As we head into the dog days of August, the heat-loving crops continue to ripen more each day, and the animals continue to seek the sometimes elusive shade to stay cool—during the middle of the day the chickens are often burrowed in the cool dirt of their enclosure and the girls can be spotted lounging under the canopy of trees in their pasture (shenanigans are reserved for early morning or evening!).

As much as the sun-ripened peppers and tomatoes are loving the recent heat wave, other more tender crops, such as the lettuces and greens, are now needing a good drink of water each day so that they continue to thrive. Our fruit crops are proving especially bountiful this year, from the big, juicy blueberries, raspberries and blackberries to colorful red and yellow plums.

As busy as we are around Bella Luna this time of year—both tending crops and hosting events such as weddings and special dinners—we also spend quite a bit of time in other people’s gardens, too, through our landscape design firm, Parterre. We conceptualize and install tranquil, natural gardens and outdoor living spaces all around the Sound as well as care for them using organic, low-impact gardening techniques. With its long daylight hours, this abundant season keeps us bustling between projects.

During the long lingering evenings, we are preserving all the gorgeous summer delicacies. In addition to fruit preserves, our ‘jam sessions’ also include pickling cucumbers and canning beets, as well as making small batches of our Nonna Pat’s famous tomato sauce with vine-ripened tomatoes plucked fresh from the garden. In all, we have stowed away a thousand jars so far, sure to be beautiful reminders of this glorious, sun-kissed summer during the cold winter months that will arrive all too soon.

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