It finally really feels like summer around here. After a cool and rainy May and June (and first part of July), the second half of the month has come in with a vengeance. Nothing like other parts of the country, but for the Pacific Northwest, it’s been pretty consistently warm – in the mid to upper eighties.
There may be no big events this summer, but the good, sunny weather does help with my mood, as does hours and hours on end spent outside. We spend quite a bit of time outdoors year round, but I’ve almost been outside more than in this past week or two, even taking my computer outside to work in the shade.
Also. Did you notice the number with today’s post? WEEK TWENTY TWO of dealing with COVID. That’s… a lot. And we aren’t anywhere near being done with it yet.
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1. The very first ripe tomatoes from the garden were eaten this past week! So far, it’s just been a couple Sungold cherry tomatoes, but there will be more not too far behind them. There are few things that make me think summer more than the sweet, sun ripened taste of tomatoes right off the vine.
We’ve started harvesting our first green beans of the year as well, along with more blueberries, the second round of strawberries, onions, herbs, potatoes, leafy greens, the last of the peas and garlic (drying under cover out back). The rhubarb could probably be picked a final time this year, and the squash and peppers aren’t far behind. We may not get all of our produce out of the garden, but from July through September, we can get most of it.
2. I’ve somehow finally gotten it into the roommate’s head to hang his laundry on the lines out back this time of year instead of throwing them in the dryer and heating up the house. We’ll see if it sticks, but I’ve been pretty darn pleased seeing him get into that new habit (for the cost and energy savings, as well as the fact that we’ll continue to have a cooler house for it).
3. I’ve decided to take fall planting more seriously this year, and the end of July and into August is the time for that. The kiddo and I have been picking kale, green onion, and purple sprouting broccoli seeds from the flowering plants in the garden and putting them back into the soil. We’ve also been planting other things to include carrots, beets and snap peas, but those have come from seed packets. I definitely prefer growing my own seeds – it’s cheaper and lower waste / transportation cost – but I have a ways until I’ve given up seed packets altogether.
Our falls are mild enough that we really can grow food year round, and I’ve been able to pick a few things in past midwinter days, but I want to do it in a bigger way this year. I do own a fabulous book – Winter Gardening in the Maritime Northwest – and it’s time to re-read and get serious. Perhaps I’ll even get a row cover up this fall.
4. I’ve continued my streak of vegan, alcohol free weekdays. I’ve cheated a tiny bit (bubble tea from a struggling local business and a few bites of meat from meals cooked for the family), but 90%+ of my food during the week is vegan. It’s cheaper, better for the environment, and healthier to boot. Knowing I can relax a bit on the weekends makes it easier to stick to those choices during the week, and I’m finding my perspective and ideas for food have shifted, making it easier again.
Long term, I would love 100% of my meat (and eggs and dairy) to be sustainably and locally sourced. We’re there in a big way with our beef purchases, but I now need to look for other meats as well. That, and get some chickens.
5. Even with the hotter summer days, we’ve managed not to install our window ACs yet this year. Our furnace has been off since April, and we’ve been able to keep the house cool enough by keeping the windows open at night / closing them and the blinds during the day / and running fans for air flow.
It’s gotten a bit warm some days – up to 79 degrees at warmest – but it’s been doable. Our big box fan broke though, so we had to replace it and the one in the kiddo’s room. Even so, the cost of the new fans is much cheaper than running the AC, and it’s environmentally superior as well. I feel especially successful when our choices are ecofrugal ones. There’s no point in taking care of our wallets if we aren’t also taking care of the planet.
The kiddo ran with me on Sunday and Thursday this past week, and hit a new record of running continuously for sixteen minutes. I’ve dreamed of having him as my “running buddy” since I was pregnant, and it’s so fun to start running together more regularly. I also did run alone on Wednesday, making for three times this past week.
I did also manage a yoga practice on Monday, the first one in a couple of weeks. I’m not ready to commit to doing it daily again quite yet, but I definitely want to get back to more regular yoga time. Otherwise, exercise has been walks and lots of time in the garden.
How is your summer going? Does it feel like summer?