Grit Blogs > Straight from the Heart

Lamenting Summer’s End

By Brenda Kipp


Tags: nature, looking forward, looking back, seasons, gardening,

A photo of Brenda KippNot since I was child have I been sad to see summer end. By nature, I’m not a summer person. I dislike hot, humid weather. But this summer was unusual. June was quite warm, serving as a prelude for the coming heat. However, the uncomfortable, suffocating temperatures didn’t come. July and August were unusually cool and wet. That’s not to say it didn’t get hot on occasion, but those days were few and far between. We usually have several days of triple-digit temperatures at least once during the summer, but we never even made it to the century mark this year.

A few times during July and August, I turned the air conditioner off and opened up the house. If you’ve ever been in Kansas in the middle of the summer, you know how stifling it can be. It’s like sitting under a wet blanket out in the sun. Air conditioning is a must. So to be able to turn the A/C off and open up the house during what’s normally the hottest months of the year is highly unusual – and to do it more than once is unheard of!

Fall is my favorite season and I eagerly await its arrival after a long, hot summer, but to enjoy a summer such as the one we just had was so refreshing. It was like being in the Rocky Mountains! I talked to my brother, who lives in Colorado, several times this summer and he complained about how hot it was out there. Thanks to a dip in the jet-stream, we were enjoying their normal summer temperatures.

One of the benefits of having a cooler than normal summer is being able to get out and do yard work. Normally, I don’t get out in the yard at all during the summer months. This summer I was able to get out in the yard three times. It feels good to have a head start on the yard work I want to get done this fall. By the way, our grass usually dies at some point during the summer because of the heat and lack of moisture. We had green grass all summer long.

grassandsunset

Another reason I hated to see summer come to an end is the availability of fresh garden produce. Several of my co-workers shared bounty from their gardens including tomatoes, zucchini, okra and sweet corn. I couldn’t help but grab several ears of sweet corn – and I picked up a couple of tomatoes for my mom.   

Now that September is here, I can look forward to leaves turning color and crisp autumn temperatures. As I look back on the summer of 2009, I’ll be able to remember it as a pleasant season I actually enjoyed instead of being eternally grateful that it was finally over. The cool, wet conditions we were blessed with this summer should allow for some spectacular fall colors. I hope you had a pleasant summer and you’re looking forward to a fabulous fall.

photo: iStock.com/lakovKalinin

brenda kipp_1
9/16/2009 9:29:05 AM

I know what you mean about the sumacs, Cindy. Every August I look to the sumacs for the first sign of autumn. They seem to have a strange mixture of red and green here, too. I imagine from the cool, wet summer we had. I will check out your blog soon and leave a comment. Thanks!


cindy murphy
9/15/2009 8:32:59 PM

We were just commenting here about the sumacs the other day, Brenda. Usually the sumacs are the first to show any fall color; they're still green with just the tiniest hint of red, yet the red maples are in peak color. Everything this year seems to have bloomed or colored out of order. A side-effect of the cool summer, I imagine. Here, btw, is West Michigan, right along the shoreline of Lake Michigan. Check out my view sometime right here on Grit's blog page: A Lakeside View.


brenda kipp_1
9/14/2009 4:44:26 PM

You're right, Wesley, The earth does go through cycles. It doesn't mean global warming isn't a scientific fact, but you'd never know it from the summer we just had here in Kansas! A popular saying with Kansas natives is: "If you don't like the weather, wait 15 minutes, it'll change." I could use one of those fans.:) Oh, Cindy, I wish I could see the flaming red maples! Some leaves have started to drop here, but not much color yet. The sumac is starting to turn red. It's still a little warm. I'm ready for the crisp fall air. Where do you live?


cindy murphy
9/11/2009 7:29:50 PM

We've had a cooler than normal summer here too. Temperatures don't get into the triple digits here, even during the hottest summers - at least they haven't since I can remember. We do reach into the mid-to-high 90s, though. This year, I think we've maybe had a few weeks all summer that it got into the eighties; the rest of the summer has been in the seventies. Kinda feel bad for the tourists and beach-goers, but working outside like I do, it's been heaven for me. Fall has definitely arrived; the shorter days, and nights down in the forties has brought on some early fall color. The red maples are already flaming! I absolutely adore autumn, and always feel that the season is too short. I afraid this year because it seems to have come on early, it'll seem all the shorter. I'm hoping for an Indian Summer in October...I wouldn't even mind if it stretched into November!


wesley
9/11/2009 10:59:10 AM

Brenda, What part of the country do you live in? I live in Ohio. I have seen the weather go through cycles. We are in a cool cycle now. Fifteen years ago it was really HOT. In the 1970s, some scientists were afraid we were headed into another Ice Age. Then several years later it warmed again. So to those who complain about climate change I say, "Just wait. It goes in cycles. So do fashions." For when it warms again in a few years, get a personal cooler. Some one where I used to work wore one around his neck. It was battery powered.


brenda kipp_1
9/10/2009 10:01:51 AM

Dave, I hear you about the weeds! My back yard looked like a jungle. That's why I was glad to get out and do some yard work this summer. I still have to hack my way through the dense rainforest that has taken up residence on my west fence. I know what you mean, KC. I'm hoping we don't have an Indian summer in October when it's SUPPOSED to be cool. I'm waiting for the humidity to go down now. Then it will seem more like fall. I don't mind winter (I did spend a year in Alaska after all) as long as there isn't ice on the roads. I think I heard Hank say the Farmer's Almanac is predicting a bad winter. I guess we'll just have to brace ourselves and dream about next spring.


kc compton_2
9/10/2009 9:50:26 AM

I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. OK, OK ...it's cool NOW, but SURELY some really stinky hot weather is just around the corner. It's been that way all summer, however, and now fall feels imminent. But like Dave says, winter might be a real doozie this year. Maybe the Gulf Stream will head north and bring us unseasonably warm temps this winter. We can always dream, yes? --KC


nebraska dave
9/10/2009 8:43:49 AM

Brenda, Summer is ending here in Nebraska as well. I’ve not had my air conditioner on for most of the Summer. Fall is my second favorite season, but I do like every season. By the end of one, I quite appreciate the next season. I spent a few years in an area of the country that had Summers and mild Winters but no Spring or Fall. When I moved back to Nebraska, it was so good to feel a nice sunny Spring day or a nice crisp cool Fall day. Summer has its memories at the old swimming hole and Winter’s memories were all about tobogganing down the school yard hill. This summer is the first summer that I too have not had to water the grass. It staid green and lush all summer long without having to be watered. However, it also was good for the weeds. I’ve had to make the rounds along the chain link fence several times this summer. I got them all tagged, bagged, and set out in the yard waste. This summer has indeed been a great one. I didn’t murder any plants this year. Normally by now all my annuals are quite dead. I am looking forward to a wonderful fall with all the color and the smell of soup cooking in the pot on a cool crisp fall day. I too will miss the garden produce that has tantalized my taste buds since the first part of July. There’s nothing quite like the fresh taste of vegetables right out of the garden. It gives me hope and anticipation for the next year which is really what the enjoyment of nature is all about. Enjoy the fall weather because all indications are that Winter is coming with bitter cold this year.