I love the Little House on the Prairie books. My favorite memory of time with my mother is of the two of us curled up on the blue couch in our formal living room (a special treat), sipping orange peel tea (an even more special treat), while she read The Long Winter aloud. Years later, reading Little House in the Big Woods to my little brood helped us survive our own long winter as we were transplanted into the Pacific Northwest. And just last summer, we were all enthralled by my husband’s voice as he brought On the Banks of Plum Creek to life for us in the beautiful cabin loaned to us while we waited to move into our barnhouse.
For all intents and purposes, our summer should have ended Monday. But, seeing as how life has been chock full of things that have left us feeling less rested than we’d like heading into a new school term, we decided to exercise our ability to push everything out a week.
The calendar says that July is mostly gone. That means that time is snowballing here, hurtling toward the end of summer with the same reckless abandon my two year-old has when it comes to piloting a wooden train around a track. The harvest is stacking up in baskets and even wheelbarrows in the barn, and my husband is sending me texts making sure he’s got the right sort of dill for making pickles. We’re in use it or lose it mode, and it shows.
On Thursday, the 13th, the “feels like” section of my favorite weather app said that I was experiencing the equivalent of 96 degrees due to humidity and UV concentration. I was ready to believe it. For the past week the heat had been steadily increasing into one sweltering whirl. Continue reading
I recently stopped to watch my 17-year-old and 15-year-old sons strip apart some bikes to fix brake and sprocket issues.
Ball bearings were rolling across the floor as one leaned down to grab them. And later, inside, the other told me how some of the work had to be redone because, well, when they had finished, there were a few extra parts that shouldn’t have been extra. Continue reading
A year ago this week, we pulled up the shallow roots we had put down in North Carolina, loaded a truck, and moved west.
Summer is in full swing here. I know it’s true, because the air conditioner kicks on more often than I’d like, battling back the sticky heat of East Tennessee. As much as I dislike the full turn in the weather, 0ur farm is loving it. Thunderstorms gave the ground a deep soaking a few days in a row, and both of the gardens exploded into action. We now have pole beans with four foot runners winding their way up stakes, yellow squash nearly as tall as my knees, and a fresh crop of weeds ready to do battle with our army of hoes.
It’s true: you don’t have to live on a farm to tangle with a skunk. But in 21 years of marriage (next weekend) and four dogs, this was our first run-in.
You live your whole life thinking you’re a pretty normal, middle class, socially acceptable kind of person.
Then you one day you look up from your scones and coffee and realize that your kids are firing rocks at squirrels through an open window.
One of the projects I was most excited about this summer is one of those purely delight-driven, purely fanciful little endeavors that make the best kind of memories: a sunflower house. We attempted one once, years ago, in Washington. I probably should have just hand-fed sprouts to the slugs for all the good it did me. I think we grew three sunflowers that year, which was lovely, but it wasn’t a house. It didn’t create the sweet little hideaway I had hoped for. Call me a pessimist, but I never tried again.