Keeping Summer Simple
- The Simple Life
Five fourty in the morning and I was peering out the window. It
was barely daylight and the garden was shrouded in mist. The white
daisies glowed. The pastel colors of foxglove, lupine, and
delphinium spikes were muted in the damp air. I thought that the
garden may never be as beautiful as it was this morning. I had to go
out and "tiptoe through the flowers". Most of my favorite cottage
garden flowers are in full bloom with some of them - forget me
nots - almost done for the year. Time passage is very evident in
the garden. One minute we look forward to summer and then we are
marking time toward fall with the bloom of each new flower. You
might not always want to rise this early, but if you do happen to
wake up early, try taking a glance out the window.
If early morning is not your time, maybe a moonlight walk
before bedtime is more your style. White flowers and silvery
foliage seem to glow and lend a magical air in the moonlight. If
you don't have many white flowers, taking a walk in the moonlight
might be fun just don't leave any forgotten rakes hiding on garden
paths! It's summer and with the short season we have, we like to
squeeze in as many moments as possible.
With the early bloomers, such as dames rocket and delphinium,
don't forget to cut off the flower spike off to encourage a second
round of color. As you go through the garden weeding, water well
and then mulch to discourage weed growth. For those of us who have
let some grass move in amongst some of our gardens, Grass-Be-Gone by
Ortho may be an easier fix if it has gotten way out of hand. I
tried it in a few spots this spring and was very impressed.
Strawberries are notorious for weeds, and I sprayed them early this
spring. Within a week the grass was gone. That saved lots of work
Save Water with Mulch
Besides discouraging weeds, mulch is a huge water saver. Every
year I have mulched my tomato plants with black plastic and barely
needed to water my plants. If I do water them, I water only near
the stem of the plant, directly through the plastic. I rarely
sprinkle a whole garden, the exception being my strawberries. Most
of my plants I water directly near the base of the plant. Why water
the paths, and in between the plants where only the weeds are trying
to grow? Black plastic also eliminates blossom end rot, for some
reason, and really grows nice clean tomatoes. In the evening a
couple nights a week my husband Richard and I tend the garden. One
weeds, while one waters. Only takes a few minutes and it's more fun
with a friend. It's nice to have someone there to notice the peas
coming up, or when the corn peeks up through the dirt!
Remember, one deep watering a week is better than a shallow
watering every day. Deep watering encourages deeper roots that grow
down to where more moisture is.
If you have planted any seeds in your garden such as flowers,
radishes, peas, or any other direct seeded plants, they need to be
watered once or twice daily until they sprout. Seeds need to be
moist to sprout and if they get dried out first, they will never
sprout. Kind of like our kids. They need constant attention and
nourishment to sprout, don't they? A never ending job, but a labor
of love with many rewards.
It's still not too late to get planting, especially the shorter
season crops like peas, beans, lettuce, or radishes. Any crops that
like cool weather such as cabbage and broccoli and carrots do well
in the fall.
Let me know what you do to keep gardening simple in the summer!
* * *
Something to keep the grandkids busy on a hot summer afternoon!
Ice Cream in a Baggie
You can make your own sundaes with this fun ice cream project.
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup half and half
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 sandwich size Ziploc bags
1 one gallon size Ziploc bag
2 cups ice
1 tablespoon coarse salt
Put one small Ziploc bag inside the other and add the milk, half
and half, sugar, and vanilla extract to the inside bag. Seal both
bags securely, removing excess air. Add ice and salt to larger bag
and place smaller bag inside. Seal firmly. Let the kids shake and
turn the bags. Ice cream will be soft and ready to eat in 5 to 10
minutes. Top with those fresh strawberries from the garden! Enjoy!
* * *
1 package of unsweetened Kool-Aid drink mix, any flavor
2 cups of water
1/2 - 3/4 cup sugar
4 cups ice
In a blender, combine Kool-Aid, water and sugar. Blend. Add all the
ice and blend. That's it! Pour into cups, add a straw and enjoy on
those hot summer days. Great for Mom and Dad too. For a Cola slush,
simply add one can of Coke or other flavored soda and enough ice to
cover and blend.
