Knee Deep in Summer!
By Mary Murray
We are knee deep in summer, as the old saying goes.
Gone are the gentle spring afternoons where the temperatures were low and the cool breezes were welcomed through each open window and screen door. In our part of the Midwest we enjoyed a long and cool spring…perfect for the start of garden chores, spring cleaning, and outdoor get-togethers. Our last gathering with friends was around a bonfire, and as the evening wore on, I found myself gathering cozy quilts for each of us…unheard of in June! The weather was almost autumn-like as we woke up to brisk mornings and ended each day with a chilly evening.
However; today, the sun is high and the thermometer reads 93 degrees. Heat like this means chores are done early before the sun and humidity can take their toll. The hens were out early stretching their wings…later they’ll enjoy watermelon to help cool them off. I spent a couple of days painting and sprucing up their coop…inspired by others I’d seen, why not make it a little fun?
Signs from our local feed store, colorful tea towels stitched into curtains, a little stenciling, and other little things I had tucked away were dusted off and added.
I found an old screen door in the back of our barn. I wish I knew how old it is…it’s heavy, the wood is thick, and the “screen” is metal. There was a little rectangular cut out in the middle…it made me wonder if that’s where mail was slipped through once upon a time. If only it could tell it’s story.
Soon the sprinklers were going, goats were given extra water and a quick stall cleaning, and apples were picked for making applesauce.
While heat like this will definitely find me indoors (there’s always something that needs tending in an old farmhouse!), I also know that it’s the perfect time to hang quilts and sheets on the clothesline. For me, there are few things more wonderful than air-dried sheets. On a day like this, they dry quickly, and as I pull them down, there’s a brief tug-of-war wrangling them off the line and into the basket. It’s worth the effort though…there’s nothing like falling asleep on sheets that seem to smell faintly of clover and sunshine.
Have you tried making your own laundry soap? There are so many “recipes” to be found and each is just a little different. Why did I wait so long to make my own? I know exactly what’s in it, only 4 ingredients, and it smells so fresh.
Homemade Laundry Soap
• 1, 4-lb. box of super washing soda
• 1, 4-lb. box of baking soda
• 1 4-lb. box of borax
• 3 bars of Fels Naptha soap, grated
1. Stir all ingredients together until thoroughly combined; store in a lidded container. Use 1/4 cup or a little less for each load.
Simple country pleasures are everywhere to be found, even in the heat of summer. Tomorrow I’ll pick enough mulberries to make syrup…a treat on a stack of fluffy pancakes or waffles. Spinach and lettuce are ready for picking, along with raspberries, and sugar snap peas.
Even though the days are hot, as the sun goes down, it can be lovely time to sit outdoors. The sunsets are beautiful, the doves are singing, fireflies are flickering, and the calm of evening has arrived.
It’s a time to enjoy the simple things…watch and listen. Tomorrow another hot summer day will come; maybe I’ll make some homemade ice cream. The grass needs mowed and the garden tilled…I have a feeling that coming indoors on a scorching day to a bowl of homemade ice cream may just be what we need.
These days are ours for the taking…enjoy every minute.
Mary is a Midwest farm girl who will tell you, “I love simple, old-fashioned ways. For me, it’s the country pleasures that mean the most … tying on an apron for Sunday dinner, barn sales & auctions, farmers’ markets, county fairs, porch swings, and slow train rides. Add to these the laughter of children, and I couldn’t be happier!” You can visit Windy Meadows Farm here, Windy Meadows Farm.
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