Friday, June 10, 2016

up, down, round and round

The sunrise in Madison today is at 5:18. It has been at 5:18 for a few days now and it will remain at 5:18 until June 21 -- after that, well, it's countdown to winter. In the next days, we'll gain our additional minutes of daylight, but they will be at sunset.

Oh but I do love June. And I love being up with the sun. I never intend to stay out long then. It really just sort of happens.

I open the coop, walk over to one of the buckwheat fields and decide I may as well do it the favor of pulling out some of the emergent bind weed and thistle. That takes a while. By the time I move on, the sun is already on its way to giving us the hottest June 10th on record: we peak at 91F/32.5C today, which is several degrees upward of out previous record set some forty years ago.

(This corner of the farmette is, I always thought, secretive and lovely. The smell is of pines. Were I a child, I would imagine it to be my own little corner: private and quiet. The type of place you like to run to when grown ups make unreasonable demands and scold you for no good reason.)

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And by the time I assess the work that I might do this morning, the sun is higher still.

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For the next several hours, I move hostas and heucheras. This year, the hostas have exploded. They grew three times their usual size and I've moved nearly a dozen of them out of the dappled shade garden by the farmhouse path. This morning I also rearrange heucheras so that they will be less crowded and more in line with their maximum height.

This is an incredibly stupid thing to do on what will turn out to be the hottest of hot June days. Moving plants is stressful (for the plant) and even though I coddle them with our very best compost soil and water them plenty, by afternoon, they are all in a state of shock and deep wilt.

I glare at the cheepers who look at me from behind the plants, waiting for a treat: it's your fault! If you would quit digging at the roots so much, things would be looking much better, thank you very much! Sometimes I'm glad they don't speak English.

What plants might I show off today? Well, the lupine is trying to set a record in terms of its spiky height.

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And here's a beautiful clematis that I planted by Ed's sheep shed window. I thought it would give him a frame of lovely flowers all summer long. What I hadn't realized is that birds have set up a permanent nest in the roof corner just above it. By the end of summer, the plant will be covered by their droppings. Ed, of course, doesn't mind.

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And the annuals. I go back to them for an image of colorful bounty.

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Oh, and the various lavender plants at the farmette: they're having a really good year.

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Alright, breakfast. Not very hot yet, but warm enough for Ed to move out of his usual spot in order to sit in the shade.

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And then I'm off to be with Snowdrop.

She, of course, wants to go out. It's as if my presence triggers in her that yearning to be exploring the world. Today, I'm happy enough to oblige, but I also know this about the little girl: give her Wisconsin cold and she seems hardly to notice. Give her a hot, muggy day and she is terribly uncomfortable. Still, she really wants to go, pulling my hand toward the door with all her little strength.

I have my shoes on! Let's go!

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So we go. Indeed, her mom joins us for part of the walk, as she is heading for a work meeting that's on our path. And our path leads us past Madison's zoo.

It's a great place for Snowdrop, even if she is only mildly interested in staring at the animals. It's a park with many walkways and alleys and she can run free.

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The heat notwithstanding, the smile is genuine.

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The park is filled with families and spirited children -- we're not the only ones who think it to be a great destination on this summer-like day. And here's a big treat: this is where you'll find one of the two (known to me) merry-go-rounds in Madison. The last time Snowdrop rode one, we were, of course, in Paris. The day had been hot, the wait to get going -- round and round, up and down -- seemingly interminable to a little girl. Today isn't greatly different. When you put yourself in the head of a toddler, you surely can understand: why are we standing in line? Why doesn't this thing move already? Why?

Oh, but when the bell rings and the carousel spins...

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... Snowdrop is in love with life again.

She is intense about this in the same way she is intense about quite a lot of things.

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And grandma just waves and waves.

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She and I do stop by a cafe on the way home, but it's so very warm, that we just do a quick nibble and run. I point to the umbrella above the table (shade, Snowdrop, it gives us shade!), but the girl is a bit doubtful about the whole set up.

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And now we do the final leg home. Snowdrop does not want to be wheeled back in a stroller. She wants to sniff the flowers.

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She wants to walk. And this is her favorite (which I remember so well from Paris) -- she wants to push the stroller (which she has to do in a backwards fashion, as the bar is too high for her to reach).

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True happiness. It's slow going this way, but honestly, is there a reason to rush when the air is clammy and hot and the spirit is soaring from the sheer act of pushing your own stroller with bits of clover in it?

At the farmhouse, for the first time this year, I turn on the air conditioning. Tomorrow promises to be even hotter. We live with such incredible privilege: turn on the switch and your home is cool. Oh, life -- so beastly unfair to some. So wildly kind to others.

1 comment:

  1. Snowdrop's impatience on the merry-go-round... makes me think of her dad's impatience on the Tube in London at the same age. Every time it stopped, he'd lurch back and forth as if to get it going again. Kids just want to move!

    Your flowers are incredible!


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