It isn’t summer, but oh lord, aren’t we having days and weeks when it feels like it.


My in-laws were here for two weeks. This might sound like a tragedy, but I like having them around. They do chores for us, and in the evenings I get to feed them. This time my father-in-law replaced the back end of the workshop, which is going to become a guesthouse (a guesthouse!) and my mother-in-law took a pickaxe to the old compost pile. Over the fortnight she removed gnarled wire fencing, blackberry roots, and pail after pail of stones, leaving us with a garden of solid, well-rotted donkey and goat muck. I have tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, and strawberries in it already, with much more to come.


Several times a day I “patrol the perimeter”. It takes me 15-20 minutes to walk the fences of our property, in and out, outlining each pasture, each corral, accumulating 1000-1500 steps depending on how efficient I am. This is how I watch the blossoming progress of the hawthorn trees, which are special to me, and how I found the tentworm infestation of them along the back border. I solemnly marched back to the house and asked my husband, through the library window, if he had any WD-40. An insulting question; what I meant was did he know where the WD-40 was. He did. I took the can back to the border and sprayed every tent I could find. I trudged back to the house ready to answer the inevitable question: “lubricating my thorn trees,” but instead he asked if I had used half his can of WD-40 killing ants. No, dear. I didn’t.


Summer dinners are one of my favorite things about the season. Hamburgers, green salad, and sweet corn. Barbecue ribs with cornbread and zucchini ribbon salad. Chili-lime shrimp with grits and ratatouille. Back before the child, I used to put together fabulously beautiful creations. My home-grown mixed lettuce, radishes, and beets, topped with a slab of grilled salmon, mustard sauce, and dill blossoms. The ricotta my husband used to make, tossed with esoteric pasta and handfuls of fresh herbs. Grilled hearts of romaine with lamb chops. Oh my, we used to eat well. We still do. We’ve just been in transition, this last year or so, and missed a lot gardening-wise. We’ll make up for it.


Chiller, wetter weather is moving in, so the early summer is over for now. Probably as well before I bankrupt us over poppies and foxglove. Yes, my perennial border IS coming along nicely, thank you for asking. Since it’s mostly first-year I mostly don’t want to share pictures, but it’ll come in lovely next summer. And the summer after … and after … and after.


One thought on “Summertime

  1. Even I went out and bought some seeds today, and a serious rake to get some of the dead stuff out of my “wild flower” garden – and I hate gardening. My daffs are starting to bloom, and this inspires me each spring – and your pictures inspire me too – maybe I’ll stick with it longer this year – maybe!

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