Summer is speeding past and what have I done?
My bower of flowers is not so lush as usual. The weather has been odd. Some days hot and muggy (we think 75F is hot), many days cold (in the 50′s and 60′s) and wet. Apparently it’s all because of the jet stream.
Jerry is cutting wood for winter fuel. Mike came by and with his bucket extension truck cut limbs from the big fir near the house.
Next year we will have to take that dramatic old tree out– it’s too close for safety and is dropping tree debris on the roof. Then Mike felled two big trees, trees that needed to come down as they were too close to Jerry’s workshop. When I see big trees fall I feel a pang of sadness.
They are so mighty in life and fall with such a final, thunderous crash. Deer follow Mike’s truck to nibble on the tender top branches.
One of the trees was a majestic fir, we estimated about 50 years old. It will make enough fire wood to keep us warm all winter. I grieved for it, but remembered that I have another fir that I planted about 7 years ago in a spot far enough from any building. The other downed tree was a medium sized birch which has lovely wood. I always think I should do something artistic with the wood. Then I remind myself that I don’t have time to do the artistic things I have already started. And I am rather old to be learning a new craft.
Once down the trees have to be cut up for firewood. Mike and Jerry made fireplace length sections with the chain saw and then Mike offered Jerry his splitter for the huge rounds. Jerry is reluctant to borrow things from others, but Mike insisted. He said, this is Lummi Island and we share things all the time. Then he and Mark delivered the splitter to the fallen tree and Jerry has been splitting logs every day.
Now there is a big pile of split wood which soon I will stack.
All summer I have worried about many things. The law suite slogs on, costs lots of money nothing much happens. When something does happen I have an sharp anxiety spike. I worry about my son Ben. He’s doing well in school having returned at age 40 to get a bachelor’s degree. He’s going back to Georgia to be near his children and I know this is best for everyone, but nevertheless I worry.
I read on my Kindle. My British daughter told me she heard on the radio about a novelist, Elizabeth Taylor, whose work is enjoying a revival in England. Taylor had been neglected as a major writer but there is a renewed interest in her work. She has been compared to Jane Austen (wrongly, I think) and Elizabeth Bowen (I agree with that comparison.) First I read Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont and loved it. It is a fine period piece; it evokes the time, 60 years ago, when my grandmother was an old woman. And it gently illuminates the life of old people. I love the way Taylor lets one peek into the minds of almost all her characters so the reader knows what they are thinking as well as what they are saying and doing. I have now read another of her novels called In a Summer Season and am in the middle of a third, A Game of Hide and Seek.
I went with my friend Cathy on the island tour of edible gardens. There’s a great interest these days in growing vegetables at home. The island has a community garden.
I learned a lot; my tomatoes have benefited from what I learned from Nancy Simmerman about removing the lower leaves and all signs of wilt when they first appear. There is a lot more air circulating around in my greenhouse now. I visited Linda and Randy Smith’s garden — an example to inspire, but they live the life of gardening together, something that I can’t do. I have too many other projects and Jerry has no interest in plants.
The blue things behind the onions are water filled plastic shields around plants that need protection from the capricious weather.
Randy and Linda sponsor meetings about how to collect seeds and all the most modern (organic) horticultural methods. I will confess here that I sometimes resort to miracle grow (sorry, Randy).
These are Randy and Linda’s poppies, but we all have them on the island.
I saw Henry’s place on the northern tip of the island. The lawns are smooth and the vegetable and flower beds manicured. There are paths along the cliffs overlooking the wild rocky beach. There is a huge eagle’s nest in a tall fir. We were told they raised a chick (would you call a young eagle a chick?) this year. Then there was a big neatly stacked wood shed. Henry does all the splitting and stacking himself when he isn’t manicuring his gardens. He is 84. He does have some help with the large vegetable garden. I forgot to bring my camera for that part of the trip.
I finally got to see my absolutely adorable great granddaughter, Allison. She is six months old and a real sweetheart. She is number 2 of 3 (great grandchildren, that is), and there will be a 4th in January or February of next year!
We will try to get to Alaska for a very short visit at the end of August. But there is a lot of work still to do to get Ben off to Georgia.
Things happen in the law suit in September that we must be back here for. Jerry and I are so lucky to have each other to hold on to.