The Summer Solstice falls on June 21, and the day is the longest (and the night shortest) of the year. It’s officially the first day of summer, although thanks to global warming, we’ve already had plenty of hot days! The sun reaches its farthest point north of the equator, and the moon will be closest to the earth, and one of the largest of the year. Also called midsummer, the Solstice has been celebrated by pagans around the world, perhaps most famously at Stonehenge, for thousands of years. It marks the point in the calendar when the days begin shortening, and harvest preparations begin.
This year, we’re celebrating by planting pumpkins, corn, beans, squash, and cucumber – seeds we’ve long had on hand, occupied with other home and family-related things. Turning the soil populated by healthy earthworms, amending it with compost, and placing the seeds is back-breaking work. But when you sit inside working all day, and come out amidst the songs of goldfinches, the cheep-cheep of the towhee, and the harsh caws of resident crows and jays, knowing that soon you’ll reap the fruits of your labor, it brings the greatest joy.
We avoid using pesticide, herbicide, and most especially rodenticide. Raptors Are The Solution works to educate the public about the perils of rat poison, which can (and does) kill wildlife, pets, and children. Science and nature writer Mary Ellen Hannibal has written most poignantly about the subject. It’s especially important to seek natural controls, at this time celebrating life and the nourishment of the earth.