There’s a breeze blowing softly through the trees as I sit outside on my back porch and write. It’s 82 degrees, but we have a reprieve, for the first time in weeks, in the relentless humidity that often occurs in the late summer in New England. There’s a change in the air, signaling the coming change in the seasons. I am a bit wistful to see this season go, as it has been one of the best summers my family has had in years, especially since the start of the Pandemic. Still, there are so many joys to be found in the transition of this time of year.
It’s been a picturesque, sunny and dry summer. Though we are technically in a drought, I am not too fearful we will catch up, as Mother Nature usually does. The sunny, hot days brought wonderful, relaxing afternoons, and less stress with being less-scheduled.
There is so much beauty in the summer season in New England. I have enjoyed every minute. I am a person who likes to be busy, but I have enjoyed my down time relaxing, swimming, knitting, sewing, and reading.
The trees will be changing soon, and a few are already dropping their leaves (drought brings an early leaf-drop). Many of summer’s blooms have faded. However, some of my favorite flowers are now in bloom.
We visited the beach recently, for the first time in three years! My daughter and I enjoyed the day, watching the birds and the waves roll into shore. The water is still warm enough to walk along the shore or take a dip in. It made my soul happy to see the ocean.
Late summer and early fall bring the county fairs! At our local Bridgewater Country Fair, record numbers flocked to the fair, a sign that we weren’t the only people who missed this tradition the last few years! We ate roast beef sandwiches, and enjoyed walking around the grounds.
There are still a number of fairs scheduled in New York and all through New England through the end of September. (I also attended a fun “Vintage Market” with a few girlfriends recently, also held at a fairground. FUN)!
Now is a great time to see outdoor sights. We visited Mystic Seaport a few weeks ago, but it was so hot and humid, we will return again soon now that the weather is cooled. (We like to support our favorite museums when we can with a membership; a few visits and the membership pays for itself). We had not been in awhile, and as we walked around, we thought back to the happy memories of the many times we had come with family or friends that visited us through the years.
On another day we all had off together, we headed to our local zoo, something we had not done since my daughter was little!
The animals at the zoo are more active now that the extreme heat and humidity has subsided. It’s also so much more relaxing for me now that my daughter is an adult and I am not constantly trying to keep track in a zoo of a small kiddo!
Also right now, I love all the wonderful colors and treats this time of year on my plate because it’s harvest time!
Even though I keep a large vegetable garden, one of my most favorite things about this time of year are the local farms and farmers markets! I love heading to them to pick up items that aren’t ready for picking in my own garden, or that I do not grow myself.
Last week, my husband and I got a hankerin’ for pie, so we headed over to one of our favorite farms, Beardsley’s Cider Mill, where the Beardsley family has been farming since 1849. They make the BEST pies! The strawberry rhubarb pie we brought home was HEAVEN-ON-A-PLATE, especially with a scoop of ice cream!
We also found a wonderful farm nearby, Stone Gardens Farm, that sells fresh veggies like sweet corn ( there is nothing as good as Connecticut sweet corn this time of year), and locally-raised meat and poultry. Our mouth-watering meal that evening was, literally, farm to table!
My friend Sue and I have been hitting the farmers’ markets together this summer. While we love our hometown’s organic farmers’ market, we also love going to the Westport Farmers Market, originally founded by Michel Nischan and Paul Newman!
This particular farmers market is also similar to a street fair. We love to eat lunch there (the tacos are to die for), and grab a delicious cupcake and a refreshing cup of delicious lavender lemonade! There’s live entertainment, fresh veggies from local farmers, baked goods, and all sorts of interesting vendors.
Each visit, I really love trying the different fresh mushrooms from Seacoast Mushrooms. I saute my mushrooms with garden fresh kale, in a bit of olive oil and a touch of Himalayan salt and fresh thyme for a quick, satisfying side dish.
We have discovered that my family’s favorite is the Lions’ Mane variety. The texture is soft, not at all chewy or tough, and the taste is mouthwatering! Each week, I try a different mushroom to go with it. This week I am trying Pink Oyster. I had no idea there were so many delicious kinds!
This has also been the best garden I have personally grown in seasons! Soon, I will add more cold-weather crops and start to pick the little pumpkins I planted early in the season.
I’m still picking tomatoes, eggplant, squash, and cucumber, enjoying fresh herbs, and of course, canning!
Pickles and jam are my favorite things to make, and homemade jam is one of my favorite little “gifts” to friends and family.
My favorite thing to bake this time of year are quick breads. Until I start baking my “famous” pumpkin bread in the coming weeks , I enjoy making Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread, perfect for this time of year for using up a good harvest of zucchini. Dairy free, it’s moist, and even those who don’t like the veggie too much love this loaf!
Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tsp. Cinnamon
- 1 tsp. Baking powder
- 2 cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini
- 1-1/2 cups sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup vegetable oil
Combine first 8 ingredients. Stir in separate bowl the eggs and oil. Combine with other mixture until all is moistened. Pour into greased 9” x 5”x3” loaf pan. Bake 350 for 1 hour 30 minutes.
We’ve also had so many little “visitors” this summer. I will miss seeing some of the “seasonal” friends who frequent my yard during the season.
The seasonal birds have been so much fun to watch. I love the sound of the birds singing in the morning, and the bugs buzzing in the evening. Though I appreciate the quiet peacefulness of the winter snow, I prefer the busy sounds of nature in the spring, summer and early fall months.
The hummingbirds have been busy drinking from my flowers and feeder. I will miss them hovering nearby me when I garden or sit on the porch, and squeaking at me while I pull weeds.
Soon, our laid-back days will be over, and we will become busier and more scheduled again. As the long, hot summer days fade into shorter daylight hours with crisp, early autumn evenings, and my festive red-white-and-blue decor changes to autumnal touches with seasonal pumpkins and harvest colors, I will think back and fondly remember this beautiful summer, spent at “home”, for many years to come.
Hope your end of summer season is great! What is your favorite thing about this time of year? Tell me in comments, or just say ‘hello’! (Remember to do the “captcha” so your comment goes through!
Until Next Time…Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole