Notes from the Czech countryside – June, the red month

In Czech, June is called červen, which might be related to the word červený, meaning red. Another theory is that červen could come from červ (worm), because the cochineal larvae used for making red dye were around in early summer. Apparently they are now almost all extinct. Either way, June is a red month. The red poppies are out in all the fields and some of the red fruits (cherries, strawberries) are ripe too.

So  June means red poppies and cherries and grass allergies and and summer rainstorms. The lambs who were little two months ago have grown bigger already and the two boys are butting heads; the yellow canola flowers have already been cut, so last year we must have been there in May because we walked past fields of it. June means gathering big bunches of elderflower to make fragrant cordial you can drink with water or sparkling wine. In Germany, elderflower is called Holunder. The flowers are creamy white and fragrant, and the drink tastes like summer.

June means fields of green wheat and barley rippling in the wind, bike rides, long light evenings, chilly lake dips and the first barbecues, cuckoo calls in the afternoon. Weather that is still a little unpredictable – you get caught in summer thunderstorms a lot.

Motivated by the fact that my husband is still waiting for his German driver’s license and can’t drive anywhere, we finally did what we’ve been meaning to do for ages and bought bicycles for when we’re in Czech Republic so that we can ride around while we’re there. We rode from his family’s place to the two nearest cities, Pardubice and Hradec Kralove, and suddenly realized they are not so near (when you’re not going by car on the highway). I look forward to going for many more bike rides this summer.

In Hradec Kralove

Pardubice Town hall

Pardubice castle

Long live summer!

Gooseberries growing

Vegetable patch

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