July Recap

My goodness, as I looked through the photos on my camera to pick out a few for this post, one thought kept coming to mind:

“No WONDER there are so many weeds in my garden!” July has been a busy month at our place, and it’s amazing that I haven’t just given up on the garden entirely. But I haven’t. Because: Tomatoes.

If a comet suddenly hit our house and everything was in disarray and we had to clean it all up and rebuild, using sticks and stones and raggedy pieces of tin from the fields surrounding our place, I’d still find the time to go out and water and weed my absurd number of heirloom tomato plants. Because:


So, besides the tomato patch(es) producing nicely, what else is going on around here? Let’s see:

1. My son Timothy’s work: Did you realize that every 3 minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer? That stinks, doesn’t it? Poor little shavers. My son Timothy is raising money for childhood cancer research, through St. Baldrick’s Foundation, and this fall he’ll shave his head (if he raises enough support, and I know he will) to raise cash that will go toward this research. If you would like to read more about the foundation, Timothy’s plans, and/or to donate, just click right here.

2. You may assume that we country folk are all about work, but no. We do know how to play, too, although (honestly) sometimes we have to remind ourselves to do so. Over the Fourth of July weekend, Bethie and Saia came home to play for a few days. One hot evening, we headed in to the town pool, only to be disappointed that it was closing early that day. So we came home and made a quick water slide out of tarps and a couple of hoses. It wasn’t the same as being in the pool, but we did at least get cooled off.

What do country folk do when they want to ride on a water slide?

What do country folk do when they want to ride on a water slide? They make their own.

mackwater mackwater2

3. We went to visit our kids Matthew and Rachel and our adorable grandson, Emmett, who live in Missouri, for a long weekend. Delights upon delights, Andrew and Sonia and Anya went with us. I’ve got to point this out: all of her mama and papa’s worries about Princess Anee being happy in the car for that long of a drive were unfounded. With little Mack and Amalia and Timothy to entertain, there was not a dull moment for the Princess (who might have been longing for one, by the time we got there) nor for any of the rest of us, either.

Timothy just has to climb anything that goes UP.

Do your boys just automatically climb things that go up high, like mine do? Please say yes.

We stopped at a park near Hannibal, Missouri, which was the boyhood home town of Mark Twain. Every time we drive past this picturesque little town, we say “Next time we’ll stop and see all the attractions . . . “ but we haven’t yet. The home that Mark Twain grew up in is there, and is open to the public. Also the house that the little girl who inspired the character of Becky Thatcher is there. The real-life cave that inspired Twain’s tale of lost Tom & Becky is there, and there’s also a memorial lighthouse that you can climb, next to the Mississippi River, which is also there. And not likely to go anywhere. Next time–next time, we’ll stop!

We did make a quick stop at a pretty park overlooking the river, to eat a picnic lunch (a good one, too) and we discovered this awesome statue of Mark Twain. Of course Timothy had to climb it.

Andrew had to join him, natch’.

"Oh please, help me up there!"

I had no idea that Mark Twain was so TALL.

And you-know-who, of course, followed them, though he needed a bit of help to get up there.

Be careful up there, boys.

Be careful up there, boys.

4. My sister Anne is moving her family from our little town to an acreage about an hour from us, in about a month, so she is serious about de-cluttering and packing up and cleaning out. It has been inspiring to watch her, and I’ve caught the de-cluttering bug, too. After all, winter–with its cozy enforced insideness–is coming, and frankly, being inside our house the way it is right now? . . . not pleasant. We’ve let the clutter pile up as we’ve kept busy with more fun pursuits. But de-cluttering can be fun, too, especially if you join up with some other fun folks, so you’re not toiling away at it all by your lonesome. Here’s my sister’s De-cluttering group on Facebook, which is pure fun to read, whether you’re de-cluttering or not. Honest. The title of the group is inspiring in itself: Clear the Clutter 2014 Challenge Group. Isn’t it inspiring to think about being clutter-free at the end of this year? (It does seem like an impossible dream to me, but with enough 15 minute sessions, it could happen!)

5. More summertime fun: instead of putting up our own little (convenient, but high-maintenance) pool this year, I bought a pool pass and so we’ve enjoyed the pleasures of swimming in the town pool all summer. Little Mack, with his fearless nature, is a natural swimmer, and passed out of two levels in swimming lessons, and nearly learned how to dive without slapping his tummy on the water. I’ve made it a point to run to town every day that I can, at noon for the Adult Lap Swim time. I’m nearly always the only lap-swimmer there, and I remember now why I love swimming laps so much: it’s great non-impact exercise (for those of us whose joints weren’t made yesterday) and also wildly refreshing.

