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Endless Summer vs. Hurry-Up Fall


Welcome. The week after Labor Day is, for many, the official end of summer.

I tend to resist the way everyone rushes to close the book on summer as soon as the holiday arrives. The beaches are still open, the parks still beckoning for picnics, the grill for barbecuing. Even if children are going back to school, we still have those loose evenings and weekends in which to be our less hectic summer selves. I’ve clashed in the past with the sweaters-and-cocoa types who bravely wait out sunburn season for September when they can fully come alive, start gathering kindling and presiding over endless caldrons of stew.

This year, the “endless summer” crowd has ballooned, more people appreciating the warm weather for the freedom it offers. Fall brings new concerns, necessitating new methods of coping. We’ll devise ways to continue to be outside, to bundle up and cycle or walk to work or school. We’ll meet friends for brisk constitutionals, or, if we’re fortunate, in our own yards or courtyards with masks and blankets (or outdoor heaters). Will the Zoom happy hour resurge? Will we set up dinner co-ops (safely) and return to early quarantine activities like picking up groceries for neighbors, baking bread?

We’re working it out, and we’ll help you do the same.

In the mailbag this week, a dispatch from Caitlin in New England:

My partner and I are travel nurses, and just left a Covid assignment in Kentucky. We’re still living in our little airstream with the three dogs and avoiding the plague. We’re now working in New Hampshire and living in Vermont, awaiting fall and hiking on the rainy days so as to avoid crowded trails. We mostly stay “home” at the RV park, and, like most, are taking pleasure in the simple rituals — taking the dogs to the field for frolicking, NYT recipes to try, going to work and being thankful to have a job at all. It’s strange hunkering down like this, but we’re thankful for our portable bubble and our little family.

While you’re figuring out your fall plans, you might read this fascinating article about an experimental medication that increases height in children with the most common form of dwarfism. Or watch a terrifically satisfying video of a former NASA engineer’s efforts to squirrel-proof his bird feeder. I sampled this recipe for grilled lamb kebabs this weekend. Try it while you can still get summer peaches. And I instantly fell in love with this new cover, by Bedouine and friends, of Big Star’s classic school-days ballad “Thirteen.” That, of course, sent me off to relisten to my favorite “Thirteen” cover by Elliott Smith. Enjoy.

Tell us about your favorite cover songs. Which ones are particularly appropriate to this time? Write to athome@nytimes.com. Please include your first and last name; age; and the city or town where you live, so we can include your information if we mention your note in a future newsletter. We’re At Home. We’ll read every letter sent. As always, more ideas for living a good life at home and near it appear below.

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