Summertime, and the livin’ is easy


ImageSaturday morning. The house smells like laundry and coffee, and the rainy outdoors makes the space behind these windows feel mighty cozy. The other night I stayed up past midnight watching the raindrops bouncing off the deck. When I lived in southeast Alaska rain was nothing – torrents, mists, sideways sleet – no big deal. But here in the interior of the state, rain is important. Rivers flood, gullies become rivers, and hardpack turns to gumbo or mud so slimy it’s slippery as wet ice in winter. We pay attention to rain.

There’s a small structure at the edge of my property that’s built up on piling. There’s no reason for it other than it just is. There’s a roof, and half walls and a door that need bug screen, and it’s built up off the ground as if ready for any flood. We live halfway up a hill. Somebody just liked the idea of building on stilts, I guess.

I bought a new toy the other day, the monster of weed-whackers. Three heads – one string, one tri-blade and one heavy-duty circular-saw blade. I don’t like a lawn of grass here in the middle of Alaska, and I don’t think mowing over an acre of it is a good use of time, especially if it’s my time. For three years I’ve refused to mow and the slope the previous owners had lovingly cultivated (and seeded) before selling to us was left to grow as it would. Alders and birch are what it would. Seedlings turned into saplings and I came to realize that, while I didn’t want a lawn, I certainly didn’t need more forest growing in front of my house. So I bought the toy. It was true love at first sight and the knowledgeable man at the local business that sells everything related to wood – stoves to lawnmowers – didn’t have to do half the sell job he was working at to get me to buy it. I knew I wanted it the minute he brought it out.  He’d laid his finger aide of his nose and said, “I have just the thing for what you want to do,” and out he came with The Perfect Toy. It even starts on the first pull. When I got home, I logged off all the saplings below the garden and I’m waiting for the rain to quit so I can do the side yard. Doesn’t take much to entertain me. I even burst forth with giggles of glee and had to laugh at myself for that.

State Fair comes up next month. A lifetime in Alaska and I’ve never been, so this year I’m going. My sister makes killer fish tacos and says she got her magic sauce recipe from the fish taco vendor there, so I’m going. Fairbanks has a fair, but I want to see the BIG ONE. Maybe I’ll go to both, but probably not. It’s a good excuse for a road trip, anyway, and to see my daughter. It’s been a year and I’d like to do that.

My mock orange plant weathered the rainstorm, which surprised and pleased me. I’ve been reading about botanicals, aromatherapy, and stuff like that. I’ve no plan to start concocting potions, but the aroma of that bush is pretty heady and if I can find a way to capture it for winter, well, I have a whole plant right at my deck to work with toward that end. Beautiful stuff. It can be that simple.

I scored an entire greenhouse covering of thick-mil plastic when the local nursery replaced one hoop-house roof. Folded up, it took four of us to load it into the back of the truck. I’m going to cut a piece off the end to make a rain cover for the tent on the deck. When it was in the high-90s here for weeks, we set it up and put a pillow-top, queen-size mattress in there and, boy, is it heavenly to sleep in. We’ve managed to keep every single mosquito out of it, too, so it’s worth the effort. Last night I slept out there in the rain and noticed a drip this morning. Maybe it was condensation due to the blue tarp we’ve got over it now, but I’m thinking it can’t be a bad idea to put a clear covering over it to let the light in as the days get shorter. I’ve got a slatted platform for the mattress, too, so maybe I’ll raise the bed, add flannel sheets, a blanket and down comforter along with a couple pillows – a plan to take that beautiful arrangement into September. Come to think of it, the location and set up make a perfect moose blind for the fall garden marauders. Hmmm…

I’m on my second cup of coffee, the dryer has stopped, it’s pouring hard outside, and I need to get that piece of plastic cut so I guess that’s it for this weekend’s missive.  Here moosie, moosie…

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One thought on “Summertime, and the livin’ is easy

  1. Great post Rene
    At first I thought you had a metal detector in the truck. That tool looks like a lot of fun. I really don’t have a need for that much power down here, but it would sure be fun justifying buying one. My summers are pretty much taken up with the boat and fishing. I don’t know what it’s like to just have a regular summer where you go to places like the fair or out to the beach. I guess I’ve been pretty selfish with my time and cheated my family out of some of those things. Jan and I are planning a road trip this fall though, and that’s going to take money, so a fishing I will go- and hopefully a catching.

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