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I have not had a whole lot of luck growing sunflowers which is pretty frustrating considering just about everyone else can grow these flowers like weeds. For whatever reason, they have been a gardening challenge – either birds or other critters have eaten the seeds before they could germinate or the plants didn’t seem to thrive and never flowered. This year, however, I have sunflowers! Not a lot, just three plants but they are beautiful.

Here are some pictures – seems I’m not the only one that appreciates these beautiful flowers.

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How does your garden grow? This year, I must say I am pretty pleased with my garden. In years past, it has either been too big and gotten out of control by this time of the year or we have been away or busy and it has gotten overgrown and weedy to the point of disgust. This summer we are enjoying being around here and consequently, we have been tackling a lot of yard work. I enjoy popping in my headphones and getting out there and weeding or just sitting down and weeding without the tunes, enjoying the sunshine and the summer breeze that always seems to exist in our neck of the woods.

Here are some garden pictures I’m happy to share with you.

Purple Habanero Peppers

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Pablano Peppers

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Corn – This will be a first, thanks to the generosity of a friend and neighbor who shared his seedlings.

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The Garden looking east

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The Garden looking west

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I made these peach preserves over the weekend with fresh peaches. Oh my goodness, are they good. I found the recipe here at Natasha’s Kitchen and I suggest that you hop on over there to check it out. I adapted it a bit to add a touch of vanilla (about 1 teaspoon) to the peaches before I jarred them. I had my doubts since the recipe takes a couple days to complete, but it seems that it is well worth the wait.

 

Summer is going by fast, especially now that we have actually had some summer type days. Vacation is fast approaching which I am looking forward to enjoying with my guys. It is hard to believe as I look at the calendar that, a month from yesterday, TJ will be off to a new adventure in his life. We will be moving him into his home away from home for the majority of the next year. While I know that it isn’t all that far away, it’s far enough to realize that he won’t be a part of our everyday lives in the same way ever again. (Okay, here go the mom tears). I will definitely miss that. Having had one less kid in the house for the majority of the summer with Tim spending most of his time in other countries this summer, it is definitely odd not having the same chemistry in the house. It will be odd not having all three boys around all (or mostly) all of the time.

So, a mom has to do what a mom has to do which means that dammit, come hell or high water, we are going to have us some good quality family time over the remaining 29 days (but who’s counting). :)P1090730

The honey bees seem to approve of the new flower bed. They are out there since we have had some beautiful summer days busily doing what bees do. The coneflower and the liatris appear to be favorites. Here are some pictures of those little guys at work.

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Memorial Day is the traditional “start” of the summer season. Often celebrated by BBQs, picnics and trips to the beach if you live close enough to a beach. The town pool was definitely enjoying its opening weekend. When we moved to Vermont, Memorial Day didn’t have the same “start” of summer feel to it. Perhaps it was because things weren’t as warm here at the end of May. The pools don’t open, but the parks do.

This weekend, as I type this it is 41 degrees — hardly summer type weather. The forecast is calling for a high of 48 tomorrow, again not summer weather and then snow tomorrow night. Yes, you read that correctly, SNOW. The forecast for the higher elevations (where we are located) has vacillated between 2 inches, 5 inches and now it’s one inch. In any event, snow just don’t scream “summer”. For those who like skiing or snowboarding however, it might be excellent news, since Killington is still open for such activities.

I’ll keep you posted. :)

 

The sun rising over Stonehenge on the summer s...

Image via Wikipedia

Today is both the last day of exams for the boys  and the “official” start of summer, namely the summer solstice. Summer solstice celebrates the longest hours of daylight all year and the shortest night. Summer solstice actually refers to the exact moment in time when the earth axis is tilted the most toward the sun and north of the Tropic of Cancer here in the Northern Hemisphere. That will occur at 1:16 p.m. today. Generally though, the entire day in which the solstice occurs is called the summer solstice and is celebrated the world over (in the Northern Hemisphere at least – Southern Hemisphere celebrates its longest day on our shortest day – in December).

Did you know?

  • On June 21st there are 24 hours of daylight north of the Arctic Circle and 24 hours of darkness south of the Antarctic Circle.
  • The world’s largest gathering for summer solstice occurs each year at Stonehenge in England.
  • The Druids celebrated the summer solstice as the marriage of Heaven and Earth and it is deemed to be a lucky day, which is how the tradition of June weddings came to be
  • The moon during the summer solstice is called the Honey Moon, since it is considered the best time to harvest honey. Mead was fermented from honey and served at weddings occurring during early summer.
  • Summer solstice is not the hottest day of the year, nor is it the earliest sunrise.

