Monday, August 12, 2013

Late Summer Life

Here on the Cape we do not want to see summer end, although the end of summer does mean the end of the massive influx of Summer People. The days of light traffic and easy access to everything are coming into view. Because of the buffering effects of the surrounding ocean we do enjoy pleasant temperatures a little longer, but the ordinary and common effects of astronomical fall are inescapable. Shorter days are here, and cooler temperatures with them. Long bike rides are easier, but they must take place earlier to avoid riding at dusk. Our early sunrises are offset by early sunsets.

Yesterday we packed up early and went to the Cape Cod National Seashore. Even leaving here early in the morning did not get us a parking place at my favorite beach, but since they are all wonderful I was happy to settle for Marconi Beach. I actually went into the water, which is a big deal for me. In general my standards for sea bathing are set by the Gulf of Mexico. If the water is cooler than 84° I will not be going in there. Yesterday the water temperature was around 62°. This is about as warm as it gets on the Atlantic side, so I sucked it up and went in. Extra "refreshing", but big fun. Shana and Dea saw a couple of seals, but no sharks were spotted yesterday.

In the garden life moves on. Spring flowers bloom and the plants turn their energies to producing the seed and roots needed for next year. Some disappear underground, leaving empty spaces. Some remain visible in the garden with ratty foliage that needs a haircut to present the minimum of decent appearance. The first plantings of peas and lettuce gives way to the succession plantings, while carrots grow and sweeten. I turn away from new planting and into planning for next year. What do I need to add here to keep blooms all summer? Should I overplant the spring ephemerals with annuals next year? What needs to be moved to accommodate a bigger plant than expected? Should the forsythia be cut back hard next year or do I need to move everything under it to a spot with less competition? The existing beds are full, and the planning moves to the beds which will be the focus next year. How many yards of mulch will be needed? Will the path me mulch or will we leave it in grass for another year? With a long winter ahead to plan for my garden I pore over catalogs and websites. Early planning invites my plant greediness; as the time gets closer I will make more realistic choices. Over the winter I will have time to evaluate how much clear area I need for piling up snow and how far into the yard ice treatment chemicals intrude.

I will have house guests in September, so there are some little cosmetic projects that will have to be completed before they arrive. The timing calls attention to how little will be in bloom in the garden when they are here, but I don't think it will be a problem this year. The first visitors are coming for a memorial service for my father in law; family will be the main interest then. My second group will be friends from Oklahoma City - I can't wait to see them and show them around my new home. We will surely spend some of our time beaching it and some valuable cocktail time.

Gift knitting is in full swing, and my inventory grows in a satisfying way. I am thinking more often of family as I create gifts made of equal parts of yarn and love. Every stitch holds a loving thought.

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