By Kathy H. Ely
We have slogged through an amazingly wet spring in the Mid-Atlantic, but now, at last, the sun is finally peeking through. It reminds me yet again that there is nothing like a summer afternoon, and it’s almost here. Here’s is an octet of my favorite things about this time of year:
1) Green is Good For My Health.
Thanks to the above-mentioned rain, we have an abundance of overgrown foliage out the back window. As my mom used to say, “It looks like a park,” and indeed, the setting was pretty much the selling point of this house. Now a new research study out of Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital confirms that living near green areas will help me avoid chronic diseases. I no longer need to feel guilty gazing out at the woods!
2) The Patio Awaits.
The chairs are freshly spray-painted, the cushions are new. All we need is a glass of chardonnay (or perhaps a chilled pinot noir?) to make a perfect, relaxing evening.
3) Baby Kale
I got a T-shirt for my birthday that celebrates my new relationship with the green (and you thought it said YALE.) But the sweet, tender leaves of this spring crop is just, well, delightful—if you can say that about something so healthy. And that’s not even mentioning the baby lettuce, fresh radishes, and tomatoes, rosemary, and dill to come.
4) Wildlife Returning.
Yes, we do complain about the rampant deer, but mostly about them eating our plants, and the garter snake we found last weekend was disconcerting. But who thought we’d turn into bird watchers—is that the giant woodpecker I see, the one with the red head? Is that a finch, a titmouse? Have I gotten old and boring? (No, I’m not ashamed of loving the hummingbirds at the feeder.)
5) Fresh Flowers.
I do bemoan the fact that we can’t have tulips, mandevilla, hosta, or any number of my favorite gorgeous flowers or plants in the yard (see hungry deer, above), but we still build our overflowing pots of assorted vines and coleus and, hopefully, deer resistant “non-stop” tuberous begonias in assorted colors of peach and coral and yellow. I’m not a gardener extraordinaire, but we do our best to try new varieties every year, from grasses to another variety of vinca.
6) The Woods.
Looking at the woods is especially nice now that we can see the silhouettes of the trees against a stunning orange sunset…did I mention it looks like a park?
OK, anyone who knows my husband knows he doesn’t wait for summer to use the grill (notice the path cut through the snow to the Weber). But there’s something about the warm weather that makes those steaks or dogs or even grilled asparagus just taste all the better.
8) Friends, Family, Neighbors.
Maybe it’s the nine-year-old twins still using our grown daughter’s swing set, or the neighbor boys playing soccer on the side of the house. Maybe it’s the couple next door or across the street strolling over to chat, but there’s just something more sociable about being outside, in the fresh air, drinking in the season. Maybe we’ll have a cookout this weekend! I can impress my family with some new recipes, thanks to those great Konenkii menu cards.
How do you enjoy early summer?