Dear Sunday Letter friends o’ mine,
The past week was a good one. The heavens blessed us with a a few glorious rain showers, I managed to choose a sweet watermelon at the grocery store, and John smoked the best ribs I’ve had since Thomas Tate died. I even went to the gym a few times + worked on my next book too.
And guess what?
Tomorrow is my birthday.
Today I’m celebrating all the good things, and reminding myself that even though we are sitting at the very top of summer’s Ferris wheel (I always think the downhill side of summer starts immediately after my birthday-ha), there is still much to enjoy during these hot and humid days.
I Spy with my Little Eye
The Black-eyed Susans don’t fret over the heat and humidity. In fact, they’ve been waiting for it. Right now in our garden they are just opening their eyes, yawning awake, one nudging the next, “Wake up! Full-on summer is here! Let’s ride this Ferris wheel all the way to fall!”
Fun Facts about Black-eyed Susans (from Farmer’s Almanac)
- Black-eyed Susans are meant to symbolize justice. Find out more flower meanings here.
- The genus name Rudbeckia honors Swedish scientists Olaus Rudbeck (1630–1702) and his son, Olof Rudbeck (1660–1740).
- A member of the aster family, Asteraceae, and native to eastern North America, Black-eyed Susans have become naturalized in Zones 3 to 9.
They remind me of childhood lake trips. It was during one such trip I first saw a Rudbeckia variety growing wild along the Ozark roadsides. And we’ve been friends ever since.
Tiny To-Do List for the Rest of the Summer❣
Sophie is a cartoonist for The New Yorker. (Talented much?)
She created this tiny summer to do list which I am sharing below (and fully crediting to her). Sophie’s ideas are simple, inexpensive (or free), and mighty good for the soul.
Personally, I believe her list is brilliant in its simplicity. How often do we create grandiose summer plans that can’t possible unfold the way we expect? Instead, why not live larger by thinking smaller?
How many tiny summer activities have you already done? What would you add to your own version of a tiny summer to do list?
What’s Growing + Blooming Today
Some of my all-time favorites are really showing off this time of year. The key to stress-free summer blooms is to plant native. Why? Because native plants are acclimated to the particular environs of an area. They will survive and often flourish during times of weather stress like excessive heat or drought.
Bonus = most are pollinator magnets.
In this picture, everything growing is native to our area except the Coleus. But since Coleus belongs to the mint family, you know right off it has a robust constitution.
Ginger + Lemon Balm Honey Syrup
Upon returning from Santa Fe, my husband was struck down with some sort of awful crud that started with a sore throat and exploded into a high fever. (He tested negative for Covid and the flu, so we still aren’t sure what it was.) Being the wannabe nurse that I am (and since we grow lots of lemon balm out back), I made a lemon balm syrup that was quite delicious, nutritious, and healing for the throat.
Considering the health benefits of lemon balm, ginger, and honey, I imagine this would be beneficial to keep on hand all the time. In fact, it might be the whole reason I didn’t catch the sickness. 💁
Take a spoonful like cough syrup or enjoy it drizzled on breakfast yogurt, ice cream, or as a tea sweetener. It’s YUMMY with or without sickness.
For the recipe and herbal health information visit Jan Berry’s blog, The Nerdy Farm Wife by clicking HERE. Jan is an herbalist and forager who lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains. And evidently she’s a nerd which I appreciate.
(Of course, herbs can be reactive to certain medications and conditions, so consume at your own risk.)
Things Momma Says:
My hairdo is a cross between Jamie Lee Curtis and Pink.
✿ ✿ ✿
Okey-dokey, today’s Sunday Letter is a wrap. If you’d like to give me a fabulous birthday present, how about supporting your favorite local author (whomever that may be) by reading THIS ARTICLE and doing one of the suggested helpful-to-author things.
Thanks for being here!
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
Let’s get this birthday party started: