The Dog Days of June

June has been unseasonably hot and humid which brought on the lazy days of summer sooner than we were prepared for. The air conditioner has been kicking on earlier in the mornings and staying on later in the night. The weather has taken us down to the river regularly to cool off where we have spent a good deal of time floating in tubes and kayaking.

Humidity comes but never stays since we are not in the Deep South but instead we ride the line being just inside the Mid West boundary, not Confederate sons but not really Yankees either.

The first week in June my wife, daughter and I rose early and went to the blueberry farm just down the road. We ended up picking 3 gallons full which usually takes a couple hours to get the job done because with every 2 handfuls going into the bucket, there is a handful going in the mouth. The next morning’s results of this yearly pilgrimage are never spoken of outside the home. 

In the summer months we hang our laundry out on the line to dry where the energy is free. It is a meditation and get away that only resembles work. I stand surrounded by trees breathing in the breeze, puffy white clouds hanging on the horizon and that amazing blue sky that is so striking it encourages me that America will remain home for generations to come. I reach down into the basket, pull out a bundle of damp clothing and shake it out. Then with both hands on each corner I give it a sharp snap to take out most of the wrinkles. After hanging them on the line, the breeze will remove the rest…. Good enough for jeans and t-shirts anyway.

The Chickens are staying cool under the large Walnut tree in their pen not wanting to venture out in the heat to scavenge in the yard. They will come out and work the lawn for bugs just before evening, then I’ll call them in with a, “Hey guys!” and they come running from all directions, my armless children follow me into the chicken coop where I give them a bowl of grain and put them to bed for the night. In the morning I will let them out on the dewy lawn to start it all over again.

Because there has been no rain in over 2 weeks, I’ve been out in the garden early every morning in shorts, flops and a wide brim hat watering with my thumb on the hose. My corn will be as high as an elephant’s eye in July with tassels throwing their dust every time I hit a stock with a stream of water. Melons are forming and the tomatoes are beginning to come in regularly. The Cherokee beans are crawling up the poles and we are starting to put up the garlic I planted last fall. The bush green beans that I’m already sick of need to be picked every other day. I don’t gag on them at the dinner table (I’m 53 for crying out loud) but I eat them as quickly as possible to get it over with. Corn will be on the table this American July and the cantaloupe and watermelon will soon follow.

Here is where BBQing got its reputation as Americas summer past time that linked it to family, friends, horseshoes and baseball. It’s even more of a pass time here than in CA and maybe it’s because folks here have them out in the open and not tucked away and hidden behind a house and fence. We get invited to more than we can attend and I wish I could go to them all where the cooking is good and the laughter is hardy.

This coming 4th of July we’ll be down by the lake for a dazzling show of fireworks put on by the neighborhood folks whose BBQ we’re attending. These are not the street level displays we were used to, these are shoot um up in the sky and explode in a star spangled 150 foot diameter along with Roman Candles that can shoot a fireball into the front living room window and set the curtains on fire.  Yet these are fireworks you can buy anywhere around here, at any age, to anyone who can put the money down on the barrelhead. There is a trust here that allows you to walk away with arms full of deadly explosives, and you’re automatically expected to be smart enough to not look into the firing end of a skyrocket and if you do, there is a trust that you won’t ever do it again.

So as June ends, the real beginning of summer is just beginning and all life celebrates its arrival. This early heat makes it hard to get much done around here but at least by the end of summer there will be no regrets that we didn’t get enough floating in.

Have a great summer!

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Published in: on July 1, 2010 at 8:20 am  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. We, on the other hand, DO have regrets, for, alas, we have NOT been on or in the river this year….YET! Dear Husband promises that will all change, come July, when he gets “caught up.” I can only HOPE! Loved your armless children analogy…funny! And I’m thinking your CA friends might be amazed at fireworks being so easily available…something we just take for granted. Enjoyed this very much…good job, Gregg! Even though I’m IN the Ozarks with you, keep your letters comin’ on a regular basis…

    • If you need any extra tubes for floating, we have 4 large ones.

  2. Won’t it be wonderful if you and Cathie could magically appear at all our BBQ’s (with large melons in hand) and help us all welcome in summer?

    Fab as usual…

    • I wish we could transport ourselves around, we would be popping up everywhere…. with large melons in hand!


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