Sunday, June 05, 2011

Sunday at the farm

It is how summer days should be: a cool shaded outdoor spot, tables covered with casual, colorful cloth, dishes stacked.

Maybe two pans of spring vegetable frittata. Maybe some chicken sausage on the side. And bowls of fruits. And a rhubarb coffee cake, drizzled with rhubarb compote.


Your friends should be there – at the farm, escaping for the week-end, with their dog, maybe. And it’s good to have at least one daughter there, with her friend, to vary the ages a bit. Two daughters would be over the top great, but one is good too.


At some point, someone on the porch will fall asleep. I’m guessing the farm man himself. People that live and breathe the outdoors get sleepy after big meals. Others will continue eating, or taking pictures, or telling jokes. He’ll snore just a little.


But eventually someone will propose a walk. It’ll likely be the cook. Cooks like to get out of the kitchen for a spell after they’re sure everyone is well fed.

The friends have to leave – it’s a long drive to the city up north. The daughter and her friend will leave soon, too – it’s a long drive to the city down south. But they humor the cook and they take that walk and they’re rewarded with a field of lupine and a view toward fields of gathered hay.


Yes, Sunday at the farm. It’s best when there is food with friends and family. Really it is.

summer days

The living is pretty good, if not easy. And yes, the flies are starting their heat-of-the-day buzz. How did it get to be this green, this pungent, this idyllic, this quickly?

I’m up early. The garden to check. New plants to water, six more that came in the mail, revisit the ones who have been prone to wilt, note bugs attacking my tomato heirloom. Ed’s caulking the porch, getting it ready so that I can paint it tomorrow or the day after.

Breakfast. Outside, of course.


Isis, the cat, hides. Karma, the dog explores.


After, I tell my visiting friends -- follow us to the market!

(photo credit: dianalouisa)

And they do. To the downtown market, where we meet these guys...

DSC07126 - Version 2

Yep, the younger daughter’s in town. One daughter at the market one week, the other the next. Funny how that goes.

We sample sweet stuff, spicy stuff, cheese stuff, bread stuff...


I buy asparagus, oysters (mushrooms; we’re in the Midwest, remember?), one more plant, just one more...

Early afternoon. I join Ed by Lake Waubesa. He’s checking out a used partly inflatable two person canoe. He needs me to assess its wobbliness (I don’t like tippy boats). We take it out a bit and talk about its potential to take us down adventurous rivers in far away places.

photo credit: dianalouisa

Not bad. Okay, okay, we can do this. We'll navigate it down the river in a few weeks, okay. (Gulp. More on that later.)

Late afternoon. My visiting friend and I take a walk along the lake. So quickly! The summer came so quickly! Like a season that grew up from infancy to adulthood at the blink of an eye lid.

 DSC07145 - Version 2

Or, like your baby kid. The one who now eats cheese bread with you at the market.

A sandhill crane screeches and guards her young.


Calm down, quiet, we'll not bother you.

Evening. We go in to town for dinner. Second time to the city in one day!

We’re at Underground Kitchen – a place that, too, has ties to my law school friends (one friend's daughter’s partner is one of the an owner/chefs). Such good foods (and drinks! try the no. 44!), from beginning...


to end.


Superbly intoxicating stuff. Or, is it that the predinner drink was superb and thus intoxicating and all that followed was a rollicking run of good flavors and seasonal ingredients?

My visiting friends, Ed and I, walk down State Street to the Memorial Union terrace.


The younger daughter is there with her friend. The sun is setting. The Union chairs are packed and so we sit at one of the decks, jutting out into the lake.


A superb sunset.

You’d think that this is where I end the day. But no, the sun has long disappeared, the night stars are visible, and there we are, walking up Bascom Mall to visit the Law School. My friend hadn’t been back since she graduated in 1986, a year ahead of me. You have to think how heady this all is: my law school pal and me, walking through hallways together now, 25 years later, with lawyer daughters grown (her daughter, too, is a law school grad), and landlords, or is it traveling companions, or in her case, husbands at the side, walking now through the office rooms and class rooms and spaces that were just so different then, when we were both starting out.

Such a night. June night, warm with the smell of lakes and the sound of someone starting a motor on a boat again and again and again until eventually it kicks in and sends the little thing chug chug chugging up Lake Mendota.