Friday, August 10, 2012

Summer's Blessings -- and Curses

Summer is crashing to an end, and as in one of my previous posts, I am still wondering what the $%^& I accomplished.  We are headed to the beach for a last hurrah (and perhaps the last time at the beach--kids get older and jobs get in the way and already this upcoming beach week will be totally different with my daughter coming only part-time and no girlfriends and boyfriends to round out the family group due to jobs. WAH!)   and as soon as we come back, school starts.  I decided to spend a few moments today before packing and cleaning to think about my summer. Please indulge my meanderings and my amateur photos!

The weather has been both a curse (so HOT!) and a blessing. We have had rain almost every day so compared to the parched Midwest, Virginia has abundant hay, corn and grass. The statistics in today's paper were sad: Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Texas and Illinois have extreme drought conditions and July was the hottest month on record in most of the USA. The loss of crops are expected to affect the whole world, and I know from earlier comments that horse owners in the Plains will be searching far and wide for hay for the winter. Yet I have the best garden I've had in years, and our pastures are so lush we have to restrict the horses, and there will be enough grass for grazing most of the winter. How can we have such abundant rains and other areas have none?

My second blessing has been a summer not teaching. Okay, a curse because I didn't get a paycheck, but for the first time, I didn't have a 'schedule' that I had to adhere to. What did I do with that time? Ummm. Not sure. I'd love to say I had long rides on Relish (it was too hot), I wrote a novel (I was kind-of doing research), I added gardens (well, I planted phlox, which I love. Do you see the giant spider in the foreground?) or started a new hobby (does Ebay and Etsy count?)  I did get a Ziggy, which has taken up most of my time these past two weeks (see previous post). Ziggy is both a blessing--and dare I say it--a curse. See that mischievous gleam in his eye? He's thriving but I am exhausted keeping one step ahead of him so there are no potty accidents, chewed shoes, stomped on cats and hurt feelings on the part of the chihuahua princess. So far, we have not let him off-leash, which means every walk and playtime requires me. This morning, in order to get sales tax filed and this post written I (GASP) tethered him outside after a long walk. My sanity required it. I hope all of you who have recently adopted a pup know what I mean.

My last summer's blessing has been time to research World War I. Again, this has been a curse has well. I was never a history buff in school, but once I start reading about a certain era, I inhale it. And The Great War was horrific for humans and animals. UGH. I am writing a novel from the point of view of a mercy dog, used to locate and help rescue the wounded. I am a sensory detail kind of writer: sights, sounds, smells, emotions are crucial to my story. How in the world am I going to paint an accurate picture of the war yet keep it safe enough for young readers?  It will be a tough juggling job.

Those are a few of my summer meanderings. My next post, I will be excited to review Linda Benson's new novel, Six Degrees of Lost.  How is the end of your summer going? Please tell.


HHmstead said...

Beautiful photos! Yes, very lucky for the rain! Our temps have been mild - the "on-shore flow" AC working to keep us in the 70's with sunshine. Had success at the endurance ride, 2nd grandson turns 11 tomorrow, we're looking at a puppy on Sunday :-)

Laura Crum said...

We're having a good summer here weatherwise--I feel almost guilty when I read of the struggles of others. But mostly I feel grateful. We had a lovely vacation riding in the mountains with our horses, our garden is very productive this year, and people and animals are all currently well in our family. All I can ask for.

Alison said...

HHmstead--what kind of puppy? Let me know if you find it exhausting, too. Congrats on the endurance ride. I may need to ask you some questions about the sport when I write my next American Girl.

Laura, I am jealous of your gardens--I have seen your photos of your equine and floral paradise. Enjoy the rest of August.