Celebrate the Seasons : June and July

Summer days are here and they are so, so beautiful! Only a few days of really unbearable heat and a few days of torrential rain, but otherwise it has been fairly mild for these parts. I am loving spending mornings on the porch with my coffee before the humidity rises. The mosquitos are not my favorite, but I am trying not to let them keep me from enjoying the outdoors.

The cicadas have been so loud lately and I have been finding their carcasses all over the backyard. It’s funny when they disappear at the end of the summer - I really notice the quiet.

Lizards have been appearing on our porch, much to Tank’s entertainment, and baby bunnies are everywhere. Flowers are in bloom in everyone’s yards, and lawns are green with yellowed patches from the sun.

We decided not to grow any veggies this summer as our backyard is sort of in flux - we need a new fence and when that goes in we will likely plow down all the weeds and vines that have been accumulating as well as lose a couple of sick trees. We don’t know exactly what the timeline is for this, so rather than put in a lot of work growing vegetables, only to see them killed by construction, we decided just to pass entirely this year. We are working on growing the backyard lawn though (it died last winter) and I did plant some sunflowers in the raised bed for some color.

I have been continuing to record daily nature observations in the Day One app on my phone rather than physically journalling, and I am really liking the ease of it.

Some images from June and July:

The run-down on our activities celebrating summer in June and July:


The kids made fairy houses up in Copake over 4th of July. The foraging for supplies and creating the little nooks kept them busy for quite a while, so I think we’ll make this a regular project - perhaps for each season.

I bought The Wild Year Book on one of our trips to the bookstore in Millerton and there are lots of good ideas for activities to do outside with kids throughout the year. I am looking forward to delving into them with the kids as the year continues!


Our CSA with Restoration Farm started up in June and so we have had a plethora of seasonal fresh veggies on hand to enjoy. We picked blueberries at the farm a couple of weeks ago that were SO delicious. I have never been much of a blueberry fan, but after eating handfuls of fresh berries from the farm, my opinion has changed - so good!

This year was the first time I had ever tried garlic scapes! We enjoyed them tossed in oil and grilled. I also have garlic hanging in our laundry room at the moment drying out and getting ready to be stored for the colder months.

We have been eating lots of greens and tomatoes and carrots.

A few favorite recipes we recently enjoyed:

Crispy sage, pasta and carrot

Quick tomato basil pasta

Garlic scape and cherry tomato pasta

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For traditions, we had another fun 4th of July upstate with a homemade fireworks show (thanks to Eric and his stash) along with making s’mores. In June, we caught the first of the fireflies.


Educated by Tara Westover

The Wild Remedy by Emma Mitchell

Small Space Style by Whitney Leigh Morris

Currently reading Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

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  • Fire Island (Robert Moses Beach)

  • Bash Bish Falls

  • Oyster Bay

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Looking forward to another glorious month of summer fun!

Francesca Russell is a documentary-style family photographer and filmmaker located in Garden City South, NY. If you'd like to see more of her recent documentary family photography, head over to her Facebook page or follow her everyday adventures on Instagram. If you are looking for a family photographer or lifestyle videographer on Long Island or in the New York City area to document your family, small business or event, please contact her for more information.