Lupines growing in the wild.

Wild lupines – a favorite summer sight. (Image courtesy Misha M. Johnson)

There’s nothing more anticipated than summertime lounging, whether on a lakeside deck, at the beach, in the park or on a rooftop. As a farmer, I don’t kick back for long stretches of time during the warmer months because I want to pack in all the outdoor activities I’ve been dreaming about since winter. There are freshly sprouted tomatoes to enjoy, rivers to jump in – not to mention herbs to plant, weed, harvest, blend and package… Somehow it feels like there still aren’t enough hours in each day – however much longer – but I try to make the most of summer with a few key tips. Feel free to add your own favorite ways to enjoy summer in the comments section below.

– Eat at least one meal outside per day (coffee on the stoop counts!).

– Line-dry your laundry – or at the very least your sheets – for a whiff of sunshine when your head hits the pillow.

– Pick a lot of fruit and freeze your bounty. That way you can enjoy the taste of summer all winter long in your smoothies, baked goods and morning cereal.

– Another way to preserve the warmer months: pickle fiddleheads, scallion flowers, rhubarb, green beans – the possibilities are endless. (For a complete education in lacto-fermentation, pick up a book by Sandor Katz.) Added bonus: Fermentation occurs quicker when the temperature rises, so now’s the perfect time to start your kombucha, sourdough or kefir culture.

– Let the grass grow long at least in one area of your backyard and fill your house with fragrant wildflower bouquets. If you mow your lawn too frequently, you never discover which varieties of wildflowers live right underfoot.

– Walk barefoot in the grass before going to bed to help release the day’s tension.

– Try building a simple trellis and plant beans, peas or hops along the posts. Not only will you be able to enjoy the extra bit of shade, you’ll also get a free edible harvest!

– Spice up your morning iced coffee (one of the simplest and most satisfying of summer beverages) by filling an ice cube tray with the following mix: 1 cup milk, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and ½ teaspoon ground cardamom. The cubes keep the coffee cold and strong (no need to add milk) as they slowly melt.

No matter where you live, I hope you can soak up summer to the fullest. And may the warmth stay with you throughout the year!

Raspberries and chamomile collected for summer. (Image courtesy Misha M. Johnson)

Collect summer’s bounty for the colder months – or to enjoy now. (Image courtesy Misha M. Johnson)

Images courtesy Misha M. Johnson.

Taylor Mardis Katz is a poet and a farmer living with her partner in the hills of central Vermont. Together, they run Free Verse Farm, a small herb farm specializing in culinary herbs, tisanes, medicinals and herbal remedies. Follow Taylor online at panacheperhaps.com.

How do you enjoy summer and make it last all year round?

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