There’s a little something extra special about Vermont in August. Maybe it’s the fact that things slow down a teeny bit (seems like everyone takes a few days off sometime in August!) or that we cling a little more tightly as the evening starts to arrive a little earlier.
It could be I’m speaking a little too much about my own place in life, but August reminds me of the “middle age” of the year. The fresh excitement of May and June has yielded to July, and then August comes on to remind us to value the warmth before winter comes.
What do we love?
- Parties—Chris and I have August birthdays as do a bunch of our family members…this leads to a host of family parties, tournaments, visits, and hugs. Oh sure, there’s plenty of house cleaning, cooler schlepping and Monday-morning exhaustion to go along, but We Regret Nothing.
- Family—I can’t explain why, but August is the month we take the time to see people that we don’t see most of the rest of the year. Our family is a tangled delightful mess of birth, marriage, friendship, job, and adopted relatives with lots of friend-family mixed in. August is THAT perfect excuse to take a Friday afternoon or be sure to go out to hear a Wednesday night concert, because we know family will be there.
- Blueberries—This farm is a classic reminder that our actions aren’t as much for ourselves as the ones who come after us. Those who knew Otis Tilton tell us that he was glowing with pride over the blueberry bushes he tended. We absolutely understand why. They were the first farm crop that greeted us just days after we closed on the property and have become a source of joy and anticipation for us each summer. Someday we’ll figure out a blueberry-related farm product (any ideas?), but for now they are mostly going into our freezer and the mouths of on-farm visitors.
- Smoked meat—OK, we love smoked meat all year (Who doesn’t? Even chicken and fish are fabulous smoked!), but in particular so many of the events we attend or host are potlucks. It seems like crispy, caramelized, smoky, tender ribs or chicken wings generate the smell and the taste of summer instantly. Sharing meat with people we love is pretty much what we’re all about.
- Golden days—I was just talking with an old friend who described August as the “golden days” when goldenrod comes into bloom, and farm fields are spread with the deep rich hue that pretty much embodies late summer. I was out moving the sheep yesterday morning and found myself stopping to linger and gaze around at the spots of late-summer sunlight scattered across the pastures. Goldenrod might be a sign that summer is on the down side, but it’s just as much that reminder to stop and enjoy it while it’s here.
That’s truly what we love most about the summer…taking a few minutes to stop and enjoy it!
Speaking of valuing warmth before winter comes, if you are getting an itchy feeling about the oncoming fall, zip me an email! I just got back a nice batch of smoked hams and slab bacon.