5 Things I Love & Hate About Summer

 

I have been (and am continuing) working like a complete madwoman. So this is just a quickie.Beavering away, chained to a laptop is not so bad when it’s a bit dull and dreary as it has been over the past week or so. But when it’s a glorious day like today – not too hot, fresh breeze, scattered clouds in an otherwise brilliantly blue sky – it’s really rotten. I could sit in my conservatory and work, but it gets really hot and I can’t see the screen properly. Believe me, I try and after a while have to give up and retreat into the darker depths of the house.

So to cheer myself up in a brief interlude after my lunch (hastily gobbled cheese baguette), I’ve decided to do a little list. I love lists.

5 Things I Love About Summer

Buddleia

1. Flowers. This is glaringly obvious, but when you think to some of the dreariness of winter (if, like me you’re yet to grapple with the skill of seasonal planting for colour), the riot of colour bursting forth everywhere is a joy. I think it really does make you feel more cheerful.

Bee

2. Bees, Moths and Butterflies. OK, glaring obvious again and linked to flowers, but these guys are not only beautiful and fun to watch, they’re also vital to THE SURVIVAL OF ALL MANKIND. Not completely vital, but they do play a heck of an important role in pollinating many of the foods that we rely on. As do other pollinators, but butterflies, moths and bees are pretty too. So pay homage to these wee beasties and plant lots of pollen and nectar-rich flowers and shrubs: buddleia, echinachea, foxgloves, verbena bonariensis, cosmos, sedum, lavender, borage – in fact, any flowering herb – and achillea are just the tip of the iceberg.

onion_skins.jpg

3. Eating my Own Veg. If you read this blog regularly (and if you do, thank you SO much) you may know that when it comes to seasonal veg growing, I’m rubbish. I just don’t pull my thumb out. I make charts and diagrams and all sorts, and then don’t take action. So most of my veg is produced during the late spring, summer and into the late autumn. Around this time of year in summer I am enjoying the fruits of my (limited) labour. There’s just no comparison to food that’s done food metres and not food miles. And yes, you do feel a bit smug when you tell everyone about how you made the most delicious meal with your own home-grown veggies and fruit.

speed boat

4. Lots of Sunlight. Well yes – we get more sunlight in summer, everybody knows that. But although I’m not adverse to winter evening tucked in front of the fire with a blanket and flanked by a few cats, I do enjoy the extra energy and vitality that the extra hours of sunshine bring. I feel better, and I think I look better. I have quite pale skin, and in winter sometimes I can look a bit like the walking dead. Summer brings a glow to my skin, and I’m pretty sure I can feel the extra benefits of increased Vit D production. Also, having the extra time to work later into the evenings is a blessing.

5. Being Able to Visit Lots of Places. In the summer, if you want to visit somewhere or just go out, you don’t have to contend with wrapping yourself in sixteen layers to make sure you don’t feel uncomfortably cold (unless of course you live in London, where my friend Ben assures me you can walk around in a t-shirt all year round). I, probably like most females, feel the cold very easily and I become a grumpy, whinging lump if I’m forced to be outside when I’m feeling cold. So trips out can be a trial for Rich if I’m not happy about being there. In summer though, it’s more of a delight. Visiting parks, gardens, the beach, your local cafe – it all seems so much more carefree and easy doesn’t it?

I’m all about balance, so here’s another list:

5 Things I Don’t Like About Summer

1. Flies. I won’t use the word hate, but I intensely dislike flies. In summer, they’re everywhere – hovering around chicken poo pretty much as soon as they plop it out, scavenging around any microbe of cat food that’s left in the food bowl seconds after the cats have moved away, buzzing around my bin (especially since ruddy Council has switched to bi-monthly bin collections) and laying mangy maggots in it. YUCK! They’re just the most irritating thing about summer. And the worst part is that they can cause real damage in the form of flystrike. Pattie has been unwell lately, and her botty gets a bit messy. No sooner do we give her rear end a wash and blow dry, she squits another one out and messes the area up again. The other night we’d checked her bum whilst she was dozing in the nestbox. By mid morning the next day I was horrified to find she had flystrike and the maggots had hatched and were causing blood and general havoc. Pleased to say we got it cleared up, but it can really happen that fast – they only need around 12 hours to hatch and start feeding, so check your animals at least twice a day – particularly rabbits and chickens. Hedgehogs often fall foul of flystrike too. If you see one with fly eggs or a wound get it to a wildlife hospital or to your local vet quick sharp.

2. Heat Waves. I’m probably even more rubbish on intensely hot days than I am in the deep depths of winter. When I get too hot I get a massive throbbing headache, and everything seems to take thrice the amount of effort. So on really hot days where the temperature approaches or breaks the 30 degrees celcius mark, I simply lock myself away in our cool house and wait for it to be over. Of course, I have to tend to the animals as well and make sure they’re comfortable. The chooks hate hot weather and retreat to the back and side of the shed, were it’s perpetually shaded and cool. The rabbit house and most of the run is always in the shade as they’re not sun worshippers at all. They also have milk bottles filled with water that have been frozen in the fridge. They like to lie next to or on top of them until it’s cool enough to start hopping about again.

3. Ice Cream Van Jingles. I think our ice cream van men are in the midst of a turf war. From about Feb To Oct each year we are subjected to the incessant jingle jangle of ice cream van Muzak. I wouldn’t complain if it was once every now and then, but wherever they go, it seems to resonate around the whole town. So you end up with ‘Oh I Do Like To Be Beside the Seaside/Camptown Races/English Country Garden’ etc. going round and round in your head for days afterwards.

blackbird

4. Dawn Choruses. Well, I don’t dislike them entirely. They are spectacular. But when you’ve been working late and you’re awoken by an overzealous blackbird, sparrows that must have little megaphones and booming woodpigeons, sometimes it can grow a little thin. And why is it that just as you’re dropping off…they start all over again!

pokey winking

5. Early mornings. Sort of in line with dawn choruses. If I wasn’t magnificently tired in the mornings, I would love them. In principle, I do. Dewy grass, blue skies, the quiet and calm (apart from dawn chorus). But in reality, in the throes of summer I have to drag myself out of bed between 5:00 – 5:45am to let chookies out. If we leave them too long, they start making alarm calls and shouting from inside the henhouse. Bunbuns come out then too. Cats are usually climbing over me to wake me up for breakfast. Rich and I take turns to get up, but sometimes you can’t help but long for the relatively later mornings in winter when you can have a lie in until gone 7.

How about you?

NB: Was supposed to be a quick blog entry. Somehow it’s turned into a mammoth post. Best get back to work now…

Comments

  1. We’ve kept hens for sixteen years and I had no idea that they could get fly strike – just shows how you learn new things all the time.

    You can buy spray-on products to prevent fly strike on sheep. Perhaps your vet might know of something similar to use on rabbits and hens.

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