Winding Down in the Garden

Summertime writing comes in fits and starts for me. Quiet when we are busy, and now, restful after two trips within three weeks, I am catching my breath and thinking of the month to come.

We took two fun trips, one to Oceanside (which makes me always think of Robyn Hitchcock's song of the same title and its sweet chorus: "Maybe I will find today/Maybe I will lose tomorrow/Gonna rock on to the oceanside") and another, a camping trip with my father and immediate family on his side. After doing all  of our family's planning for these trips- menus, clothing lists, camping essentials, etc, my brain is now in Recuperating Mode. Hence, we have had a few mellow days where we've just taken care of basic needs and I'm catching up on laundry. So it goes...

Before I forget, here's something fun I did to preserve the summer fun. In Oceanside, we collected loads of neat rocks and shells. Joe and I are chronic beachcombers, no matter how hard we try.We also spent time digging loads of trenches and moats and creating dams... which only facilitated our finding more agates hiding in sand and rocks. ANYWAY, after I got home, I went outside and clipped a big handful of lavender in bloom, then found a rectangular vase and placed the lavender in there. Instead of adding water, I poured a layer of beach rocks and shells on either side of the flowers, so they support the flowers and show beautifully through the walls of the vase. You can use any kind of flower that dries well for this if you don't have seed pods or poppy pods would also work, or dried Lunaria/ Honesty (Silver Dollar plant)... or wait a while if you  have some Physalis (those orange Chinese Lanterns) growing in your yard. I wish I did! I now have this sweet arrangement in our bedroom. Warning-- it does drop the tiny lavender flowers when they dry out, but that is what vacuums are for.

Now that I've had more down time, my mind has turned to the garden. It's been hot, so work is limited to earlier mornings before 9 and cooler nights if I have the energy. But it's still good out there. This morning I deadheaded the zinnias-- they are one of the easiest showy flowers to maintain, FYI. The sonata pink cosmos were in a sorry state, so they were trimmed back as well, and the Bowles Mauve wallflower finally had it's long stemmy flowers trimmed back. I have more to do, but this summer has blessed me (ha!) with a sore back, no matter what I seem to do. Having work done on the house means that my lace-cap hydrangea was partially stomped down, so that's getting clipped back to within an inch of it's life so that it grows back strong and hearty in the coming years. Our composter surprised us with a squash vine... I have no idea which variety of squash will appear, if any, but let's cross our fingers for a pumpkin! The blueberries still have another week or two left in them, and my Ugly Lena tomatoes are suitably miserable-looking, which makes me glad. If you think that's crazy, it's only crazy because it's true-- this plant looks terrible, foliage-wise, but produces amazing roma-type tomatoes, only with a brandywine interior and an incredible rich flavor. I've been battling blossom-rot but have two tomatoes turning red as I type.  I'm so excited, already I can taste a tomato-mayo sandwich on some sourdough bread. Simple pleasures...

Kiddo's tutoring is winding up and so we're talking about doing an independent study on mummies for a few weeks. This is his idea, folks, and it's a fun one.  I can get a few books from the library and create some cloze stories as well as finding some supplemental print-outs.  Mummy math? What do you think of that? If four mummies each used 10 bandages to wrap themselves up, how many bandages are being used? (use a hundred's board to figure this). ... oops, was I thinking school out loud? OMSI is hosting a Mummies of the World exhibit that Joe is going to take Kiddo to, so that's going to be a fantastic experience for them. Now, if three pyramids each have 7 treasures (place 7 counters on each pyramid illustration... ) Okay, there I go again, so perhaps it's time to leave. Enjoy these wonderful summer days while our time before school is winding down. I'm planning on doing a few fun excursions in the next few weeks. What are you going to do?


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