The Sights, Sounds and Smells of Summer at Our Little House

The tomatoes and pepper plant (middle) look good


The other morning, I put on my new $2 flip-flops I bought for watering, turned on the garden hose and got more than water flowing.

When the water spurted out, that smell that accompanies hose water caused me to flashback to my childhood.

The distinct smell of that water, whether we were playing in it or I was helping my mother drench her vast flower and vegetable gardens, is one of the true signs of summer.

Yesterday was the official first day of summer, the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. Sites on the Internet had been posing the question: What makes it summer for you?

Tomato that was eaten off at the base grew back


Hose water, gardening, fishing and boating, swimming, those first juicy bites of homegrown tomatoes and watermelon (both with salt), BLTs, cook outs and good times with friends coming to Our Little House to visit, drive in movies and ice cream for me.

Dale and I have gotten back into the routine of taking out the boat each Sunday morning before it gets too hot. I also had the opportunity to go out on a new friend’s pontoon with her and some of her friends this week.

It was a fun girl’s day out as we grilled on the boat, enjoyed some fresh watermelon and got to know one another. I haven’t been swimming yet, though.

We’ve also had those first tasty tomatoes and a couple of BLTs. A couple of weeks ago, Dale brought home some waffle cones so we could treat ourselves to (small) ice cream cones a couple of times a week.

I think there is a drive in somewhere in this part of Arkansas. The only other one I know of is back in Kansas City, so we haven’t been to one in several years.

As for the gardening, I’m having very mixed results. We’ve been having a drought since around the first of May and my bigger tomatoes are suffering from Tomato Blossom End Rot, so we’ve harvested nothing thus far other than our black cherry tomatoes (the tomatoes for the BLTs came from my aunt’s garden).

I had never seen this condition before, which makes the end of the tomato opposite the stem rot before it goes ripe. Evidently, it is caused by an early hot, dry season. Many gardeners around here are complaining about the disease.

I had been watering using my little garden can, but thought the garden hose might help future blossoms actually come on without rotting. We’ll see.

We did harvest our first batch of jalapenos the other day, but we haven’t tested their hotness out yet.

The end of the cucumbers 2012


As you can see in the photos, no worries about bitter cucumbers any longer. Something – maybe the rats or squirrels – has devoured all but one of the four plants as of last night (although we are still trapping mice and rats on the deck each night).

I’ve eased up on the angst over the garden though. There are so many people here who are good at it, we’re still getting plenty of bounty anyway.

Hail to summer. It’s been a good one so far.

What are the signs of summer for you?    

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30 Responses

  1. Ashley Cooke says:

    Ah, your post reminds me of summer in many points. Many people love the summer season and there are no bad reason to do so.

  2. Summer means I can work outside on the waterfront in lower Manhattan. I always prefer writing outside. I’m just surprised that it’s almost the end of June and we haven’t had consistently warm, sunny weather yet.

  3. Sunscreen. The smell of sunscreen makes me feel like summer is here–that and the first sunburn of the season. Try as I might, I always miss a spot or two. This week I missed one swath of my shoulders and after an afternoon at the lake I’m toasted. Love the pictures

  4. I do love to mark the seasons — even if Texas’ seasons seem limited to summer and not-summer. But it’s nice to slow down a bit and go to more movies and eat more ice cream.

  5. Heather L. says:

    You stopped me at the “smell of water.” That must be an Arkansas thing, because here in Washington our hose water doesn’t smell.

    We’ve had two days in a row filled with sunshine and a friend and I enjoyed appetizers on a restaurant deck overlooking Puget Sound tonight – that’s when I know summer is here.

    • Kerri says:

      It was the same smell in Kansas when I was a kid, Heather, something brought on by the sun and heat warming the hose, it’s kind of a rubbery chemical smell. Maybe you actually need sun and heat, which you don’t see that much of in Washington, to get that smell! 😉 Sitting on a deck overlooking the Sound does sound like summer!

      • Heather L. says:

        I get it. The sun makes the water smell. No wonder it’s a foreign concept to me.

        All of you that are having heat waves are welcome to come to Washington State. We’re having T-storms today.

  6. Sheryl says:

    Right now I’m sitting outside on my deck…despite the fact that it was a record-breaking 97 degrees today. I LOVE this. This is summer. And the fact that it’s 8:30 PM and still light out!!!

