Last Sunday in August

Gone are the songs of the tree frogs and the peepers. Instead, we have the buzzing of grasshoppers and the sweet chorus of the crickets. In Maine, summer—lovely summer!—is coming to an end, and what a nice summer it has been. There have only been a few blisteringly hot days when the temperature climbed to the mid-90s. For the most part, it’s been perfect and sunny, between 75° and 80° during the day, and then cooler nights, just right for sleeping.

While autumn in Maine is oh so fine, I will miss summer evenings on the patio, where Clif and I enjoy a drink or two and listen to music. Already, the days are significantly shorter, and by 6:30 it is a little too cool and damp to enjoy sitting on the patio.

Still, we have a couple of months of warm-enough weather so that we can go on bike rides. And with any luck, we’ll be able to ride some of November. After that, well, no matter how much I bundle up, I am too cold to enjoy a bike ride of any length.

One of things I enjoy most about autumn is the nutty smell of the plants as they dry and go to seed. For someone like me, who has a keen sense of smell, every season has its own aroma, each to be enjoyed—even the cold tang of winter.

To celebrate August and late summer, Clif and I invited a few friends over for wine and appetizers. The weather gods were with us, and we had a fine summer’s day to enjoy being outside. As I was bringing appetizers and plates to the table, I noticed a colorful guest on the lawn. While the pictures aren’t very crisp, they are good enough to share.

After a bit of pecking on the lawn, it was back to a tree, where these beauties can usually be found.

Then, I continued setting the table.

Our friends Denny and Cheryl and Judy—neighbors all—came. We sipped wine, drank beer, ate appetizers, which included Clif’s legendary grilled bread, and talked about dogs, books, movies, television shows, movies, and politics.

The hummingbirds whirred to their feeders filled with sugar water. The finches, titmice, chickadees, cardinals, and woodpeckers fluttered, flew, and chirped as they came to the feeders with sunflower seeds.

Dusk came, and the green shadows deepened. By then, the food was mostly gone, and our guests said their farewells. We all agreed this should be a yearly tradition, a salute to the end of summer and a greeting to autumn.

55 thoughts on “Last Sunday in August”

  1. What a wonderful post, I felt I was on the patio with you. I have had a green woodpecker visiting me this last week, I think he/she is finding lots of tasty ants in the lawn – “green shadows deepening” ….lovely

    1. Many thanks! If ever you should get a picture of that green woodpecker, oh how I would love to see it.

  2. Oh, Laurie, I keep meaning to ask, did you ever get time to listen to ‘Gloomsbury’? I’ve been enjoying it and wondering if you have heard any of the Episodes.

    1. I haven’t yet. I’m saving “Gloomsbury” for when the weather is too cold for me to ride my bike on the road. The series will make perfect listening when I’m on “the road to nowhere.”

      1. I don’t know if you can record it in some way as once the series ends the episodes gradually disappear. If you go on the site it will tell you how long each episode is available for. They will repeat them sometime in the future but no knowing when.

      2. Well, then! I guess I better start listening. Just checked out the website and saw that the episodes were available for 27 more days. Next week, I have some inside cleaning to do—our daughters will be coming for a visit—and I will listen as I clean. I’ll keep you posted, and thanks for letting me know that unlike podcasts, the series is not always available.

  3. Lovely post! I felt I was sitting on the porch with you ..( Even though I’m in Australia looking forward to spring planting.) I agree with you about the smells of Autumn, they are lovely. … Also enjoyed seeing the woodpecker … I only know that bird through story books.

    1. Many thanks! Funny how a bird that is common in one place is a storybook bird in another.

  4. What a brilliantly clad surprise visitor! These birds aren’t easy to photograph, I know.
    You sure laid out a fine repast for your lucky neighbors. 🙂

    1. A really nice afternoon. And, yes, I felt lucky to get that shot, even if it wasn’t as crisp as I would have liked.

    1. No pleasant nutty smell because of the damp. Our autumns tend to have a nice mix of rain and sun, hence the nutty smell. Love it!

  5. Sounds like a good tradition to start – particularly if you can have woodpeckers. I didn’t realise you got hummingbirds in Maine. Is there no end to natire’s bounty in Maine?

    1. Well, we do have quite a lot of nature’s bounty here in Maine. But you also have a lot in your area, and many of the birds featured on your blog are unfamiliar to me. So interesting to see them! Do you have hummingbirds?

      1. They are little beauties. Always sad when they leave in September, right around my birthday.

      2. We certainly are. And because of the bee balm and feeders, the hummingbirds come to our backyard where we can watch them. And hear them. For such a small bird, they make a lot of noise with those whirring wings.

      3. A frantic whirring, and sometimes they fly so close to our heads that it sounds like a mini-plane has just passed by. Wish you and Julia lived closer so that we could invite you over for time on the patio with our feathered friends. If only you truly did live “across the pond” instead of the Atlantic Ocean.

  6. So nice to be taking advantage of the last glorious evenings here in Maine. Drinks and appetizers by the fire, a perfect way to savor summer! Now that the busiest months of the nursery are behind us ( still open through September!), we are also making use of the evenings…a fire in the fire ring, a glass of wine, and some tasty morsels. Divine!

    1. After all the busyness of your nursery, you must really appreciate wine and tasty morsels by the fire. Enjoy!

  7. It’s starting to feel like fall here too now, which is wonderful. But where did the summer go? Feels like it just raced by this year…

  8. We have woodpeckers, but I rarely see one. Vultures, mockingbirds, crows, and a few songbirds frequent our neighborhood. – What a lovely end to summer. Friends, good food, drinks and good conversation. I’m thrilled to have cooler temperatures. Fall is my favorite time of year.

    1. We live in the woods, so we see all sorts of birds. Our backyard is a lovely combination of feathers, twittering, and birdsong.

  9. We have pileated woodpeckers in our woods, but they never come into the yard. What a treat to have one show up like that. I love your goodbye-to-summer gathering–this glorious summer especially deserves a grateful send-off. I love fall, but he transition time is always somewhat bittersweet.

    1. As we live in the woods, we see them frequently as they fly from tree to tree. But I have never seen one on the lawn. Fall is indeed beautiful, but as you wrote, it is also bittersweet.

  10. Delicious! We are heading to Rhode Island for a 3 day music festival with family. Hope my short sleeve shirts are good for the days and fleece for evenings outside. – Oscar

    1. Have a wonderful time. Sounds like a plan to bring clothes that can be layered. In New England in September, you never know when you will need that fleece. 😉

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