Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Summer At Last

" All gardening is landscape painting. "

It's a beautiful morning and I should work in the garden today.  Two days not in the garden and things need tending again. But first a post. And laundry. And lunch on the deck. And someone mentioned a pear cider in the afternoon. Okay, maybe we'll garden in earnest tomorrow.

Yesterday morning was so beautiful when we woke that we decided to take a Monday holiday. Instead of working in the yard (which is what many of us are busy with this time of year), we spent it sitting on our back deck, looking at the trees and plants, watching the birds, reading, sipping mojitos, eating our meals al fresco. The skies were blue, blue, with wispy clouds way up. It seemed, as we listened to the bees in the lavender, that we'd been waiting all year for this day. Well, not yesterday in particular, although my brother would disagree as it was his birthday, but this first perfect day of summer, when all the forces of nature are in sweet harmony. Summer arrived right on time, and we are sitting in the midst of it, letting its warm silkiness wash over our body and soul. Perfection of a day!

I finished my library book, Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. I loved it. The book is "...at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder."

Because Delia Owens is also a wildlife scientist and an award winning author of the John Burroughs Award for Nature Writing, she mixes her wealth of knowledge of the natural world with her imaginative first novel and creates a beautifully written story. When I was about two thirds in, I came across a sentence I had such longing to underline that I almost did, even though it was a library book. So rather than do that, I'm reciting it here: 

"Look at this one."

Before him was an astonishingly colorful oil of two children squatting in swirls of green grass and wildflowers. The girl was only a toddler, perhaps three years old, her straight black hair falling over her shoulders. The boy, a bit older, with golden curls, pointed to a monarch butterfly, its black-and-yellow wings spread across a daisy. His hand was on the girl's arm.

"I think that's Tate Walker," Jodie said. "And you."

"I think you're right. It looks like him. Why would Ma paint Tate?"

"He used to come around quite a bit, fish with me. He was always showing you insects and stuff."

"Why don't I remember that?"

"You were very young. One afternoon Tate boated into our lagoon, where Pa was pulling on his poke, really drunk. You were wading and Pa was supposed to be watching you. Suddenly, for no reason at all, Pa grabbed you by your arms and shook you so hard...dropped you in the mud and started laughing. Tate jumped out of the boat and ran up to you. He was only seven or eight years old, but he shouted at Pa...By this time we'd all run down to see what was happening. Even with Pa ranting and raving, Tate picked you up and handed you to Ma. He made sure you were all right before he left...

She looked at the painting—so pastel, so peaceful. Somehow Ma's mind had pulled beauty from lunacy. Anyone looking at these portraits would think they portrayed the happiest of families, living on a seashore, playing in the sunshine."

"Somehow Ma's mind had pulled beauty from lunacy." Right there, for me, was the line for which I had been drawn to read the book. And that's the question many of us have, even if we don't know we are asking it. We want to know how, and we all must find our own way, to pull beauty from the lunacy of whatever horrid thing goes on in our lives, or the world at large. It's food for thought.

I love cucumber salads, especially in summer. Sometimes we make it with a sour cream dressing with lots of dill. And sometimes we like a vinaigrette. I don't have cucumbers in the garden, but we have fresh dill and cilantro growing in pots on the deck, so I made this simple salad the other evening. I used white balsamic in the vinaigrette - it was yum!

Cucumber and Onion Salad 

1-2 cucumbers, peeled, thinly sliced
1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 small tomato, chopped (or use grape tomatoes)
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 stick of celery, sliced
sprigs of fresh dill, chopped
sprigs of fresh cilantro, chopped 


1/3 cup vinegar (white, white balsamic, rice, or cider)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons water
2 teaspoons sugar
salt & pepper

Mix ingredients until sugar dissolves.
Pour over cut vegetables.
Leave at room temperature or refrigerate 1 - 2 hours.

This early morning I found a big bumblebee humming and having a wonderful roll around in this newly opened rose from the Hansa bush. Alas, I didn't have my camera with me, and by the time I came back with it, the fellow had moved on to another spot.

" The hum of bees is the voice of the garden. "

* * *

Wishing you a beautiful day.
Heart Hugs,

© Photo credits: Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life


  1. Your post made me FEEL summer. Sound of the bumblebee, taste of cucumber salad, feel of summer sun on my skin. All lovely summer sensations. For me, summer and cucumbers means buttermilk soup, which is basically salted sliced cucumbers and buttermilk. So refreshing and, for me, comforting as it reminds me of my childhood. I ate it several times when we were in lockdown mode and I found it strangely energizing. I will keep your cucumber salad in mind. ☺️

  2. Cucumbers are so refreshing, and a salad is perfect for a Summer day. How beautiful your rose is, the bee obviously thought so too. I love to watch them buzzing in and out of the petals, and I feel happy that I have provided a place for them to enjoy.

  3. Your description of a beautiful day sounds perfect. Weeds will wait. Sometimes we just need to take time to enjoy the moment.

  4. The salad sounds so summery and refreshing. Yum!

    Not reading any books just now. Why read a book when I can read here.

  5. What a beautiful way to celebrate the coming of summer - reading, sipping, listening to and observing the garden. Your salad sounds delicious. Dill is growing here in the garden and a cucumber salad might be in the works in the next day or two.

  6. "Somehow Ma's mind had pulled beauty from lunacy." Yes! This is perfect. I've been feeling this way for awhile, which is why I've been working on my Glimpses of Beauty posts. I need to find the moments of joy, of beauty, in the midst of a very stressful life. It's calming to find those moments and to concentrate on them instead of the chaos. This sounds like a beautiful book!

  7. Bren, this is a lovely post. I enjoyed it very much and will have to read "Where The Crawdads Sing." I know it is a wonderful book. And, many thanks for your salad recipe - hubby will love it.

    Have a lovely day and week. Enjoy summertime!

  8. Why not pause on the first day of summer to celebrate?! Why not revel in its beauty and delights?!


To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xo