Friday, August 23, 2019

full on summer mode

"We're steeped deep in summer
And everything around me
Seems to indicate it'll never end..."

You would never know by all the photos and talk about fall on Instagram that we still have a month of summer left. It's still August, people! I don't understand this rushing of seasons (OK, winter is excluded in that statement) and holidays. I am soaking up every bit of summer that I can. I went to the local farm stand today and they already had up fall and Halloween decorations! Behind the cash register was a "Happy Halloween" banner. It all looked so out of place with baskets of tomatoes, piles of fresh-picked corn, and bushels of zucchini and cucumbers displayed throughout the store.
Summer seems so short here in northern Illinois. Our winters drag out with never-ending gray skies, bitter cold and snow. And this spring was nothing but rain ~ and even more snow. So I am filled with gratitude for these few short months of warmth and sunshine and have no intentions of rushing them.

"But still I'm spending time
Looking for the subtle signs
Trying to figure out when
We've reached peak summer..."

My butterfly garden is telling me it's late summer...sedum starting to bloom is a sure sign.

 Phlox is looking a little pitiful and bee balm is withered up. 

 But look how beautiful and lush my herb garden is! Yes, I was one of those silly people who planted mint in back of the herb garden many years ago. Everyone told me I'd regret it; that'd I'd have mint all over the place. Honestly, it hasn't been that bad. I pull some out here and there throughout the summer so that it doesn't overtake the other herbs, but it stays contained to this small area. 

Farmers markets this time of year are still filled with summer goodness...

 Last weekend, we came home with a ton of fresh produce and I made a big pot of ratatouille based on Alice Water's recipe. My modifications were roasting the eggplant first, using a combination of onions and shallots, using both green and yellow squash/zucchini, adding more spices and a teeny bit of sugar, throwing in a splash of red wine vinegar, and stirring in some black olives and capers. 

Served over a bed of creamy polenta with a garnish of fresh Parmesan cheese ~ this dish was absolutely delightful!

"When the sun sets a little earlier
And gets a little more noticeable
Each night, night after night
Until you start thinking about
How much daylight you've lost..."

"All of the signs and all of the things
I've been noticing are telling me
That we're right in the midst of
Peak summer and if I'm not careful
It'll be completely over
And I'll have missed it entirely
As the season folds into fall."
(Peak Summer - Eric Nixon)


  1. Your herbs are thriving and look so pretty and so do all those vegetables.
    In all those .50 plants we bought at Lowe’s, there was one nice pot of sedem. I’m hoping it will do well and come back next spring.
    I don’t understand rushing the celebration of seasons and holidays either. People that rush seem to already be tired of the actual holiday by the time it occurs.
    It’s still summer here in Oklahoma but we got some much needed rain overnight and cooler temperatures.
    Hope you have a nice weekend ❤️

  2. Your summering looks beautiful. You are right, I'm a fall fanatic but I am really trying me best to savor these warm months.

  3. That ratatouille looks really good. I can actually already tell the weather is starting to change here and I'm very happy about that because our summer's are just too hot and nothing can grow. Sure wish I could get mint to survive. I try every winter but even then it just dries out and dies. My husband's cousin in Jerusalem has a small plot of it growing outside her backdoor. They drink lots of mint tea and throw it into salads. So yummy! Will still be warm here for a while but I'm going to try and start planting some things next month. I didn't do as much as I wanted last year. Enjoy your lush and lovely summer days.

  4. Hi Melanie,
    I am with you about not rushing summer out and fall in. I feel I missed a lot of summer with the move. I am enjoying these beautiful days we have been having. Sleeping the the windows open and the breezes coming in the window was so nice last night. I am ignoring fall for a little while longer. I agree spring, summer and fall no rushing. Winter yes lets rush that nonsense! Happy Friday. Have a great weekend.

  5. Hi Melanie ~ Your garden spaces look lovely and that ratatoulle looks delicious. It's been ages since I've made that. I went to the website and saved the recipe. Thanks for sharing.

    Have a lovely weekend ~ FlowerLady

  6. They've had Christmas stuff in our stores since June!!!

  7. You always post the most beautiful photos. thanks

  8. I'm with you Melanie . . . I'm not in any hurry to end summer. I'm just going to enjoy every minute of it.

  9. I love, LOVE summer and this time of year seems so bittersweet because we know what is to come. But I am boycotting stores who are celebrating fall anything right now because it is still summer. Enjoy every moment. :)

  10. No, no, no...I've had it with season rushing (except winter like you said!). I walked into Hobby Lobby the other day, saw the pumpkins and Christmas trees and walked straight out. I went home and swam in the pool instead and watched the butterflies in my garden. They have no idea it's fall or Christmas yet, I guess they missed the memo. Silly guys think it's still I'm hanging with them!! And you!!

  11. Glad you are "soaking up summer" at long last - all looks amazing. Enjoy each day.

  12. I'm with you! I am thoroughly enjoying the summer and in no hurry to get to fall!

  13. I miss Fall so much. And I have to say I am completely over summer, well 90+ degree temps with horrible humidity wears on you. Still we are a good 6 weeks away from any change in temps, sigh..... Enjoy your remaining summer days.

  14. I agree, why do we rush the seasons? As if there's anything we can do about it. Love the last part of the poem:
    we're right in the midst of
    Peak summer and if I'm not careful
    It'll be completely over
    And I'll have missed it entirely

  15. I hope you are getting all the summer you crave! Summer is my least favorite so I long for autumn but I sure am enjoying our cooler than normal August and I will never tire of all the fresh, local produce!

  16. Don't you just love sedum in all it's stages? I do! Melanie, if I lived where you do with such a very long winter, I'd be hanging onto summer too. We made the mistake of planting mint in the ground instead of in a pot and RH is constantly pulling it up, with me telling him to always leave just a little bit for cooking. I can never find those beautiful breakfast radishes in the stores here, must try to grow them ourselves next year. Your ratatouille looks delicious served on the polenta. We bought some Bob's Red Mill polenta the other day and I was surprised to see that it's only supposed to cook for a few minutes. We slowly cook our grits for over 30 minutes and isn't polenta just the same thing as grits, only yellow? I haven't used it yet so will have to see if I like it as much as I love grits. But that eggplant I had in the fridge trying to get up my nerve to cook? It finally became a midnight snack for our resident fox, possum, and skunk. Maybe someday...

  17. Melanie, you write the loveliest posts and your photos are marvelous. I'm with you, I am not anxious for cold weather and Halloween should stay in the last week of October. Thank you so much for your blogging friendship, you're a very special lady.


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