“It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.”
―Maud Hart Lovelace
I hope the start of summer never gets old. Like the sound of those first crickets outside your window as you fall asleep under only a sheet, or the way the wind sticks to your skin a little bit when you walk the beach at night. The way warm sand feels between your toes as you race down the path barefoot on your way to that walk. I hope I never lament the whippoorwills or eating so much ice cream or the soft, cottony comfort of a too-big t-shirt on sunburned skin.
Sometimes it is good to be so excited for a season.
July 4th always seems like the midpoint of summer for me, which is strange considering the official start isn’t until June 21. I guess it’s because in southern NC it’s been summer since Memorial Day, and July 4th means only six more weeks until rickety A/C units struggle once again to cool brick schoolhouses in the August heat.
I always say fall is my favorite season, and I am one of those people who really doesn’t mind the cold, either. But if I’m totally honest, I love summer, too. I love living in a place that is so beautiful and where everyone else wishes they could spend the summer just like you. I love watching cherry tomatoes ripen in my little garden and spending every Saturday afternoon watching the waves with Richard. I love basil and pesto and blueberry pie.
I love seeing the people who choose to spend their one week of vacation here with the whole family, chaos and all. I am reminded watching the little girls squeal as they jump over 10,000 waves how fortunate I am to take this place for granted, and I promise to be more grateful a little more often.
But maybe most of all, I love that summer lets us worry a little less, and eat hamburgers a little more. It’s like there are less things to be at and fewer people to perform for, and everyone respects you for finishing three books in one week because you spent so much time at the pool. It’s as if with every extra minute of vitamin D, we are reminded what it feels like to be little. And I think everyone should remember what it’s like to be little – especially on the first day of summer.
Lately we’ve been cooking a lot of good food, and it’s hard to keep up with all the recipes. I planted a little garden with tomatoes and squash and herbs, and it is flourishing so far, much to my surprise.
Richard and I went to the concert in Airlie Gardens last Friday, and it was so much fun. There were so many families, kids everywhere, and a mediocre band playing all the music you know from up on the stage. It was a picture perfect Friday evening: we took our backpack beach chairs (best purchase I’ve made lately), and walked in with our soft cooler filled with seltzer, Modelo, and Cava, along with some to-go quesadillas from K38. The sun dipped behind the live oaks shortly after 6, and we sat in the warm shade and watched people, and watched summer.
Promise me you’ll spend the $9 and go if it’s a pretty Friday afternoon and you are in town.
I made a Key lime pie for father’s day, and a blueberry pie because I picked a LOT of blueberries and needed something to do with them. Richard made some really really good fresh pesto pasta, and I’m also learning how to make drinks (ha!) with my new cocktail kit.
Making 5 good cocktails is one of my goals for 2017, and a strawberry-basil smash was my first attempt. It was good and fresh and bubbly and all the things summer tastes like. It’s also very easy and you can make it, too.
Cheers to summer. Let’s not let it go by too fast.
Strawberry Basil Smash
Makes 2 cocktails
- 4 ripe strawberries (more for garnish)
- 4 fresh basil leaves (more for garnish)
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 oz. vodka
- plain seltzer or sparkling wine to top
- Combine strawberries, basil leaves, juice of 1 lemon, and honey in a cocktail shaker. Muddle well until basil is bruised and strawberries and thoroughly smashed.
- Strain into two glasses and put 1 oz of vodka in each
- Top with sparkling beverage and garnish with whole strawberries and basil leaves.
- Pro tip: eating the strawberries in the bottom of the glass after you’ve finished drinking might be the best thing ever.