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What I did on My Summer Vacation

School has started around here and teachers always seem to like to assign this topic as the first English essay of the year. This time of year is one of my favorites–new beginnings, new things to explore–a second New Year so to speak.

Since Harvey is pouring down rain around me outside and there isn’t much I can do outside except get wet and the newspaper is unlikely to be delivered this morning, I thought I’d get this essay out of the way for the school year—although it has been many years that I’ve had to worry about this.

I have a farm in Wisconsin–not Africa as Karen Blixen did–and we don’t go hunting wild animals–unless you count the raccoons that seem to show up every year. Rabbits are bountiful although my friend’s adopted dog—abandoned at our dog park here in Texas–does his best to annoy them, capture them, and mostly play with them but they don’t seem to want to play much after a few minutes. Ditto the wood-chucks.

I make a point of returning home around the Fourth of July every year–to watch the annual parade, visit with cousins and my aunt–dear lady who is in her 90’s and still quite sharp, and work on my farm. We are remodeling the farm-house where I grew up and I wanted to make it my house–not my parents or my grandparents. One of my brothers–designed two additions–a much larger bathroom and a beautiful breakfast room with huge windows. We are doing the majority of the work now but it is slow going.

My first task each year is to clean up the raspberry patch. Here it is before and then after. I do this twice a year but it would be better if I could do it monthly—but I still have to work. Usually I am there to pick the raspberries and have picked enough to make several jars of jam.1-20raspberry20patch-m2-20raspberry20patche20weeded-m

Next task was to clean floorboards, These were taken up after the original porch was torn off and replaced with a wonderfully wide and inviting porch open to the outside and facing west, north, and east–a nod to our now Southern roots. It is hard and dusty work to scrape away the dirt that accumulates in the crevaces from all the people that have walked on those boards. The farm sits on a crossroads of sorts and is a frequent stop for people asking directions. In the distant past there was a stage coach stop just over the hill from the Windmill and there is a faint track of that past trail.3-20cleaning20floorboards-m4-20my20chisel20to20clean20the20crevaces-m5-20cleaned20floorboards-m

A trip to Prairie yielded several boxes of tiles for the downstairs bathroom floor. I did most of the work, handing the tiles one by one to my husband who was on his hands and knees setting them in. I’m sure he will protest my effort as mostest–but I’m writing this–not him.8-20assisting20in20laying20floor20tiles20in20bathroom-m9-20completed20floor20tiles20in20bathroom-m

Final project was to start to hang the corrugated tin (steel) on the ceiling of the living room/dining room. I wanted to have an interior that would require the minimum of upkeep–no painting of ceilings or hanging of wall-paper or washing walls–simple–simple–simple.10-20starting20to20hang20corrugated20metal20roof20in20great20room-m

And not to forget—my daily task–every morning and afternoon I spent about twenty minutes or so pulling ragweed. It is bountiful and grows rapidly and my husband is dreadfully allergic to the blooming rageweed. It is also a high pollen count for honey bees who use the pollen for their winter stores. I didn’t make much of a dent but I gave it a good try.6-20ragweed-m7-20a20field20of20ragweed-20i20pulled20ragweed20every20morning20and20afternoon20for20twenty20minutes20and20made20a20small20insignificant20dent-m

See the scattered ragweeds in the oats and then the wide band of dark green near the trees. Maybe someone could make it into biofuel or something useful.

Tomorrow, maybe I’ll write about the Solar Eclipse–as it is far too dark outside to take photos of the rain although I could try for my dogs lying forlonely on the floor thinking it is bedtime three or four times a day as it is so dark outside.







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