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?
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.
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?