The best things about summer

Sadly today marks the last day of summer for us.

The nights are getting cooler and the days markedly shorter.

This year we fenced the birds out and ate the raspberries ourselves!

This year we fenced the birds out and ate the raspberries ourselves!

The vegetable garden which has produced many hundreds of kilos of tomatoes, egg plant (brinjals), zucchinis, squashes, beans, spinach and rhubarb is starting to slow its production as the lower temperatures slow their growth. No complaints about the quality and abundance in that patch which has been watered well during the growing season. Many of the tomatoes have been dried for later use.

Lots of fruit and vegetables mean lots of bottling and preserving.

Lots of fruit and vegetables mean lots of bottling and preserving.

The fruit trees outdid themselves again this year, and we have bottled, dried, turned into jam and eaten many more hundreds of kilos of citrus and stone fruit. Some time ago I found a book on no sugar, no syrup techniques for bottling fruit using a microwave oven. My family has watched me preserve fruit like this for years and it always makes for a full pantry as we move into autumn and winter.

Kunzea baxteri. A beautiful bush in my garden. Appreciated by me and the nectar feeding birds!

Kunzea baxteri. A beautiful bush in my garden. Appreciated by me and the nectar feeding birds!

The garden was spectacular before ‘the dry’ set in in early January. The above Kunzea with its incredibly red ‘flowers’ was a mecca for honeyeaters of all types and me (with my camera!). The Protea garden also excelled and a walk through that part of the garden never failed to delight.

One of my King Proteas - nature at her very best.

One of my King Proteas – nature at her very best.

Cycling around a nearby lake. In summer the water level drops as it is released into the river below.

Cycling around a nearby lake. In summer the water level drops as it is released into the river below for downstream irrigators.

Summer is also a time to relax and do things like taking long rides on bicycles and there are lots of places to ride. This year the bricklaying messed up the riding time, (see here for details) but, well, there is always next year 🙂

Summertime is when you can have fun riding your bike on the beach.

Summertime is also when you can have a lot of fun riding your bike on the beach.

The past two months have been rather on the hot side in our city. Usually this is not a problem, but we have been in a ‘rain shadow’, and where many parts of our country are currently dealing with floodwaters, we have got big, long cracks in the soil where the harsh sun has been relentless. Many trees and shrubs held on for as long as they could, but have died in the past weeks.

But last night we were offered an olive branch (so to speak!). We had a bit over an inch of rain (34mm for those metrically inclined). It was just fantastic!

The vegetation has perked up, the dust has all been washed off and the frogs are croaking happily again in the garden pond.

So everything is good with the natural world …… but I am still sad that my favourite season is over for another 9 months!

Postscript: Apparently we have just had the (officially) driest February in our area for the last 14 years!

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13 Responses to The best things about summer

  1. The nights are getting cooler here too, but it’s still hot during the day. Would have thought with the heat-waves that Australia has been having, you’d be excited about Autumn.

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    • Madoqua says:

      Lots of people like Autumn and Spring because of the cooler temperatures, but I still love the summertime best!
      The rainy weather has cooled the nights and days and it will no doubt warm up again, but there is an Autumn feel to the outdoors – probably because the days are noticeably shorter.

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  2. elizz says:

    wow, those fruits and vegetables preserves looks good and delish 😉

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    • Madoqua says:

      Thanks elizz, it takes a lot of time, but I really hate waste, so try to preserve as much as I can. I now have two fruit/vegetable driers and they are fantastic!

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  3. Wow ! How wonderful to read about bountiful gardens and the bottling and preserving. I have an extremely brown thumb and it’s so refreshing to see your harvest and the beautiful flowers in your garden. Loved it 🙂

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    • Madoqua says:

      Thank you so much Glass Bangle! I do enjoy the garden and we are lucky to have plenty of space for things like those stunning Proteas. We are very fortunate to be able to grow all these lovely things.

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  4. Ian Fraser says:

    I share your gloom at the end of summer! Here insult was added to injury yesterday when the last day of summer was cold, wet, windy and generally vile… As I get older I get more impatient with autumn-winter and would happily cycle back and forth from spring to summer and back. Love your produce; I do miss a big garden sometimes.

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  5. drawandshoot says:

    A lovely tribute to summer. It looks so exotic! Your pictures are lovely.

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  6. pommepal says:

    That protea is stunning. Congratulations on all the preserves even in such a dry season. Our crazy weaher continues It has been raining continually for over a week now. I’m sure February is going to be one of the wettest on record over here in QLD

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    • Madoqua says:

      It is so amazing that you are getting so much rain.
      We are inland, west of the snowy mountains and it is so dry. The rain we had is gone and we are now scanning the skies yet again!

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    • Madoqua says:

      Thanks for the appreciation regarding the jams and preserves. They take a long time, but do leave a feeling of satisfaction when they are all done and lined up in the pantry!

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