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Everyone seemed to survive their first week back at school. “Hell week” at soccer came to a close about an hour and a half ago and there are survivors. Driving around it’s hard to sometimes remember that it isn’t fall – that for a lot of people school is still a distant memory. People are still on vacation and Labor Day (the “official” end of summer) isn’t for another week. The weather this week has felt autumn-y and with everyone being back on a school schedule, it’s just easy to forget about summer and start thinking, crisp nights, fires in the woodstove, apples and pumpkins.

Today was an absolutely beautiful day and from what I see, tomorrow is supposed to remind us that summer hasn’t left just yet. The tomatoes will be happy for some heat and maybe they will react by starting to ripen a little. Tomatoes like heat and this week just hasn’t delivered.

It spreads out before us as blank slate, leaving the possibility of so many opportunities. The summer calendar. Those days, weeks and months to which the warm rays of sun and lazy days belong. On many occasions we try to take the calendar and fill in the days and weeks with so many things that we can’t help but wish for summer’s end. We have had those summers, where the boys’ calendar was jam packed with things – I felt more like the administrative assistant than the mom. This summer they are not as jam packed and I may be living to regret that two days into summer vacation.

When they are busy, we are all on a schedule, which has its ups and its downs, admittedly but no one is staying up late and everyone is out and about for most of the day – leaving us to do work which after all is a good thing at least as far as their stomachs and the bill collectors are concerned.  When they are not busy, they seem to forget that the parents still do have work and that my life (insert aghast look here) does not revolve around them entirely (really? are you sure about that Mom?). It’s basically a Catch-22 situation.

This year, our oldest is enrolled in driver’s ed at school for four weeks (every day, no absences allowed or he fails -supposedly no kidding) and our youngest is working at an autism camp for one week and then everyone is off to scout camp for a week. Then comes vacation (hip, hip, hooray) and then basically we’re back in school mode with soccer practice, cross country practice and school starting all well before the end of August.

I always like to think of all the things that we can accomplish during the summer and sadly, most of them we usually don’t get to do, or see.

This is the last week for school. Exams this week and then school’s out. Summer will be upon us. I woke up this morning and thought that I actually saw some sunshine. Now that I’m actually up and moving around though, it’s not really all that sunny out at all. In fact, it’s rather gray…it’s just not raining—yet.

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Soggy, in one word, that sums up the day. I remember a few years ago, before we moved here permanently, the boys and I spent a month or so up here during the summer. It was a perfect summer and not just because of the haze of memories, but rather the days for the most part were completely and totally without rain. I don’t think that the whole time we were here, we had a rainy day. We did, however, have many, many rainy nights. It seemed to shower every night; the soft patter of rain hitting the metal roof was soothing to sleep by – reminded me of camping. Every morning though the sun came out and dried everything. Perfect weather.

This summer -well it’s off to a soggy start. It’s cold and it’s damp. The seedlings on my growing rack would love to go outside and be planted, but the weather just isn’t cooperating. When it’s sunny and beautiful, I’m working – when I’m not, it’s raining. Maybe tomorrow, although the forecast is not looking good.

We did, however despite the weather have a really nice day. Tom, Tim and I went down to Manchester to Bob’s Diner for lunch (awesome milkshakes and locally grown beefalo burgers) and then headed off to Northshire. A perfect place to spend a rainy afternoon – browsing books and reading in the cafe with a nice hot cup of cappucino, next to my bestest friend. A good way to spend a very, very soggy day.

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Today is a beautiful day – a sure sign that summer must be finally coming to our corner of Vermont. Another sure sign is well, this sign – the auction sign! We have a local auction lady,  Linda’s Auction Service, that puts on auctions every week or every other week, depending on what’s she’s got to auction, but only during the summer months. Tonight is the first of Linda’s auctions and I’m a happy camper – you never know what you might find. It truly is a fun evening whether you stay the whole night or just pop in a for an hour or so.

Several sure signs of summer have arrived here in Wallingford…. Linda’s auction and Doreen’s Ice Cream Stand. Both are sure definite signs that winter is behind us and the summer is coming up fast. As anyone who lives here knows, summer is a relative term, measured not so much by the weather as by the calendar and certain things that only occur in the summer months. When we were in Jersey it was trips to the shore, talk of the beach, humid weather and the town pool being opened on weekends before school was out for the summer. Here, yesterday it was in the 40s and some people even had their wood stoves still burning away the chill that we call the tail end of spring.

But…it’s all good with Linda and Doreen back in town….summer’s finally here.

Evilwife on the move

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