Today is the first day of summer vacation at the rabbit patch. This is my eleventh summer here ,on whats’ left of a once prosperous farm. There is a 4 acre yard, a patch of young woods and an old farmhouse, right at one hundred years old. There are seven barns, old trees and a garden. We have peach, fig, apple, pear and pecan trees as well as grape vines that have massive, old trunks. This is where my heart calls home.
I have worked day in and day out every summer that I have been here. I have cleaned barns, cut vines and planted roses all over the place. I have a nice herb garden that is naturalized well, now. Perennial flower beds are tucked in mostly everywhere and there’s a white picket fence all around it. The rabbit patch is not short on charm.
I know every inch of the place personally because I have been there. I know the birds that live here and what the sky looks like at all hours. I know where the wild violets like to grow . I am rarely surprised here these days with few exceptions. A few years ago, some tanagers showed up that I hadn’t met-but mostly, days pass in old familiar ways.
It sounds lovely-and it is, but it is a far cry from easy street, to live on the rabbit patch. By August, I usually have scratches from briers , bites of every sort all over and paint in my hair. Still, I love being at home painting flowers on my barn and canning tomatoes.
The summer holiday has started off in a beautiful fashion. Jenny and Lyla came for breakfast. While Jenny worked on her college school work-I took Lyla to see Miss Sylvia, my neighbor and the first friend I made when I moved here. Miss Sylvia is well known for her helpfulness to any and everybody-and for cooking “peach jacks”. Up until recently, she fed all of the widows in the community every month. There is no telling what else she has done that I don’t know about. She is eighty years old and was going to can string beans when I left.
On the walk back, I introduced Lyla to “Ace” -probably the first real horse she has ever seen. Ace put on quite a show for us. I pulled grass for him, and Lyla laughed about that. I never did convince her, that Ace wasn’t a dog. When we were going down the drive at the rabbit patch, I stopped to pull grass from around a rose bush and Lyla laughed again. I picked some gardenias and white roses. Lyla smelled them for a while. It was a perfect way to end a morning-the first morning of my summer.
I have big plans to plant basil this afternoon. Later I will cook supper and take as long as I please to do so. Christopher Robin, my kitten needs a bath and as always there’s grass in the garden. I have to come up with a plan for some home repairs that needed to be done yesterday and I will vow again to downsize after that.
This life is not for everybody-but it is mine and I am quite satisfied. I would rather be looking for the red tanagers, than taking pictures in Africa. I would rather hear Lyla laughing than hearing the mighty Niagara waterfalls- and Miss Sylvia is as good company as I know of-Ace too.
This is the way the summer passes, here on the rabbit patch. If you ask me what time it is, I will tell you it’s “June” and that it is a lovely time- a beautiful, ordinary time at a rabbit patch, with an old house on it that needs fixing. It is the place where I live. . . and my heart calls it home.