So, what have we been up to? Let's see. Steve has been working his tail off within the high-security walls of the Marathon oil refinery in Detroit. I don't pretend to understand everything he does. He is responsible for making sure certain contractors do everything by the book and according to the customer's specs and safety guidelines. He has the perfect mix of patience and assertiveness to be a pipeline inspector. I? Would not. I have the "people person" part down, but the patience ... not so much. So mostly I pray for my husband's safety, be supportive when he needs to vent frustrations to me, and try to keep things at a dull roar at home so Steve can focus on his job.
This week was a toughie as far as that "dull roar" thing was concerned. I was unavailable to answer my phone at the moment Sam's school principal called to tell me about some trouble our boy had gotten into at school, so daddy ended up getting that call at work. Hey, it's all part of being a parent, and Steve is great about that, too. I can't be two places at once or available to everybody at all times. But I was sorry Steve had to deal with the initial impact. In the end it was a bit of a hiccup in everyone's day, but you'll have that sometimes.
Sam, I think, will be the happiest kid on the planet when school is done for the year. He has little motivation for school work to begin with, and even less when he makes a poor choice (nothing malicious, just a "bone-headed" thing to do, as I like to say) and it results in revoked privileges and more chores at home. He does have a fire in his gut for other stuff, and will stay up late at night to work on something he loves. And he's been incredibly helpful to me as I've worked on creating new garden spaces at home.
Here he is filling our new raised beds with fresh black dirt. Over the past few weeks we have shoveled and shoveled and raked and shoveled some more.
And he even planted a few of his own plants:
This is one of two pots Sam planted - this one's habanero peppers and he also has cayenne peppers.
Now what in God's name do you think we're going to do with all those peppers?! I sure ain't eatin' 'em. But hey, caring for some plants and watching them bear fruit is a simple thing that brings him joy. It's all good. (And I do believe he will eat them. He's into this "the hotter the better" kick.)
Rachel has been busy - and has kept me busy - with a little bit of everything. She was so excited for her track and field day at school this week that she was up early that day and crawled into bed with me to wake me up. She had a bag all packed with her lunch, sunscreen, a blanket to sit on, snacks and extra water. I had a chance to stop by the track as I went from one commitment to the next, and I was so glad I did. I watched her win on the last leg of a relay, then watched her take 2nd place in a sprint. She came home with five or six ribbons that day. We might have a runner on our hands!
Rachel has also been helping me in any way she can with my gardens. When we finally started planting I dug up my clump of chives from one garden (which I have given to Rachel to grow flowers for a little cut-flower business she wants to start) and moved them to the new raised veggie beds. Rach had to take a picture of the roots ... I think they're pretty healthy.
I have been gardening a lot. I have built garden boxes, shoveled/loaded/unloaded sand and soil, hauled brick pavers, hoisted and dumped bags of pea stone, built a chicken wire cover to keep the cats out of the garden beds (Oh look!! Giant litter boxes!), and finally got to do some planting. All of that I have done in my spare time when I wasn't picking asparagus for the neighbors, babysitting for another neighbor, tending to my own children, preparing for a trip to Washington, DC with Rachel and about 200,000 other Girl Scouts (have I mentioned that?), nurturing relationships with family and friends, and taking care of all the "regular" household tasks a mama takes care of. It's no wonder I'm tired!
But I do so love these gardens. Last night after the kids had gone to bed I sat on the patio with just the glow of some solar lights, the cool breeze, listening to frogs croaking and crickets chirping ... and I watched the stars appear. I just sat there in the shadows of all this hard work we've been putting in. How often do we take the time to just sit? To just ... be?
I kicked back in that cheap plastic Adirondack chair and thought how nice it would be to have a chaise lounger for the patio. And then I started to think about upgrading the cafe table we have to a nicer set that could seat our whole family ... and more potted plants ... more color ... and a fire pit ... and, and, and ... and I had to stop myself. Reign in it, just like I tell my kids to do. I did, and then I was able to appreciate my surroundings even more. I was able to focus on that feeling of joy, that smile I always smile when I get home after a busy day and see butterflies floating and bumblebees buzzing around the plants scattered all over the yard - and wow, there has been an abundance of all kinds of flying creatures this year. My goal is to enjoy them ... to enjoy the peace they bring me, and savor the joy I feel when I am tinkering in my gardens. And when the light of the day fades, to just sit and know that no matter what happened during the day, tomorrow will dawn bright and new.
Oh! Here are the pictures I promised ...