Can you believe it’s July?! Summer is in it’s prime right now! Now, I don’t know about you, but I want to make the most of these days while they’re here.
Sometimes that is hard for me since we homeschool through the summer. For the most part, if the boys and I stay on track with our school and work schedules, we are finished by the time Dean gets home from work. That means we have the evenings to work on house projects, do something enjoyable together as a family, schedule in some self-care time if it’s needed, or get around to errands and other responsibilities on our plates.
Summer is a busy season, and rightly so. Just looking at nature will tell you that. As someone who tries to live as seasonally as I can, nature is a great teacher when it comes to determining what to focus on for the season. With that said, below are some pictures of recently enjoyed things — all things that reveal just what we’ve been up to this busy summer season.
Gardening. If anything says summer, it’s fresh produce straight from the garden. This year’s garden was a bit of a rush, and it’s certainly not the style of garden that I hope to have next summer. We were a bit late getting things in the ground this year, so we quickly plowed up a small plot, bought plants, and put them in.
Next year, my goal is to have multiple garden plots complete with veggies, herbs, flowers, and fruit — all grown together and looking beautiful. Imagine multiple plots of small misshapen beds with wattle fencing and stone boarders. Tall plants and sprawling vines intertwined together. Greens and multiple colors all shining forth. Mulched and graveled rows between beds, and pretty focal points scattered here and there.
Can you see it? I sure can.
We’ll begin in late fall laying cardboard EVERYWHERE. We’ll then spray lines on the cardboard to mark the borders of each bed. When that’s finished, we’ll start working on the waddle fences or the stone boarders. Next, we’ll add in layers of horse manure (my mother-in-law has plenty) and hay, leaves, or grass clippings. We’ll keep repeating those layers until we have a nice thick bed around 10 inches thick. This will sit over winter and into the spring to decompose and create some nice rich soil that ends up being around 6 inches thick. From my understanding, this is the “no-till” method of gardening, and we’re going to try it. We may still plow up a big market garden style bed as well so we can plant traditional rows for certain veggies.
I wrote more about creating gardens and my vision for them here at our new home in my post, How To Create A Beautiful Home Garden in 5 Simple Steps if you want to read about that. I’m sure I’ll also blog or vlog about the no-till gardens we create this summer as well, so keep an eye out for that if that’s something that interests you!
So far, we’re harvesting peas, beans, squash, tomatoes, and peppers. The harvest is definitely picking up here in July. We just ate our first squashes of the season last night, and they were delicious!
We’ve also been spending quite a bit of time at the creek. The older boys are big enough to go on their own, but if Ezrah wants to go, Dean or I have to go with him.
There is a perfect little place we can walk to where there are large rocks to sit on and enjoy the sun, some shallow areas to look for crawdads, and some deeper areas to wade in. It’s really nice to have the creek near us, especially on hot days. It provides a great break from school for the boys, and it’s a great way to spend a couple of hours in the evening or on a Saturday. Sometimes Dean even takes all the boys way up the creek, and they walk all the way home in it, collecting things and playing as they go.
Speaking of long walks, sometimes we take the boys on a walk through our neighbor’s land to the little country store down the road called Pleasant’s Grocery. It’s been there for close to a hundred years. If we’re looking for something fun to do one evening, we’ll walk to the store for dinner (they have the BEST Philly cheesesteaks around, hands down!) and maybe ice cream.
Not only does walking to Pleasant’s help burn off some extra calories from the food (and sugar if we get ice cream), but it works in a little homeschool nature walk into our day. It also brings back such good memories of when Dean and I were dating. Back then, it wasn’t uncommon for me to join his family in walking to Pleasants for dinner. We would pull out the strollers, load his four little sisters in, and we’d all walk down the road (not through the fields) to go eat. It was so much fun, and I love spending time with his family this way.
For Father’s Day, we bought Dean a hammock. He loves relaxing in the hammock on summer evenings. In fact, that’s another thing we used to do together back when we were dating. His parents had a hammock strung up between a couple of trees, and we used to go lay there together and just talk.
Anyway, we have a big yard and a lot of trees at our new home, and he’d been talking about wanting a hammock for a while so I found the perfect one on Amazon and bought it along with some pillows for Father’s Day. All that’s left to do is buy a little table to sit near one of the trees so we can set drinks or books on it so they’re within easy reach if we’re in the hammock. We’ve already used it a few times and it is so nice. We’ll even head out after lunch and sit in it together while the boys play for a bit before heading back inside for our afternoon group work.
