Simple pleasures for July

July wildflower walk

Eating vegetables from the garden every day.


We’re in that blissful period when there’s enough vegetables for meals but before the summer gluts of courgettes, tomatoes and runner beans.

digging new potatoes

The asparagus and broad beans have finished but we’re eating sweet carrots and thinnings of beetroot and we scrabble in the dirt to lift the new potatoes, so far unsullied by slugs or scabs.

cherries from garden

Picking fruit

It’s a bumper year for cherries. Last year we had a crop of just three cherries that we watched slowly change colour. And then they disappeared. Just as they were almost ready. This year we netted the tree more carefully and have been picking cherries by the bowlful along with blackcurrants, gooseberries and loganberries while out in the fruit field we’ve started to pick raspberries for Raspberry Gin.

baking tins


In July we light up the outdoor oven, though it always takes me a couple of sessions to get back into the different way of cooking. The pizzas were successful, cooking in three or four minutes with a crispy base and bubbling hot topping but the loaf of bread I put into the oven afterwards was less successful because I didn’t let the oven cool down enough. The base was blackened and inedible so I sliced off the bottom, scooped out the middle to make breadcrumbs and put the top into a slow oven (indoors) to dry  out so that I can use it as a bowl. In theory. Maybe.

There have also been experiments with Devonshire Splits, which I’ve started to make instead of scones because they taste so good, especially when eaten with cream and freshly picked strawberries.

cow parsley gone to seed


A lack of rainfall this year, coupled with a few hot days last week has tipped the countryside from green to yellow. The wheat crops are already turning colour, the oilseed rape is dying off and the cow parsley in the verges has run to seed.

being creative

I’ve been trying some different screen printing techniques and doing more jelly printing. And I’ve been dyeing wool and fabric. With beetroot and rose petals. Hmm. I think I’ll stick to printing.

simple pleasures for july

What are your simple pleasures for July?

46 thoughts on “Simple pleasures for July

  1. it is in the simplest things that we all take most pleasure in Anne!
    I am in awe of anyone who can grow their fruits and veggies!
    Thanks for brightening my day!

  2. Do you have regular cherries or sour cherries ? I I love cherry jam. David Lebovitz has a great recipe for cherry jam that I used. Simple pleasures are the best, enjoy.

    1. Regular cherries. I love cherry jam too – one day I hope we’ll have so many cherries that I can spare enough for jam making (our tree isn’t very old).

  3. Impressed with your cherries. Mine have disappeared too, I shall have to follow your lead and net the tree next year. Under pressure of time I’ve ignored the redcurrents this year. So I thought, if I’m not having them I’ll leave the door open and let the blackbirds have a feast. As far as I can see they haven’t touched one.

    1. Maybe we’ve found the answer! It’s like the person who left a bike out with a notice “Free Bike to good home”, which nobody was interested in. When they replaced the sign with “Bike for Sale”, the bike was stolen!

      1. I like the story! Last year the birds ravaged my mangetout. This year, they have seemed completely disinterested.

  4. I’m rather jealous… having had an infestation of builders in the garden for the past two months, we have few crops this year… basically just raspberries and potatoes! However, it will all be worth it in the end as our new growing room is nearly complete and I’m hoping to bring on some crops in there now for a late harvest… I planted a few courgette seeds just yesterday and potted up peppers and tomatoes. Fingers crossed that my August will be more fruitful than my July.

  5. My goodness Anne, I am exhausted just reading what you are up to! I didn’t realise it was so dry there. Those new potatoes look absolutely scrumptious…enjoy!

  6. It all sounds idyllic (but perhaps just rewards for lots of hard work). We’re enjoying being a bit lazy in the sunshine today. Being able to sit outside with a glass of something and listen to the birds/sea is definitely a simple summer pleasure.

    1. Listening to the sea is definitely a simple pleasure but not one I often get the chance to do. Even better with a glass of something and not much to do for a while.

  7. Ah you’re so right about garden vegetables being all pleasure in July, before the onslaught of late summer. Beautiful post.

