Summer is here! At least for us in the northeast. Surely summer is always fun, happy, bright, relaxed… Hmm, probably not relaxed for many, more like hectic. It would be relaxed for students out of school but hectic for those doing summer jobs. It’s never relaxed for people working nine to five or night shifts, part-time, full-time, having two jobs! *o*
But this time let’s focus on “happy.” Like, “happy summer.” Does it bring up pictures of leisurely beach walks, evening barbecues, a lackadaisical day with the kids at the park or lazy strolls down the neighborhood, donning shorts and tees for a hike to McDonald’s to get soft-serve sweet, creamy ice cream…? You probably smell the flowers along the way, or glimpse at the neighbors walking their dogs, or you meet kids roller skating on the sidewalk, or playing basketball in a makeshift goal at the street corner, or you pass by a green patch and get chased by a buzzing bee. Or you bump into a friend at the 7-11 shop or the bunch of classmates who bullied you last Spring at gym. Oh, life. No, no, let’s focus on “happy” and “positive.” By now I guess you know my mantra: physical health is very much dependent on mental and emotional well-being. Happy emotions always point to good health, more motivation and success; whereas, sadness, loss and stress always point to poor health, low energy and less results towards achievement of goals. So, let’s think “summer” and “happy”. What thoughts come to your mind?
When I think of summer I always look forward to seeing things grow. I love gardening, if you would indulge my redundancy. I love watching plants grow. It’s one of the things that give me so much pleasure. I watch every leaf, every tendril reaching out for the skies; I hover over every plant, examine every bud and get excited by the slightest sign of a bloom or fruit. Maybe because with growing plants you see the results of your efforts so quickly; it brings so much satisfaction. Imagine if you’re a teacher and you hardly see your students improve in their reading or math skills. Downer. Or, ponder if you’re a parent teaching a child how to be consistent with going to school on time or making his own bed or washing his own dish. Or, picture yourself as a pastor and you’re counseling a person who can’t seem to get over his low self-image or his rejection. Or, suppose you’re a parent of a special needs child – like me – who’s teaching his / her child the life skill of folding the laundry but every time the child does not even have half the mind of being into it. Ugh. Most often it’s hard work and slow getting results when working with humans; but with plants, just a little water, some sunshine and good soil and voile, you have verdant produce in no time!
Maybe some of you get as much satisfaction caring for pets or farm animals. I have no pets so I focus on my plants. You must be wondering whether the rose bud I had last Valentine’s Day eventually bloomed. Well, it did six days later and my, how it flaunted many more flowers after that!
It was a Christmas rose I bought on, yes, Christmas Eve last year. It was among the last ones on the shelf so I didn’t have much choice. It wasn’t pure red, much as I wanted a simple red rose plant. It was mottled with white for that Christmas effect. It had four flowers but they soon dried up after Christmas. Most people would just throw the pot away but I trimmed it and kept it watered to see if it would survive. It did! And that’s how I got those buds I had hoped to bloom on Valentine’s. It had three flowers and when those dried up, I trimmed the plant again and it produced four more!
Now that it’s summer I planted the bitter gourd seeds I collected from my harvest of two years ago. Yes, it’s been two years! I didn’t get to plant my vegetables last year but this year I am back puttering round my backyard again!
I chose to plant bitter gourd once more because it is the easiest to grow and I have seeds from my produce of two years ago. I also hope to harvest enough to make them into smoothies this hot summer season. Speaking of hot, it hit 95 degrees Fahrenheit for us here a few times this past two weeks!
However, I was surprised that not all of the seeds sprouted up. I dug up the mounds where no seeds sprouted but the seeds were all gone. How did that happen? Do squirrels actually dig them up? I didn’t see any signs of digging though.
I noticed a seedling or two turned up stunted, like they were pecked upon. I guess the birds ate the sprouting seedlings when they were tender and succulent? I never wake up early enough to catch them in the act but just to make sure that “seed viability” is not the problem, I planted six seeds in a pot in our window sill. (Yes, I threw away the dead rose plant but kept the pot and used it for this purpose.) That way I know no rodent or bird can dig up the seeds nor peck on the seedlings, the pot being safe behind the window screen. Cha-ching! All six seeds did sprout up! I believe the birds are the culprit and my two-year-old seeds are completely viable!
I know I had resolved two years ago to do seed starting in a pot like this but yeah, laziness just caught up with me again, I did a shortcut and this is really just what happens. (I also vacillated because I was hoping the rose plant in that pot would still grow despite the heat.) But now I understand that seed viability is not the problem, it’s the garden animals (most likely birds!) that sabotage my direct seeding. Now I wouldn’t have space in my garden for these sprouts but I can keep them in this small pot and use the leaves for soups! I wish I have more window sills directly hit by the sun. I can probably proliferate this into window sill gardens! 😀
Meanwhile, traipsing the parks on evening walks is so much more fun in summer because of the greens and the wild blooms! Here’s some of the stunning stills I got of those wild beauties I had spied upon! As it turned from pleasant spring to hot summer the foliage round the pond we stroll in grew thicker, and so did the wild flowers. Here they are… tada!!
On top of all these delights for the senses what makes this year’s summer stand out among other summers is that I notice we have more fireflies! I do not know whether it’s the good mix of hot and humid days and cool evenings or just the right amount of rainy days in between the hot spells, or some other peculiar reasons, but this year we definitely have more fireflies than I have ever seen before. I was kind of complaining about this muggy weather but if it brings these magnificent fireflies, I can’t complain! God, our Creator God, is truly a God of balance. He created everything to work together for the good of those who love Him and He holds all things together by the power of His word. I believe He truly is the all-wise God who put us in the midst of these ecosystems, and physical laws that govern them and us, and thus, He made all things beautiful and good! It’s a pity I do not have a powerful camera to capture them but they definitely add to the magic of this summer’s evenings. What joy! To think our summer has just begun; I look forward to more!
Let me know your own summer joys in your very own corner of the sky by writing your comments below! (Or winter fun if you’re from the other side of the hemisphere.) Summer or winter you may be in, tropical weather, or frozen ice all year through, I would love to hear from you all out there! Cheerio!
Belated happy 4th of July to my American friends!
If you wish to cite this blog, citation is as follows: PureJoyLand.(2018, July 8). Summer Fun 2018 [Blog Post]. Retrieved from http://purejoyland.com/2018/07/summer-fun-2018/