Home Lessons Life Lessons From the Month of August

Life Lessons From the Month of August

Life Lessons From the Month of August
Where I once saw pumpkin, I now only see pie.
Where I once saw pumpkin, I now only see pie.
Where some see a pumpkin, I see pie.

If there’s one benefit to aging, it’s my growing belief that while I may be losing hair, I’m may also be gaining wisdom, especially when I have the good sense to observe, listen and learn on a regular basis. Heck, by the time I’m 60, I should be a genius! And now with August a faint, warm breeze away, I look back and ask myself just what life lessons did I learn in the waning days of summer. In this post, I’ll share a few of my August epiphanies.


1. Farm equipment is not limited to John Deere.

radio flyer
My Radio Flyer red wagon doubles as a flower cart.

The idea of spending $300 on farm cart did not sit well with me or my wallet. So $10 and one garage sale later, I acquired a most suitable, affordable flower cart. (And no children were disappointed in the purchase of this wagon. Seems pull toys are passe.)


2. This is really why they call it stemware.

Welsh Gold
Rose “Welsh Gold” strikes a pose.

I like the idea of a stem in stemware, where the unintended vase finds greater use and a more beautiful purpose than sitting in a china cabinet awaiting a toast or special occasion. Anytime I need a little sunshine in a room, I grab a goblet, flute or tumbler, and create a little still life from the garden.


3. Everything tastes better wrapped in Bacon.

Fresh figs stuffed with goat cheese wrapped in bacon
Fresh figs stuffed with goat cheese wrapped in bacon

I grow fig trees, and I suspect this recipe may be the underlying reason as to why: figs stuffed with goat cheese wrapped in bacon.


4.  For every good selfie, there are at least a dozen deleted ones.

Mugging for the camera at a Seattle Mariners game with my niece.

Are you sitting down? I don’t own a smartphone, but I do have a trusty little camera to capture the moment. When one friend complimented me by saying I had taken some good selfies, I was quick to point out I was even better at deleting the bad ones.


5. Train your berry pickers well.

one of these things is not like the other...
One of these things is not like the other…

This berry picker shall remain nameless, but you know who your are. Rule one: if the blackberry is not black, don’t pick it. That concludes my training.


6. Nothing dresses up a truck like a couple of cute passengers and a payload of flowers.

Boz and Gracie ride shotgun while I deliver flowers.
Boz and Gracie share a ride with the posies.

I’ve started growing flowers for the floral trade, and who knows, next year I may have a farm stand so visitors can load up, too.  And may I just say, presenting a bucket of flowers elicits a much broader smile than offering up a flat of zucchini. Yep, I’m farming eye candy.


7. It’s nice to have company when you miss the ferry.

Boz is a lap-dog plus.
Boz has never heard of the term personal space.

Living on an island, has it challenges, and adjusting to a ferry schedule is one of them. My mobility is at times guided (if not dictated) by tides and ferries, which makes patience an enviable and practical virtue to have or at least ponder. My truck is rarely without reading material.


8. Ferry ride is just another name for nap.

Boz catching a couple z's while crossing the Salish Sea.
On the ferry: Boz catche a couple z’s while crossing the sleepy Salish Sea.

Once the truck rolls on the ferry, Boz and I usually take advantage of the 20-minute crossing by taking a nap, that is after I convince him that my belly is not his dog bed. (Actually, it’s likely more comfy than his dog bed.)

9. Savor the tomato; it’s season is fleeting.

So many BLTs, so little time
So many BLTs, so little time.

Eat them early and often. Some of my favorite homegrown tomatoes include: Aunt Ruby’s German green, Northern Exposure, Ruby Gold, and Jet Star (not pictured).


10 . To see a blue sky, one has to look up.

blue sky over vashon
Nothing but Blue skies do I see…

Or better said…

In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.    —John Muir

If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.    —Eleanora Duse

Thanks for visiting. Here’s to a few new discoveries in September. I’ll keep you posted.


  1. Oh Tom!! You always capture the very best to show us all. Love your pictures….would love to pick some figs, tomatoes, flowers….you do live in paradise, don’t you? And Boz and Gracie….no one could ask for better companions. Someday….you know your part of the world is on my bucket list!!!!

  2. Oh, the zinnias! Gorgeous. So bright and colorful. I sure did miss mine this year.

    Hubby and I don’t own a smartphone either. I don’t think we’re smart enough to operate one.

    Love all the photos!

  3. Thanks Sue, yep, our unusually dry and above normal temps this summer really sent the zinnias into overdrive. I may just have them up until October, if the frost is kept at bay.

  4. Tom, that rose in the stemware is absolutely stunning, and the stemware is pretty nice too. I had a smart phone for two days and took it back. Stuff flying everywhere whenever I touched the screen was just not for this person. Sometimes my Kindle annoys me for the same reason.
    I hope that your zinnias last until Thanksgiving. That would be really cool.

    • Hi Carol, I hear you. I have a kindle collecting dust in a drawer, but this winter I’m really going to try to adapt to not turning a page or holding a book. 🙂

  5. Tom – The only good thing about summer being over is reading your lessons learned. Thanks for a great blog! BTW, the photo in #6 is wunderbar! I’d like to order 4 wallet-sized.

  6. Hi Tom, A dear Vashon friend forwarded your blog, and were I not vacationing on Vancouver Island right now, I might not even have opened it (usually too busy). But I did open and am so glad I did. Since you now have my email, may I hope to receive your blog in the future, when I’m back home in Mexico? It (your blog) is right up my alley, since dogs and gardening are also important in my life. I hope to start my own blog soon, and yours is a fun and lovely inspiration. Phyllis

    • Thanks Phyllis, your kind words are a delightful gift. Now it sounds like, based on your interests and travel history, that a blog is right up your alley. Already I want to see photos and hear about Mexico and your Vancouver vacation. Well wishes, Tom

      • That silvery netting is the tell! I’ll be curious to know how yours keep for you there…I love the flavor, the look, everything about them, but find in this part of the world, at least, they hardly keep at all. Which is a shame–they’re such beauties!

        • Good to know Anne. I’ll keep an eye on them and puree and freeze them the minute they start to implode. 😉 Candy Roaster, Sweet Meat and Galeaux d’Eysines are exceptional keepers for me, fyi.

  7. Just found your website and blog. Really enjoying it. I love love love winter squash of all kinds and look forward to reading more from you on that and finding out about more varieties. Our farmers’ markets have great finds here in Sacramento, but totally different climate here from you. Looking forward to learning and trying new varieties. Thanks.

    • Hi Leigh, the good thing about winter squash is they grow just about anywhere. In Sacramento, you likely would just harvest them a month or two early, as you likely have double or triple our sun and heat units.

  8. Love the zinnias. Now that I am retired, I am focused more on gardening as well. Do your zinnias self-sow or do you start them indoors? Ready for Christmas and already thinking about spring planting.

    • Hi Leona, Congratulations on your retirement and the wonderful gift of more garden time. Zinnias are such a great flower, pretty easy to grow and unfussy about most gardening conditions. They just like good warm soil, regular watering and lots of sun, and that pretty much sums up most annuals. I’ve never had a zinnia self-seed, so I just buy new seeds for the new year or save seeds from zinnias in late summer. I do start mine, but not too early, as zinnias like heat. I usually start them in May and plant them when two-four inches tall. You can plant the seeds directly in the ground but the ground needs to be warm. Good luck! And another tip, if you like zinnias as cut flowers make sure the stem under the flower is rigid and firm for the flower to last. If cut too early before fully formed, the flower won’t last and flops over. Now on to those seed catalogs! 😉


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