  8. This is a beautiful post Anne…so much summery goodness right in the middle of our winter. Letting the wood oven cool down enough is surely the trickiest part of the wood oven process isn’t it? Blackened bottoms/bases can be so disappointing after days/hours of sourdough preparations. All part of the mystery I guess!?

    I would love to hear more about your wood oven adventures one day.

    My simple pleasure for July: digging in my green manure crop while I enjoy the winter sunshine and quietness in the vegetable garden.

  9. We only have one young cherry tree and lost most of the cherries last year to the blackbirds (They prefer them to mealworms!) This year we netted them and like you Anne have enjoyed a good crop. Daughter Mary has just made some raspberry gin and blackcurrant vodka, hopefully we will soon be able to join you in enjoying these simple pleasures.

    1. It’s a bit of a performance netting the tree but well worth it for such a delicious crop of cherries. Like yours, our tree is only young and I’m not sure what we’ll do when it grows bigger.

  10. I’ve used all of my stored rain water and, having been too stingy in the past, have decided I must use tap water this year in order to help my crops. Even when it does rain, it only seems to fall on half the garden 😦

    1. I hate having to use tap water in the garden but we’ve had so little rain this year that the water butts haven’t caught anything like enough water to use on the veg.

  11. Plenty of rain here unfortunately. I am looking forward to eating one of two artichokes from my garden tomorrow. This is the grand total of pickings in the vegetable patch this year…

    1. I can never decide whether to eat or leave the artichokes. They seem a lot of effort to eat and they look so magnificent in the garden that it seems a shame to cut them.

  12. OK, every single thing you have mentioned made me either smile, drool or feel nostalgic. I love the reverse seasons between us. I’ve just pruned my raspberries and can now not wait to try ‘raspberry gin’. I’ve also just pruned my cherry tree and as doing so was reminiscing back to he 5 cherries that adorned it last season. Each one of them juicy, plump and delicious. I used little exclusion bags around each one and that worked well.Never heard of a Devonshire split but I’m about check it out! Good luck with the bread, always something it an be used for!

    1. Sometimes I think it’s better to have just five fruits and savour every one than have so many it becomes a chore to pick and use them. Not that I think we’ll ever reach that level with our cherries.

  13. That has to be a tricky thing to bake in an outside oven – do you burn wood?

    Loving those cherries which are one of my favorites. I had a little patch of blackberries for years on the edge of our property but last fall my husband cut them back because they were really getting out of control. I’m not sure what he cut exactly but it seems like I don’t have the blackberry bushes anymore, just a lot of weeds. Should have kept a closer eye on what he was doing up there 🙂

    1. Yes, we burn wood, which can be of variable quality just to make the whole thing more difficult. Maybe the blackberries will spring up next year.

  14. ah, you make me wistful for summer days, where one can go barefoot and enjoy sunshine and warm air…I am glad your netting strategies have been successful, there is nothing more frustrated than losing a long-anticipated crop to birds! those cherries look so juicy and sweet. thanks for the summer hit, anne 🙂

  15. Those cherries are magnificent! Well done for winning them from the birds – today I found a sulphur-crested cockatoo sitting in my lemon tree, brazenly eating a lemon! He had already tasted and rejected about 10 lemons. We disturbed him by trying to take a photo, and he flew off with a lemon in his beak. We picked the last few he had left behind! I’m looking forward to see the results of your screen printing.

    1. what a wonderful story, I am going to have to visit your blog now to seek out the sulphur crested cockatoo – you are obviously at home in warmer climes

  16. beautiful photographs – love the cherries, here is a question for you – why are english strawberries so much nicer than other strawberries? Do you think it’s the type you grow?
    I will need to look up Devon Splits, sound like american shortcakes, but I have never heard of them. Happy Wednesday Poli PS I have more farmland photos for you 🙂

      1. Nope – my sister has just spent months over there and says nothing compares to english strawberries 🙂 I will test it myself soon

  17. Your pictures are lovely, Anne. I had a laugh when you mentioned courgettes- I’m currently drowning in them as well (I’ll take some of your runner beans, though). I’ve got such a love/hate relationship with seasonal eating 😉

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