Saturday felt like the first real day of summer. Full of projects and people, it was the sort of day that meandered and stretched, leaving us enough time to get things done, but not so much time that we were tempted to throw in the towel before it was over.
It started with a three-mile run, just me and my husband, followed by a quick trip to town to deposit our little black car at the recycling center (my husband dumped our old van there the day before) (yes, for a few weeks there, our place looked like a used car lot). On my way to retrieve my husband from the dump, I dropped my older daughter off at the farm. She would spend the whole morning there, working and riding, and getting sunburned.
Right after breakfast, a “fend for yourself” affair (I had two bran muffins with butter), we jumped into some kitchen projects. My younger daughter made meringue cookies, I made a fig-walnut couronne, and my younger son, with my husband’s help, made two loaves of Cuban bread. Melissa washed dishes. While I cooked lunch, my older son and I listened to Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me!, vigorously shushing anyone who walked into the kitchen and dared speak.
After lunch—sausage, spinach, and black lentils over brown rice—one of my older son’s friends came over. The two of them decided to have an apple pie-baking competition and jetted off to town for the ingredients. Melissa walked over to my sister-in-law’s house for a visit. I lounged about for a bit—coffee, chocolate, a thick slice of couronne—before finally hoisting my butt off the couch and heading outside where my husband and some of the kids were building a dog kennel under the clubhouse (and my younger son had the chance to drive the truck by himself, o the thrills).
Seeing as it was so sunny and warm, I decided it wouldn’t hurt to do a little weeding. One thing led to another and soon my by-chance foray into the strawberry patch had exploded into a full-scale gardening project. The bakers were instructed to put their apple pies on hold, and Melissa, back from her visit, was ousted from her reading chair. Rototilling, weeding, mulching, planting, plus some visiting, even—we did it all.
After several hours, I called it quits, much to the minions’ relief. The kids put away the tools, and we took turns washing our feet in the bathtub. My older son tossed a couple packs of hot dogs on the grill, and I pulled leftover potato salad from the fridge. My younger son sliced a loaf of his fresh bread. My younger daughter arranged her meringue cookies in glass mugs, layering them with strawberries from the freezer and whipped cream. With the leftovers, she made a special “cake” and stuck a candle in it in honor of my dad who was celebrating his birthday out of state (Happy Birthday, Dad!). We ate our food on the deck, looking out over the valley and luxuriating in our accomplishments and exhuastion.
After supper my older son and his friend went to see a play and the rest of us got showers and cleaned up the kitchen. My older daughter shaved her horse. I read to the two younger kids before shooing them out the door (they had decided to camp out in the dog kennel). I made popcorn, and my older daughter and I binged Parks and Rec while my husband worked on taxes.
Jennifer Jo lives with her husband John and their four children on five acres in rural Virginia where she (kinda-sorta-maybe) homeschools the kids, gardens, bakes, and reads. You can find more of her musings and lots of recipes at her web-log mamasminutia.blogspot.com.
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