Summer’s here, no matter what the calendar says

transomAll the signs point to it. The wrens have stopped trying to nest in the mailbox and have settled down to rear a family in a pot of geraniums and hyacinth beans hanging from a fencepost. Hummingbirds are unafraid of the person hand-watering using the hose, and they hover or perch on a low limb really close, just to enjoy the cooling spray. Each day we put out fresh water for the winged and four-legged dwellers among us.

The temperature on the Shiner Beer thermometer downstairs has already risen once to its usual summer maximum, which is 80 degrees or one more. There are new erasers on the ends of the pencils that prop up the four transoms now open until cooler weather. The fans have been unpacked. We just received our utility bill and for the first time since last summer we’ve used over 400 kilowatt-hours of electricity, 426 to be exact. We’ll come close to 500 before the heat of summer tapers off. We revere iced tea even more than we usually do, thinking of it as the nectar of the gods. Whatever we cook, the amount of heat to be generated is taken into consideration, which means that the wok is in heavy rotation and that we’re looking into the notion of a solar oven.

Potted plans that are sold as suitable for sunny locations, and work that way in other places, must be moved into the shade. Geraniums, I’m talking about you! Laundry is now dried in the shade, because under the heat of the sun it may shrink. We sit outdoors every evening after supper these days and notice that a very small breeze usually springs up just as the sun sinks below the horizon. We attended a great many outdoor events during the last several weeks, toughening up for the summer ahead. I feel ready, but that doesn’t mean that fall won’t be a most welcome arrival when at last it arrives, as it always does, quite some time after its official beginning.

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