Growing up on the east coast, summer’s definitely had an order and routine about them. In the early 1960s, the mornings began with swimming lessons at the town pool. The water was always incredibly cold because the pool’s water was diverted directly from an adjacent river. The rest of the morning was spent exploring in the woods or ridding our bikes.
Following lunch, we frequently returned the swimming pool for most of the afternoon or until our lips were blue and our limbs were numb! Many a summer night was also spent camping out in the back yard; at the time it seemed like fun despite the constant attack by mosquitoes. In the morning, we would cook or more likely burn our breakfast over an open fire.
As I grew older, another hallmark of summer was spending the first two weeks of August at Boy Scout camp. I never missed a summer at Camp Childs; it was located just south of Plymouth, MA. Water based recreational opportunities abounded as the camp was build around a lake, if not swimming, our afternoons were spent in either a canoe or a row boat. It was also tradition that during our camp session, rain would be a frequent companion. It never seemed to matter, even if the summer had been locked in the grip of drought, it always rained while I was at camp. Maybe that’s what has made Oregon so attractive for the past 30 years.
The Boy Scouts, camping, and water based recreation took a back seat when I entered college and later pursued a career in forestry. As a forester, the summer was marked by the arrival of the project work season and forest fires. It also meant that it was time to plant a garden and to hope that the flowers and vegetables might keep pace with the weeds. The gardening season is pretty short on the north coast of Oregon so it’s important to choose your plantings wisely. It is for this reason that I have grown dahlia for over twenty years, you can't miss. To me nothing announces summer like the bloom of the first dahlia!
The garden's first bloom in 2008!