Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Simple Summer Pleasures

 There are so many reasons to love summer! It's definitely the season that best suits my temperament - relaxed and welcoming. with a focus on fun and family.

Another thing I love about summer is all the little daily pleasures that make it seem particularly sweet. The saying "the best things in life are free" feels even more true at this time of year.

Here are some of my favourite "simple summer pleasures":

1. My hollyhocks (pictured above).
I am unreasonably smitten by the old fashioned charm of these beauties. They grow along my front walkway and I love to sit on my porch and gaze out on them. I bought two hollyhock plants for $1.00 each at a neighbourhood plant sale a few years ago, and they have now filled almost the entire garden bed! Quite possibly the most satisfying $2.00 I've ever spent.

2. Mint tea from my garden
I've previously mentioned that I'm fond of making fresh mint tea with the abundance of mint in my garden. I love to end a summer day by sipping a mugful in the evening after the heat of the day has dissipated. This simple pleasure costs me nothing but the price of boiling some water!

3. My front porch
When we bought our current home, one of the things I was most excited about was the covered front porch that runs across the whole front of the house. It's a wonderful place to hang out in the heat of a lazy summer afternoon. I love to sit there (in the Adirondack chair my hubby built) chatting with neighbours and watching the world go by.

4. Walking barefoot
For me, I don't think there's anything more challenging about a long Canadian winter than the necessity of wearing socks (often more than one pair!) I'm a barefoot kinda gal, and as soon as those warm spring breezes arrive, off come the socks. My feet are very, very, happy right now! Life is just better when I can feel the grass between my toes, know what I mean?

5. The smell of fresh cut grass
Aaah, the smell of a freshly cut lawn! I wish I could bottle that, but of course it would never be able to compare to the real thing. Fortunately, since we live in the city, there's almost always a freshly cut yard full of grass near at hand.

6. Riding my bike
My bike and I have been together for a looong time. We've really gone places together (most notably from Kingston, ON to Halifax, NS one wild and crazy July in 1996). Taking a spin along the Waterfront Trail early in the morning or just before dusk is one of the things that never fails to recharge my batteries!

7. Picnics
Food just tastes better when you eat it outdoors. Picnic food is just so much FUN! And you can have a picnic just about anywhere on a warm summer's day. Come to think of it, I think I need to go on a picnic really soon. Life is too short not to have a picnic as often as possible!

8. Harvesting veggies from my garden
The wait for the first perfectly ripened backyard tomato seems to be universally agonizing to gardeners everywhere. Plucking that first sun-ripened fruit is one of the sacred rituals of summer! Whether I'm harvesting greens for a salad, nibbling fresh-picked raspberries or up to my eyeballs in fresh green beans, I always find growing my own food to be a wondrous (and slightly miraculous) process.

9. Watching my kids have water wars
Is there anything kids can do that's more fun than soaking each other with water? Water guns, water balloons and garden hoses - anything'll do as long as it gets your opponent good! Full-scale, street-long battles have been known to occur around here, and they're alway a delight to witness (once in a while, I might even get wet, too!)

10. Hanging out in the neighbourhood on a long summer evening.
Summer evenings sometimes feel like they might go on just about forever (and wouldn't it be great if they did?) All that extra daylight after dinner leaves plenty of time for taking the dog for a stroll, puttering in the garden, and chatting up the neighbours.

Oh summer, I do love you so! What are some of your simple summer pleasures?

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