Tuesday, July 24, 2007

summer pleasures


The other night I had to stop at the grocery store for some cat food and wine (life's essentials). I looked into the gleaming rows of fruits and vegetables in the produce section and wondered how long it had been since I was in that section of the store. Between our garden, the CSA and my weekly stop at the farmer's market for fruit, the produce department has become a strange and strangely sterile destination. I don't look forward to the winter days that will bring me back there on a regular basis.

This weekend brought milder, sunny weather and some of the pleasures of summer. I am making a list of these little pleasures and clinging to them, as work has reached a crescendo of stress that is making me lose my grip on things a little bit. And so, the nice, summery things:

+ Making vegetable stock from the peelings and stems and trimmings of our garden vegetables that I've been saving in our freezer all spring. I threw in the tomato skins and seeds from the plum tomatoes I was freezing (in defense against grocery aisles). It all made three wonderful-smelling quarts of stock.

+ Putting up tomatoes. I love squeezing out the globs of seeds.

+ Eating cantaloupe slices over the sink, with juice running down my chin.

+ Gobbling up HWWLLB's home-made salsa.

+ Riding bikes all over town with mys Sis. We rode a section of the greenway that I had been wondering about, but never seen.

We also took a walk at the Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh. A dragonfly was clinging to this stalk of ornamental millet as if for dear life, and hung around long enough to let me get a few shots of him:


When I get to noticing summer and how nice it is, it makes me fantasize about becoming a teacher, or some other profession where you get the summers off.

Two falls ago, HWWLLB and I went on a trip to Maine. In Maine, no matter what your job (except teachers, I guess), you take the winter off, because apparently it's too cold to go to work, and nobody's around, anyhow. It was fall, so everyone was planning their winter free time. I was having this conversation with a Mainer who asked me, what do you do in the winter? "We go to work," I answered. "Oh right, it's really hot where you live in the summer," she mused (boy, howdy). "So what do you do in the summer?" "We go to work," I answered. She looked dumbfounded. "When do you take off?" Um, I told her, you know, we get a couple weeks' vacation... her look of dumbfoundedness turned to pity.

When do we take off? I want to spend more time enjoying the summer!


  1. a lovely post. it's been so long since we've been in the produce aisle at the grocery store too. love your list of summer pleasures. we have recently enjoyed making vegetable stock too. nice dragonfly photo! i have never been to the arboretum. must check it out. this is my first summer of work and your post makes me think i'm crazy for ending my teaching career. ;) xo ps: t and i are headed to maine in september. any suggestions?

  2. Thanks for sharing your list of summery things. I'll have to follow your lead. This hasn't felt like much of a happy summer so far- thanks for reminding me to look for the good stuff. :)

  3. YOu must have been in a very small fishing community. I live above Maine (in New Brunswick) and we here just keep working. Maybe it's a Canadian thing. I would love nothing better than to hunker down and do nothing all winter. Maybe I should move to Maine ;-)

  4. egads, when do we take off? i love your amazing shot of the dragonfly! and am a little jealous of your seasonal food, we are behind you a bit, and i can't wait for melon!!! drool!

  5. hello - i just moved to raleigh from california. i was searching for "knitting groups" and through a series of links I can't trace back now, I found your blog. i am 40, a total granola head environmentalist mom, wife, designer, and looking for a place to make new friends and engage in something creative while keeping myself from going crazy in this house alone and knowing no one here. I found something on google called "Stitch n Bitch" which sounds fabulous, but I can't find "where" these people meet or how to "sign" up and get involved/join. do you belong to this group? can you help me? Oh, btw, i don't knit. i do just about everything else, but i never learned how to knit. i have been DYING to learn for years and want to start now. i'd also like my kids to learn too. we're very "waldorf" but can't afford the school, so they aren't learning there... my email is redharmony1@gmail.com if you have any information that might help. thank you very much - eve

  6. wonderful list of summer pleasures! now that i have finished harry potter (36 hours with time off to sleep... a new record!) it is time to get outside and back into the garden :)
    and heck yea to the summers off... i am always so jealous of e! though he does work (research/ writing) in the summer, when he's doing it at the coffee shop it seems less arduous somehow.


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