The period between Litha, Midsummer, and Lughnasadh, the start of harvest season in the Celtic Wheel of the Year, is a time of abundance and light. I’m reminding myself to slow down and take stock of the season with mindful moments that make the most of Summer’s bounty. Here are my July slow living tips.
Slow Summer in the Kitchen:
I love to potter in the kitchen, not least in Summer. Podding peas is one of my favourite seasonal kitchen jobs, even if half of them don’t make it to the bowl (call it chef’s perk!) there’s something comforting about such a repetitive task. Ditto watching a pot of simmering fruit compote, or making jams or curds; plus, these makes taste miles better unrushed. It’s a win win – culinary therapy.
A trip to your local pick your own farm is a must ‑ get acquainted with ones near you via Google. Few things beat fruit fresh from the plant, and the process is such a mindful one, engaging all the senses. Make a day of it by preserving your haul when you get home for a taste of Summer on dreich Winter mornings. From pickles and preserves to jams, jellies and cordials, shrubs and ferments, ice creams and sorbets, there are so many ways to distill Summer.
Bunting at the ready – the peak of Summer sees the height of garden party and village fête season. Take part in smaller, local, socially distanced events that are still happening, or why not create your own Summer celebration at home? If you’re stuck for inspiration you could make it themed: a 4th July barbecue, with stars and stripes, or what about a patisserie‑filled Francophile party for Bastille Day?
Here in Scotland it’s light past 10 p.m. and the evenings seem to stretch on into infinity. Make the most of the longer evenings by going for a walk, soaking up every last drop of light. Even just opening the window wide to let in that glorious golden light and the scent of Summer can make all the difference. I see this time as storing up fuel for the short days of Winter to come, topping up on light and brightness for the months ahead.
Visit a Garden
I love nothing more than a day trip to a nearby garden taking in the sights, smells and sounds of Summer in full bloom. Be sure to practise some mindfulness – shut your eyes and focus on all your other senses, being completely in the moment. Make a special day of it by choosing a spot slightly further afield than your usual day‑to‑day, and take a flask and/ or a picnic with Summer sustenance.