Saturday, August 10, 2013

one foot forward, the other one back

An unusual day. First of all, it started earlier than any sane person would wish it to start. (Thanks, Isis.) On the upside -- I had a long to do list for today, so I welcomed the extra hours.

There was garden watering and clean up. I was to have visitors later in the day and though I am certain they would not have noticed a parched garden (over the perky garden that you get a few hours after a good watering) and they certainly would not have noticed that the spent blooms weren't trimmed on the daylilies or the coreopsis, I would have noticed. I wanted a good garden for them and so I spent a handful of prebreakfast hours attending to it.

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Breakfast was a sigh of relief: house is clean, garden is in order.

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And the usual handful of strawberries is picked. (Thanks, Ed.)

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Then came the baking part. If someone is to pay a visit in the afternoon, you should bake, no? I made these guys.

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What are they? Well, if you believe that the fruit I bought was a version of an apricot (the sign said as much), then you would call them apricot cakes. For the doubters among us -- plum cakes would be a possibility. Easy, not too sweet, putting that burst of summer on your table.


And by then it was time to greet them: my little girl and her fiancee, along with their good friends from Chicago.

To say that we had a wonderful many hours on the porch is such an understatement...

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I don't think much about how I miss my kids when they are off doing their thing. I'm happy that they're leading productive independent lives and that they have partners who keep them grounded and happy. But I am terribly aware of how much I really do miss them at the moment when they depart. Like my grandma, who stood in the doorway of her country home and looked sadly after us as we drove away, so too, I have this wistful longing to hang on to them as they pull out of the driveway. And so later in the evening, after Ed and I ate the reheated mushroom soup, I was especially grateful that I got coaxed by him into a game of tennis.

It was a good distraction.

That was the foot forward (noting the post title). And the foot back? Well, I do want to answer a few questions from commenters to the previous post. Most bloggers do that in the comments section, but I do not presume that anyone would want to check back there. I am humbled that someone would read forward. I don't want anyone to feel obliged to step back. 

So permit me to post a few answers here, in the main text. (I'll limit it to things that may be of more general interest.)

First, the issue of camera: I get this question fairly frequently -- which one do I use? Everyone loves their camera and true to form, I love mine. Mostly, I use the Sony NEX 6 (before this year I had the older version NEX camera and loved it equally much). It's not an SLR, but in my opinion, for the type of stuff most of us do -- it's superb. And by the way, if you ever want details on anyone's blog photo, all you need to do is click on it and then scroll down -- details will be listed there. And if you want even more details, click on "additional information" further down and you'll see more than you ever wanted to know about what settings were used, etc etc.

Then -- the flowers. No, not wildflowers and not from seeds. Or at least mostly not from seeds. To achieve a "cottage garden" look you have to think what has a dense habit and what you can do to fill in the gaps.  I use nasturtium and cosmos to fill in gaps, but otherwise, all the flowerbeds are classic perennial borders, done in a deliberately cluttered fashion, because truly I like it that way.

And finally -- my last summer jaunt? Well, it begins next Sunday and it's by myself and it has to have many hours on various modes of public transportation so that I can keep up with my work readings!

The sun moved to the west of the porch, the dishes were cleared, the company long gone. Our own supper finished, a game of tennis well played. We come back to the farmhouse, to that peaceful time where there's not much left to the day -- at least not for us, not now. The light streams in, the shadows are long.

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Such a fine day it was. A really fine day.