Saturday, July 12, 2014

A Bountiful Summer

 Raise your hand, paw or hoof if you feel as if summer is rushing past in flurry of hyper-activity. Or am I the only one who knowingly and willingly buries herself under a mountain of activities, work and chores from May through August? And yet part of it isn't my fault--summer is simply a bountiful time of the year.

Take the garden for example.  My cucumbers are growing overnight in record numbers.  We've eaten fried cucumbers, roasted cucumbers, marinated cucumbers, and cucumber dip. My family is cuked out.  For the first time I made pickles, a lengthy job, hoping that we can enjoy cucmbers this winter when we aren't so tired of them.  It takes forever, and I admit I am afraid to try one.  All that work -- what if they're terrible?
Soon the tomatoes will be ripening, and I am hopeful for once the fungus and wilt won't get them so they will be bountiful as well--or do I? Tomato sauce looms on the horizon of chores.

Along with the wonderful harvest of vegetables is the bountiful insects that prey on them. I am Attila the Hun when it comes to squash bugs, pinching them with my fingers and drowning the eggs in soapy water. Still, they hatch like fearsome green sucking spiders.  I am not using any insecticides this year, so fortunately, I've discovered preying mantis's galore.  Together we attack, and I am happy to report, we may be winning. Yet sometimes the shear amount of work it takes to keep the garden bug-free, weeded and watered, and the vegetables picked and canned or frozen seems overwhelming.

 My flowers are also beautiful--and bountiful.  I love keeping cut flowers on the table all summer, and the joy my flower gardens bring  is huge--but again, weeding, watering, dead-heading and catching diseases sometimes makes my head spin.

Horse chores get more intensive this time of the year as well. In winter, when Bell and Relish are at the neighbors in their huge pasture with a stream, I feed and check them once a day.  In summer, when the flies and heat are oppressive that number changes to four or five times a day. Fly masks go on first thing in the morning, then the horses are let into their stalls about 11:00 with the fan on, then they get turned out about 4:00 with fly masks, then stalls are cleaned, and water tub cleaned as well. Finally about 7:00 masks come off.  Missing one step can be a mess--Relish pees in the stall or the flies drive them to distraction. So I am constantly thinking about and scheduling horse chores.

In the meantime--there are bountiful yard sales. I am stocking five booths and selling on Ebay, so the 'antique' business is keeping me busy.  My recent love is vintage lighting. This is a photo of part of my bountiful collection  waiting to get photographed for Ebay. I know, they're just lights, but there's still something about them that propels me back to  the past and Barbara Stanwyck.

I haven't even mentioned my writing. You know that book that's suppose to be finished by summer's end?

So how is your summer going? Over-flowing with chores? Or more fun than a bountiful barrel of monkeys?


Linda Benson said...

Alison - I find summer is packed with outdoor activities and chores (many of which I love, like gardening) and I always struggle to get any writing done this time of year. The outdoors is calling me! We have a big garden too, and right now I've got a huge land-clearing project going, involving pruning shears and removing blackberries. Some days I wish it would rain just so I'd have an excuse to stay inside and write. Ha!

Alison said...

I was wondering if you had another writing project going. Did you plant cucumbers? Any good recipes?

Blackberries can be the worst! However, they do keep every other weed (and plant) at bay.

Laura Crum said...

We have tons of cucumbers this year, too, and like you, are making pickles for the first time ever. And we HAVE tried them and they are wonderful--much better than store-bought pickles. (My husband made them, not me.) Like you, I am very busy with garden chores and riding time (let alone writing time) is suffering. But I love being in the garden and working on garden projects, so it's OK. I ride once a week right now, and the rest of the time the horses just get turned loose on the property to graze. Works for them and me. Happy summer!

Alison said...

Laura, Happy Summer to you, too!

I wonder what it is about cucumbers this summer--from east coast to west, they are abundant!

I hope you post some new garden/pool pics soon.