And that’s how it happened this year: it was summer, then it was fall. Boom, baby.
Aaaand, not long afterward: we were surprised by a killing freeze accompanied by 5″ of soggy wet snow, so my gardens– full of tomatoes, peppers, herbs, edible flowers, and lots of other nice things too, only a couple of days ago–are now full of frozen limb raggedy plants, and lots of cleaning-up chores to do. The radishes and beets and turnips are okay, however, and possibly even sweetened a little from being blanketed with snow for a couple of days.
And the hoop house is still full of edible flowers 🙂 and heirloom tomatoes, so I’m not entirely out of the gardening biz just yet. *phew* And I’m working on transitioning the hoop house over to winter crops, which makes my heart very happy indeed.
The last of the summer squash plants have finally petered out, just last week, and I dug potatoes long ago. I’m having the usual sweet potato regret, though, inwhich--viewing my dad’s gorgeous tubers, and photos other farmers are posting on social media–I feel very sad about not planting sweet potatoes this year. Again.
It takes a special trip to town, you see, in the spring, at just the right time (before the nursery runs out of them) just to purchase those sweet potato slips, and this year I didn’t make it in time. 🙁
Such a poignant state of mind is sweet potato regret. And one that, if I pair with big puppy eyes in the vicinity of my o’er generous dad, may even garner a couple beauties from his huge harvest. And a couple will be enough to feed us all through the fall.
Next year, I will try to grow my own slips (I don’t think it’s difficult, you just have to be with it in your timing, which is difficult enough for me.)
I plan to sock some fermented radishes away soon. They are wonderfully zesty and tasty, and so good for the gut.
The camera on my ‘phone is full of pictures, in fact, and it seems such a shame not to share a few of them. So here are a few photos from the past few months, just for you, gentle reader, as we wrap up summer, and look forward to a few weeks of fall. Colored leaves. Frosty mornings. Wood fires. Snuggling in quilts for read-aloud sessions with little Mack and the girlies. Sounds so good to me.
So let’s put summer to bed, before we embrace fall, okay? If we must, we must. It’s not my choice, ya know. I’d rather have summer all–year–’round. *sigh*
Bike Rides with Mack
I actually tried taking pictures from my biking vantage point, waay behind that is, watching my cheeky son zip out ahead of me, laughing at me because I couldn’t keep up with him. “Get with it, Mom! You’re so slow!” (Hmmph.) So it goes. However, some new exercises I’ve been doing have rendered my knees stronger than they’ve been in years—years!-–which was a discovery that caused euphoria in my aging breast, not to mention a longing to go very very fast again. Just one more time, God, let me feel like a teenager.
It’s hard to go at a good speed, on a bike, when your knees won’t let you push down. But that all is behind me, for now. Watch out, Mack, I’ll be the one riding circles around you . . .
Yes, my children, your mama used to race her big brother–on ten-speed bikes–on a loosely-graveled hill–at night--when she was a girl. IT. WAS. FUN. (But please don’t ever do it, yourselves.) I never wrecked my bike, not once, but came close enough (that loose gravel, Mark, remember?) that I felt the keen relief of not crashing, more than once. You know it: that breathless gratitude that you cheated a terrible fate, indeed. That your guardian angels saved you from some real pain, loss of blood, possible broken bones. Then a resolve to just–be–more–careful. Then a careless forgetting of that resolve. Over and over.
Our summer picked up speed from the get-go, and my early summer imaginings of biking farther than our little neighborhood didn’t happen often. Sometimes we bought ice cream at the local DQ and took it (quickly) over to my folks’ house, across town. Before it melted. Sometimes we got lost in the lonesome access roads that wind through the corn and bean fields around our place. Some evenings we biked around the cemetary.
Every place was my favorite.
At the Lake
This was a brilliant move, on my part. If I may say so, myself. One of the weeks that we kept the girlies while their mama was in the hospital, things began to get dicey at home. Mack was too easily irritated. Girlies were missing their parents and their own home. Tempers flared and tears threatened.
