The time we call August has begun . . .and the rain has still not stopped. Most of the towns have some flooding, but so far, and as always, there isn’t a puddle on the rabbit patch. The earth is soggy and just a trek to the car is messy. The sun comes out in brief intervals and when it does, the grass glistens.
All of my life seems suspended in time just now. The last of the summer season is upon us and yet the beginning of the new school year lurks around the corner. Even how a day passes is mysterious without the sunlight . It can be nine am or three pm, for the hours look the same. I struggle with time under the best conditions, and so this is quite disorienting, but in some odd way, it has been peaceful.
The first summer I lived here, we did not even use clocks. We did not have a tv either. We never knew the official time, but we watched the sun and became quite astute, in the art of telling time by the sun. We still are. People who are “clock watchers” wondered how we knew when to eat or go to bed. It was simple, we ate when we were hungry and slept when we were tired. Cable has been out for the week and I do not use a microwave. There are no clocks now either, save one I find pretty, but without a battery – so I am reminded of that first summer, now.
Since it continues to rain, I am mostly left to my own devices. There is some housekeeping, a bit of laundry daily and supper, but this is a light agenda for me. I have felt like a lady of leisure, spending my time reading and working on my Christmas list. Usually in August, I am canning tomatoes, in several different forms, for days. My pantry is now storage for large pots and pans – and food for the animals .
Before Lyla was born, I tended a garden every year. The boys and I took a section of yard and dug it up with shovels. We did not have a tractor. It was back breaking work. The rows were crooked and uneven, but we had a garden. Everything was done by hand, and so the boys declared it was an “Amish garden” for a machine was never used.
The Farm Life community is full of good folks and after that year, several kind neighbors with tractors plowed us a proper garden. One year, our garden drowned. My friend, Julie was staying with me as she recovered from a surgery, that year. One morning, we heard a tractor. I looked out and a neighbor was leaving a small trailer full of tomatoes! Julie was dumbfounded and the look on her face was a mixture – of surprise and horror! It is etched in my memory to this day.
For the next three days, I was in the kitchen. There were batches of tomatoes for soups and stews, marinara and salsa. Julie recovered in spite of the commotion in the kitchen, but remained dazed by the whole affair.
This was not a new experience for me. In the first weeks, of living here, the boys and I slept on mattresses in the living room. The bathroom and kitchen were our priorities, naturally. We worked hard and at night would plan the next day out. The day we were going to tackle their bedroom, we found a bushel of cucumbers on the porch. To this day, I do not know who shared them with us . . .but I do know, we did not paint that day.
Another day, that same year, I was telling the boys what tools to gather, when I saw a truck pull up loaded with corn freshly pulled from his field. I told the boys, “never mind, we are working with corn now.” Corn does not wait. It must be shucked and dealt with almost immediately. Later, I did learn to freeze it in the husk, but I did not have a freezer, that day, anyway.
That was a hard year, in many ways. It was also beautiful. We were strangers, yet our neighbors fed us like we were family. . . and right off! For all the years, I have lived here, that kindness has remained.
Left to my own devices, I work as I can, I try to learn something and I gather some of the beauty of the day. I also reminisce, for there are so many beautiful things to remember.