I know it must seem from the photos this week that I only have one child. Actually there are four, but this is what I see of the teens most of the time: their backs headed out the door. Soccer conditioning has started up and there is always someone on their way to or coming home from a workout. Which should also help explain why I spend so much time in the kitchen. *wink*
Usually we do a little more playing during the week as well, but we've just come back from vacation and there is lots of catch up to do. This time of year always feels so crazy anyway with all the produce that ripens and needs to be put up and all the new sports and school schedules.
Some of my kids have classes at the end of the month, but the younger ones and I decided to work through June so we could have September off. The fall is always the loveliest season here in Oregon, with cool nights and gorgeous warm days. So we still have another month of summer to enjoy.
Right now I'm feeling like that was a genius idea.
*a three-week old driver's license and places to go.
*oregano drying in the morning sun.
*kitchen art: grape leaves, garlic and dill in the pickle crock.
*checking on his first crop.
*success! the year's first potatoes.
*my favorite part of a summer day.
Looking at the last picture reminds me of a passage from one of my favorite books: Farmer Boy, by Laura Ingalls Wilder:
"When the work was done, Father came up the cellar stairs, bringing a big pitcher of sweet cider and a panful of apples. Royal took the corn popper and a pannikan of popcorn. Mother banked the kitchen fire with ashes for the night, and when everyone else had left the kitchen she blew out the candles.
They all settled down cosily by the big stove in the dining-room wall. [...]
When the big dishpan was heaping full of fluffy white popcorn, Alice poured melted butter over it, and stirred and salted it. It was hot and crackling crisp, and deliciously buttery and salty, and everyone could eat all he wanted to.
Mother knitted and rocked in her high-backed rocking-chair. Father carefully scraped a new axhandle with a bit of broken glass. Royal carved a chain of tiny links from a smooth stick of pine, and Alice sat on her hassock, doing her woolwork embroidery. And they all ate popcorn and apples, and drank sweet cider, except Eliza Jane. Eliza Jane read aloud the news in the New York weekly paper."
It's such a lovely picture of a family working together and resting together. I've held this picture in my mind over the years as an ideal - not something that will happen every night, but something I set as a goal to create. Tonight we all hurried around and got our chores done, some washing dishes and tidying the kitchen while others went to gather more apples to be worked on tomorrow. Mark made a pot of coffee; I started the fire; the kids gathered the computer and extension cords and the speakers, and the various items we wanted: knitting, crochet, toys and books; and we headed outside. We listened to a couple chapters of Hannah Coulter *, then turned it off and stared at the stars for a few minutes. Then it was time to go to bed, everyone gathering an armful of this or that to share the load.
It started out as a seed of an idea from a good, living book, many years ago and now it is a cherished part of our everyday lives. It makes me think how the ideas we feed ourselves with eventually become part of the fabric of our selves. "Whatsoever things are true...honest...pure....think on these things." Not to be taken lightly.
Thank you for your sweet comments this week. It's been so fun to share with you.
*don't miss the free download of Hannah Coulter this month!