I started drafting an entry on July 30 but only got a first paragraph done that blamed the craziness of July for my summer silence.  Three workshops in three different locations kept me on the road and busy, requiring that I take this past week to get caught up…and very much settled back in.  The solstice when I sat and wrote my last entry is just a fond, if distant, memory.

But now I am off the road and getting prepared for the semester.  And discovering that this is HOME.  And in ways that our house in the burg never was.  I loved that house and the neighbors but this place is just different, room to spread out both inside and outside, and I am busy rebuilding my routines to take advantage of that space despite the horrible heat that tends to keep us holed up in our master suite that has the window air conditioner.

There are multiple paths for our dog walks that vary with the time of day as we explore the property, and with space to really work out, I’ve made the Wii my afternoon habit.  For now, I’m using the paneled den off the kitchen because of the heat, but I may invest in a treadmill for winter and move the workout room upstairs where there are at least two rooms that would be perfect.  We did add a $35 inflatable pool with a floating chair that has been a blessing for both its cooling and relaxation.

We’ve had a break in the heat for the past two days, and I’m on the porch now as evening comes, hanging out with the hummingbirds who buzz around the feeders and warding off the mosquitoes with bug spray.  We’ve heard a bob white calling from various trees for the past two weeks or so. Right now, it is in the island of woods that push into the corn field.  I have yet to see it although I haven’t honestly tried that hard.

ChickensI DID discover which chicken has learned to crow like a rooster: it is Dottie, the silver wyandotte.  I had the dogs out quite early one morning and found her raising her chest, flapping her wings and letting out an honest-to-goodness Cock-A-Doodle-Doo. That’s her in front, the black and white one. She’s pretty old for a chicken, at least 6 or 7.  We have been battling a black snake who gobbles up the eggs faster than we can harvest them.  He seemed to have disappeared after we shared a few hard boiled eggs with him, but now he is back and we really need to deal with building a better hen house.  We want a bigger flock, some of whom will end up in the freezer, unlike our current group of ladies who are more pets with benefits than anything.


One thing I have been doing in all the craziness is reading.  Lots of American history, from Ben Franklin to the Civil War with a little World War I thrown in.  Right now, I’m plodding through James M. McPherson’s Battle Cry of Freedom, part of the Oxford University Press’s history of the United States.  I like his somewhat ironic tone but find the minutiae a bit dull and am still in the early chapters before the election of Lincoln.  I find them depressing: this government was even more dysfunctional than the current one with representatives beating each other and the Supreme Court making outlandish interpretations of the Constitution. Multiple parties sprang up, making the electoral process chaotic.

While it was worse, I can’t help but see parallels with slavery being replaced by taxes as the no-compromise issue with things like gay marriage and other cultural issues also being a factor.  The compromises in the 1850s were all made with the goal of preserving the Union, and I do sometimes wonder how long states like Texas, California, and New York will continue to be step children of the Federal government when they have their own trade deals and large economies.  It’s really a matter of passing a referendum, I would guess.

But that’s all for another day.  My husband just arrived with the mail from the burg and it includes a long handwritten letter from an old friend to whom I wrote earlier this summer and I am going to settle into my wicker rocker and read it. The perfect lovely Friday evening…


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