* * *
In a full heart there is room for everything, and in an empty heart
there is room for nothing. ~ Antonio Porchia (1886-1968)
Do you know what real poverty is? It is never having a big thought
or a generous impulse. ~ Jerome P. Fleishman
Keeping Summer Simple,
- The Simple Life
By Sheryl Simons
"The happier you are with the simple things, the easier it is to be
School's out for summer, and half of our summer is gone. But
there is still plenty of time to enjoy what we have left, but we
have to make it a priority. So let's take summer seriously while we
still can. It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it! Lean back
close your eyes and just think what you would really like to do,
that you don't often take time for. What would be your favorite
thing to do?
Take a day and a good book and just spend it in a hammock.
Take an inner tube or raft to the lake or river. Just float!
Canoe trip. Pack a lunch, and don't forget the sunscreen.
Ride the waves. With all the Great Lakes wrapped around our
great state (MI), there can be some pretty great waves. It's not
that far to lake Huron, or lake MI, from here. The waves are better
on Lake MI when the wind is from the west. This is not a sport for
small children. But we recently hit a great wave day with waves
that you could have surfed on. Big Time fun!
Golf. I'm not a big time golfer, but I have fun doing it.
I'll be going on a golf outing soon that will be great fun. Even if
you don't go often, just go for fun with a gang that goes to have
Invite all your friends. Tell them to bring a soft ball
mit, or even use a whiffle ball set. Just have some good laughs.
If you are like me and love to garden, that can mean a lot of
time and work, even on your days off. Then there's always
housework. The list goes on and on. But don't sweat it. Take some
time to get together with the girls or guys for a day of whatever
your favorite activity is, even if its lunch and a movie. That's
what summer is about relax.
Have a picnic. Don't forget the Frisbee and the volleyball or
badminton net. Do it up right, and don't forget the sweet pickles
and the off. With all the great little parks around here you could
plop down just about anywhere and have a fantastic time. Or just
head for a quiet place in the back yard in the shade.
One of my friends, and older woman, told me she loves to
skydive. In fact she's in a club. I couldn't believe this little
tiny thing would ever be a skydiver. How cool. I'd have never
guessed. What would you like to try that is completely out of your
box. Why not give it a shot?
One of my favorite things to do, is go fishing. Just me and
the boat, and a few worms and a fishing pole. Or maybe with waders
on the river. Nothing more relaxing. And you get to keep what you
catch for supper!
If your usual idea of fun is just to sit and kick back a
few, try something you wouldn't ordinarily do. Take off the shoes
and wade. Don't worry about getting your hair wet or breaking a
nail, just get out there and have some fun. Summer is too short to
waste a minute of!
* * *
"It is in the compelling zest of high adventure and of victory, and
in creative action, that man finds his supreme joys." ~~ Antoine du
"A large volume of adventures may be grasped within this little span
of life, by him who interests his heart in everything." ~~ Laurence
"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious." ~~
"Never forget that life can only be noble inspired and rightly lived
if you take it bravely and gallantly, as a splendid adventure in
which you are setting out into an unknown country, to face many a
danger, to meet many a joy, to find many a comrade, to win and lose
many a battle." ~~ Annie Besant
* * *
Simple Fresh Again
With as much humidity as there has been lately, its easy to end
up with something getting a bit stale. After baking and turning off
the oven, if there are Saltines, Ritz or Graham Crackers or cereal
that have lost their crispness,
spread them on a cookie sheet, place them in the oven and close the
door. After the oven cools, all are restored to original freshness.
* * *
Next time you are out in the garden, pick a few veggies for the
grill. We roasted whole onions last week, and in the time it takes
to grill a burger, we had some great grilled onions. Small
zucchini, summer squash, peppers, potatoes, they're all good. So
don't stick with just the burgers, go veggie on the grill!
Keeping summer simple,