It’s the last day of July--sob!--and for us summer freaks, this is a sob-worthy fact. On the way to church on Sunday, when I realized that it was the last Sunday in July, I soberly made a list of all the things that we hadn’t done enough of this summer, for my tastes, at least. I’ll admit, my mood was morose. A bit “too-much-work-and-not-enough-play-makes-Amy-a-dull-gal-ish.”
And then, rather than feel sad about these un-accomplished and un-done things, I promptly determined to schedule them in to August–no matter what! So I got out my little calendar and I pencilled them in.
It’s irritatingly easy for me to work my fool head off, day-in and day-out. It just seems to be the way I’m wired. But it takes having a granddaughter here with me for an evening, or my little boy tugging at my hand, a wistful look on his sweet face, for me to remind my dumb self that playtime is important, too. Even to grown-ups. Especially to grown-ups!
So without further ado, here’s my “Happiness List” for the first few weeks of August:
- Go fishing with Mack again
- Take the canoe down the Big Blue with Mack and Amalia (with fishing poles!)
- Get a pedicure with Bethie–it’s got to be next week!
- Read a good book, preferably in Amalia’s treehouse (ahhhh!)
- Go for a bike ride to the cemetery with the kids
- Ride bikes to town, go to the DQ, visit with Anya and her parents
- Horse around with little Mack in the pool
- Watch one of those summer movies that the girls and I have been talking about
We’ve spent a lot of time this summer working on the hoophouse and planting and nurturing our garden and orchard, not to mention the flower beds and whatnot, caring for the chickens and trying to keep up with the mowing, but all that work and busy-ness gets a bit stale after awhile, if we don’t take enough time for recreation to balance it all out.
Little Mack keeps us grounded, because if we just work and forget to play, he shows it in his behavior. He’s our happiness barometer. Our normally-happy and cheerful and creative little boy gets moody and grumpy and snappish, and that’s a sign to me that we need some play-time. And fast!
So it’s the end of the line for July, but the beginning of August is tomorrow, and I’m planning on doing a bit less weeding and cooking and mowing and planting, and a little more swimming and fishing and biking and playing. Sounds good, doesn’t it? We still have a few weeks left of summer, and I–for one–plan to make the best of it.
I hope you do, too, Gentle Reader.
Then we can start school at the end of the month with no regrets about the way we spent our time this summer. Anybody with me on this?
It was the end of the line for my meat chickens today, and a number of my old hens, as well, and perhaps that’s why I’m feeling a bit melancholy. I assured these meat chickens that it would never work for me to keep them as pets, as I gently caught each one and put them in their transporting cages, also the old hens. I tell you, Gentle Reader, every year I wonder if I’ll do this again next year. I know that it’s not feasible for me to keep dozens (hundreds, thousands) of chickens for pets, but I don’t enjoy the butchering and culling process. At all.
I don’t even butcher them myself. I make a date with small processing place, and I drop them off at the back door, go have coffee at the local *cafe, and then come back a couple of hours later and pick them up at the side door. They are butchered and cleaned and chilled and ready to put into my freezer. The largest of the meat chickens were over 8 lbs, a really nice size for a big roasting bird.
And hey, here’s an interesting fact: you can buy a cup of decent coffee at the Brainard Cafe for 25c, with free refills! Cool, huh?
I do enjoy stocking my freezer with these great-quality chickens that have enjoyed lives of free-ranging at our place, taking dust baths, scooting around after bugs and scrabbling after scraps. I know how they’ve lived their lives, and I approve. But I still hate this day.
I do know that my life will be a bit simpler now. I’ll have to haul a lot less feed and water (the meat chickens, in particular, gobble down a lot of food) and I can put away the temporary meat chicken shelter that we’ve been using, and I won’t have to keep baiting the live trap every night. (It wasn’t a fruitless exercise. See “A Slew of Varmints” to see what we caught.)
So there’s that. And it’s a great feeling to have the freezer partially filled for the winter’s worth of eating. I’ll get lots of delicious, steaming pots of chicken noodle soup and chicken and dumplings out of the tasty old hens, and the meat chickens will make excellent roast chicken with veggies from the garden: parsnips, onions, potatoes, and carrots, yum! But still.
Here are a few other things that happened at our house during the month of July:
Our Timothy turned 19. I am so proud of the sweet young man that he has become, and I am excited about his talents and his abilities, and how he’s using them to build himself a business and to bless others.
We stole away for a day and went to a park that we’d never been to before, here in Nebraska. The Indian Cave State Park is a lovely place, and just a couple hours from our house. There are actual Petroglyphs that native Americans carved into a cave wall there, and lots of lovely woodsy trails and river-front views. And a couple of cool old cemeteries, and a living history town. It was just wonderful. And so close. I’ll write more about this special day–you guessed it–in August.
Do you have a place that is within a couple of hours’ drive from your house, that you have always wanted to go visit? Maybe August is the perfect time to do that.
I’ve been pestering and pestering my good husband to check on our bees . . . I mean, he hasn’t been working on anything else this summer
like building a hoophouse or anything, after all. What’s the deal, anyway? We have two hives, one which is the result of a spontaneous swarming this spring. He finally agreed with me that it was time to check on them, to see if the bees were making lots of honey or not (they are!) and he invited me to watch. It was a hot day, and he let me use the one bee suit that we have. Now that’s love, People.
The bees got a little upset, but I didn’t get stung. Bryan did get stung, but just once, bless him. I’ll write more about that experience in August. August is starting to sound like fun, after all, isn’t it?
One more thing–my darling daughter Bethie has been home all summer, working as an electrician’s apprentice at the community college near our place, missing her Hawaiian boyfriend, and generally just sweetening up the place, as usual.
But she’s ready to pack up her new school clothes and her expensive college text books and to flip her ponytail independently and go back to college in a few weeks. (Ouch.)
But first–she’s going to go visit her boyfriend in Hawaii! We’ve been on a couple of shopping trips to find her a few new things. Guess where?
My girls are so much more creative and content than I believe I was at their age. Once a month, we make a run into Lincoln to have fun at the 99c Day at the Goodwill stores there. You can’t believe what you can find for 99c at Goodwill: formal dresses, leather coats, wool jackets, jeans, cute skirts, sweaters, just about everything. And it’s fun, fun, fun!
But I’ll write more about that . . . you know . . . in August. . .
I could go on and on, but you, Gentle Reader, need to make your “Happiness List” for the month of August, and I need to go get busy, myself.
After all, August awaits.
And you know . . . somebody else is waiting for me, too.
P.S. . . . Did you wonder about my header photo? Those are my daughters Bethie and Amalia and me with our tough gangster looks, before we headed out to dominate the Goodwill Store. What do you think? Are you afraid?? 😉
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