Saturday, July 26, 2008

Summer news

Yikes, I haven't written in ages. So sorry to all my fans out in blogdom. We are having a very busy summer, what with my perpetually busy work and Lily's camp schedule. Dave is interviewing for jobs, as well as doing all his usual volunteering. So we all gather together in the evening, exhausted and hot, often, and wanting to see each other before falling into bed. Dave still manages to make us fabulous meals -- the other night we had homemade falafel and tahini sauce. Yum!

Let's see: We have seen our usual quota of bears. For instance, a guy was over the other day giving us an energy audit, and at the end he walked out and walked right back in: Dave had left open the garage to air it out and a bear had climbed up a shelf to get at the empty bird feeder. He was still there, by the way. So that's kind of fun.

The other night I woke up to the sound of something crashing around the grill on the back porch and could have sworn I saw a bear licking the chicken fat. And the screen door into the kitchen area was open. Dave went down to close it, flipped on the light, and there was nothing there. I must have been asleep. Or maybe it was a raccoon.

Lily has been in three different camps: horse camp, where she shared a horse with a seven-year-old knowitall who said to her, "You're bossy!" to which she replied, "And proud of it! Unfortunately her horse show was rained out so I don't have any photos to share. Before that she was at Marian's Art Barn making great art.

After horse camp she's been going to the YMCA camp about a half hour from here. She takes a school bus every morning and they swim, hike, pick blueberries, do arts and crafts, and then they get to specialize. She's chosen theater and was Catherine, Pippin's girlfriend, in the first one. Now she's a smaller role in Schoolhouse Rock, and the last one is Grease. It's a nice camp.

One of the best parts about living here is being in touch with the weather and passing the time by the fruits and vegetables. We picked a million strawberries in June, I think I posted. Now we have to go get blueberries, and soon peaches. We've had wonderful corn already, and really lovely greens, flowers, and lots of other stuff from our farm share.

We've seen two terrific productions of some Shakespeare recently. The Hampshire Shakespeare Company uses the campus of the Hartsbrooke School in nearby Hadley as a staging area. The backdrop is the Holyoke Range as the sun sets. I have to say I have a new appreciation for Shakespeare. I can't believe how contemporary the themes are, and the language. I had never seen or read Romeo and Juliet (embarrassing, I know), and it was hilarious, until it wasn't, of course. We also saw As You Like It, also fun. The casts were mostly excellent and the productions really good. And they did a very funny schtick with the planes that kept flying over and drowning out everyone. (We live near an air force base, unfortunately.)

We've been away a few times, one weekend to Montreal, and last weekend to Helene's wonderful annual bookgroup on the beach in Hampton Bays on Long Island. We had read Personal Days by Ed Park (don't bother; awful) and we discussed the book on the beach while the kids played in the water and the sun cooked us. The water was really warm and Lily was in there for hours, diving for blow fish and baby crabs. Helene is the greatest hostess and her son John, almost 2, is beautiful. It was fun watching him play with Joseph, Margaret's son, who is three months older exactly. And contrasts! John is very blond and Joseph very dark.

We're going away some more. But this morning Dave and I finally did some yard work -- if you've seen our yard you know how much work it needs. It's utterly overgrown, too many trees, shrubs, saplings, and TOO MUCH PACHYSANDRA!! God I hate that stuff now. But, you start where you are, right? So first things first. Dave split a bunch of wood that was left over from a pear tree he'd taken down with the neighbors. We are buying a canoe from someone at work and we had to make room for it on the side of the house, so I cleared away a ton of brush, witch hazel, forsythia, etc. Then I had to drag the branches to the woods and couldn't get past more brush, so I had to clear that.

Dave helped me move the brush to the woods and I helped him restack the woodpile and we are both now smelly and dirty but we have a lot more light on the side of the house near the screened-in porch. And more to come -- we need to take down a small elm, while it's still small, because it's too close to the house. And that will mean clearing more brush.

I am wondering about hiring a guy I know to just help with the grunt work, digging out forsythia stumps and helping clear the weeds and pachysandra. But I figure if I can do just a little every week it will eventually feel less overwhelming, less like we are being taken over by the woods. And I really want a space to put up our clothes line. I don't care about grass or a garden, per say, but I'd love some nice paths, a hammock under the trees, a place to be outside and enjoy the quiet.

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