I don’t seem to post very much these days because I haven’t written anything other than grocery lists and the odd quick bits on Facebook. Some of this is due to the fact that we have bitten off an enormous project on our property, fencing a plot and preparing it for productivity. This included hosting a work night with a bunch of ambitious young friends who persevered with setting posts and stretching wire in drenching rain. It also entailed hauling a dump truck load of compost from the barnyard of our friend, the horse farmer, and spreading it all by hand. Gabriel has started four rows, each 25 feet long, of raspberries and blackberries. Next was a large plot of asparagus, which you may know, is quite a production. Asparagus has to be planted in rich soil, 18 inches deep, so we dug these massive trenches and made the rootlets comfy. They are coming up thin little pencils, very happy with their bed. Just last week we managed to get the rest of the garden planted, corn and squash and melons. It is nice to have all the space to plant stuff that we never had room for in my kitchen garden which is close to the house.
In this process, I hauled straw for mulching and a load of 5 scoops of mushroom mulch, which I personally unloaded by scoop shovel, thank-you-very-much. Since we replaced our mini van and our truck with the Suburban and a trailer, there was nothing for it but to learn to back a trailer if I don’t want to wait helplessly until Gabe has a day off work to do all the hauling that needs to be done. When I went for the straw, I chickened out and let the farm girl back the trailer into the barn. Then I came home and practiced for a while, down around the curves, backing into and out of the fenced garden. I didn’t hit anything, but I am not telling how many times I had to pull forward to straighten out a potential jackknife. Still, I am getting better! It is an empowering feeling, not unlike the time I finally pulled off a perfect parallel park for the first time. 🙂
We took two days to camp at the local State Park. With the weather so perfect, who can resist? I packed up the stuff and the kids while Gabe was at work… bikes and gear on the trailer once more. It was a little like trying to keep a clear head and not forget anything while surrounded by five very excited, very vocal crickets. We decided not to go the tent route this time. The cabin rentals were on a first-come-first-served basis and I was a bit nervous. What would I do with my happy load of people and stuff if we got there and there were no cabins available anymore? We got to the campground at lunchtime, fortunately found a nice secluded area where I had no observers while I backed that trailer into the trees. After I tucked the littlest crickets into bunks for their naps, I sat in a chair by the fire that the boys had built by using an inordinate amount of charcoal starter because we forgot paper. I just sat. And I thought about how last winter we fantasized about all the camping we want to do this summer. I looked up through the lacy caps of the trees and swatted mosquitoes and was happy. Gabe couldn’t get off work until nearly seven that night, but the cabin made it really easy to set up camp.
We had friends from church join us for the second day. Swimming, boating, fishing, biking, just wearing ourselves out in general, doing the cooking the hard way and all that. 🙂 Is it even fun? I ask myself that when I am clearing away the aftermath, washing smoky clothes endlessly, and dealing with all the over-tired grouchiness. All I have to do is ask the children, and yes, it is fun!
There was a 5K on our last day at the park, racing around the lake on the trail. One of Gabe’s friends from work lost a baby to SIDS and the run was to benefit SIDS research. The boys and I registered to walk, although we ran some of the way. Alex came in 2nd of all the walkers. Greg and I dragged along a bit more, coming in 21st and 22nd. There was a lot more competition among the runners. I can’t remember exactly what Gabe’s spot was, but it wasn’t too shabby considering that he hadn’t practiced much and there were a lot of thirty-somethings runners.
The next day was a picnic for the EMS personnel in the area and the day after that was our Rita-girlie’s 5th birthday. It crept up on me when I was otherwise occupied and I had not gotten a present or made the traditional special dress. I knew I would not have time to go shopping after our camping jaunt, but I did take a few hours to walk through a community yard sale. I found a lovely dress and new shoes for her and I prayed for something special yet, not having any idea what I was looking for. I am more prone to shop for birthday gifts on Amazon than at yard sales. Then I saw the vast collection of Boyd’s bears, all new and just the sort of thing that would delight Rita. I got her a lady bear with a velvet dress and a hooded cloak. She has named her Mrs. Teaberry and thanks us repeatedly for her beautiful present. 🙂 She wanted a flower cake and insisted on blue petals with a yellow middle. We didn’t eat it for over a day, so it darkened to a shocking blue and she just giggled with glee. Here she is with her special dress.
This was followed by three days with out-of-state cousins amidst picnics and cookouts and fishing and Old Bedford Village. Gabe had 40 hours of work in those three days… I have been just trying to keep breathing and doing laundry here, but the kids would say we have been really living!