South Shore Breaker

Offering a salute to summer

- VERNON OICKLE @Saltwirene­twork Vernon Oickle, the author of 32 books, writes The View From Here column, which appears weekly in the South Shore Breaker.

As difficult as it may be to accept, summer is quickly slipping by, but despite the advancing dates on the calendar, there is still a lot more summer to enjoy.

Instead of griping about how quickly the time is going, I’ve decided it would be more beneficial to discuss the many positives that can still be found during this time of the year.

So in this little ditty I call a salute to summer, let’s talk about all the things we like about the season. It’s a good mental exercise so give it a try when you’re starting to feel blue about the waning season. I’m sure my list will differ greatly from yours — but here goes.

You are likely to sense a theme here in my list, but that’s because I like the food of summer, especially Hodge Podge made from fresh vegetables and potatoes direct from the garden. It’s one of my all-time favourite recipes but it’s only good in the summer, as winter vegetables just don’t cut it.

Large, fresh strawberri­es and plump, juicy blueberrie­s are what I consider to be nature’s candies. You may be able to buy strawberri­es and blueberrie­s in the winter, but they’re certainly not as good as those fresh from the vine or bush and there seemed to be an ample supply this summer.

Road trips and excursions are an absolute must in our household throughout the summer. There’s nothing I like more than jumping in the car and heading out to explore my province. There’s so much to see and do around here and you don’t have to drive far, but you do have to be willing to look for it.

Sleeping with the windows open and letting the fresh air blow in. It’s the little things in life we take for granted that sometimes mean the most and sleeping with the fresh air is one of them. You can’t do that when it’s 40 below.

Working in the gardens and enjoying the beauty that surrounds us is another summertime pleasure. Yes, it takes a great deal of work to maintain a garden, but it’s totally worth the effort in the end, as the yard looks fantastic.

Walking on the beach is one of our favourite pastimes and there are so many beaches on the South Shore that you have lots of locations from which to choose, meaning you’ll never get tired of one spot.

Speaking of spending time on the beach, don’t forget to bring along your favourite book. Sitting on the sand and getting lost in a good book is a great way to spend a few relaxing hours during a beautiful summer day.

Ice cream is good any time of year and it’s actually one of my favourite food groups (anything with so many different flavours must be considered a food group), but it sure does taste better on a hot summer day.

Barbecues are also great any time of the year, but they have a special certain kind of flavour in the summer.

And who doesn’t like a good picnic? Pack your favourite snacks and head for one of the dozens of parks you’ll find throughout the province. This certainly beats cooking in a hot kitchen, doesn’t it?

Festivals and events that celebrate our culture and heritage are a major part of the summer, especially here in Nova Scotia, where there is an abundance of attraction­s to enjoy.

The summer season means more daylight and I love it when it doesn’t get dark until 9:30 at night.

The breathtaki­ng sunsets that seem more vivid during the summertime are among my favourite things in life.

The hummingbir­ds flitting around the yard going from one flower (or feeder) to the next are a joy to behold. Those quick little creatures are truly a marvel of nature.

Summer is also a good excuse to spend more time with family and friends, as it’s the time when people traditiona­lly take their vacations.

Summer also means baseball and the Blue Jays. We’re going all the way this year, friends (he says with his fingers crossed), so jump on the bandwagon.

Although the weather patterns have been out of whack lately with a major heat wave, I do appreciate summertime rainstorms as they leave the air feeling fresh, crisp and clean, and the grass and plants looking so vibrant and lush.

Summer is a great time to take a nice long walk or to go for a hike or bike ride. Sure you can take a walk in winter, but who really wants to? (Not me)

The season is also an opportunit­y to relax on your deck with a good book and a nice glass of wine or tea in the morning when it’s too early for wine.

Summer’s all about having a game of backyard Frisbee with your children.

And there’s nothing better than roasting hotdogs around the campfire. You can do that in the winter if you’re a brave soul, but why would anyone want to?

Okay, so roasting marshmallo­ws around the campfire is also a good thing.

Seeing and watching the children playing outside as they enjoy the summer weather is a special treat that reminds us all there is more to life than working. We should remember to get out and play every once and awhile and what better time of the year to do it than during the summer?

The brilliant sky on a clear summer night is a pretty spectacula­r sight. I know you can see the sky in winter, but hey, this is about summer so back off.

Driving the back roads of Nova Scotia on a bright summer day with the car windows open and the radio playing is one of the best things about the season.

And for those who need reminding, summer means not shovelling snow, scraping windshield­s, driving on treacherou­s roads, having to put on snow tires or spending extra money to heat our homes.

I understand that people aren’t especially happy that summer will soon be over, but why not get out there and find a way to enjoy whatever is left of the season? As sure as the sun rises and sets, summer will be over before we know it, or at least that’s the view from here.

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