Little Mack and I have also been taking bike rides in the evenings, whenever we have an evening free. I love, love, love to tool down the farm access roads with my son. They are private, and just a tiny bit (potentially!) dangerous, and we are completely alone, which for some reason delights us both.


july recap



Why potentially dangerous? you might ask, Gentle Reader, and well that you do. There are many possible perils out on these access roads, and the reason that I don’t allow little Mack to go by himself: spray planes spraying the crops with chemicals is one thing (you can hear them coming a mile off, they are very noisy), mountain lions hanging out in the cornfields is of course another thing bikers need to think about (but we’ve not seen one yet), and if the farmer took a wild hair and decided to harvest the corn suddenly, before it’s ready, we’d, of course, be toast. But that wouldn’t happen when the corn is still lush and green, naturally.

Another peril: aliens, natch. Because: Signs.

“It’s happening.”

And oh, I know, I know: Aliens able to build spaceships which turn invisible can’t get through a pantry door and attack our planet, really? Despite the fact that they aren’t even wearing any protection from their weakness? Despite its quirks, it’s one of my favorite scary movies. Have you seen it? I’ve not looked at a corn field the same way, ever since I saw it the first time.

6. And that leads us to a well-placed word or two about change. We’ve dealt with lots of changes in the past few months. My Bosch Universal Mixer died and I had to order a shiny new one. My dishwasher followed the Bosch’s bad example and died too, and I had to buy a shiny new one of them, too. I am grateful that I could do this. My cute little coffee percolator that I bought from the Etcetera shop died, too, and so I had to start using our French press. So Many Changes. But we’re just getting started here.

My brother and his wife moved to Wyoming. Bethie and Saia found summer jobs out there, and they moved out for the summer, too. Timothy found an apartment in town, within walking distance to his workplace, and he moved out, too. My sister Anne and her family found an acreage (as I mentioned) an hour away, and they are moving there soon.

I am so happy about all these changes. I am happy that my loved ones are moving away. I am happy for the new opportunities for growth and adventure and so forth.

No, no, actually I’m not. When I think of their exciting new lives, I’m happy for them. But I’m not happy for myself. I’m not happy that I miss them all, and don’t see them as often.

And that’s not all, actually. Andrew and Sonia are taking a position that they are very excited about in Ohio, so they are moving away, too. And the worst of it is: they are taking Princess Anee with them. Oh, Gentle Reader.

You’ve heard the scripture: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” –John 15:13. Well, I’ll tell you this: Greater love hath no parents than this, that they would help their children pack up and move away. From them. That’s what we’ve been doing. And that’s another big change for us this month. I am happy for them, and I’m trying to learn how to be unselfish (admittedly, I’m a slow learner in that department, ask anybody) and I am excited to hear about their adventures in their new situation.

There’s that.

Amalia and Princess Anee: I love to watch these two together.

Amalia and Princess Anee: I love to watch these two together.

I love you, kids. Godspeed!

I love you, kids. Godspeed!

 6. And now, this rodent-related note: one of our younger baby gerbils escaped from its cage, somehow, and is running loose somewhere in our house. Young Gerbil at Large! This situation has caused lots of tears and anguish among the younger set of our home. Is he still alive? Is he in danger? When will he return to the safety of his cage? These topics have been thoroughly discussed and re-discussed in the past couple of days. Happily, I spotted the errant youngster this morning, and even as I type, he is chewing away at something on the floor near my desk. I haven’t been able to catch him yet because young gerbils are notoriously speedy, and also because: clutter in the vicinity. 🙁

But now I see that little Mack is wandering around with a butterfly net, so I have no doubt that he has a plan and will catch the little guy very soon. I’ll keep you posted, alright?

Thank you so much for reading through my silly recap, Gentle Readers. Thanks for letting me share my heart with you, as selfish and as confused as it is. And hey–please don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a whole gallon of coconut oil (I wish I could enter it, I’m getting low!) because it only has a few days to go.

And hey–have a great day, you!


I’m linking this post up to The Prairie Homestead’s Barn Hop this week. C’mon over!

22 thoughts on “July Recap

  1. Bethany

    Oh, Mom. I got up and prayed for you today. This post was riveting, and beautiful. I loved all the pictures, and the mention of “Signs” made me laugh. Such a beautiful summer, and so many wonderful pictures. Love you! See you in less than three weeks.

  2. Diane Achatz

    Amy, you have had an incredibly busy month! Having been introduced to your blog I’m thinking August will be even more busy for you. We are anxiously awaiting heirloom tomatoes from our vines. We had a late start due to the very cool Spring weather. Everything has taken off tho although we lost a melon plant and my dill to our dig-loving dog. She dug up the melon, but she ATE my dill! Who knew???

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      What, Diane, your dog eats dill? my goodness! We used to have a cocker spaniel who ate all the tomatoes off our vines. I don’t know what I’d do if our dogs now ate our tomatoes off the vines. A dog catapult comes to mind . . .

