Thursday, July 21, 2011

high summer

Just like all of the midwest and probably most of the country, we've been dealing with heat and humidity. Unfortunately, very little rain has been part of it. Plenty of moisture in the air though, as we recently had the densest fog we've ever had since being here. Jerome said he heard that the corn is releasing moisture into the air raising humidity. In Chicago the fog was so thick coming in off of Lake Michigan that the beaches were closed because the lifeguards couldn't see the swimmers beyond the shoreline.
When going out to feed the chickens and ducks that morning, it was as if it had poured all night, though the moon had been shining brightly through the bedroom windows. Deep fog on the ground is beautiful when illuminated by the moon above. There were lovely beads of moisture standing out on all the spider webs in the garden. I took a few pictures but none are really fine, though I think they make the point.

Despite the weedy flower beds there are many varieties of daylilies reaching for the sun. I'm grateful for their hardiness despite my neglecting them. These are only a sampling. I am blessed by their exuberance.

Near the potting shed Anne has begun what's called a lasagna garden.You lay cardboard down on the short cropped lawn and then mulch on top of that. The theory is that eventually it all breaks down and you have a nice bed you haven't had to dig. On it we have several large pots of squash and cucumbers, as well as our 4 pots of blueberries brought from our city gardens. Here you can see our first pattypan squash showing among the blossoms. We've harvested zucchini already. And the blueberries come along daily now.

How did I think I would ever get the enormous flower beds cleaned out and looking as lovely as their potential? Somehow I overlooked the interfering elements of heat, insects, and lack of moisture. It is nearly impossible to pull out invasive grasses when the ground is like stone. I try to forgive myself for not accomplishing as much as I thought I would by now.
There are so many other ways to spend my time.
Such as watching the changing skies:

And keeping tabs on the resident swallow family:

Part ofmy dream that was "to find a little place in the country" included the time to enjoy it. So during this heat wave and while I'm on my own here for a few days I think I'll remember that and ease up on myself just a bit.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

tiny and not so tiny delights

While Jerome was visiting over the 4th of July weekend, he helped with very many chores here. After organizing the garage following a project, he was sweeping the garage floor when he shouted for Anne and me to come running. Now you never know what to expect when he shouts, but given how excited Jerome is by toads, I thought perhaps he had found one. Indeed he had. But no one was prepared for just what type of toad he had found! What Anne calls "the cutest toad ever!" There he is, sitting happily on Anne's finger.  After a good photo shoot, he was deposited in the broken teapot toad abode in the potting shed garden. Wonder what he's up to now?

Today, after giving some thought to putting garden bounty to good use for dinner, Anne got the idea to use some of the gorgeous kale we have growing. She settled on white beans and kale. Unbeknownst to me, she thought to add potatoes and did some exploring among our potato plants and found 2 lovely spuds to add to the dish, our very first of the potatoes. Their skins are soft and thin. They washed up beautifully.

And look at that bouquet of kale. It couldn't be more perfect.

In just a few minutes we'll have dinner. I can't wait. Ahh, rewards of the farm life.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy birthday America

35 years ago today, as I rocked my infant daughter, America celebrated her 200th birthday and I watched the coverage on television of tall ships sailing into New York harbor near the Statue of Liberty. Sousa marches make my heart swell and bring tears to my eyes. Marching bands, especially the high school variety, make me hopeful that the next generation will get it all right this time.
I'm not always proud of the USA, but am totally grateful to be her citizen. Whether you wave the flag today, or your heart races at the sights and sounds of your neighbors marching in a parade, roast hotdogs and toast marshmallows, light a sparkler and write your name in the air against the night sky as it burns,  be safe celebrating today and when gathered with family and friends pause just long enough to be aware of our abundant blessings.

And if you are not near any fireworks displays, may you have nature's own with sunsets and fireflies.

Happy birthday, America.