Is this not the absolutely most wonderful, glorious time of the year? Summer, when all of our senses are actively engaged, maybe even overly actively engaged. I enjoy all four seasons, but right now it seems to me that Mother Nature is at her finest. We have had an unusually cool, wet start to our summer but that only seems to be bothering us humans. The flora, fauna and maybe even Merry Weather ( who is old enough to get this one?) seem to be sailing along quite nicely, thank you. I’m an early bird so most mornings I am on the front porch by 5:30 am after making coffee, letting the dog out, emptying the dishwasher and feeding the cats. Just in time to “lift mine eyes unto the hills,” and see the rosy glow over the Kettle Range that signifies the sun is about to crest. Minute by minute the sky lightens and shades of blue, grey, yellow and pink illuminate the overhead clouds until suddenly the arching globe of the sun appears over the ridge top. And I smile. A large, beaming smile.
The first of many smiles on these glorious summer days. Sitting contentedly on the front porch with Otto my dog, at my feet, I hear the trilling of many, many species of song birds coming to life as they welcome a new day. So many birds with so many songs that it is almost impossible to decipher who I am hearing. Doesn’t matter to me, I am happy to hear and see them all. Mountain Bluebirds, Violet Green Swallows, Evening Grosbeaks and Gold Finch are daily visitors. The Quail racing across the pasture with their tiny babies is so entertaining. Zoom, Zip, Zap! The hummingbirds are awake, hungry and have babes to feed. They race back and worth to the feeders and to the petunias in the hanging baskets. No longer skittish in my presence, they hover within a hands length as I fill the red glass feeder with sugar water, then dive right in to drink their life sustenance.
Our Resident Bluebirds!
Our tiny Calliope Hummingbirds.
My sense of smell is engaged as I inhale the sweet aroma of the pink, purple, red and lavender petunias in both the hanging baskets and the flower pots on the porch steps.
I love watching the Cosmos swaying in the breeze.
Slowly but surely we are getting the side yard “styled.”
I have a whole row of Sunflowers in the garden facing the road so everyone can enjoy seeing them.
Donning work shoes, I head to the garden and my patch of herbs which I have been nurturing along for months. Suddenly they have had a growth spurt and I am inundated with parsley and dill along with rosemary, thyme, sage and basil. The aroma of each herb heightens my sense of smell. The woodsy scent of rosemary, so reminiscent of pine and cedar holds a special place in my heart. The scent of basil makes my mouth water as I dream of homemade pesto gracing linguine this winter. The sharp unmistakable scent of dill makes me wish the cucumbers were ready and I had pickles in the crock. Nibbling on a sage leaf, my taste buds explode as I dream of savory stews to be enjoyed come autumn. But, it is thyme that I use most often and in all four seasons. Lovely frittatas filled with seasonal vegetables and scented with thyme. Oh my, life without herbs would be dreadfully dull to me.
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme along with Dill and Basil.
Trudging up the steep hillside and I do mean “trudging,” the flowers are my reward. The hillside evens out onto a flat area we call the “bench.” This flat area is covered with the most incredible variety of wildflowers you can imagine. Yellow, pink, purple, white, orange and red. Each flower with its own lovely scent. Teeny tiny blooms that you need to kneel in front of to appreciate to the large wild purple Lupine. No fancy perfume can ever compete with the aroma of our wild flowers. They are such a gift to see and smell.
Sitting here on the hillside bench, we are blessed with fabulous views of Curlew Lake from north to south. The coves and bays with their areas of sunshine and shadow are so enticing. From here we can watch the fishing boats heading out to their not so secret spots with hopes of a rainbow trout meal in their future.
We observe the deer every day and pretty much know our resident herd. Once in a while there may be a newcomer but for now we have three doe on the hill behind the house and three more that graze the fields to the north that we watch outside the dining room windows. We watched the doe as their bellies grew larger and anxiously awaited the arrival of the fawns. Two weeks ago I watched a doe emerge from the hawthorn thicket near the pond. She would walk a few steps and then stop and looked over her shoulder. Then she walked a few more steps, stopped and looked over her shoulder. This went on for three days. I said to myself, “she has a fawn down there.” Then on day three the doe emerged from the thicket and stopped. I followed her gaze as she looked over her shoulder to the hawthorn thicket and was blessed to see a wee little fawn step forward on shaky legs out of the safety of the hawthorns and wobble forward until he reached the doe and began to nurse. Moments like this make my heart skip a beat.
Yesterday, Dan walked that fence line and roused a little fawn who was sleeping in the weeds.
This Mule Deer buck, for whatever reason, keeps visiting us in the yard!
This year our son, daughter in law and their three month old baby, Jack were here for opening day of “U Pick Cherry” season. Advised to “taste before you pick” because the owners wanted us to like the varieties that we picked, we were overwhelmed with the incredible abundance of the sweet dark red globes. Molly said with delight and an enormous smile on her face, “I love cherries so much that this is just the best day ever!” The cherries were and are so plump, full and incredibly sweet! Seeing the joyful expressions on the faces of the people picking cherries, including my husband, I would have to agree that it was the best day ever! On the same day, we thought we should check on our favorite secret Huckleberry patch. We thought that due to the cool, wet start to summer that the Huckleberries would be a week or two from being ready. Wrong! The bushes were both loaded with large purple berries and they were bursting with that sweet tart unmistakable Huckleberry flavor. I have already made Huckleberry Jam and Huckleberry Muffins. Our freezer has enough to last us through a long winter.
This is in the orchard where we picked Cherries!
Wild Mountain Huckleberries! So labor intensive to pick but oh…so worth it!
We hiked the path around one of the numerous small lakes up here in Ferry County and were blessed to see two adult common loons with two chicks! They were resting peacefully partially hidden by overhanging trees and shrubs. Hearing their plaintiff haunting call early in the morning always gives me the chills.
For me, just being able to walk out the door without donning a jacket, hat, boots and gloves makes me appreciate this wonderful summer. Our four barn cats are so contented stretched out on the sun heated boulders by the shed. They are so relaxed they appear to have melted right into the scenery! When they have had enough of the sun, they stroll over to the grassy area under the willow tree to take yet another nap. These kitties earn their keep around here. Never a day goes by without a couple of mice being left by the back porch. I reward them with a head scratch and a “good kitty”
How to grow a kitty.
Watching my husband hard at work in his garden wearing a wide brimmed straw hat brings a smile to my face. He has carefully started many vegetables from seed and transplanted them twice before finally putting them in the ground. We both go out every morning to see how much they have grown overnight. It is a wondrous sight to observe the tomato plants growing from tiny seeds to three foot tall bushes supported by wood trellises and now sporting bright yellow blossoms that soon will be tomatoes. Being able to grow some of our own food is soul satisfying. Knowing the fruits and vegetables will soon grace our table is its own reward for the hours and hours of labor put into it.
Dan gardening under the watchful eyes of Miss Bandit.
Yes, it is a wonderful and glorious time of the year and we are so thankful its gifts.
Friends, thank you for stopping by today! I am mindful that not everyone can get outdoors and enjoy the beauty of summer. But I hope that these pictures brighten your day and bring a smile to your heart. Wherever your journey takes you this summer, I hope you can make memories. Memories to last a lifetime.
Hugs and much love from me,
PS: Stop by my website at www.thejourneygirl.com and leave me a comment. I do love hearing from you.