Wednesday, July 04, 2018

the Fourth

On my very first visit to the U.S., I sailed in on a ship through the New York harbor. I was seven years old and I'd like to say that I was moved at the sight of the Statue of Liberty, but the fact is, I don't remember seeing it then, probably because my parents were frantically getting us (my sister was with me) ready to disembark.

Since that time, I have gained a greater appreciation for the woman with the torch and the tabula with the date of the birth of this nation.

For kids, the Fourth of July is quite likely about the red white and blue, as exhibited on bike wheels in parades and fireworks in the sky. And that's a good thing. The concepts of freedom and democracy are best left to later years. But though she is the oldest, Snowdrop is still too young to bike in a parade (though she is terrific on her trike!) and she hates the boom and the bang of fireworks. Nonetheless,  she has asked about this holiday and she now knows a bit of America's history, even though it's surely the case that a three year old's understanding of our past sanitizes things a bit.

As for the playful markers of this holiday -- the little girl does come to the farmhouse with her brother this morning, both dressed in some combination of red, white and blue. When I smile at the sweetness of her brother's checked shirt and her own red and white checked dress, she corrects me: actually, it's a little bit pink, gaga. Ah. There must have been some strategy in getting her into a red gingham dress!



But before the kids and mom show up for a late breakfast (dad is resting after a busy Sparrow night), I do make several attempts to venture out into the gardens.

It's tough going. The bugs are fierce. A local entomologist has stopped counting trapped mosquitoes at a local tracking station because the numbers are so excessive (into the five digits, just in one 24 hour period). Even when I put on my mosquito jacket and hat, I am attacked. At the same time, the gardens are quickly coming into their best growing season. I cannot ignore them! I offer just a few photos for you, to give at least some of the flowers the appropriate recognition they deserve.

(The big bed)


(My fantastic climbing beans)


(The lovely day lilies)


(A snippet of the front garden, into the sun)


(And Ed's great accomplishment -- a beautiful field of buckwheat. It's there for the bees. Unfortunately, the mosquitoes love it too.)


(The raspberries are ripe, but so difficult to pick in these buggy times! And still, I pick some. For brunch.)


And now the young family is here. Time to eat!

(The three at the table...)


(The missing two!)


And after, we play. Snowdrop's favorite continues to be an imaginative romp through family life.


There are twists and turns. She spells them out for her captive audience.


Sparrow loves the sound of Snowdrop's voice, but her tales are a bit complicated for him right now. He sticks to books that feature the less convoluted world of black and white images.


Okay, time to head home. Oh, look who's ready!


(The languishing duo...)


In the afternoon, Ed and I do spot work in the garden. Just a wee bit. A really wee bit. Insignificant. I wish I had enough indifference to the buzz of mosquitoes to do more.


(Ed picks peas from the fantastically successful pea plant -- it grew to be  taller than him!)


(One last look at a day lily border at the farthest corner of the Big Bed.)


And then we have this complicated maneuver,  where we're trying to get the hose to the replanted tomatoes, at the same time that it has to be dragged so that it does not disturb the milkweed for the monarchs, and the sun is hot, so very hot, and we're swatting bugs to the left, to the right, to the front, to the back.

You have to laugh. I mean, you really just have to laugh.