273: Thoughts on summer

Freshly mowed

Some of the comments on my Summer Solstice post (271:  Learning to love summer) on Tuesday were mixed and thought-provoking.  I didn’t do a count to verify it but it looks like there is a pretty even split between those who love summer and those who don’t.  Those who love summer gave some great reasons for doing so.  Some of those reasons include:

  • Better weather
  • Longer days (more sunlight after the long, cold, dark days of winter)
  • Flowers in bloom
  • Sunrises and sunsets
  • Vacation

Some of the descriptions from those who love it include:

  • Carefree
  • Fun
  • Relaxed
  • Lazy days

Afternoon sunlight on the old maple tree

After reading the comments, I thought about it for a while and it occurred to me that summer is one of my busiest seasons of the year.  The days are not all carefree, relaxed, lazy, and fun.  (It should be noted that I don’t think the days are all carefree, relaxed, lazy, and fun, for those who think of summer in that way.  I’m sure you all are busy with things, too.)  Not that those descriptions never apply.  There are some carefree, fun, relaxed, and lazy days.  I hope this doesn’t come off as whingeing and whining as that’s not it at all.  Summer brings a lot of enjoyment.  It also brings a lot of work.

Swiss Chard

Summer starts with strawberry season and ends with the winter squashes.  Some fruits and veggies we grow ourselves.  Most we get from local farms.  The produce of summer is our food for winter so I spend days and days and days canning, freezing, or otherwise preserving the harvest.  This year might be a little easier without Hilgert’s Farm as I continue looking for a replacement (especially for that 17 lbs. of broccoli I know I’m going to miss).

Cucumber blossom

I spend a lot of time in the garden weeding.  Sometimes it’s hard to tell by looking at the garden, but it’s true.  The weeds are faster than I am, and I do the best I can to keep up.  Herbicides (and pesticides) are not an option as I’m trying to grow things in the healthiest way possible.

Peering into a pepper plant

I mow.  There is a lot of mowing to be done here at Breezy Acres, even after we allowed quite a bit of the property to just grow as it will.  My portion of the mowing is small compared to what M does, but it does take time and effort because I do the parts that require the push mower (rather than the tractor), which is my choice.  I help with some of the clean-up around the property including hauling and sawing wood, chipping and shredding, and things of that nature.

Tomato blossoms

M and I have been trying to control the pond weeds by using a large rake to physically remove them.  That takes time (and a lot of effort — it’s a great workout!).  We aerate the pond by pedaling around in the paddle boat.

Breezy Acres in the summertime requires a lot of care and attention.  We let Mother Nature do as much of the work as possible, but there are still things that need tending.  I love this place and am grateful for being here.  It is worth every moment of work and effort.  Beauty, as they say, has its price, and the beauty makes it worth the effort.   There are pay-offs all around.  🙂

Corn (and way too many weeds)

Summer in northeastern Ohio is when the weather is nice enough for fairs, festivals, outdoor concerts (including evenings at Blossom, picnicking on the lawn and listening to the Cleveland Orchestra perform).  We visit gardens and arboretums, take long weekend trips to hike and explore.  We get together with family and friends as much as possible.  Summer used to be the time when we held our big Party By The Pond (usually on or around the solstice) which always involved great amounts of work to put together.

View of the pond from the garden area

These are all fun things, but by the end of the summer I am exhausted.  Winter, for me, is the time to relax, spend carefree evenings by the fire, and laze about when the weather is bad.  Summers are busy, busy, busy, but there certainly are some relaxing moments.  Watching the sunset from the porch or deck and then enjoying the display of firefly lights in the meadows.  Hazy sunrises on dewy mornings.  A row or pedal around the pond.  Sitting on the swim platform, reading a book and sipping on a drink.

Daylily in the field

So, like the comments, summer is mixed between the busy, productive times, and the relaxing, fun times.  In that mix is the heat, the humidity, and the insects so sometimes, for me, the outdoor things are not particularly fun or relaxing.  The best thing about summer is how much it makes me appreciate the cooler weather when it arrives.

Last night's sunset

This summer I am going to do my best to appreciate and enjoy each moment, whether it is a busy moment or a relaxing moment or a fun moment or any kind of moment at all.  This summer I am going to take the time to learn about the season itself by participating in it fully, by being present, and by practicing gratitude for all the gifts that summer brings.

The sky and pond just prior to today's first round of summer showers

25 Comments on “273: Thoughts on summer”

  1. eof737 says:

    Those are beautiful pictures and very relaxing too… Love the range of colors. TY! 🙂

  2. Another nice photo story. Yes, summer does bring work with the garden work (I tend to others’s gardens as well). It sounds like you have a lot–but just think of how great those “canned goods” are going to taste this winter: chemical and additive free!

