July, or high summer as I prefer to call it is all about those restful weeks where the date and time slip away and we enter another world, a slower one. Fruit is eaten directly off the bushes, tart redcurrants, gooseberries and strawberries…And everything becomes wonderfully hazy and nostalgic.
It doesn’t surprise me that back in the Anglo Saxon times July was named Heymonath (hay making month) and weodmonath (month of the weeds) as this is exactly what July in the countryside is like. Despite my determination to live a month of pure laziness the farm has other ideas, and the dirt track that runs by my cottage spends most of the day partially air borne in a fug of dust as tractors rumble back and forth, each time bearing a new attachment for cutting, turning, bailing…All the quest for the perfect hay.
The garden is busy too this month. Apart from the aforementioned it’s also producing the classic summer glut of courgettes. This never bothers me as I am quite happy to live off roasted courgettes and plus it makes the perfect finger food for my baby. Undoubtedly though we’ll find a way to pickle them at some point, something we’ve been doing to the mounds of fresh broad beans. Absolutely delicious!
This year I’ve enthusiastically planted nasturtium flowers in window boxes, tubs and containers and in reward I now have those wonderfully peppery flowers to strew in salads. As usual mint has taken over the garden-I still regret ever planting it directly into the ground-always plant mint in containers! However at least I know Ill never run out! The rest of the herbs are back in full force alongside huge amounts of borage-which I grow for their lovely edible blue flowers.
In all honesty such is the bounty of July that my precious meal planning has been put aside in favour of a daily veg pick which I cook quickly and simply-tops of beetroot sautéd in butter and finished with lemon, mangetout usually eaten straight off the plant, new potatoes just cooked and sealed with good olive oil and young turnips mandolinned and rubbed in a citrusy dressing.
In fact July is the month to quit the supermarket completely in favour of your own garden or alternatively head to farm shops, friends plots and pick you own patches armed with a basket.
Insects, birds and animals are also enjoying this prolific month. I’m going to be making a butterfly feeder in order to view the beauty of the peacock, common blue, tortoiseshell and red admiral butterflies. Although my buddleia bush is always home to a few butterflies, who cannot seem to resist the heavily scented flowers.
The swallows and house martins that love to nest in our sheds seem to be busier than ever, rushing from their nests and back again in huge swoops. Actually even as I write this at almost 7pm I can see a couple of swallows going quite bonkers outside my window.
So to wrap up this little ode to July I have a couple of slow livings to share.
Slow Living Tips
Make sure you remember the total lunar eclipse on the 27th! Between 8.45 and 9.30 the earth will cast it’s shadow across the moon, momentarily causing a reddish tinge otherwise known as a blood moon.
July is the month for spotting dragonflies! Dragonflies adore streams and rivers and you are likely to see many at this time of year. Take a trip to a local river and see if you can see some!
Make the most of summer and get out for a walk every day, come rain or shine. It’ll all be over so soon!
Take a wildflower book on your walk and see if you can spot meadowsweet, cleavers, wild clematis, burdock, crane’s bill, clover and foxgloves.
It would also be the perfect month to take The Herbal Academy’s newest online course- The Botany and Wildcrafting course.
If you are blessed with a dry day then make a simple, zero waste picnic and head to your favourite spot with friends and family.