Inside Outside

My eyes were drawn repeatedly to the hydrangeas. These hydrangeas seemed to call my name repeatedly. Finally, I answered the call and let my eyes feast on what I saw.

Pen in hand, journal on lap, I looked up and let my pen fall to make that first line and slowly what I saw began to appear on the page. I paused to look down at the once blank page and there were the dried, hydrangeas seemingly floating in mid air.

I let my eyes move to the background and my pen followed. Before I knew it, to my surprise, I was staring at, and drawing, more hydrangeas, different hydrangeas. These were growing, outside, not hanging inside.

When I sat to sketch I only saw a small piece of the scene before me. As I sketched, I saw more, I noticed, I discovered and connected.

And then, I wrote.

harvest, rest, clean, eat

The outer, lower leaves were browning, shriveling, They were giving me signs, signs it was time. I got to work, not letting the mid morning, July sun deter me from the work before me. Gloves on, trowel in hand, I dug into the dry dirt, careful not to damage the bulb. I dug and lifted, gently prying the roots from the dirt, freeing the bulb. Dig, pry, lift. Repeat. Sweat poured down my brow and back, but I forged on until the bed was a mess of holes and the ground beside me was filled with 48 bulbs of garlic.

That was three weeks ago. Since then, the garlic has been resting (curing, they, say) in our basement. Our basement provides the cool dry environment, ideal for the precious bulbs to finish their work. Yesterday was cleaning day. I gathered my tools, got comfy on the floor. One by one, I held each bulb in my hand. I trimmed the roots, cut off the and gently peeled the dirty, outer layers of skin. Trim, cut, peel. Repeat. I sorted the bulbs in three piles. Pile one, with exposed cloves were carefully placed in the basket for use sooner rather than later. The biggest bulbs were bagged and hung in a bag for planting in the fall. The majority were bagged for use whenever.

It’s taken ten months for this harvest to be ready. It’s worth the work and time. Last nights dinner featured freshly harvested, cured, and cleaned garden garlic and boy was it delish!

yesterday…today

the rain pours down blurring the hydrangeas in the distance; the rain pours down, the leaves dance with the drops; the rain pours down, I watch and listen to nature at work…
…the rain is gone, sun, clouds, and stillness greet me this morning, nature is always working

damn deer fence

“Megan! Megan! I need you!” I hear her open the her door quickly and she appears at the top of the stairs. “There’s another bird stuck!” “Where are the gloves and the scissors?” she’s quickly down the stairs and we are heading out to the garden.

As we approach the garden, we can both see the poor bird, desperate to free itself from the deer fence. We both stand there for a moment. “What should we do?” I turn to her. Unfortunately, she is experienced in freeing a bird from the damn deer fence that protects our garden but clearly NOT the birds! Slowly, Megan reaches for the bird and cradles it in her hands. The bird’s eyes look right into ours. Those eyes and her chirps are calling for help. “It’s OK birdie!” I repeat over and over, hoping she understands at least my gentle tone if not my words. Clip by clip. Snip by snip. We untangle her feet and head. She remains calm, chirping only when Megan adjusts her grip. I pause my snipping. We both examine the situation, trying to find the shiny black lines that are the deer fence. Megan and I switch roles. The bird is now in my hands and Megan snips and snips, purposefully, carefully. I watch her admiring her patience and determination. Soon, we can see that her neck has been freed along with her feet. I adjust my grip and Megan snips a few more times around her body which is just enough for her to break free and hop, fly away. Our arms and hands drop to the side and we watch as she makes her way to the neighbors yard.

“I’m done with that deer fence!” Megan announces as we head back to the house praying for our little friend.

Exit 74

We’d been in the car for almost three hours, we’d traveled through Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and we were finally in the Nutmeg state. Closing in on home.

We’d hit the road sometime after 10:30. The sky was bright and blue. The air was fresh, It was a day to be outside not in the car. Nevertheless, we had to hit the road. Home was calling. Megan and Maci pup were waiting. We – Hannah, Billy, and I – were on our way home from a graduation party in Maine.

I looked up in a moment of car quiet and a read the sign above, Union. No sooner did I process where we were in relation to home, I processed where we were in relation to Grace. “Let’s go see Grace.” I blurted out. “Yes”. Hannah, without hesitation, piped up from the back. “Let’s do it.” Billy confirmed immediately. I quickly punched in the directions “Exit 74. HERE!” Billy masterfully maneuvered us quickly off the highway.

“This is perfect. She’s going to be so surprised, confused, when we pull in.” I said as Billy navigated The Beast on the windy back roads to Camp Woodstock, where Grace is spending the summer as a head honcho for the camps youngest overnight campers and their counselors.

The excitement of a surprise stirred in my belly as The Beast traveled the final rocky road into camp. We stopped and chatted with the greeters and made our way towards Grace. We made the final left turn into camp and there she was. She had that confuzzled look on her face as she strolled towards us. “Hey Grace!” We all boomed from the car. “What are you doing here?” she asked, smiling and seeking clarification for our sudden arrival. She laughed as she came in for her hug deliveries. “I thought something was wrong?” she admitted mid embrace.

“No, Grace, nothings wrong, we just came to see you.”

that time we spontaneously showed up at Woodstock