To me, summer begins and ends with basil. Summer isn't really underway until I put the basil plants in the garden. They grow all summer, and fresh basil is in many of the dishes I cook throughout the summer. Every month or so, I do a big harvest and Q makes pesto. Then, in the fall, it starts to get cold, and I pull in the last of the basil for our final pesto session. That signals the end of the summer to me. Usually, it's in October, which is long past summer -- it's almost the middle of the fall semester, after all! But I can cling to my dreams of long summer days as long as there is basil in the garden. When I (reluctantly) admit that the basil season is over, I can no longer deny that summer is truly over. Sure, there are still tomatoes in the garden, but it's just not the same.
Today, we made the last of this year's pesto. Summer is officially over.