My apologies: it's so hard to find time to update during the incredibly busy summertime months! Or, when you do have an extra 1/2 hour or so in the evening, exhaustion generally wins the battle against sitting down to write and think somewhat intelligently (let alone creatively)!
Case in point, I wrote the following on June 4th!
The trees are almost entirely leafed-out (they are now, on the 22nd), and the underbrush is green. Yesterday even brought the first two wild rose blooms to our yard! The misty, wet weather - coupled with all that I've mentioned - means that the fire danger has, blessedly, been reduced to 'Moderate'! Hurrah! The rainfall amount has been, by no means, generous (1.4" in May this year down from 5.3" last year!), but the high humidity of late has helped the dry conditions tremendously.
The greening of the woods also means that the wild birds have more to eat out "in Nature" and so frequent our feeders less often. And, the piggy squirrels and chipmunks no longer have any competition for the sunflower seeds. The birds do balance our disappointment, though, of no longer seeing them up-close-and-personal by providing us with constant, tree-top twittering (good luck spying which one is singing a particular song, though!).
(Now I'm back to real-time on June 22nd.)
The fireflies showed up early this year - on June 1st - and then we were entertained by the incredible swooping and dipping and amazing verticals performed by the mating hummingbirds earlier in the month.
Thanks to the drought, the bugs aren't bad this year, but the wood ticks are thick (and soooooo icky!). We are lucky where we are because we've heard that, in some parts of the county, you and your pets are covered every time you enter the house. For us, it's just more so that they're THERE and we need to keep an eye out. Maisy had one on her eyelid yesterday morning when she came in and then one again this morning on her nose. The only "fun" part to ticks is that they explode with a tiny POP if you put them on a stove burner and then turn it up high! ;)
The dragonflies returned in droves this month, too, which means that they are feasting on the bugs - particularly the mosquitoes. So, whenever you see dragonflies, it's a good thing!
The outdoor wood furnace - which heats the house and the household water in the winter - was turned off what seems to be ages ago, but I think it was only weeks ago. That means that the water heater had to be turned on to provide the hot water for the house, and, for the first time in either of our lives, we have a forced-air hot water heater. Result? Whenever it's on, it sounds like a 747 at full throttle! Installing the door that Tom built on the utility room has helped a bit, but there is still no insulation in the ceiling through which it vents (across the dining room ceiling). So, insulating for sound control more than anything is on the list (along with about a trillion other things).
Shutting down the Central Boiler for the season also means that there's now no heat in the house! And, on a morning like this when it's only 55 degrees outside, there's the potential to feel a bit chilled! We do use and really enjoy the wood-fired cookstove in the kitchen, but that heat doesn't really move into the rest of the house at all. So, until we build the fireplace, we're thinking of putting in a decorative old coal stove that we have (which will also burn wood) in the place that the fireplace will one day occupy. That's central to the downstairs, so it will provide a cozy and well-placed source of heat during the cool of the summertime months.
Just as I took on the job of laundress for our massage therapist a couple of months ago, Tom has now taken on the task of Lawn Boy for her this summer. So, every couple of weeks, the lawn mower gets thrown in the back of the truck, and away he goes! It's another beneficial you-scratch-my-back, I'll-scratch-yours deal for all of us! Massages for laundry, and massages for lawn mowing!
Work continues to be extremely busy for Tom. He's in the process of hiring and training in new employees as well as putting in some new (major!) systems in the casino. There have been a few weekends when, during his "off time", the phone never seems to stop ringing for him!
I have been spending every spare second working on the home businesses we're trying to get off the ground. They're getting close to the grand unveiling, so stay tuned!
Then, this weekend is the biggest weekend of the year (plus 10-year anniversary) at the local folk school where Tom is a board member, and so he and I are very involved in the work required for putting that shin-dig on. I'll have pictures from it to post next week.
I did manage to get the raised-bed flower garden mostly planted out earlier this week. Tom built that off the southeast end of the kitchen. The second, larger raised bed (for veggies) will be off the south end of the garage, but we didn't get to that one this year.
Otherwise, every spare outside minute is spent - still and eternally, it sometimes seems like - on the landscaping. Tom continues to work on the slate walks, and I continue to plant trees and shrubs. But, it's gettin' there!