Left to My Own Devices . . .

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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.



27 thoughts on “Left to My Own Devices . . .

  1. Your neighbors are amazing!

    I’m like you about time. I never know what time it is, whether judging by daylight or personal energy. John has an uncanny ability to pick the correct time out of the air. I used to think he used subliminal cues, like a commuter train going by. That was proved untrue when we moved to the mountains. He is usually not more than five minutes off when he guesses the time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This community has quite a reputation-for years! They are ALL wonderful. Funny you thought your husband used the train to tell time . . .but you really could. When I lived in town, there were church bells . . .now that is lovely. thank you my sweet Anne . . .love Michele

      Liked by 1 person

  2. And a community into which you and yous fit just perfectly. They will surely miss you as you will miss them. But there are others awaiting your arrival and your friendship you just gotta find them. Love you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love you, Michelle and would love to be at your house one day when a load of produce got dropped off so you could teach me the arts of canning or freezing. I picture myself easily in your kitchen working alongside you. 🙂 Will you be coming to Elizabeth City anytime soon or do I need to come to Williamston and see you? When do you have to go back to work at the school? Also, did you get my facebook invite to Joy’s baby shower? I noticed Jenny can’t come but wasn’t sure if I might see you there. I love you, and your blog, Cousin of my heart.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey precious! I did get your text and I am so sorry I haven’t answered. I was at a wedding ALL day! I expect to go to EC next week not sure what day. I have an extra big Sunday dinner tomorrow, but will do my best to call you! I miss you -I love you! One day we will can together!


  4. That is the southern way – there were always bags and baskets of veggies at my grandparents home in South Carolina. Neighbors took care of one another in rural communities. I hope the rain stops soon. We could use more rain up here in Northeastern Washington. The fire season has me worried, but so far our rural community has been spared all but the smoke that drifts down from British Columbia. Be well my friend❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m a novice, still-learning gardener as I was raised in town with parents who did not garden. I’ve have gardens and then the next year a baby and so no garden. 😉 I’m blessed now that two of my children are more into gardening and my father in law helps them, but we haven’t firmly established anything too big here at Hearth Ridge.

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  6. This is wonderful Michele! You are so right…produce will not wait for our timing. We tend to say we live on God’s time around our farm also.
    Our church has just started a produce table in the back of church. Those of us who garden and have extra leave it there for those who do not. It is really a neat thing.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. And your reminiscing is ever so wonderful. Really! These days of transition from summer to fall, from known to unknown, are perfect for remembering and feeling thankful. Bless you and thank you, Michele.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Every year I would plant radishes first. Or rather, let the children drop the seeds in the ground. Radishes are ready to pick in just three weeks, which still seemed like a long time to children, but it helped keep their interest, gave them some early rewards for their “work”.

    We’d sing a song:

    “Inch by inch, row by row,
    Gonna make this garden grow.
    Gonna till it deep and low,
    Gonna make this fertile ground.

    Inch by inch, row by row,
    Lord bless these seeds I sow.
    Keep them safe and warm below
    ‘Til the rain comes tumbling down.”

    It was many, many years later before I realized the little song describes more than one kind of garden. “As we sow, so shall we reap.” the Bible tells us.
    The song also describes the garden of my life. My little seeds.

    Lord, bless these seeds I sow.
    Keep them safe and warm below.

    Inch by inch…


    Liked by 1 person

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