    • Kerri says:

      I love the longer days too, Sheryl. I remember waiting for anticipation when I was a kid on the 4th of July for the night fireworks. Then it seemed it could never get dark fast enough!

  7. Lindsay says:

    Sorry to hear about your garden : ( At least there are farmers markets, I miss those. With all of the agriculture around us here in southern Idaho you would think there would be more of them but we haven’t found a good one. I miss the outdoor markets in Oregon.
    As for what makes summer?
    Eating outside, popsicles, creek swimming, hammock swinging, camping trips, sun tea and most definitely driving with the top down (79 Dodge ramcharger and 87 vw cabriolet)
    It’s supposed to be 97 here today. Looking forward to that cold creek later!

    • Kerri says:

      Hi, Lindsay! It’s ok about the garden, that’s what happens sometimes. I think it’s the drought. Everyone here is fighting something in their gardens. We caught the little squirrel red-handed today as when we got home, the bugger had finished off the cucumber plant. My aunt promises to keep us in cucumbers and yes, there are the farmer’s markets. Oh, yes, cold creeks and popsicles! 🙂

  8. Merr says:

    Days that still seem longer even though they start getting shorter and warmer weather that I truly love because it just seems more relaxing to my body – no need to bundle up and hunker down in warm clothes!

  9. Jane Boursaw says:

    All good stuff! Well, except for the critters devouring your garden goods. Good that you’ve sort of made peace with it.

    We have a drive-in about an hour away from us, and we try to get out there at least once a summer. Good times.

    • Kerri says:

      I was really, really mad the first time the rat got the tomato plant, but what are you going to do? I’ll have to get something natural that repels squirrels now that I know what it is munching. Aren’t drive-ins the greatest? Love ’em.

  10. Drisana says:

    That’s where all my summer heat is:) Here where I am in Canada we are having flooding. We are in need of sun. My garden is growing but now we are fearing rot over drought. Can we switch weather for a little while? LOL! Love your posts and one day when I get to sit at a computer I will be reading your archived posts too.

    • Kerri says:

      Hi, Drisana! Thanks, it’s great having you here. Lots of good stuff in the archives, I hope you get time to make your way through. Yep, if we could trade some hot, dry weather for a little cool rainy stuff for a week or so, we would be good. Just heard the National Weather Service has declared we’re in severe drought. Yikes!

  11. Irene says:

    What a lovely post~
    We’re having a heatwave in NY!

  12. For me, summer is about the extra daylight. I love getting up “early” and NOT having it be dark. The tomatoes I planted from seed (inside the greenhouse, inside wall-o-water) are getting big, but so far no blooms, so no tomatoes. Still, we’re harvesting lots of leafy greens and have a couple of yellow squashes coming. I pollinated them, but they aren’t getting very big yet.

    • Kerri says:

      You have a later growing season though there in Colorado, no? I’m sure those tomatoes will produce and when ours are done, you’ll still be getting them. 🙂

  13. Rachel says:

    Hello from Salem, AR! I’m loving your plants on the porch! I so enjoy your morning tid bits on facebook too 🙂
    We NEED the rain so badly! Even though we water daily, city water is nothing like good rain water!
    Our squash was overtaken by squash bugs and some of our other plants are pooping out early too! Luckily we have gotten a few tomatoes and have great looking bell pepper plants. Also- we’re blessed to live near the Amish who have a produce stand that supplies us with lots of delicious organic produce. And good conversation!
    If you are ever near Salem on a Saturday morning, stop by the Farmer’s market! We will be selling our jam and some baked goods this weekend 🙂 Take care!

    • Kerri says:

      Good morning, Rachel! You ARE so close! Do you sell every Saturday? We can’t make it this week, but I do want to get over there! Yes, we do need the rain so badly. KY3 is reporting this morning good rains in SF, hope it finds it’s way to all of us. Thanks for being a part of our LL community, it’s great to have fellow Arkansans on here too. 🙂

  14. Our summer came early this year. I like to go in the pool once a day and take walks early in the morning before it gets too hot. And we spend a lot of time at my parents’ lake house.

    • Kerri says:

      I think summer came early for most in the U.S. this year, Brette. Oh, yes, the early morning walks (just getting ready for ours).

  15. Alexandra says:

    Summer hit New England suddenly, with 90+ degree heat. We are struggling to adjust. I do more watering to keep the garden flowers from wilting.