August really is my favorite month. It's a gentle reminder letting us know that while September is just around the corner summer is not yet over. Her days can be hot and humid yet they can be gentle and soft. Early morning breezes make sipping coffee on the porch a pure delight. The sun is slower to wake now, her rays less jarring than a month ago. She reaches through the trees to warm my stiff shoulders. Gentle breezes dance gracefully in the air while a chorus of crickets, birds, peepers and cicadas sing melodiously. The day will grow humid and the sun will hide behind darkening clouds as torrential summer rains pour down to nourish the ground beneath us. It has been a hot and dry summer. Our grasses, no longer emerald-like as they were in the spring, were on the verge of turning hay-like. But Mother Nature stepped in to lend a helping hand. At this very moment all is right with the world. At least my corner of the world in Southwestern Connecticut.

School begins in just a month's time. There is still time to roast marshmallows and chase fireflies. There is time for homemade lemonade and Sun Tea. There is time to visit the beach... to dash through sprinklers... to wash the cars... there is time to dash around in cut off shorts and bathing suits and lounge around and do nothing. Summer is forgiving. It allows us to slow down and relax and take it all in. Summer is about county fairs and carnivals and ice cream cones and flip flops. Summer is about sleeping in and going for long walks or runs and swimming and playing tennis. Summer is about indulgence and relaxation. Summer is about letting go...

I love the sound of lawnmowers. I love the smell of freshly mowed grass. I love the smell of the ocean and the feel of the sand under my feet. I love the shrieks of delight as my little ones run through the sprinkler. I love their little cold and wet bodies - even when the sun is scorching. I love playing in the sand with my children and collecting shells and rocks and sticks.

This summer has been very different. In many ways it has proved to be challenging. It has been a juxtaposition this year. It has given me a reason to relax and enjoy, but yet my own fear of the future has at times caused me to stop dead in my tracks. There are many things I have yet to do what I had want to. This is why I love August. August is, to me, is a second chance at summer. It's a reminder that all good things do come to an end. It's a reminder that time does fly. It's a reminder that we must seize the day.

Summer is also a wonderful time of year for a foodie. Summer's bounty is abundant and sublime. My children and I share a love of cooking and food. There's nothing like sitting outside on a warm summer night as the sun sets, right before the stars take flight... Fresh fruits and vegetables... accompanied by warm hearth-baked breads... succulent meat grilled to perfection...accompanied by a refreshing cold beer or crisp chilled wine.

My funds are limited this year, more than they have ever been in the past, but I will not sacrifice good food and flavor. I am fortunate to live in a town where there are as many farms as people. (Ok, slight exaggeration!) Our soil is rich and produce is abundant. I have a favorite farm, I admit. It is just about a mile up the road from me. A two minute drive. Yes, I could walk but I drive. I would not be able to tote back all the wonderful goodies on foot! Sport Hill Farm, in Easton, Connecticut, should be on your map if you happen to be in the 'hood. She has her own chickens who produce the most magnificent eggs... and all the vegetables your heart desires. Her treasures are spectacular... wandering through with my camera I marveled at how farms are nature's jewelry stores!

Visit your local farmer, farm stand or farmer's market... buy locally. It's better for you. Better for the economy and better for our environment. Nothing tastes as wonderful as homegrown.

And while August is my month to enjoy summer and all that it has to offer to the fullest, I plan on getting back into my kitchen and taking advantage of all the garden delights it has to offer too!

Happy August!