Berries & Beaches ~ A Summer Manifesto

Before each summer I take time to think about what I'd like to do with the kids during these oh so brief warmer months. This is the first summer we are homeschooling year round, or at least that I am being more intentional about the kid's learning progress through the summer months.

I hope to write more about that change another day, but let me assure you it's a very easy going routine with week long breaks for vacation, hosting guests, etc.

Because of this new routine I am being even more diligent in how I plan our days, making sure to leave blocks of unstructured outdoor and play time. Time for gardening, the beach, berry picking and afternoons at the farm. Weekly activities we enjoy, making the most of these beautiful months here in Maine.

Celine munching while picking. Photos of her picking 2 years ago. She's grown so much, sigh.

I super enjoyed reading Nicola's Summer Manifesto and was inspired to write my own summer plans in a similar fashion. Perhaps you'll join along in writing your own summer manifesto.

This summer I am looking forward to:

  • Our usual weekend hikes with my family. Two of those being the highest mountains in the eastern United States! We did Mount Washington this past weekend, look for photos coming soon at ADVENTUREinPROGRESS.
  • Trips to the beach. Most often I take the kids to a local pond but sometimes we head to the ocean to swim or to investigate along a rocky beach.
  • Berry picking. First the strawberries, which we are picking now - from the backyard and the local u-pick farm. Next our backyard raspberries and then in August it's blueberries. Most of this is for fresh eating and the rest to stock the freezer.
  • Flower bouquets. Taking time to stop and smell, pick and enjoy the bounty of my perennial beds. Sharing some of that beauty here with Friday's Flowers.
  • Camping once a month. We've already backpacked twice this spring and we're on a roll baby! This year we're hoping to hike into a secluded spot on one of Maine's beautiful lakes - still looking for a location. Any tips from you locals?
  • Visiting with family and friends. Hosting travelers in our home. 
  • Eating great veggies from our csa farm. This is our 6th year as shareholders at Willow Pond Farm. This summer I hope to embrace the challenge of cooking, eating and preserving (some) of all that fresh food with more grace. Ie: not begrudge all the time I'm spending in the kitchen.

photo taken at strawberry farm, not our csa

What I really want to do this summer, as I attempt to do in each season, is to appreciate the beauty and unique opportunities that will unfold in these next couple months

How do you envision your summer unfolding?

« Hand Washing our Dishes ~ Intentional Simplicity
Friday's Flowers ~ Lupines »
  • Jill Foley

    Jill Foley on June 16, 2010, 3:03 a.m.

    weekly hikes, monthly camping, monthly trip to ocean, sailing in our small boat (hopefully weekly), enjoying grandparents when they visit, continued homeschooling, lots of picnics, checking out local farmer's markets (we have some many here), going to Peru in August! (only me)..I'm sure there is more, but that sounds like a full summer!


  • Heather

    Heather on June 16, 2010, 10:28 a.m.

    What is your u-pick farm called? I have one source of organic strawberries in the Gardiner area, and unfortunately they were affected by the late May frost so they aren't sure they will be doing PYO. I have been searching the MOFGA site for another option, but since you were writing about it, I figured I would ask. Thanks!


    • renee

      renee on June 16, 2010, 11:39 a.m.

      Heather, I'm so glad you asked:

      Ridgeside Farm 31 Anson Rd. Greene, ME 04236 207-946-2091

      I know the farmers, they are a part of my local food buying club, and I am very happy to advertise for them. Apparently they were featured in the Sun Journal last weekend and were picked out (good for them, bad for us). Best to call them to make sure they still have berries.


  • Claudia

    Claudia on June 16, 2010, 12:51 p.m.

    YES! Camping, hiking, beachcombing, searching out local produce, learning to can said produce if found, gardening...

    I liked your comment about "being intentional about the learning progress". That is so appropriate for our summer. This is our first year homeschooling and I'm stressing a lot about the process (what works best for us?) and especially how it fits into summertime. This approach seems very natural and the kind of simple that I need. Thanks for always keeping it real, Renee! :)


  • daffodil lane

    daffodil lane on June 16, 2010, 2:47 p.m.

