09/24/2009 02:40 pm ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

The Summer That Never Was...

My 12-year-old daughter keeps begging me to go back-to-school shopping, and I tell her she may not ask again for at least two weeks... But then that's only a week before school starts. ARRRRGGGHHHHH! I feel like summer never even started!

Between the constant rain and cool weather (there wasn't one single night where I lay in bed too hot to think and in need of a cold shower -- that's a happy feeling, trust me) and having been so busy that I never even got to my favorite plant nurseries, I'm feeling a strong resistance to autumn.

When you read this, I'll be on my way home from a three-day jaunt up to see my in-laws, whom I adore. But with both of them 88 years old, I know I'm going to be working every minute I'm up there, helping them get ready for a long winter. My own mother, who is 80, is frail and looks forward to any moment when I can share my 3-year-old with her. I now really understand what it feels like to be the "sandwich generation."

The sandwich, as you probably know, was invented by the Earl of Sandwich so he could play cards with one hand while eating with the other. I asked my daughter Maya, a historical romance author, what the female equivalent of an earl is, and she said a countess... sometimes, when I'm feeling especially pressed between two pieces of bread I call myself the Countess of Sandwich. But that doesn't make it feel any more like summer.

Hmmm... The truth is, sometimes life calls for postponing a feeling of summer. Sometimes I just have to steal whatever tiny moments of summertime pleasure I can, and squeeze them inside the bread of my life, for a different kind of sandwich.

Here's what keeps me nourished while I'm eating with one hand and working with the other: The night fragrance of my relentlessly blooming Nicotiana; a quick dip underwater in the pool when the sun peeks out from the clouds and the wavy turquoise water reminds me of the summers of my childhood; a bite of an organic, juicy, just-right ripe peach; and last, but not least, the three hot, sweaty, strenuous polka dances I had last week at Musikfest.

It will have to do. Anyway, next summer is only 10 months away.

For more from Maria Rodale, go to Maria"s Farm Country Kitchen.