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The Anticipation is Sweet


Laundry, dishes, seeds. That about sums up my plans for the day. I planted a small bed of carrots and beets in May, but the larger beds for winter storage are going in now. Garlic is harvested and drying, peas are done and pulled. So much space has opened up, offering plenty of room for more lettuce and spinach in addition to the beets and carrots.

Later today the first email will go out to everyone who is registered for Harvest. We really don't start until Monday, but I like to open the site a couple days early so people can settle in and say hello. If you'd like to join us, there is still time and we'd love to have you!

Coming up in a few weeks, I'll begin a brief blog/internet/Facebook sabbatical. Probably Instagram too, just for the sake of continuity, but I do love the positivity of Instagram so I am reluctant to let that go. We'll see. I'm thinking at least a month, maybe longer. No particular reason other than I'm just feeling the need for some quiet... and the need to cherish what is before me a little more. To sit in awe of these final months before my daughter turns 18, to soak in the feeling of late summer on the cusp of autumn.

(For the record - this blog's Facebook page is filled with 100% cool and kind people, no issues there. It's just that Facebook is general can be a time suck, and  a lot of input... no harm in a little break now and then.)

There is also a part of me that needs time to ponder how to better balance the usefulness and connection I find on the internet, with the dark side that shows up as a result of so much anonymity. Because when trolling reaches bullying/stalker status, you start to lose the feeling of sympathy for someone who might be having a bad day. And I don't like caring less.

More quiet, less uninvited toxicity.

To be clear, my impending radio silence is not about somebody else "winning." It is about me losing interest in sharing a medium with a force that I work very hard to avoid in my day to day life, so why am I willing to entertain it here? (That's a rhetorical question.) But mostly, I just want to power down and hang out with my daughter and husband. And Scout too, of course. He's a cute one.

A little more blogging into August, then a quiet break. The anticipation feels as sweet as I hope the break will be.

No Schedule, No Expectations

Berries 1

Adam took Scout for a walk in the woods this morning and encountered a swarm of horseflies reminiscent of an unearthed bees nest. It’s a hot and muggy one out there, to say the least. The horseflies are very happy and hungry. On the bright side, who needs a sauna when you have... well... life! It will begin to shape up again mid-August, with the promise of cool evening breezes and crisp mornings. Soon.

Emily and I are going to hit the road in a few weeks for a little adventure. We’ll throw backpacks and tents in the car and drive north. There will be some time up on our land, but the real point of the trip is to visit some of our old haunts before we settle in place in the Northeast Kingdom. Sure, we’ll always venture out to our favorite trails and forests across the state, but with the wanderlust fading, we feel like a trip in the spirit of “how things used to be” is in order.  

Adventuring throughout the state of Vermont is our family story. It holds the greatest number of memories, and the most beautiful experiences. And while I don’t see the adventure coming to an end, it is indeed changing. Now, there is a piece of earth with our name on it. The wandering and searching and dreaming phase to the journey is winding down, and the creating place chapter has begun. Lately I’ve been feeling the need for one last hurrah. And so, we’re packing the car and planning to get lost for awhile. No schedule, no expectations.  

We are closing in on Birdy’s move to our land, the outhouse is being built and will be in place in just a few weeks, and the hot shower I can’t seem to stop talking about is designed and ready to rig up. And then... a small cabin. Which may not happen before the snow flies, but then again, maybe it will. It sure would be great if it did, so I’m definitely staying open to the possibility. I think if it comes down to available time though (which it always seems to come down to these days), I’d prefer to use our time to ready the land for spring planting and save the cabin for next year. But man it sure would be great to head up during the winter and settle in for a stretch of snowy days. Until then, we camp. Spontaneously throughout the state at first, then we’ll put down roots at our place. It's still all about patience, but then again, it's been about patience for the last twenty years. Why change it up now? We're just getting good at it.

Another Day, Another Mason Jar Cozy

Mason jar 2

It’s full-on summertime now. The garden has exploded with new offerings each day, my job is to try and keep up. Two thirds of the garlic has been dug, we’re dipping into the potato rows for early sampling, some of the cabbage is about ready, peppers are ripening, and basketfuls of beans are the norm every other day from here on out. The tomatoes are coming along, but nothing ripe just yet. Peas, radish, and the first planting of lettuce are done. Kale and collards are producing nicely, and cucumbers are on the vine. We'll pick the first few any day now. There is quite a bit more to report, but that is a brief run down. I’ve been terrible about posting garden updates this year. The trouble is that I seem to only have time to post here about once a week now, and if each time I sat down to write it wound up being a weekly garden update, that would bore me to tears and I can’t imagine would do much for you either. But I do hope to properly update before the month is out. As is the case with these things, a new gardening season brings with many new lessons that are worth noting.

