Thursday, July 27, 2017


Abundance. It's a relative thing, isn't it?

No one would argue, however, that we have had an abundance of rain. Once again this morning, the flowers are dripping with moisture and the (abundant) bugs are enjoying their summer fling.

Never mind. I will ignore them.

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To give myself a break, I was not going to do a thorough garden cleanup, but in the end, cursing myself for having started this game, I begin to count once more the spent lilies that I snip off and once you start counting, you may as well do all the beds because otherwise, what's the point.

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It turns out that today I "only" snipped off 603 spent flowerheads. Abundant? Yes, very much so, but that's 100 less than yesterday! Is it because we're heading toward the end of July? Day lilies adore July and even though I have some early and late varieties in the mix, they could  be letting me know that their halcyon days are nearing an end.

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Or, it could simply be that yesterday's absence of sunshine meant there was a reduced number of flowers (thus fewer spent blooms today).

No, no more counting in the future! Not everything requires a ready answer.

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As I hose down the bucket I used, I glance at the nearby milkweed. Scores of little caterpillars (an abundant amount!) are clustered on several leaves. But wait -- monarch caterpillars work alone. Who are these guys?

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They're tussock moth (or tiger moth) caterpillars. At breakfast, we speculate if their invasion is beneficial or a nuisance.

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You can find both yes and no answers on the Internet. For now, we'll stay with the cup half full answer. As someone noted -- we're ready to welcome the monarchs...

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... why reject the other milkweed eaters? True, they'll grow to be quite unattractive brown moths, but still, this, too is their home.

Time to pick up Snowdrop.

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It should be a routine day of sunshine, snacks, swimming. And yes, we have all three.


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(Off to the pool!)

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But perhaps because of the warm sun, the pool remains this quiet only for two minutes.

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Afterwards -- total chaos. It really is hard for Snowdrop to find space to play and we spend a number of minutes just sitting in the shallow water, cooling off, watching...

Home now at the farmhouse. She eats her fruit snack. Talk about abundance! We are so very lucky to have so many fruits at our fingertips now. Her daily summer bowl always includes peaches, mango, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and her current beloveds -- cherries.

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She eats them as rapidly as the tussock moth eats her milkweed leaf.

Just a few minutes of play, joyous play, because she is a joyous girl who loves a good tease...

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And now the day is nearly over -- she naps, she leaves -- but wait: Ed and I still have an engagement with his friend and colleague, a guy who has shared many a meal with us out and about town. Today we're at Sardine, one of our favorites here, in Madison. (They're talking shop for a moment; I use this time to squeeze lemon on an oyster and do a "selfie.")

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It's hard to imagine a richer day than this one. Perhaps one of the most valuable aspects of blogging for me is taking the time to remember the best moments. The kids' laughter in the pool, Snowdrop's delight in once more spotting the cranes on our drive home -- hi cranes!, she shouts to them with glee.

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Too, snipping the last spent lily, or watching the sun stream over to the west of the porch in the late afternoon...

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Finally, coming home from dinner, just as the sun is nearly ready to set... I get to roll it all back again, remembering what an abundance of happiness feels like on this brilliant summer day.