    Every spring I do the same - lists full of summer must-do's and must-see's. This summer's manifesto includes hiking, going to an outdoor pool (a lot) with sunscreen (a lot), camping, berry jamming and ice cream making, salads for dinner and grilled portobellos, a trip to Yosemite and Tahoe, school planning and reading, outdoor movies and concerts, free kid's movies in the theater on rainy days, beach exploring, iced tea, sleeping in, gardening, visiting the zoo, and celebrating three birthdays. Love, love it!


  • Spring

    Spring on June 17, 2010, 1:09 a.m.

    Ah I LOVED this post and all the comments! My life has been such a whirlwind, I have not had time (or remembered to MAKE time) to reflect on the coming season, and make dreams/plans for it... other than my to do list for getting the house ready for the arrival of two more boys! But I want my summer to be so much more than house prep! Woodland walks and the beach automatically come up, but this conversation reminded me about making our own ice cream, picking and freezing strawberries (which I nearly MISSED), and sunset rides up to a favorite hill in a nearby town. Thanks for this sweet, relaxed moment to reconnect with the season!


  • Kimberly

    Kimberly on June 17, 2010, 3:58 p.m.

    In regards to your "spending time in the kitchen", do you have recipes posted anywhere?

    *I am pressed for time: Going to visit with a local CSA to learn more about it!! and didn't have time to search and didn't want to forget to ask!

    ** oh yeah, Thanks for the email on CSA it has helped us find one in our neck of the woods.



    • renee

      renee on June 17, 2010, 7:01 p.m.

      Kimberly, All of the recipes I've posted to FIMBY can be found at Vegan Eats & Health under the Resources sidebar.

      I'm very pleased you've found a csa - we LOVE ours.


  • exhale. return to center.

    exhale. return to center. on June 18, 2010, 3:33 a.m.

    really loved this post renee. thank you.

    i had an interesting reaction while reading it. something about not getting to choose what i want to do this summer because i am working so much. (i'm having a really tough week keeping up with everything.)

    but then i remembered that 1) i have the most amazing job in the world 2) in one of the most beautiful locations in the world 3) i get to do most of my work with my kids alongside me and 4) i am totally living my dream!!

    i guess it's just a weird thing for me after so many years of being home with the kids to look ahead to the summer and not see a whole lot of leisure time.

    i'm going to take some time and write my intentions for the summer but i think it will have a lot to do with being in the moment and enjoying this amazing ride that i am on.

    working my ass off, yes. but absolutely savoring and enjoying it!!!

    thanks for getting me thinking. you're very good at that!!!


    • renee

      renee on June 18, 2010, 1:44 p.m.

      That's interesting Erin. I actually don't consider many of those activities to be very leisurely except the beach. They are vacation like activities for my children but involve a lot of work on the part of Damien and myself. But like you, it's work I love to do.

      Trips to the farm, berry picking, camping, hiking & cooking etc... are all work at some level (the cooking especially for me) but I've found that living the life you dream is not about avoiding work. It's about enjoying and loving the work we do. Just like you've said. Thanks for joining the conversation and making me think : )


  • Lisa

    Lisa on June 20, 2010, 4:12 a.m.

    Renee: any tips on keeping weeds down in flower and vegetable gardens? We have both the flower beds being quite large ( my husband loves to plant) probably as large as most urban yards. I don't want to use chemicals, but I am very overwhelmed with trying to keep the weeds out or at least way down. Lisa


    • renee

      renee on June 20, 2010, 7:24 p.m.

      Lisa, I don't have an easy answer but I do recommend mulching heavily. You can use all manner of organic matters for mulch. I splurge and buy wood product mulches. These have greatly helped. Other than that you just have to do the weeding (smile). Any kids you can conscript into helping?


  • chrystal

    chrystal on June 27, 2010, 4 a.m.

    Great post. Thanks for sharing. My vision for our family this year has been to have some great experiences and adventures. This summer so far we've camped and vacationed in Washington DC. Later we'll head to some professional baseball games, the beach, go for hikes, visit (my) inlaws a few times, visit an art musuem and Longwood Gardens (PA visit the beach and pool attend a few different weddings of different price range and style, we'll head to New Hampshire and then on to Maine for almost 3 weeks. We've picked strawberries and made jam, and will soon pick black raspberries and blueberries. Today we went to a very long, interesting parade with friends and my father in law told me "You do some interesting things with your kids." I couldn't have been given any better compliment!

    On a side note...I grew up in Livermore Falls...pretty close to Greene!


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