July in the shade has been a success so far. There is still plenty to do beyond the shade tree, but I am finding my way there often. I’ve been knitting - hats, mason jar cozies... little things. Knitting small in the summer keeps the warm wool off your lap, and an added bonus is that you can knit a new item in one or two days time. So I get up early, do my work around the house, garden, and desk, then I take some time for a whole lot of nothing but listening to the birds and watching the butterflies dance about. If I had a hammock I’d work a nap into the equation.
Our garden porch has evolved and expanded into a well-functioning summer kitchen which has quickly become my favorite room in the house. All 6x8 feet of it. A full tour and discussion of creating such a space (can even be in the garage or basement) will be shared in Harvest, but I’ve been spending so much time here lately it’s showing up in quite a few photos. So, welcome to the summer kitchen! The tiniest corner of our home with the most activity.
Mason jar 1

I can hear the chickens waking up so it’s time to open their coop for the day. There is laundry to do and I’d like to get an hour or two in the garden before the heat becomes too much. There is a fridge to clean out and the blueberry farm opens at 8am. True to form, everything I’d like to accomplish in a day is best taken care of by 10am. (Considering the heat and when my energy levels are highest.) Too bad I'm not great at multi-tasking. I’ll do my best, and stay on task until late morning, at which point I’ll scrap all unfinished chores and plans, find my way to the shade, and perhaps enjoy one of those summertime naps. At the very least, I’ll knit the afternoon away. You know what they say, another day, another mason jar cozy.

Good Medicine

Staycation 1

I'm feeling pretty darn relaxed this morning. Even though at some point this weekend I might have been heard saying, “It must be July, I’m covered in poison ivy, I have dozens of bug bites, and laundry can hang on the line for seven hours and still be wet.” Ahh... summer! I’m keeping my (itchy) chin up though, and we’re having a great time. The garden is going crazy, and we just had an unexpected mini-staycation with Adam turning a three day weekend into a four day weekend, and me arranging my work to join him. Emily was not scheduled at her job either, so we decided to create a little retreat here at home.

With a fresh stack of movies and books from the library, a new knitting project, and plenty of good food on hand, we cast aside the clock and calendar for four ridiculously relaxed days. We moseyed about in the garden, had a few campfires, and even made a 6am supply run for Birdy’s makeover. Because if you no longer have a local lumberyard and have no choice but the big box store for lumber and such, it is best experienced at the crack of dawn when you have the place to yourself.
Staycation 3

At one point Adam and I were sitting on the front porch talking about how some veggies and dip would be the perfect compliment to our porch sit. I knew we had sour cream in the fridge, other than that, we decided to take a walk to the garden and see what we could come up with. Green beans, celery, carrots... perfect! Although I was left wondering why on earth I only planted shelling peas and not some sugar snap too. For the dip - dill, chives, and freshly dug garlic. Herbs chopped and added to the sour cream with some sea salt and black pepper, veggies cut up and stacked in a bowl. We let the dip sit for thirty minutes, allowing the flavors to mingle and marry, then we dug in. Oh man, was it good. We even had some non-gmo free range humanely raised potato chips to go with it, but all agreed they were basically a sad interruption in our garden crudite experience. I think I’ve found our new favorite easy summer dinner. Just need to buy the sour cream, everything else can be found in the soil. And once again, I am reminded of how a cow would round this whole thing out for us quite nicely. Maybe in Vermont.
Staycation 4

Today we’re easing back into our regular work and life routine, but with the renewed sense of creativity and discipline that comes from true time off. True rest. I’m thinking a four day weekend once per month is something we should strive for, it feels a heck of a lot more restorative than a 1-2 week vacation, once per year. And it would always be right around the corner so you always have it in sight. Even if you are someone that is blessed to love the work that you do, regular time to chill and renew the body and spirit is good medicine. And couldn’t we all use some good medicine?

Before I go, one more picture so you don't think we spent four days drinking beer and eating great food...

Staycation 2

See? I had other priorities, too.

Wishing you a great week, and may a little good medicine find its way to you.