MY LIFE - Reflections on a summer half gone
MY LIFE - Reflections on a summer half gone
It has just occurred to me that summer is already half gone ... literally.¬?Here we are just past the middle of July and I have no idea where the time has gone.
The realization actually hit me just a few minutes ago when I took a walk across the front lawn to see how the flowers were doing only to realize that the mid-summer crabgrass has taken over and things have gone from lovely to overgrown.
I was actually out there looking for the zinnias that I planted with such high hopes just two or three weeks ago and haven't seen hide nor hair of ever since.¬?Darn!¬?Two packets of seeds lovingly planted in three different areas, seed by seed in properly prepared soil.¬?"Germination in 7 to 10 days," the seed packet said, and for the past week or more I have been out there scouring the ground, looking for signs of new growth, but the only thing growing is weeds in spite of the weed killing fertilizer I put down twice so far this season.¬?
Compulsive weed puller that I am, I couldn't help myself.¬?Before I knew it I was yanking up crabgrass by the handful from the perennial bed, leery as I am of sticking my hands in there since my bout with Lyme disease just two years ago.¬?But there I was, ripping and pulling the unwanted growth from around the flowers I had so carefully weeded just two weeks earlier, when I suddenly noticed a short row of small plants, all looking suspiciously alike, in one of the places I had planted zinnias.¬?It's too soon to tell yet, but I am cautiously optimistic that four lonely zinnia plants may have beaten the odds.
And then, on the other hand we have the sunflowers.
Countless times over the years I have planted sunflowers only to see them fail.¬?Last year I even lost my head a plunked down $17.99 for a pot of really gorgeous sunflowers that tanked as soon as I got them home. Nothing saved them.¬?It was so pathetic.¬?And then this spring, totally unheralded and unplanned, I noticed one whole section of the garden (which has mostly been allowed to go to hell in a proverbial hand basket this year) covered in something that looked suspiciously like small sunflower plants, all around the bird feeding stations.¬?¬?I left them alone and have been rewarded with a profusion of plants as tall as I am, each sporting enormous bright yellow flowers that make me smile every time I look at them.¬?They almost make up for the nasty crabgrass and other weeds that have taken over.
Another sign of mid-summer's arrival was the notice in my email just last week from the Gianetti family in Franklin, announcing the start of their pick-your-own blueberry season.¬?Unless it rains, I plan to be out there, bucket in hand, first thing tomorrow morning, starting in on the 20-25 pounds needed to stock my small freezer.¬? Blueberry muffins, blueberry pies, blueberry buckle, and blueberry bread pudding hot from the oven are just the thing to brighten the long, cold winter months that are in the offing.¬?My sister Bev, her daughter-in-law Julie, and I will be picking almost every weekend between now and the end of August.
For years, when our kids were young, camping in July was family vacation time for me and my sisters.¬?All four families packing up and heading off together, tents set up on adjoining sites, community meals at suppertime, gathering around one campfire in the evening, singing, toasting marshmallows and kielbasa on sticks, and as night descended, pondering the mysteries of life and telling spooky stories.¬?
As the kids grew older and summer jobs began to intrude, the camping trips came to an end.¬?But now that the cousins are all grown up and married with families of their own, they wanted their kids to experience the same kind of fun and to grow up with the same happy memories, so off we go again.
Of course some things have changed over the years. Some of us now "camp" (I think the cousins call it "glam-ping") in cabins complete with kitchens, bathrooms, and yes, even air conditioning.¬?Others will be in pop-up campers, and some will be in tents.¬?But there will be shared meals, one big campfire, and way too many marshmallows, hot dogs, and chunks of kielbasa being roasted on sticks.¬?
We will have the daily Drink-of-the-day (or perhaps more than one) mixed in pitchers and shared with the group, Dip-of-the-Day (each family responsible for their own separate day), as well as other themes such as Food-on-a-stick-day (I think this year mine will be hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls and cooked on sticks over the fire), Sunday Sundaes, Waffle Wednesday, Taco Tuesday, etc.¬?My sister Bev's 6-year-old grandson Chris, a devout carnivore, has suggested Meat-on-a-bone-day (as in drumsticks, wings, ribs, etc.).¬?And according to recent tradition, breakfast on our first morning there will be a large blueberry cobbler made with berries picked the previous day and washed down with Bloody Marys for the adults and orange juice for the younger crowd.
All of this will begin next Friday.¬?I am already getting things organized and stacked by the door, ready to go.¬?Yes, the summer may be slipping away, but I suspect the remainder of it will be going down kicking and screaming instead of just quietly slipping away.
Rhea Bouchard Powers is a writer from Cumberland.