It’s July. Already.

It’s my eternal optimism that keeps me thinking I can do so many wonderful things with all of my free time. We’re knee-deep into summer vacation and already I’ve fallen behind on a million projects and activities I had planned. It’s not that we spend our days doing nothing… it’s quite the opposite. Maybe it’s because we do so much already that I think I can add one more fabulous and exciting thing, and another…

My “should have but didn’t” list this year is not that long and is not filled with big, important things, at least not yet. There are a few big things I want to do this summer around the house and a few big things I want to do this summer away from home, and a few big things I want to put together this summer in the craft room. I still have plenty of time for all of them (there’s the optimist again). Around the house I have been ticking off to-do boxes in a way that makes me feel good: The roofer came out to inspect and repair our slate roof (it has to be done one every year or two to prevent big problems down the road. Our slate roof is almost 100 years old and was laid atop a roof of cedar shakes. It needs love and care); the exterminator is coming to treat for powder post beetles and carpenter ants (again, old house = vigilance); we want to put a pellet stove in our living space on the first floor and I’ve been tearing myself up over which stove to get. Some claim to heat a large area but have poor maintenance records; some are pretty to look at but are loud when they are in operation. What to do? In between all this, Jeff needs to get out his chain saw and chop up the big maple limb that fell during a heavy rain and we need to call someone to take down a few rotting trees on the property. After all of that is said and done it would be very nice to lay some radiant heat flooring in our back room and turn the room into usable, warm space (I spy a craft room!). And we want to put up some gutters to catch the rain so it doesn’t end up in the cellar.

That is my to-do list. For this year.

We will also have a lot of fun this summer. The girls go to camp for a week, so Jeff and I will have some time to go out without the expense of a babysitter. We’ll spend time with family. We’re also planning something we haven’t done in many, many years it seems: a family vacation for just the 4 of us. We’re headed to the Adirondacks in August for several days of play.

Around the homestead things are good. We are picking 2-3 cups of raspberries a day now (I freeze them immediately for future use). Blueberries are in season and blackberries will be growing on our bushes before you know it. The 2 chickens who were broody earlier this summer have gotten up from the nest, and one of them has started to lay eggs again. Not everything is heavenly though – there has been quite a bit of rain this year and the mosquitoes are just about unbearable. They are out all day long. I don’t have to worry about watering the garden, but boy I wish those mosquitoes would go away. We have bats living in the area and I see them flying at night, but they aren’t able to keep up with the bug population.

In the garden I harvested the last of the garlic scapes, have been dining on lettuces and pac choi, and am watching the sungold tomatoes, peppers and zucchini take off.

Indoors things have changed a bit for our family with the addition of a new kitten this week. I didn’t set out to adopt a kitten and quite frankly there is never a good time to get one, but this kitten fell into my lap so to speak. A naturalist friend at the state park found the mother cat and 3 kittens after they had apparently been dropped off. I have always loved having more than one cat in the house. For years I had 2 cats. My girls are at a good age to spend time with a new pet and feel connected to their very own cat. Though it’s not an ideal time to adopt a cat, it’s not a bad time either. Maybe I could a little distraction to take my mind off my to-do list. I love cats. I thought about how how we’ll have a cat for at least another 15+ years. Then Jeff said aloud, “[sigh…] this means well never be without a cat.” As if it might be a bad thing.

The cat has been home with us for 2 days. Grace is not thrilled with her and I’m not surprised. She’ll come around. Today the girls and I decided on a name for her: Coco. Although I am good at snuggling with her and making her feel secure, she has a clear favorite: ‘A’. She loves ‘A’. When she’s not following ‘A’ around, she’s climbing onto her bed to take a quick cat nap. It’s sweet to see their tender relationship begin.

A wish for the summer:

Savor the slowness of the season, the hot afternoons, the days with air so thick you could slice through it;

let yourself drift and wander, be surprised by where you end up;

practice saying NO to things that don’t get you to where you want to go;

Say YES to everything else.



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