Saturday, August 14, 2010

Goodbye, For Now

I hate goodbyes. Mostly when I have too much time to think about them. With too much time, I start getting sentimental and reflective, and it puts me in a melancholy mood for a while. Quick and unexpected are the best goodbyes for me. No thinking, just goodbye. And that is why I don’t understand my urge to write this goodbye post. I have never said this goodbye before. Maybe the heat of the summer is getting to me, or I am just being sentimental again.

I am saying my goodbyes to Summer. It has been nice to have you around, but I know that you need to go away soon.

We tend to cram August full with activities, so much so that it is October before we realize that summer is over. August is the “Do All The Things That You Were Going To Do All Summer But Have Not Taken The Time Yet” month. Do some camping, go to the zoo, finish the outdoor projects that were started in April, go fishing, grill, go to the fair, have a cookout, and all the other similar things. We have done lots of these things this summer, yet with August here, we feel the need to maximize the short time of summer that we have left.

So my sentimental, reflective side takes over in a review of the summer. We added more animals to our “farm” this year. In April we brought home some fuzzy little chicks (all pullets we were told). Over the months, they have grown into full grown chickens. There was a time when their pen had some places where they could get out. The kids became quite skilled in chasing them down, catching them, and getting them back into their pen. One of the chickens has developed a different body type, and has started crowing in the morning. We are assuming that the feed store gave us a rooster, and that we do not have a cross dressing pullet. So the chickens have added action to our place, in addition to the rabbits who continue to reproduce each month without fail. So far, the record longevity for the baby rabbits has been 1 week. There is always next month. And the kids have enjoyed the animals. All except taking care of them of course. That is now officially Dad’s job. Just like I figured. Once the chickens start laying eggs, they may gather them for a week or so before it is solely my job again. I have never thought of chickens as pets, but the kids enjoy them. They have gone as far as giving them rides on the baby swing. And the chickens don’t seem to mind too much.

Memorial Day weekend we went camping with some friends. The most eventful night was when one of the kids fell out through the side of the camper in the middle of the night. Thankfully there were no injuries.

And then there is the garden project. After my experience with container gardening, I decided to build a raised bed garden this year. I got a late start, but my resolve was strong. I built the bed and filled it with dirt, compost, cow manure, and potting soil. I would give my plants the best possible chance of survival. I planted tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, and spinach. I carefully watered and fertilized the bare dirt with dreams of giant vegetables by the bushels. Reality came by and crashed into my dreams. I pulled one of the tomato plants due to its lack of interest. I have one carrot, and two lettuce plants. The pepper plants were pulled as well after most of their leaves fell off. The cucumbers and the rest of the tomatoes have made up the empty spaces. One of the tomato plants has gone out of control. It has grown over the top of its cage and spread its vines over all the other tomato plants. It is the ruler of the garden, the conqueror of the cages. So I have had mixed results. The lettuce, spinach, and carrots were doomed when the neighbor’s cats decided to use the area as a litter box. I still don’t know what the problem was with the pepper plants. I have bought a product to spread over the garden to keep the cats out. We will see how the fall planting of lettuce turns out.

As the heat of summer burns out, the final camping trip is planned, the cookouts are done, and the last burnt hot dog is eaten, football season will distract us long enough to let winter slip right in. And then is when we fondly remember those 90ยบ scorchers, that day at the zoo, the swinging chicken, the times with friends, the daylight until 9:30, the grilled fare, the ferris wheel ride, a picnic in the park. And my heart will be a little sad. So Summer, leave if you must, but return as quickly as you can, and stay a little longer next time.