summer lovin’ … the week in pictures

After all the excitement of getting up very early on Monday to make sure we got to our Highgrove appointment on time, the rest of the week has been  pretty calm, with lovely weather … just right for a little pottering here and there … making jam … cooking summer foods … and enjoying afternoon tea in the shade with a good book for company … for isn’t this what summer is all about … enjoying every little bit of it.

“Summer afternoon – summer afternoon; to me those have always been the most beautiful words in the English language.” – Henry James

Mixed red berry jelly 

Summer seems to last for such a short time, even though it is not my favourite season, I relish throwing open windows and doors, putting washing on the line and it being dry in record time, eating fresh salads straight from the garden with home-baked bread – simple foods that make the mouth water in anticipation.

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”summer, after all, is a time when wonderful things can happen to quiet people. For those few months, you’re not required to be who everyone thinks you are, and that cut-grass smell in the air and the chance to dive into the deep end of a pool give you a courage you don’t have the rest of the year. You can be grateful and easy, with no eyes on you, and no past. Summer just opens the door and lets you out.” – Deb Caletti.

typical summer scene

“Bees do have a smell you know, and if they don’t they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers” – Ray Bradbury

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baby robin

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” – John Lubbock

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“One of my favourite things about dining outdoors in a warmer season is that it frees hands and bares skin … When we don’t need to wear or carry heavy clothing, our bodies feel lighter and our hand are freed for other things.  Like carrying bottles of  wine, bags of stone fruit, fish, and clams; and a simple kettle and a tiny grill for a quiet, all-day beach excursion.  Then we can eat well.” – Kirstin Jackson

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july posy

everlasting peas

If you could epitomise an English summer maybe it would include watching a game of cricket on the green … Or baby birds standing patiently waiting to be fed by an overworked mother … Or the bright blue of Cornflowers in amongst the weedy borders … The vibrant green of fresh lettuce …  Posies of flowers fresh from the garden… Stunning sunsets … And moonlit nights … Bees lazily resting on the flowers of the Cosmos … Eating an unhurried breakfast whilst reading the morning papers … Looking out across the fields where the cows have their afternoon siesta … Watching the petals unfold on a pure white dahlia … And marvelling at the beauties of nature left to run riot

july posy

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sunset

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view from the snug

cows taking their afternoon siesta

dahlia

california poppies and parsley gone to seed

These are just some of the glories of summer for me. Of course there is also the vegetable harvest – although I love the flower garden, when it comes to where my heart lies it has to be the kitchen garden. Even after many years of growing vegetables I still get a thrill from pulling a few carrots, digging up potatoes and cooking them within a few minutes.  You can’t get any fresher than that. Inbetween times there has been some successional seed sowing going on – french beans, pak choi, oriental mustard leaves, choi sum, broccoli raab – in an attempt to keep the food supply going as long as possible into the autumn.

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“The first gatherings of the garden in May of salads, radishes and herbs made me feel like a mother about her baby – how could anything so beautiful be mine.  And this emotion of wonder filled me for each vegetable as it was gathered every year.  There is nothing that is comparable to it, as satisfactory or as thrilling, as gathering the vegetables one has grown” – Alice B. Toklas

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  Ripe vegetables were magic to me.  Unharvested, the garden bristled with possibility.  I would quicken at the sight of a ripe tomato, sounding its redness from deep amidst the undifferentiated green.  To lift a bean plant’s hood of heartshaped leaves and discover a clutch of long slender pods underneath could make me catch my breath.” – Michael Pollen

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“The smell of manure, of sun on foliage, of evaporating water, rose to my head; two steps farther, and I could look down into the vegetable garden enclosed within its tall pale of reeds – rich chocolate earth studded emerald green, frothed with the white of cauliflowers, jewelled with the purple globes of eggplant and the scarlet wealth of tomatoes.” – Doris Lessing

I hope you have enjoyed a look at my week in pictures, sorry that it became rather a long post, but there is so much to share at this time of year.

‘Til next time …

Comments

  1. Lovely photos in a lovely post Elaine and a little wren to boot

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    1. Thanks David - I thought it was a robin chick - I think it's too big to be a wren - maybe I'm wrong.

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  2. It sounds like a great week Elaine and a good reminder.. summer does go by so fast and we need to make time to stop and enjoy it.

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    1. Sometimes hard to do though when you keep seeing jobs that need doing.

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  3. Hello Elaine I'm just catching up! I loved your thoughts on summer and wholeheartedly agree with all you said. I was very jealous to read your last post too. Visiting high grove is something I would love to do. We visited the high grove shop in tetbury when we were in the Cotswolds and were speaking yo the lady in the shop about it. She said it is wonderful xx

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    1. Hello Anne - I hadn't been to the Cotswolds before and loved seeing all the pretty villages on the way to Highgrove.

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  4. Hey pal! Your summer post here just sums it all up for me! Beauty in the earth and the simple living that the sun brings! Loved every single quote and every picture from your part of the world! The vegetables look amazing and just look at your jam! Now if the beans weren't running circles around me sitting out in the open air with a good book would be just where I would want to be! Wishing you all the summer goodness possible! Hard to believe it is already July! Your bouquets are stunning as always!!! Nicole xoxo

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    1. Hi Nicole - it is hard to stop taking photographs at this time of year when there is so much to delight the eye. Every time I take a break I sit outside with a book it is a great way to relax for five minutes, although those five minutes sometimes turn into half an hour if it is a good book.!

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  5. Well, thank you for that taste (visually, at least) of an English summer. Now if I could only get some of taste on a plate...

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    1. It's a shame we can't introduce a way to scratch-and-sniff a blog post, now wouldn't that be something.

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  6. Lovely photos - we'll need to remember how wonderful the sun feels and how summer smells when we're in the darkness of February won't we.

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    1. Absolutely - although I don't even want to think of February right now - this summer isn't turning out too bad at all.

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  7. The picture of the cows relaxing fascinates me. It looks to be an ancient 'ridge and furrow' field; am I right?

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    1. Yes you are right Cro - most of the fields around here are the same - it is all mainly pasture land now though.

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  8. That all looks wonderful, especially as I am sitting here shivering at the moment - have just lit the first fire with the second due to be lit shortly.

    There is not one sun symbol in the ten day forecast with easterlies to 130kms for the next couple of days with heavy rain

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    1. Sorry to hear you are shivering Susan - our turn will come soon enough.

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  9. SUCH A BEAUTIFUL POST ELAINE, YOU HAVE A WAY WITH WORDS THAT TOUCHES MY SOUL.
    MY FAVOURITE SEASON IS AUTUMN, THEN SPRING, SUMMER, AND FINALLY WINTER.

    YOUR HARVEST IS WONDERFUL, I DO SO ENVY YOU BEING ABLE TO PICK SO MUCH FROM YOUR GARDEN. I ONLY GROW BITS AND PIECES DUE TO THE RABBITS. ONE DAY, ONE DAY......SIGH.

    BTW, BUMBLE BEES HAVE SMELLY FEET. each TIME THEY VISIT A FLOWER THEY LEAVE THAT SMELL BEHIND, TELLING THE NEXT BUMBLE THE FLOWER HAS ALREADY BEEN SERVED. THIS IS WHY YOU OFTEN SEE BUMBLES SNIFFING A BLOOM AND PASSING IT BY :)

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    1. Thanks Cheryl - what a nice thing to say. Spring is definitely my favourite season but I love the freedom of summer- each season has a different feel to it - I suppose I enjoy them all in different ways. I don't grow as much veg as I would like but it is enough to enjoy each new crop as it comes along. Bees realty are fascinating creatures aren't they.

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  10. I have become nostalgic reading this post - summertime is just wonderful isn't it? and you have summed it up beautifully.

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    1. Thank you Rosemary - glad you enjoyed the post.

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  11. I can smell the good earth on those vegetables, catch a glimpse of a well read book , feel the sun on my shoulders, what a lovely post.
    Hugs Lynn xxx
    Thank you so much for your visitxx yes you have plenty that I can see to paint, I raise my glass of iced tea to long summer days and good books xx

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  12. Let's hope that we get a real summer!

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    1. I think it has been pretty good so far - I'm not complaining - not much rain either although the downside is all the watering involved - oh well, you can't have everything.

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  13. Everything looks beautiful! Those veggies look so healthy, fresh, and delicious!

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    1. Thanks Diane - I love the taste of freshly pulled carrots - so much sweeter than shop bought.

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  14. We are still weeks away away from enjoying the bounty from our garden. Your potatoes look great. The summer heat is on now with 90+F temps. Too not to work outside unless we go out early in the morning or late in the evening. I never tire seeing the English countryside. Hope you have good week.

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    1. Whew that's hot - I can't stand too much heat and have to stay indoors - at the moment it is just about right for me.

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  15. Thank you for a very enjoyable first visit ! Lovely evocative photos and prose. I wonder what your favourite season is, when summer seems to offer you so much ...

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    1. Hi Jane - nice to see you here - ha! - I wax even more lyrically about spring and autumn!

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  16. Dear Elaine - your post is never long enough for my eyes. All your lovely pictures help me see what an English summer looks like. I too still get excited when I pick those first wonderful veggies...zucchini (baby ones) are ready for the picking this week. Have a great week and enjoy each moment.

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    1. Thanks Debbie what a nice thing to say. I have one or two zucchini (courgette) ready to pick I like to pick them when they are quite small but sometimes they just seem to double in size overnight. Enjoy the rest of the week. I did get out the paints yesterday and attempted to capture some cornflowers but I am a little out of practice.

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  17. I enjoyed this so much, a simply gorgeous post filled with beautiful quotes and images, you make me want to be there, harvesting veggies, reading books on hazy days and jam making....oh how I wish I had EVER made jam....maybe one day!xxx

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    1. Thanks Snowbird - there is so much to photograph at this time of year I can't seem to stop. Jam making is so easy I can't believe you have never made any - it is summer in a jar.

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  18. Elaine you are so good in expressing your feelings about summer, it is a joy to read and I agree with all the words, those of yourself and the beautiful quotes. In combination with the beautiful pictures this post great!

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    1. Thanks Janneke - I must admit I enjoy writing this kind of post and it also makes me appreciate every little bit of the season.

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  19. A delightful post and lovely pictures. Flighty xx

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    1. Thanks Flighty - kind of you to say so.

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  20. What a lovely post Elaine! You touch on so many wonderful summer moments.

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    1. Thank you Jennifer. Summer is all too fleeting and I feel the need to document it and enjoy what other, and better, writers than me, have to say about it.

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  21. I always love your posies of flowers - and your posies of pictures! It will be great looking back on images of this warm and sunny week from the middle of winter. Keep up the good work :)

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    1. Collecting the flowers for a posy is a good way of remembering in pictures what grows in the garden each month. Like you say, in the depths of winter looking back on them cheers the soul.

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  22. You captured that fleeting feeling (in England, anyway) of summer. I agree with all your lovely quotes, thank you for sharing them. Here summer is often just too hot, but not so far this year,Central Italy is having one of its coolest summers on record, and maybe only I am enjoying it!

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    1. Thank you Christina. I am not a big fan of summers too hot neither are the plants in the garden they droop and flop and I have to spend far too much time watering. Glad your are enjoying your cooler summer - a little hiccup in the weather I expect.

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  23. Elaine, your photos are absolutely mesmerising!

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    1. Thank you Isabelle for your kind comment.

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