2. Strawberries, peaches, and cucumbers with dill in sour cream. Burgers/brats/shish kabobs on the grill. Homegrown tomatoes and sweet corn in August.
2 1/2. Picking fresh herbs from my patio pots: basil for caprese salad, fresh mint for mojitos, and cilantro for quesadillas.
3. Waking up to birdsong at 5:30. Being awake and refreshed when hardly anybody else is up. Adding that extra hour to my day.
4. Cutting through Mears Park, along the man-made stream on the way to the St. Paul Farmer’s Market on weekends.
5. Walking to get an ice cream cone from the Grand Old Creamery.
6. Feeling bathroom tile that’s pleasantly cool to my bare feet—not frigid—so I don’t have to hop from one throw rug to the next.
7. Sunning with a book and swimming at Schulze Lake in Lebanon Hills Park.
8. Grabbing Wednesday night supper from the food trucks at the Nokomis Farmer’s Market.
9. Fireflies in late June.
10. L o o o n n g days that stay light past 9:30 p.m.
11. Heat lightning.
12. Road trips—leaving early with a sack full of snacks and a cooler packed with cold drinks. Passing rippling fields of impossibly green corn and soybeans. Pink, purple, yellow, and white wildflowers tumbling across ditches.
13. Drinking wine and reading after dark on the front porch.
14. Art fairs bursting with jewelry to adorn me and artwork to adorn our home.
15. Outdoor dining at area restaurants—in hidden shady gardens, improvised patios framed by flower pots, or even at tables three feet away from traffic.
16. Drinking beer (don’t tell the park rangers) around the campfire we don’t really need and seeing a breathtaking number of stars come out overhead.