End of Summer Joys


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. 

I love to display vintage children’s books as seasonal decor. This one from 1970 sums up my sentiments exactly.

I love to display vintage children’s books as seasonal decor. This one from 1970 sums up my sentiments exactly.

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 current view from our hammock. Pretty soon, this maple tree’s leaves will turn colors and drop.

The current view from our hammock. Pretty soon, this maple tree’s leaves will turn colors and drop.

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.

My favorite late summer flower is in full bloom, (cleome, or spider plant)

My favorite late summer flower is in full bloom, (cleome, or spider plant).

The dwarf french marigolds still look good, and with fall tones to boot.

The dwarf french marigolds still look good, and with fall tones to boot.

The sedum Autumn Splendor is starting to show fall color.

The sedum, “Autumn Splendor”, is starting to show fall color.

Time for mums!

Time for mums!

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.

A high-flying motorcyclist wows the crowd at the Bridgewater Fair.

A high-flying motorcyclist wows the crowd at the Bridgewater Fair.

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. 


I always said I was as short as a garden gnome!

I always said I was as short as a garden gnome!

We also ate at the Steak Loft in Mystic, a New England tradition since 1973, and stopped at the fun shops (including a Scandinavian shop) in Olde Mistic Village.

On another day we all had off together, we headed to our local zoo, something we had not done since my daughter was little!


Tortoise party!

Tortoise party!

My face, when I realize that summer is ending.

My face, when I realize that summer is ending.

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!


A day’s bounty from my little garden.

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!

Windy country roads sprinkled with farm markets - a Connecticut joy.

Winding country roads sprinkled with farm markets – a charming Connecticut joy.



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!

Purple cauliflower from Stone

Purple cauliflower from Stone Gardens Farm

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. 

My favorite vendor is Seacoast Mushrooms…worth the 45 minute drive I take to get to the market.

My favorite vendor at the Westport Farmers Market is Seacoast Mushrooms…the mushrooms there are worth the 45-minute drive I take to get to the market.

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.

Lion’s Mane, right, is my favorite. Soooo delicious!

Lion’s Mane, right, is my favorite. Soooo delicious! I can’t wait to also try the Pink Oyster variety, left. 

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!

If I am not cooking fresh mushrooms right away, I store them in a paper bag in the fridge.

If I am not cooking fresh mushrooms right away, I store them in a paper bag in the fridge.

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.

Grow lil’ punkins, grow!

Grow lil’ punkins, grow!

I’m still picking tomatoes, eggplant, squash, and cucumber, enjoying fresh herbs, and of course, canning!


Got tomatoes?

Got tomatoes?

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. 

We’ve seen so many little babies, like this fawn, all over town.

We’ve seen so many little babies, like this fawn, all over town.

“Smoke Puff” the beautiful black squirrel, gathering food for winter.

Smoke Puff” the beautiful black squirrel, gathering food for winter.

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

  1. Debbie Fischer says:

    Reading all about your dolls Nicole and how you bring them back to life with TLC was great!
    You made it so interesting, I will never look at a well loved doll the same again.
    Thank you so much.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Debbie, thank you! It was an ‘accidental’ hobby, but I enjoy it so very much. Keeps them out of the landfill, too! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  2. Julie says:

    Thank you for your uplifting blog about Summer. It seemed short this year, but we are still SO grateful to be out and about this summer…
    Loved seeing pictures of your adventures .
    Enjoyed seeing the different Vendors you came across. Would like to try, the different types of mushrooms you described…

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Julie, thank you! It did really seem like a short summer here, too, but I think it was because it was such a good one. It is cooler this morning, and I am already seeing less birds.

      The farmers market is such fun! I think I read that it goes on until November, too. I am hooked on those mushrooms! So tasty! Thanks for reading and commenting. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  3. Rosie Brock says:

    Thank you – love the sentiments

  4. Deb says:

    Hi Nicole,

    Thanks for the yummy recipe, article and lovely pictures.

    I always plant dahlias, lantana, fuchia, etc to attract the hummingbirds to my backyard. I am always delighted to have them at my feeders and flowers. So tiny and what a miracle.

    I will miss the fresh veggies and fruits that summer brings, but I am looking forward to pumpkins, cider, and my favorite meal-Thanksgiving dinner.

    Enjoy the rest of summer

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Debbie, your flower garden sounds wonderful! You are so right – they are amazing little miracles! I love the things you mentioned about fall – and Halloween! And Thanksgiving is so delicious! Enjoy your summer and your autumn! Thanks for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  5. Marilyn says:

    Glad you had a nice Summer. We visited Mystic Seaport many years ago. We are waiting for the cool,crisp Autumn weather. Enjoy Fall.
    Joan,Marion and Marilyn

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Joan, Marion and Marilyn, that is so neat that you visited Mystic Seaport! It is one of my favorite places in Connecticut. It is still warm here during the day, but the evenings are cooler, not yet crisp, though! Soon! Enjoy your fall, and thanks for stopping by the blog! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  6. We seem to be ahead of you in moving into Fall here on Vancouver Island. Our maple leaves are already changing colour and I am winding down my garden. I still have tomatoes coming as well as squash and pumpkins. I must say I enjoy the cooler nights as I am able to sleep much better and am looking forward to fully enjoying Fall, my favourite season.

    Thanks for sharing your recipe. I will have to give it a try.

    Farmgirl hugs,
    Jill 🙂

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Jill, another few weeks, and our maple trees will be beautiful colors. I, too, enjoy the cooler nights; I can’t sleep when I am too warm. It’s not quite cool enough at night yet to turn off the a/c. I have been putting out some fall touches. I have put out mums and corn stalks, and pumpkins. It is a beautiful season ahead. Thanks for reading and commenting! Enjoy your Fall season. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  7. Marti Wynne says:

    Thanks for sharing. I love the black squirrel. I love this change of season as it unfolds. I live in Georgia and the humidity has not left but cooler mornings have begun. Ahhhh
    Every day is a treasure

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Marti, isn’t that little squirrel just the cutest!? He makes me happy every time I see him pop into the yard. My mom is in Georgia, too. 🙂 Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  8. Anita edmonds says:

    Nicely done. You sound busy but in a relaxed balanced way. Unstressed. I did many of those things in my younger days.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Anita, thank you. I try to unwind as much as I can over the summer because the rest of the year does get a bit scheduled, and it is so easy to feel overwhelmed in the fall and winter months. We also see so little sunshine in winter that we try to savor every bit of summer. Thank you for dropping by the blog and leaving a comment! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  9. Denise says:

    Lovely post! Though summer is not my favorite season, I do enjoy longer daylight. We have started to have cooler mornings. We still have a few hot days coming but those won’t be many. Fall is my favorite time of year. I have already changed out my decor but will wait for cooler days before getting my mums to put out. Just adore those lovely colors. Our Sedum is already bloomed here. It is so pretty and draws lots of bees and tiny butterflies. Enjoy these last beautiful days of summer time!☀️

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Denise, all my fall decor is now up, and we are getting cooler evenings and mornings like you. The blooms are starting to fade, and the leaves are now starting to show fall color. The sedum is in full color, and so pretty! Soon the late fall will bring much colder weather, and the holidays will be here before we know it. Summer went so fast! Thanks for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

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