We’ve also been busy working on our new patio area, and when I say “we,” I mean Dean. This is his project. We’ve got the patio halfway finished. We had to order some more of one of the colors of pavers. When they get here, he can continue laying the foundation.
His parents bought us a fire pit kit and chairs for Christmas last year, so in the photo above, you can see the fire pit laid out. We’re trying to decide if we want the dark contrasting color of the fire pit rocks against the lighter pavers that will cover the ground. There will also be a half wall back behind the fire pit that will be used for seating, and it will also be darker as well. I like the contrast, and I definitely want the fire pit and the wall to be built with darker rocks. I’m just not sure how dark.
Our patio chairs are a dark bronze color as well, so I’m thinking these rocks will work well even though the pavers on the ground aren’t as dark. What do you think? Would you go with rocks this dark or a wee bit lighter? I’d love to know your thoughts!
Anyway, I can’t wait for this project to be finished. Hopefully, by the end of July! I’m so ready to have some summer get-togethers with friends and family in this space!
I started a new book, Where The Crawdads Sing. Have you heard of it? If you’re a reader, I would imagine you have. It’s super popular and came HIGHLY recommended. I’m only a few chapters in so far, but so far it’s great. I love reading fiction books that I can’t put down!
What are you reading this summer? Do you have a summer reading list? I’m not sure what I’ll read when I’m finished with this one. I normally buy books off Thriftbooks or used books from Amazon. A friend let me borrow this one. I should really hit the library for some books as well. This one came from Reese Witherspoon’s book club. Have you checked that out? I have seen it, but I haven’t looked into it much. I should definitely do that. I’ve always thought it would be fun to be in a book club, and I’m guessing her’s is more like a virtual book club, so it could be a good option for me at this point.
I’m currently reading several other books. I pick them up to read here and there — a chapter at a time. I enjoy reading certain books this way, especially parenting, homeschooling, or self-help type books because I find I need to take some time to digest what I’ve just read instead of plowing through it all at once. However, when it comes to fiction, I love a good story that I don’t want to stop reading! What about you?
Another thing I’ve been up to this summer is mowing.
We have a decently large amount of flat land — around 7 acres, and while we don’t mow all of it (like this field here), we do mow a lot of it. We bought a new zero-turn mower (a Country Clipper) this year, and I love it! It’s super comfortable, and I can mow everything in 1 1/2 hours give or take.
Mowing is quite relaxing for me. I listen to an audiobook while I mow, and I just love the feel of it — the hum and vibration of the mower, the smell of the fresh-cut grass, and nature all around me. It’s peaceful. Just me alone with a book or my thoughts. It’s become a favorite part of my week.
We got together with some new friends from church to celebrate the 4th of July together. We ate a pitch-in meal, met some new people, toured their organic farm, watched fireworks, and roasted marshmallows over a fire. It was a lovely evening, and I shared a bit of it in a recent YouTube vlog if you want to check that out.
I know things aren’t ideal here in America at the moment, but that doesn’t mean I’m not grateful to live here or unwilling to celebrate this national holiday. I think it’s important for us to show our children that even though we may not like or agree with everything that’s going on in our country, we can still be a good citizen, stand up for our beliefs and rights, and show our appreciation to those who’ve made our country the great place that it is.
We recently headed out of town to do some shopping at Sam’s Club, and we took the boys out for a little ice cream treat at a local frozen yogurt shop.
We haven’t been to one of those as a family in a couple of years, and I now know why! LOL! We set boundaries on how much ice cream the boys can have as well as on how many treats they can put on the top because they have a tendency to overdo it! Nonetheless, it’s still quite expensive for all of us to get ice cream this way, and it certainly isn’t healthy. I guess if we only do it every couple of years, and it’s a good family memory, it’s okay. I agree with the French philosophy of food in that everything is meant to be enjoyed in moderation, and I have to remind myself not to be overly health-conscious all the time.
I snapped this photo of the two oldest boys after ice cream, and it captures their personalities perfectly. Judah is generally composed and serious, and Isaiah is wild and goofy!
So there you go. Some pictures of recently enjoyed things this summer. How’s your summer going so far. Are you busy? If so, what with? Are you making sure to take some time, even just an hour a week, to slow down and nourish yourself? Summer is a perfect time to go, go, go more than you normally would during other times of the year, but we can’t forget that we still need a little rest here and there.
Happy summer, friends!