  3. Lovely reflections, Robin… We’d all do better if we took more time to be ‘in the moment’ instead of wishing for something else. I may not be a fan of the heat and humidity, but I do love that the sun is up before I am in the summer – makes getting out of bed at 5 so much easier!

  4. What a great meditation on summer! Really well done, Robin. And I love the way you open the post with a reference to those who like and those who don’t like the season and then reflect on why those of us who don’t might re-consider and how you are going to do that. Leading by example!

    I will follow your lovely lead, my friend, dripping sweat all the way! (Ha, ha!)


  5. SAJ says:

    how true! i was just saying recently – that I am waiting for the summer days that are carefree and lazy…but they keep eluding me! i think perhaps they are only like that for kids…once you are an adult they become busy busy! it is definitely true also that summer makes you appreciate cooler weather…but I wont forget how every day for several months earlier this year i was WISHING for bright sunny days with warm weather!! not to mention it has been overcast for the last 7 days here!

    • Robin says:

      That’s a good point, Subha. Back in April I was wishing for bright sunny days too. All the more reason for me to start appreciating them. 🙂

  6. Karma says:

    You are definitely right about the work outdoors in the summer – but that is work that I really don’t mind – of course I am only taking care of 1/2 an acre in suburbia rather than many acres with a pond. My veggie garden and lawn only require a few hours a week. From the point of view of someone with children still living at home and who works in a school herself, summer is definitely the more relaxed time of year.
    The color of your sunset is unbelievably gorgeous.

    • Robin says:

      Thanks, Karma. 🙂

      I’m still fairly new to gardening and haven’t yet figured out a way to cut the garden work time down to a few hours a week. I might enjoy it more if it didn’t take up so much time. I’ve tried several different things to keep down the weeds, but the weeds seem determined to defeat each thing I try. lol!

      • Karma says:

        My veggie garden isn’t huge; it is maybe 15ft by 24ft? I usually just chop down the weeds with a hoe and rake them out. I don’t do it every week. This year I am trying some landscape fabric to help.

  7. TBM says:

    I agree that summer can be busy. But I find that I am in a better mood and ready to get work done when the weather is pleasant (not hot) and the sun is out. I will admit though that I don’t have a garden or a yard so my work in the summer is not so tedious.

    • Robin says:

      I’m the same way, TBM. My most productive days (inside the house and outside around the property) are sunny, pleasant, not hot days.

  8. Marianne says:

    I love the intentions you set, Robin. Overwhelm gets to me over all the things I Have to do whether it’s summer or winter and my life is pretty simple compared to most others.

    The sunset is exquisite.

  9. I always enjoy your pond views… how different it looks from the garden area!
    We’ve had peppers and tomatoes before, but never cucumbers. They have such pretty blossoms 🙂

  10. You’re absolutely right about summer being busy – and winter being a time to relax, and enjoy a quiet day inside! Both have their advantages, both have their drawbacks. I think I would get bored quickly in a place that did not have 4 seasons (although in Michigan, we often say we have 2 seasons: Winter and construction – ha, ha!).

    • Robin says:

      lol, Holly! They say the same thing about the seasons here, too.

      It’s interesting to note in the comments on this post that we’re still all split on our love or not-love of summer. I suppose that’s one reason to be grateful for having seasons at all as at least everyone should be able to find at least one that they like/love. 🙂

  11. milkayphoto says:

    Well, I supposed if my summer was like your summer I don’t suppose I’d like it much either! For us, it is spring and fall that are busy times tending to all the chores of the garden (clean-up, planting, mulching, pool start-up, maintenance, etc.) By the time summer officially arrives, things are well on their way and aside from some pruning, mowing and some other minimal garden chores, downtime is spent in complete relaxation mode. Folks who visit always comment on how ‘spa-like’ our landscape is and how they now understand why we wouldn’t want (or need) to leave.

    I do agree that winter (AFTER the holidays) is a slower season but it is also one where I feel completely cooped up inside, longing for those lazy summer days.

  12. Robin says:

    I used to feel that way about winter, Tracy, until this past winter when I was outside everyday. It made a huge difference in how I feel about the season. I’m hoping this commitment will do the same for summer as well.

    We get similar comments (about a ‘spa-like’ atmosphere) from our visitors to Breezy Acres. And when I have the time to relax, it truly does make it worth the work. 🙂

  13. It gets light so early in summer, so I’m up. Much easier to sleep in or hit the sack early in winter, when its dark much more often. So I agree, summer is much more demanding!

  14. […] 273: Thoughts on summer (bogsofohio.wordpress.com) […]

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