Sunday, June 13, 2010

Summer Breeze Makes Me Feel Fine

The Seals & Crofts classic has always been, and shall forever remain, at the top of my summer soundtrack. It was briefly nudged from the top spot in the late '90's by Will Smith's "Summertime," but I was young and stupid so don't hold it against me. It's impossible for me to hear that chorus without instantly craving cold watermelon, roasted corn, fireflies, steamy twilight, mosquitos, and sprinklers. What IS IT about summer that always makes me feel like a 7 year old in my jelly sandals?

Whatever IT IS was all over the place this weekend, and I realized that summer is in full swing down in the Lone Star state. This is a fleeting moment for us, really. Summer heats up so fast here that if you're not careful it's already August 5 and 110 degrees with crispy grass, dusty fields, and lots of AC. June and early July are for sitting on the porch with a cold beer before the sun sets. The cicadas just started singing a month ago and haven't annoyed anyone yet. And you can sit still without sweltering. Also, the gardens are exploding with leaves and promise before dwindling in the August heat. This year we mixed in lots of compost made by the cows+hay+rain, and the plants went crazy.

Actually, this year's garden almost wasn't planted since I lost my will right around the end of March when plants and seeds need to be in the ground. There's just something about planting a garden that makes things feel permanent, and my goal is to move on from this house, so the idea of it seemed like back-pedaling. Sensing my need for encouragement, Jeremy promised me that this was the very last summer garden here. I rolled my eyes and turned the soil, knowing his fingers were crossed the whole time. Tonight though, we ate our first garden tomatoes with brie and a baguette, put on Seals & Crofts, doused ourselves in bug spray, and watched the chickens peck at the still-green early summer lawn. Sure am glad he tricked me into planting.

But the real news, the truly mind-boggling news, is that the fence is done. The. Fence. Is. Done. Jer and his father get the credit for working like crazy the past several weekends to complete this ridiculous task. Considering that we first discussed the fence last fall and finally began clearing specifically to create it sometime in late winter makes the whole thing slighly anti-climactic. But the fact remains that it's there and done and pretty damn impressive. Aside from the obvious benefits of the fence (keeping donkey noses out of people food), we were shocked at the sense of order it's given the entire place.

The fence line is a differentiation between people space and animal space. And the small gate near the woods is lined up with the future front porch. I can almost, almost picture a front yard now that the gate is there which makes me giddy (Picture me: jumping up and down, clapping hands, shouting "yippee!" That kind of giddy.)

So there it is. Fence? Check! Lone Star? Check! Now what?

The next project(s) is beautifully captured here on my grainy iPhone camera.

Not only does each door pictured need to be refurbished (sanded, scraped, painted, planed to appropriate size) but the shed that houses them will have to be dismantled, moved about 40 miles, and re-mantled (?) somewhere at the land. My parents gladly donated the metal shed that's stood in their backyard since the beginning of time and that used to house sheep, goats, and chickens when I was small. For now it will keep old house parts dry but eventually we'll turn it back into an animal sanctuary. Both of these projects are daunting. Well, they seem ridiculous, frankly. But so did the idea of building that fence.

Happy early summer! Whereever you are, I hope you have a good view of fireflies and one free hand to slap mosquitoes off your leg.

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