The Summer Solstice or the first official day of summer is June 21. It is also known as the “longest” day of the year because it has the greatest number of daylight hours than any other day of the year.
As I wrote about last year at this time, I love summer because for me, it is all about the food. More specifically, it is about the fresh produce and tastes of summer.
Summer fruits and vegetables are plentiful and it is the easiest time of the year to eat with the seasons because there are so many great things to choose from including watermelon, corn, tomatoes, strawberries, and peaches, plums and nectarines.
But there are other ways to celebrate summer other than simply enjoying summer produce. Here are a few simple ways to reconnect with the rhythm and warmth of summer and to slow down and enjoy it.
Make sun tea. I know there are all kinds of fancy iced-tea makers on the market, I even have one. But, to me, nothing brings me back to the lazy days of summer than a container full of sun tea. No matter how busy or stressful my day is, watching the sun work its magic on those tea bags always gives me a great big smile. Watching the water transform into tea is also a great way for kids to be part of the summer fun. It is simple to make. Just use 1 teabag for each pint of water and leave it outside in a clear container to steep in the sun for at least an hour. When it’s done, you can add your own special touches like honey, mint, or other sweeteners along with some ice.
Read a good book. While I am a big fan of nonfiction and read a lot for my work as a farm and garden writer, there’s nothing that helps me escape into the lazy days of summer more than a great story. This is especially true if I am sitting under a nice, shady tree enjoying my freshly brewed sun tea.
Have a picnic, even if it is just in your own backyard. Just eating outdoors is one way to enjoy your food more because you tend to slow down and observe the beauty of nature around you.
This next one is a radical notion for many, including me since I tried to consciously do this last summer. This is to just simply do nothing, or to have unscheduled time to relax. I know it goes against everything our modern society stands for, but when I think of the happiest times I had when I was a kid in the summer, it was when I was star gazing, or lying on the grass watching the clouds, or just sitting with friends and family and laughing and talking.
Related to that is to simply spend some time outside. Each person has their own favorite outdoor space for relaxing and that helps them unwind. For some it’s the woods or the beach, or even in their own garden or relaxing on the grass under a giant, shady tree. This is a great way to de-stress and to enjoy the season. Try something really drastic and ignore the cell phone or even leave it in the house for a while.