Submitted by Dee Nash, blogger of the month for August 2014
For me, August is a sad month in many ways. It’s full of shopping for shoes and uniforms and school supplies when it should still be about swimming and chasing fireflies. When I was little, we didn’t report back to school until the first week of September—a reasonable time—but my children are hitting the books mid-August, and none of us are happy about it. It’s too soon. I’m still harvesting tomatoes, peppers and green beans. The roses are beginning to flower again. We’ve eaten corn on the cob all summer, but, now, the sunflowers are beginning to nod their weary heads.
I want to shake my fist and yell at August saying, “Wait! We’re not finished with summer yet.”
The gardens have a good two and a half months of growing and harvest left. We Oklahomans are lucky. Our growing is season is a long one. I live in Logan County, and the Oklahoma Climatological Survey tells me I have 200 full days in which to grow anything my little heart desires. Depending upon where you live, you may have more. Oklahomans live in Zone 7, and that means we’re fortunate. We can grow cold weather favorites like peonies and lilacs, and also warm, subtropical plants like cannas. If you endured 2011, you may be shaking your head. I know it seemed like we were living in hell, but the last couple of summers have been splendid. Two thousand fourteen has been so good I just don’t want to say goodbye to it yet.
In fact, I would can it in a Mason jar if I could.
I still want to sit on my back deck in the late evening beneath the cafe lights Bill and my daughter strung up for me on one of my whims. I want a chance to grow another round of bush beans in my kitchen garden. You do still have time for the beans by the way. They don’t take long to mature. I still want to take another family trip, but with school only a few days away, there’s probably not enough time for my last summer wish.
I think my summer desires really translate to how I feel about my kids growing up. My youngest is fifteen, and she’ll be in college in the blink of an eye. Forgive me for sounding like one of those women in the grocery store who comes up to you and says, “Cherish these days because they don’t last”— right when your toddler is whiny or throwing a temper tantrum.
I always wanted to smack that lady. How could she know I’d spent the whole day cleaning up messes, breaking up sibling turf wars, or struggling with a child who didn’t want to eat the healthy food I grew and made?
Well, at the risk of sounding just like her, I’m going to say it. Cherish these days of summer, especially if your children or grandchildren are small. Summer days drip with golden sunlight even if you can’t see it. It’s only when your loved ones grow up and run off into their own exciting lives that you see the sprinkled fairy dust of their childhood summers trailing behind.
So, how do we make this summer last a bit longer?
Have another cookout with lots of kids. If your family is small, invite your neighbors. Make sure there’s a kiddie pool, bubbles and swings too. If you don’t garden, buy some tomatoes, corn, summer squash and watermelon at the farmer’s market. Your farmers will thank you. If you want to garden, make note of the things you most love to eat in summer, and write them down. You can plan your small garden all winter when it’s cold outside.
Take a small day trip to an Oklahoma destination. I suggest Roman Nose State Park. It was always one of our favorites.
Summer doesn’t last long enough especially in these harried times. Let’s have fun while we can. Step away from the computer, call your family and tell them the fun is about to begin.
Thanks to Dee Nash for her summer-themed post! You can find her here next Monday as she continues her tenure as blogger of the month or at her own blogs—Red Dirt Ramblings, The 20-30 Something Garden Guide or Dee Nash.