The First Day Of Summer


Here we are suddenly in December and it is certainly feeling like summer.

I have been away from this space for a while, my days seem to have slipped by in the whirlwind of life. And the words just haven’t been flowing. Now that I have remembered my password, it feels good to be back. It feels especially good to check in on my blogging friends, the few that are left!

The tomatoes are already ripening, I think these will be my earliest tomatoes yet. The first variety to ripen in my patch is Periforme Abruzzese from the Diggers Club. These will be followed closely by the Purple Russian variety. Their journey started in the cold depths of August as tiny, papery seeds and now the plants are as tall as I am. Amazing really.

The leeks are flowering in all their glory and are also attracting a lot of black wasps. I love their sculptural shapes and height and I have already decided to plant more next year.

Tiny, furry cucumbers are on the way. I cannot wait to stop buying plastic wrapped cucumbers at the supermarket. They are a favourite in our house and we munch through lots of them. The ever reliable Long Florence zucchinis are producing steadily. Zucchini slice anyone?

I have been collecting seeds and pods and other bits leftover from the spring growing season. I think seeds and pods are my favourite part of gardening, for their shapes, textures and fragrance.

Some days have already been too hot for any cooking or baking so I have literally been planning our food around the weather forecast. These chocolate and oat biscuits came from the Aran Bakery book and I made them in three different sizes by weighing each piece of dough, 50g, 30g, and 20g. The 20g is the most sensible size, the 50g looked quite impressive but are more café size.

We are in the middle of sheep work that has collided perfectly with soaring temperatures. The only way to tackle it is to start work as soon as there is enough light to see. Otherwise, both humans and animals are at risk of blowing up, literally.

There is no avoiding the fact that Christmas is around the corner. You might like to browse the online Graziher Christmas magazine that features a few of my festive recipes, right at the end as you scroll through.

My own shopping approach to Christmas is quality over quantity, sourced locally as much as possible with some online buys when necessary. This year I am giving children’s books, champagne, Fossey’s gin, a fresh flower delivery, chocolates, Galah magazine, dried fruit, homemade biscuits and possibly homemade jam. The young people are tricky but this clay kit caught my eye to keep hands busy and away from screens.

I keep reminding myself that it is the thought that counts and I refuse to get caught up in unnecessary buying just for the sake of it.

That’s a little of what has been happening in my world. How about you? Keeping cool? Swimming in dams? Baking? Finding balance with Christmas? x

September 11, 2020


  1. Reply


    December 1, 2020

    I love it when your posts appear in my feed Jane, especially at this time of year when a little dose of your glorious sunshine and beautiful photos cheers a grey, gloomy day over here.
    Your garden is looking very bountiful – do you save the seeds from your leeks and sow them? Our veg garden is just bare earth at this time of year, apart from a vibrant bed of parsley, chard and globe artichokes. Also, hidden but producing are the Jerusalem artichokes.
    Stay cool. Anne x

    • Reply

      Jane S

      December 2, 2020

      Thank you Anne, you are a loyal and kind blogging friend. I am pleased you prompted me to think about the leek seeds, I have saved lots of seed from various things but not from the leeks. I don’t know why? I definitely will this year because the flowers are enormous and just beautiful. Globe artichokes are a tough creature aren’t they? During the main part of our COVID lock down I transplanted some with very little care or attention and now they are gigantic, in fact I am thinking about getting rid of them. But, they are sheltering other, less vigorous plants so for now they stay. x

  2. Reply


    December 5, 2020

    Welcome back Jane! Always delighted to find your newsletter in my inbox. How different is the lead up to Christmas 2020 compared to last year. Luckily there’s no smoke on the horizon but there’s water in the dam and lots of feed in the paddocks.
    We’ve had several attempts at sowing basil and tomatoes in the veggie patch due to a late snowfall in September so we’re not expecting any fruit until February! Love your present suggestions, it’s always a challenge finding a balance and remembering the true spirit of the season amidst all the hype. Wishing you and all the family a joyous and peaceful Festive Season🎄

    • Reply

      Jane S

      December 5, 2020

      Thanks Amanda! Yes, my tomatoes are early but I don’t like to ‘count my tomatoes before they ripen’ so to speak! Time will tell on their longevity this season. I agree, the Christmas balance is tricky, I want to make it fun and joyous for the kids but don’t want to waste money or create unnecessary waste in the process. Merry Christmas to you and your family. x

  3. Reply


    December 9, 2020

    Your Christmas balance sounds just right and though we’ve had a few shocker hot days, I’ve been enjoying a summer very different from the past one.