In two weeks we will attend my 25th high school reunion, and after all these years I still recognize the last day of school. As I write, just 5 minutes ago, an off schedule school bus caught my attention as it drove past my office window and I realized…. Half Day… School’s out! No matter how old you get or how far removed you become from the rhythms of childhood I think that still strikes a chord. The summer is stretched out in front with endless promises and the heart is unfettered by routine. Suddenly it is easier to get out of bed in the morning and we do not think of returning home until the fireflies light up the tall grass.
This week and next week are shaping up to be the nicest weeks of the year and it’s a perfect day to be the Last Day of School. I remember my first last day of school like it was yesterday. Or more particularly, the day after… the first day of my first ever Summer Vacation. It was 1976 and the Bicentennial was all the rage. Everywhere you looked there was red white and blue. I had a brand new pair of red white and blue Keds sneakers and a matching outfit with red shorts and a red white and blue striped tank top. I awoke on that perfect, bright June morning which was just like today, warm and clear and bright, with a sense of occasion I put on my favorite outfit and slammed out the screen door to the backyard. My pony was housed in a shed in the back yard and to avoid wetting my new Keds in the dew, I balanced along the stone pavers which outlined a bed of Lily of the Valley along the back of the house. What I did the rest of the day I don’t remember. It probably ended up being like any other day, but that first morning sense of adventure is hard to forget.
|Mom helps me give my pony a summer bath|
I was five years old and we still lived at the Greenhouse. The busyness would be winding down as most bedding plants and vegetables had already been purchased and planted, but at my Grandparent’s farm, haying would be in full swing. The farm was a red barned haven like all old fashioned farms were. They smelled of clover hay and molasses not silage, and the cows slept on beds of golden straw harvested from one field of oats not sawdust delivered by a truck. There were shady maples for climbing and calves and kittens for playmates. Summers on the farm were so perfect that the autumn before, as I hung over the seat back of the old LTD car on the way to the County Fair and my Grandparents asked me if I were excited about growing up and going to school, I answered an honest “No!” And now it was all behind me and the summer was back. Yes, that was a magic day.
|My Grandfather, Grandmother, and Uncle with the baler in 1976|
Today in the garden, things are going well. I seem to have outlasted both the Cucumber Beetles and the Flea Beetles. I haven’t had to kill more than two or three bugs a day for the past several days and I have uncovered the eggplants. They sustained some damage, but not enough to stunt them like last year and we already have a flower!
The rows of potatoes that I also kept covered so as to remove a large food source for the Flea Beetles are now straining against the top of their floating row covers and will have to be uncovered.
|The Potato Patch|
The peas are ready to pick in quantities large enough for supper, and I still have 5 portions from last year in the freezer. I rationed them out, but this is the first time I’ve made it full circle without running out of garden peas. I also have potatoes left... slightly shriveled, and sprouty as heck, but I had enough to plant this year's crop and I believe we will make it full circle with the potatoes as well.
|Purple Pea Blossoms|
One pea plant has unique purple blooms instead of white. I also have 5 portions of sweet corn left and a gallon bag of green beans which will have to last until August as I plant beans late, after the peas have been pulled. And I have a Zucchini started! Let Summer begin.