Sunday, July 14, 2013


There is always one day in a season that brings together all the best parts of that season (and a few of the not so best parts, but these pale by comparison). This is it -- you'll find yourself saying. The quintessential spring day! ... or winter day!

Today has summer written all over its face. Not too late in the summer -- not August summer, where the trees get a hint of tiredness in them and the wasps pick up the pace and you almost feel the urge to go school supply shopping, even if you're no longer a kid. So no, not August summer, but, instead, the true midsummer, the peak of summer, the most beautiful part of summer where you're eating the fruits and vegetables from the garden and your snipping flowers for your kitchen table and the sun is out, but not so much that you need sunscreen just to walk from the kitchen to the porch.

On the pesty side, it is also the time of mosquitoes. True, this year's crop ranks 5 on an annoyance scale of 1 to 10 and I can stand outdoors for hours on end with a hose and not be bothered, but I cannot, for example, go pick raspberries for breakfast without protective gear. Like this:


The quintessential summer day has us eating breakfast on the porch. That's a given.

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It's a time (yet again) to take a look at the flowers. Assess the watering/weeding needs. A good summer day will have me out with a hose, but not too much on my hands and knees pulling out quack grass or creeping charlie. That's less fun. So, moments of admiration:

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Walking down toward the sheep shed - more flowers. (Maybe I should work in a greenhouse: I really really love flowers.)

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On this particular Sunday, Diane and I go to yoga class. The yoga room looks out on the prairie, my favorite teacher is there to guide us through the poses  and to make it even better -- my yoga buddy from Madison is there as well. I have goodness on both sides and a view of a meadow. Bliss.

At the farmette, I take stock of our growing crop of foods. Now that we're pumping water again, I can finish watering the grape vines, the cukes, the tomatoes, the fruit trees. Our cucumber crop isn't exactly exploding (yet), but there are good signs that things are progressing.

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And the tomatoes are multiplying as I speak.

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(The corn is a tad on the short side still, but we planted late!)


Of course, I can just cast a look  at the farmers to our north for a view of really productive vegetable farming.

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But on a quintessential summer day, a truly mid-summer day, I have no complaints. The beetles haven't eaten the roses or the leaves off the cherry yet. The raspberries, buried that they are in who knows what weedy growth, still are throwing out bursts of fruit. And the flowers... I know, I know, I need to let go of this theme already. But the flowers! (My new desktop photo will have lavender in it. Here's today's favorite: )

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It's hard to imagine a finer summer Sunday. Really. This is, I think,  as beautiful as it gets.

Saturday, late

The upshot? Crisis averted.

I'm out in the young orchard, feeling pretty smug. The sun's out and that means that if I stand just so, in its full brightness, I don't even have to use the mosquito zapper. I can water the tomatoes, the grapes, the cucumbers and peas, the corn and, most importantly, the baby fruit trees in peace.

I think about the beauty of the day -- of how good summer always is, even in all its imperfections (heat or rain, bugs, etc etc). Minutes earlier, Ed and I had taken a quick bike ride and even though I usually wince at views of endless fields of corn and soy, this time, it all looks so rich and bounteous:

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And, too, I'm seeing wheat in these parts. The choice crop of my childhood years in Poland.

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(And let's give another nod to the tiger lilies, growing in the wild, around roadside mailboxes...)

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And now, with all this behind me, I'm here, watering the newly planted orchard...  until I feel the water from the hose slow down to a mere trickle.

Damn. Is someone taking a shower? (That's my immediate reaction. As if taking a shower would bring this stream to a halt.)

At the farmhouse, Ed frowns when I tell him the hose has ceased to spit out water. He goes down to the basement to inspect the water pump and I follow, as if I could help, give advice, pass the proper tool.

As you'll know from the first sentence of the post, eventually, he finds the failure, goes to Farm & Fleet just before they close and buys the needed part and makes the proper adjustments. But it never seems so straightforward at the time.  I had visions of a weekend, nay, a week without water. Given the closeness of the city, that's not a total tragedy, but it is a miserable inconvenience. Especially when you have houseguests for the weekend.

My friends take us out to dinner and that surely is a good distraction from the issues at home.

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I use the restaurant's bathroom, wondering when we'd next have a functional toilet back home.

Not so far off. As I retire for the day, the water is back on, the toilets are flushing, the farmette is restored to its wonderful functional self.

You appreciate water especially on days that you almost have to go without it.