Thursday, August 20, 2009

Slacker Summer

It was going to be a summer of travel -to the west coast to visit family, to upstate New York for a week of camping, to Vermont to visit an old friend, to the eastern end of MA to visit the grands. When the longer, larger expeditions failed to happen, it became a summer of pure relaxation.

The vegetable garden, planted in the persistent June rain, failed miserably. Last summer at this time I was awash in tomatoes to be jarred, cucumbers to be pickled, corn to freeze. This summer I had exactly four cucumbers and just enough tomatoes for a meal or two. The good news? I didn't have to weed, to spend hours over a steaming kettle, spend extra on canning jars and lids. There is nothing so bad that some small good doesn't come of it.

The patio garden, on the other hand, flourished. There are five large yellow-orange pumpkins growing from the rogue seed in the compost. I have put fresh chives, parsley, oregano, basil or mint in almost every meal I've made. The flowers have grown splendidly, blooming first in shades of pink and purple and now in bright yellow as the Rudbeckia nitida 'Herbstsonne' reach for the sky. My daughter calls this the "clown" plant as the impossibly tall stalks support rather smallish blossoms in comparison to the height.

I have done some odd jobs from time to time, it's true - I've been tutoring a small boy weekly and spent time with the 93 year old mother of a friend, chauffering her to the doctor, the hairdresser, the grocery store. A former high school student brings her writing once a month or so for reading aloud and suggestions. I've been to see the grands, went to their swim meets and ball games. But the bulk of the summer vacation? I've mainly taken lessons from Parker the cat - eat well, sleep often, and greet each day with a contented smile.


Annie said...

Dear Pauline,

You have had a perfect Plan B summer. Travel may not have happened but your inner travel from garden to patio garden to kitchen to tutoring to chauffering to seeing the grands to lessons well learned from Parker the cat have achieved a level of satisfaction and contentment that we all need to strive for.


steven said...

hello pauline, you have no idea how gratifying it has been to read this post. i had grand plans at the beginning of this summer for a long bike trip to montreal - 1000 km round trip - instead i chose to do day trips and visit people, see places close by. read, think, blog, be with my family. so much happy making stuff. so i love the phrase "There is nothing so bad that some small good doesn't come of it." because that is what i have believed for a very long time. now it's time to spread it like a mantra across all of my living!!!! happy summer!! steven

Barbara said...

I'm glad you've been able to relax and enjoy the summer, but sorry for your gardening woes. I know how much you love to open those little jars in the middle of winter! Parker looks like he is committed to a slow pace all year long.

Anonymous said...

Great post as usual.

Sounds like a quintessential summer of days gone by. No rush to go anywhere except the here and now.

I was in Pittsfield the past two days. Took my mother to visit her last two (of eight) surviving siblings. I thought of you several times.


focusfinder said...

Now you could offer your services as a patio garden designer.

Pauline said...

Annie - it was the perfect summer!

Steven - and I like the term 'happy making stuff' :)

Barbara - I will certainly be sorry to have to buy jarred tomato sauce this winter!

qazse - Pittsfield! You should have called!

Hi B - I'm toying with the idea ;) Maybe I should start a 'For the Inept Non-stickler' series as a challenge to the For Dummies success ;)

Anonymous said...

Next time I will.

Paul said...

Parker also writes quite well; we have been in touch by email.

Jean said...

Quel beau chat !
Un Charteux ?

Pauline said...

Quaze - what fun!

Paul - Parker has your email? And I don't? What's up with that?

Jean, thanks. He is my daughter's cat parker. He's a Maine Coon cat.

(Jean, merci. Parker est le chat de ma fille. Il est un chat de ragondin du Maine.)

Jo said...

"Eat well, sleep often, and greet each day with a contented smile." I think I am going to make that my mantra.

You have no idea how relaxed felt, just reading this post. :-)

Molly said...

Everyone should have the opportunity, regularly, to curl up and enjoy life as a cat!

Meggie said...

Parker has the answer. What a handsome cat!
I often ponder on the fact that one season will be rich with crops, while the next may not be so.

Land of shimp said...

What a lovely, peaceful sort of summer to have. In some ways it is good to have the garden crop have on, and off years. After all, who hasn't had a summer of being eyeball deep in zucchini, scrambling to come up with more recipes to utilize them, and trying to pawn them off on unsuspecting coworkers?

A year's break from that would probably up future enjoyment for the inevitable return of the invasion of the summer squash.

Keep enjoying life far from the madding crowd, and all that ;-)