet, fleshy taste of a fat, juicy strawberry (especially when its dipped in dark chocolate!)
- The pure, clean taste of fresh spring water, or well water from a garden hose
I'm sure there are lots more - what are some of your favorites?
Your Favorite Tastes and Smells of Summer
What is your favorite Summer smell or taste?
Sights of Summer
Hardworking homeowners manicuring their lawns on a riding lawnmower; carefree boys and girls splashing happily in the neighbor's pool and beach vacationers stretched out for miles along an endless shore of sand and seashells. Summer is a season of bustling activity in the city, country, beach or mountains! I'm partial to spending a long, lazy day tanning on the beach, watching bronzed and burly, bare-chested surfers ride a monster wave, but there are plenty of other Summer sights to fill up a day!
If you live in the country like I do, you're almost guaranteed to see farmers in their fields - planting, plowing, weeding and hoeing to make sure the coming harvest is full and plenty! Or you might see a herd of hot and sweaty cows taking a dip in the nearby pond to cool off! And unlike city kids, farm children can find plenty of fun, outside activities to keep them busy, like riding the four-wheelers through miles of unchartered wooded paths; climbing trees and darting between pasture fences, or swinging from a tire tied to a rope, suspended from a tall oak tree. And what country kid hasn't dived in a semi-muddy pond alongside the cows and watersnakes? (NOT this country girl, but then again, I'm a transplanted country kid, so I'm excused!)
There's lots of other fun Summer sights, too. One of my favorites is the traditional July 4th fireworks display over the ocean! The spectacular splattering of red, white, blue, green and gold fireworks over the backdrop of the moonlit ocean is simply breathtaking! And speaking of the ocean, I love to sit on the beach on a warm, summer night, and watch the tides gently roll in and out. It's one of Summer's simple pleasures that can have a peacefully profound and calming effect on your mind and body! Same goes for sitting on the front porch on a starry Summer night and listening to the wonderfully orchestrated tune of June bugs whirring, the frogs singing and crickets chirping; or watching the sky light up with hundreds of twinkling fireflies! And even though it can be scary, nothing is more electrifying than the "striking beauty" of a Summer lightning storm!
More Summer Sights
Whether you're in the country or the city, Summer is filled with lots of seasonal sights - folks grilling out hot dogs and hamburgers, joggers and bicyclers sharing miles of roadway in a sweat-breaking attempt to stay young and healthy; and car washes lined with dirty and dusty cars and trucks waiting for their weekly baths! And Summer is a huge time of the year for the fashion conscious! Flip flops, shorts, tank tops, bathing suits, beach hats, and sundresses are just a few of the cool and fashionable items that you can find in any man or woman's Summer closet!
Other popular Summer sights include yard sales, white sales, picnics in the park, outdoor concerts and sporting events like tennis, soccer and baseball, just to name a few!
Nature - Summer's Show-Off Season!
Summer is a time when nature puts on her best show and dance! Summer's nature provides us with lots of exciting entertainment, such as the magnificent lightning shows of a Summer storm, or the colorful and showy display of a field of golden, yellow sunflowers. And lets not forget the beautiful prism of colors from a Summer rainbow, or the brilliant blazen orange Summer sun setting behind a Carolina blue sky. And of course, no Summer would be complete without all the Crayola -colored bugs, butterflies and insects that fly, float and crawl throughout the Summer season. Butterflies are my favorite Summer insect, but often hard to get close to long enough to photograph. However, I did get lucky and catch this little beauty resting on a flower long enough for me to get a picture! Red polka-dot ladybugs, green striped worms and even golden yellow and red coral snakes add to the colorful landscape of Summer!
Yes, like my golden farmer's tan, Summer is quickly fading, and so we must bid farewell. But the sights, smells and tastes it leaves behind will keep it close at heart, til it reappears next year!
Farewell, Summer, til we meet again....