Posted in in the garden, in the kitchen, in the reading room

keeping myself accountable on that summer list…

In my last post, I made a list of things I wanted to do this summer. I’m pretending that summer runs from June 1st through September 6th. (School starts on Sept. 7th, so that’s where that weird date came from.) Of course this school year has a couple weeks yet to go, so I’m “cheating” with this beginning date. Anyway, that works out to 14 weeks to get all this work and all this playing done. And unless I get bored with it (which let’s face it, is likely–I’m not really known for my stick-to-it-ness when it comes to blogging), I’m going to update my progress weekly.

15. Finish getting the garden in: build cucumber trellis and build pumpkin and/or melon mounds.

***Okay not a complete cross-off, but a partial one. We did get the cucumber trellis built and the cucumbers planted.

16. Continue harvesting the rhubarb: freeze more/bake more tarts/try making rhubarb jam.

***Another partial cross-off. I tried my hand at making rhubarb jam yesterday. I found an extremely easy recipe, and the cooler weather cooperated nicely (for nothing makes an already sweltering, un-air-conditioned kitchen quite so miserable as an afternoon of water bath canning), and thus I ended up with 6 half-pints plus of oh-so-delicious jam. I’d never had rhubarb jam before so I really didn’t know what to expect. It comes out with a consistency like apple butter, and it retains its wonderful sour tartness.

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17. Build trellis for blackberries.

***Yay! Crossed off the list! Of course, we’ve only been meaning to do this for the past three summers, so perhaps I really shouldn’t be patting myself on the back here. 😉

Hmm…with both the blackberry and the cucumber trellis, it looks like I’m taking credit for accomplishing things I really had nothing to do with. But I swear this isn’t true–I did help. Honest. 🙂

39. Bring in flowers from outside every week.

***Can’t actually cross it off as I have to keep this up for the whole summer, but I can say that I have not yet blown it!

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46. Drink iced tea. Every day.

***Another of those that can’t actually be crossed off until the end of summer. But again, I have not yet blown it. Honestly, I cannot imagine blowing this one.

47. Make at least one scrapbook layout/Project Life layout/memory-keeping project a week.

***Hmmm…I hadn’t realized I’d done so many of these every week/every day sort of things. This one scares me a bit. It’s going to be a challenge for me. But I would be so happy if I did get to cross this one off come end of summer. Week 1 of 14 was a success at least. I finally finished up my Week-in-the-Life album. I’ll just post the title page, as I doubt anyone wants to see all pages. (I did post pictures of Day 1 when I finished it.) Should anyone be acutely observant, they would notice that my dates do not add up to a full week, but instead only six days. This would be because this project just totally burned me out, and I gave myself permission to stop a day short. (This also counts towards Category #81: Make 100 mini book projects of my 100x100by100 project.)

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52. Read at least one essay, one short story, one poem, and one fairy tale each week. Read as many outside as possible.

***Sheesh–another of these ones. But again, I came through on week one.

For my short story I read “The Lake” by Tananarive Due from her collection Ghost Stummer: Stories. I didn’t even realize she had a short story collection until Bina mentioned reading it. I immediately put a hold on it at the library, but didn’t give it the time it deserved. I squeezed in the first story before having to return it, and after reading it, I wasn’t even sorry about having to return it–because I MUST BUY THIS BOOK. Seriously, that first story totally sold me! So creepy, in an almost but not quite completely subtle way. Felt sort of southern gothic. And ever so perfect for summer. (This story also works for my 100x100by100: Category #2–Read 100 short stories by authors of color.)

I decided to reread Mary Oliver’s Twelve Moons, and read several of the poems this week. So many of her poems speak to me, which is why she shall always be a favorite of mine. But the one I’m choosing to count for my 100x100by100 (Category #6–Read 100 poems that speak to me) is titled “Entering the Kingdom.” I wish I had the vocabulary, the knowledge, the talent to talk about poetry and capture in words the way any particular poem speaks to me, but I just don’t enjoy the struggle of trying to find those words, so again, I’m just going to quote a portion of the poem.

The dream of my life

Is to lie down by a slow river

And stare at the light in the trees–

To learn something by being nothing

A little while but the rich

Lens of attention.

My fairy tale for the week was “Beauty and the Beast” from The Illustrated Treasury of Fairy Tales. Each of the tales chosen for this collection is illustrated by a different artist, and that’s what led me to choose this particular collection to start with this summer. Flipping through the book, I can already say that I adore some of the art, and well, some not so much. But I enjoyed the art by Etienne Delessert every bit as much as I enjoyed reading the story, and well, that was quite a bit. (Counts toward my 100x100by100, Category 5: Read 100 fairy tales.)

And last, and in this case yes, least, was an essay. I read “Creation Stories” by Barbara Kingsolver from her collection High Tide in Tucson: Essays from Now or Never. I’ve yet to read any of Kingsolver’s fiction–though I’ve done a fairly good job of collecting it 😉 –but in general I tend to enjoy her essays very much. But this one was a miss for me. I sort of hate judging personal essays because well, they’re personal. But something about this essay just felt slightly forced, and a bit disjointed. I’m not the slightest bit worried though; I’m confident that I’ll enjoy, or relate to, or be moved by, or all of the above, many of the essays yet to come in this collection.

So 1/14 of summer gone (already it’s going too fast!) but only 1 out of 53 things crossed off my list. It’s not as depressing as it sounds though, as I’ve worked/played myself through parts of a lot more (some which weren’t even mentioned here). And there’s also the fact that we’re still finishing up the school year, and the end of any quarter (and especially the last one) is always hectic. So I definitely am not downhearted about my progress, or lack thereof, yet. Lots more glorious summer to come!

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just a middle-aged lady who gets giddy about lots of things

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