  3. Zach Brown

    What a great (and busy) month your tribe is having! First off….WOW those are some serious tomatoes! I have found that I much prefer the organically, homegrown tomatoes to anything you can find in the store. They have just about sucked every bit of real flavor out of the mass grown ones. On another note, helping beloved family move away is never easy. My wife’s parents (who raised 5 awesome children) always liked to use their kids moving to different places in the world as an excuse for an adventure and found ways to make it work really well. Grandkids are also a great incentive :).

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Zach, that’s what I keep telling myself: I’ve only been to Ohio once, so this’ll give me a great excuse to see that part of the country . . . and it’s not so far (really) from Niagara Falls . . and it’s on the way to the east coast, where we’ve been talking about touring . . . *sigh* Trying to find the silver lining.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      It really was peaceful that evening, although little Mack was a little nervous whenever I would stop my bike to take pictures of him. It was perhaps TOO quiet for him.

  4. Alana(@RamblinGarden)

    Gerbils. Tomatoes. Mountain lions. What a life you live! Lots of changes, but there will be lots of adventure ahead of you. And, you’ll have so many people to visit. You’ll be able to see the country! I know, it isn’t much consolation now. Finally, I know Mack caught the gerbil, so good you didn’t have to try your Dad’s tunnel method.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      My dad has dealt with wandering gerbils before. I raised them when I was a girl, and I remember them getting loose several times. But my room (where I kept them) was usually so cluttered that it was never hard for a gerbil to find a place to tunnel. 🙁

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Your confidence in me is greater than my confidence in myself . . . but thank you for your lovely comment.

  5. Mari

    Oh, Amy. I can sympathize with you. Family living afar is so hard. My younger daughter and both grandchildren live half a continent away – 3-4 days driving. My mother and siblings all live the same distance, too. We, alone, live far away. Flying is not my mode of transportation, thank you! Only my older daughter lives here, which I love. However, she is totally consumed with her work so isn’t around much. With home commitments, i.e. chickens and dogs and garden, traveling isn’t much of an option. Just call me Farmer Mari. Farmers usually don’t do a lot of traveling!
    Therefore, I spend my days filled with the family I do have (husband, dogs and chickens!) and I keep so busy that I can’t find the time to grieve about it all. The garden takes a big chunk of time, too. This is what keeps me focused on the good things in my life.
    I also keep this is my head: I am studying Philippians now. Try Philippians 4:8. It helps.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      I love Phil 4:8. All of Philippians, for that matter! You are such an encouragement to me, Mari! And I’m blessed that–though I’m a farmer like you–my mother really seems to enjoy watching over our chooks and dogs and so forth, so we can travel to see kiddos fairly often. I think that’s the best way to deal with the ache of missing your kiddos–go see them! 🙂 We plan to do that as soon as we feel is proper. We’ll at least wait until they are moved in. 🙂 A week or two. 😉

      1. Mari

        Blessings on your mom! A thousand times over – blessings. We haven’t found the right person that will be responsible, and even at that, they are so darned expensive, with injured dogs, dead plants and unpicked and rotten produce when we get home. It just isn’t worth it, so my husband and I have agreed to take separate trips, with one always home to hold down the fort. That wasn’t in my long term plans, but that is reality as it stands. Well, we just don’t travel – that is the solution.
        Oh well, I am even more excited every time I do get to see family! It is a rare treat and I love it. There is no chance that anyone will relocate here by us, so that is the way it is. The only solution is to move to the Northwest, and that isn’t likely to happen. However, never say never – right?

        1. dramamamafive Post author

          Oh Mari, I’d look over your place if I lived nearby, you know I would. You never know when somebody who is a kindred spirit will move close by, and you can trade farm chores. That is worth praying for, I think! 🙂 It would be sweet if you and hubby could travel together.

  6. Kathy

    After living in the same 7 mile radius for 40 years, I moved away with my two little girls, 1000 miles away from my family, led by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, so that I would rely on Him and Him alone. It broke my mother’s heart … but she helped us pack and never told me!

    We too went to Hannibal MO and went into the cave … just like in the book!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Ouch, I know. We broke our parents’ hearts when we packed up our kiddos and moved away to Iowa, (admittedly only four hours away) so Bryan could finish his schooling. But my parents helped us pack, and then they made many trips up to Iowa to visit, always bringing us a cooler full of food. Such great parents! It sounds like your mother was cut from the same cloth as mine. 🙂

  7. rita

    I’m reading lot of support in the comments. I can tell you also that it gets easier and also that things change. You can never tell exactly what the future will bring. I always tell myself, when things are the worst that they could be, that it’s really the best they could be. I just don’t know why yet. It sounds Polyanna-ish but it’s proven true time and time again. And, most importantly, the other children leaving, makes you conscious of the ones still at home. I’m not suggesting that you weren’t appreciating them already or enough, but it will intensify even so. And that will be enjoyable, hopefully for them too. 🙂

    It will be fine, great even. Trust.

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