Yesterday afternoon Fern and I were discussing with anticipation the coming of the county fair in June. Still unable to comprehend stretches of time, she asked me to show on my fingers how many days a month was. I flashed 10 open fingers 3 times. We were walking on the sandy trail between the horse stalls and her scuffing feet kicked up dust as she used all her concentration to get the right amount of digits. We repeated this exercise several times over the evening.
Upon waking this morning, she squeezed in close to me and whispered in my face Mama? Today is tomorrow. Does the fair start today?
Although the official start of summer is 30 digits away, the drying grasses, cricket choruses and metamorphoses of bud to seed and pollywog to frog say it plain and clear. It’s summer.
I’ve hauled in two cubic yards of soil from the dump and am set to get another today. Two pumpkins, a watermelon and two summer squashes are tucked into their new home and receive multiple daily doses of fretting and checking for earwigs. Earwigs, by the way, are by far the most numerous species on the ranch. We lifted up a paper bag that had been sitting on the back deck to discover a squirming nest the size of a baseball. We chanted They’re just little animals as we all ran away shrieking.
Saturday morning we walked down the road to the Hessel Grange, where the grange association (the members primarily being 70+) was having a “neighborhood” plant sale. The kids picked out strawberry plants, watermelon, cucumber, raspberry canes, zucchini and then we sat at little tables covered with antique embroidered cloths and jars of tea roses while we ate the treats baked by the volunteers. I highly recommend the pistachio walnut bundt cake.
We returned home to tend to the garden, planting calendula at the back of the house, anise hyssop at the side. All chance of rain has been chased away by our latest heat wave. The best relief when you’re shoveling manure and the sweat is pouring down?
Recipe inspired by my beverage on Mother’s Day at Zazu.
Cinnamon Grapefruit Iced Tea
1 heaping T loose leaf black tea (Your favorite will do. I used Earl Grey.)
1 cinnamon stick or 1 tsp cinnamon powder
half a ruby grapefruit
Place your tea and cinnamon in a heat proof pint size container. Fill with just boiled water and let steep for 15 minutes or until your preferred strength.
Pack a glass with ice cubes and place a fine mesh strainer over the top. Pour your tea over the cubes. Squeeze the grapefruit into the glass, leaving the pulp for extra yum.
On Sunday we visited the Petaluma Adobe. Surrounded by an oak forest and a barricade of nopal cactus, the Rancho Petaluma Adobe is a time capsule back to the 1830’s. It is a clay castle for the King of the Vaqueros, Mariano Vallejo.
It is now home to much smaller champions.
The Oak Moth Caterpillar
And also the world’s friendliest Burro.
The lengthening days feel like loose muscles after a good yoga session. Everything is done and the sun has yet to set. Each evening after dinner we go out for a walk.
As we walk, stopping to muse at little miracles, we add to our list of summer dreams. River Camping. A visit to waterslides. Going to Humboldt County. An outdoor movie night. And of course…The County Fair.
On my personal list are books. I’m in the middle of the one at the top of my list. The Grapes of Wrath. Every so often I look up from the page and exclaim to Jeff This really IS the great american novel! Listen to this!
Longer days enclose within the parentheses of waking and sleeping too many wonders to count. Walt Whitman says it best.
Why, who makes much of a miracle?
As to me I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of
Or stand under trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with any one I love, or sleep in the bed at night
with any one I love,
Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive of a summer
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or of stars shining so
quiet and bright,
Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring;
These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.
To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.
To me the sea is a continual miracle,
The fishes that swim—the rocks—the motion of the waves—
the ships with men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?
What are your summer dreams?