I had a sudden thought, born of desperation: let’s go play. At the lake. And so we packed up a very simple picnic lunch (picnics are always happifying, aren’t they?) and, within thirty minutes, we were at the beach. The girls were ecstatic. Sand! Water! Sticks! Little pebbles! Uncle Mack was relieved for a change of venue. Amma was smug with the knowledge that the tough part of the day was over.
The girlies were especially delighted because we weren’t in the car longer than twenty minutes. Mack actually (this is big for a twelve-year-old boy) lauded my decision: Good job, Mom, this was a good idea. Any piddling little interpersonal problems we were having at home vanished on the expanse of that beach. Sometimes the answer to a problem just is: go find some water. And some space.
It was too cool to swim, but we waded, we built sand castles, we played in the sand and we ate sandy sandwiches. We picked up pebbles and interesting sticks. We watched clouds and gulls. It was amazing.
The next time we went, we invited Auntie Bethie and cousin Gideon, which was an excellent idea, too.
Regular gentle readers of this blog will already know that the extended Young family spends a weekend together every year, usually at the excellent Ponca State Park. Babies are passed around, dogs are walked, lavish meals are shared, games are played, and lots of coffee is sipped around the campfire.
We are all busy folks and our family gets bigger in some way or another every year. This weekend is a great time to catch up with each other, and to make some sweet memories.
It’s a lot of trouble–packing and prepping and getting everybody there, but it’s so worth it. It is something our family looks forward to all year long.
Continuing the theme of Being-lots-of-trouble-but-worth-it . . .
I just keep accumulating critters. Some days they take more of my time than I think they should! But I think they do fill in the quiet restless areas of my heart that miss having oodles of kiddos underfoot every day (and yes, mamas, I do miss it!). They provide the noise and the activity that I miss.
I am unaccustomed to quiet, ya know.
We all stay busy with these two pups of ours. Scout has taken to looking for trouble whenever she can get away with it (and even when she can’t). When she can manage it, she’ll slip away from us and choose one of the following to keep her from being bored:
- chase the neighbor’s cows
- pick on the other neighbor’s dog
- go show a coyote in the woods what-for
- chase bunnies to the death, never mind the boundaries of our property, the county, or the state
- round up our chickens that tease her, just to hear them squawk
- put every cat in our vicinity (we have 6) up a tree
- go check on ‘Pone’s papa, and if he gives her any lip, pick a fight with him
I know, I know. She is so pretty and looks so sweet, doesn’t she? There’s more. Gosh, she’s something else. So she spends a lot of time on a leash, following me around as I do my chores, going for several walks a day, and inside (still on a leash, because she can open doors with that long nose and she doesn’t suffer being inside any longer than I do) with us when we are in the house.
And Capone? He’s a mellow fellow, prone to carsickness (see the misery in the photo above?) and basically fine with anything. His preferred modus operandi: close enough to me to actually touch me occasionally with his nose. He’s a big sweetheart who doesn’t mind boredom, as long as he’s actually touching me. He is not the restless athlete that his mama is, and I can see him growing fat in his middle age, as lying around the house for hours is just fine with him, thank you. As always–touching me.
My flock grew quite a bit this summer, but I think they’ll all still be comfortable in our tiny little coop. I hatched out a few Icelandic chicks in my incubator, and two Icie hens also hatched a few chicks each. I bought a few pullets of different breeds this summer, because I wanted to have more eggs to share with family and friends than my Icelandic hens alone provide. And my duck couple hatched out six nearly (not quite!) identical ducklings.
I can’t wait until springtime when my two lady geese start to lay eggs again, now that we have such a handsome male gander . . . !
This silly duckling–one day she got stuck in a puddle, upside-down, flapping her webby feet in the air and making a ruckus–and the next decided that bathing in this water bucket wasn’t such a good idea, after all, when she couldn’t get back out! ha!
Now I’ve gone on too long and I need to get busy, but I’ll leave you with a teaser photo and the promise of a story for another time.
I love you guys. Take care. Get some fresh air! Don’t forget to floss your teeth, and like, comment and share this post to totally make my day. Thanks!