Tuesday, July 1, 2014

And So the Summer Begins ...

The path through the Spring Point Preserve on Ocracoke Island, NC 

I know for a lot of people summer began a few weeks ago when school ended, and for the more literal-minded among us, summer began on June 21st, the summer solstice. But for me, summer begins now. My calendar is clear. I've been on vacation, prepared for my week-long creative writing workshop, taught my workshop, recovered from my workshop ... and for the next five weeks, I ain't doing nothing. 

Okay, so that's not true. I'll be revising a novel, tending a garden, bossing around boys, driving around boys, hopefully making a quilt and putting in some serious housekeeping time. But I'm not going anywhere until the second week of August, when we head to Kentucky for a family reunion, and I don't have much on my calendar except for minor appointments and the like.

It has been a long, long time since I've posted, so let me catch you up on what's been going on or is about to go on:

1. Jack starts behind-the-wheel driver's ed today. He's totally ready. I am totally not.

2. Will has caught World Cup fever. His life currently revolves around the games, especially if the U.S. is playing. I don't understand why the U.S. is still playing. It seems to take a lot to get eliminated from the World Cup. I mean, like you have to lose fifteen times or something. I wonder if everyone gets a trophy at the end, like they do here in Pee Wee soccer?

3. We spent last week on Ocracoke Island, which is part of North Carolina's Outer Banks. Would you like to see some pictures? Of course you would!

The house we rent every year. It's called the Mary Frances, 
and it was built in 1920.

The edge of Springer's Point, the nature preserve on the island. The pirate Black Beard hung out here back in the day and is said to haunt the area, but so far I haven't run into him.

One of the ancient live oaks on the nature preserve. 
I walked here every day of our vacation. 
When I asked the Man if he thought the preserve was enchanted (the trees have a very enchanted feel to them), he said, "No, but it's complex on an astral plane."
 I thought that summed things up quite nicely.

Stacks of netted clam shells on the edge of the Point. I've been reading a wonderful book called The Old Ways by Robert McFarlane, which is in part about walking on old roads and pathways in the UK, and these shells made me think of the cairns that he sometimes found marking trails.

We had a very nice vacation, in fact probably the best family vacation we've had. Usually we're all a little tired of each other by the end of the week, a little surly and rundown, but for some reason that didn't happen this year.

Oh, I wanted to tell you about an author I discovered this vacation! Her name is Alice Taylor, and she's Irish. By chance, I picked up her book The Village, a memoir about village life in the early 1960s, at the library, and I found it absolutely charming. Now I want to read her book about growing up in the country, To School Through the Fields. I'll let you know how it is.

 4. The garden is growing! Get ready for more pictures!

 Butternut squash to the left, black beans to the right.

More beans.

The world's tiniest cornfield.

We are starting to get tomatoes, and there are peppers on the pepper plants, but it may take awhile for them to turn yellow and red. Lots of cukes, lots of green beans.  The watermelon plants are not growing vigorously, nor are the zucchini. It has been a dry summer so far, and I fear they haven't gotten enough water.

5. Big news: I got my braces off! I will end this post with the before and after pictures:

Before (as in about an hour before the braces came off)

And after ...

 Now I am all grown up.

More soon!


Angela said...

Lovely pictures- good to see your braceless smile!!

Pom Pom said...

I've missed you! Your teeth look beautiful!

Heather said...

I thought I had left a comment, but I think my phone swallowed it up. Anyway, beautiful smile! Congratulations!

Having your son driving will get easier for you. When my daughter got her license(she had her permit for TWO YEARS) I finally relaxed about it a bit. Outside validation that they are safe drivers does a lot to calm a mother's soul.

That tree looks enchanted to me too. I would never want to leave such a place.

Your garden looks so healthy and beautiful!

Nancy McCarroll said...

The Mary Frances looks quaint. I grew up in a 20's house trucked in or railed in from the Sears Roebuck houses, but it was not so grand. Did you have squeaky floorboards?

Am trying to grow echinacea but the packet says to sow the seeds in late summer, so will have to wait until next spring to se if they take.

Enjoy your time off with your pretty smile.

Leslie aka the wayside wanderer said...

So many wonderful pictures! You are adorable and I love your new teeth. The duration of your braces seems to have gone by quickly...or is that just some weird function of blog-time? Good luck with the driving! So fun. Not.

Tracy said...

Working backwards...
Your new teeth-look is beautiful. You must be so glad you took that plunge!

I'm drooling over your summer garden. Especially while we're in the grip of winter coldness now. Maybe this summer I'll get to gardening again. It's possible!

I always love the look of that cabin where you holiday. So cute. And you know your kids are growing up when you really enjoy your time away together.

My girls are both learning to drive (they have to have logged 120 hours before they can get their license at 18yo). They're going to kill me. Or send me super grey way too early. it's worse than toilet training, and I hated that with a passion.

Enjoy your summer of relaxing. I love the long weeks (not as many as yours though!) of just being.

GretchenJoanna said...

Your garden is SO TIDY I can't stand it. Beautifully and bountifully lush in a disciplined way. Did you take the pictures immediately after weeding? and before everything went crazy with the species exploding all over each other? And I can tell one big difference from my garden: amount of sunshine.

I'm glad for your braces being GONE! What patience you have had, to endure them.

Happy Summer!

Gumbo Lily said...

Hooray for summer! Your vacation home looks really wonderful and yes, I think the area must be enchanted. At least it looks like it.

Your garden is amazing. I'm most envious.

You look so smart with your straight, beautiful teeth Frances. Enjoy these summer days.