I fretted something fierce the week before FD and I headed to New York City. It was our first real vacation in seven years. I wanted everything to be done here on our ten acres so that on our return we would not have so much to deal with. FD’s sister from Dallas, Sissy Jo, offered to house sit for us while we were gone, watching our three little house dogs, and making sure Daisy and the fawns had water and feed. She also promised to water the gardens and flower beds and harvest the vegetables and blackberries, if there was anything to pick. And, if she didn’t mind, cleaning the pool a bit and making sure it was running up to par was yet another task we would appreciate her doing. I felt terrible leaving her with so much to do – yet I also knew these duties were just a small part of my normal, daily work routine. Even having completed all my preparations to “get everything done” and having Sissy Jo’s help while we were away, arriving back home after nine days away was still likely to be crazy.
So, it was a big relief when my concerns about the animals adjusting were quashed as soon as I contacted Sissy from NYC. Already the dogs were agreeable with her, and even shy and anti-social Mr. T was cooperating. I was a bit flabbergasted about that. Mr. T usually took three days to warm up to any of our guests. And Daisy deer had even eaten tomatoes and blackberries from Jo’s hands the very first day! Daisy does not usually have much to do with strangers. Regardless, it was happy news for me to hear everything was going well at home.
I will write more about the NYC trip itself in another blog post, but I have to say it was a grand time for FD and me, spending a week with my sister Jules and her family. We had arrived determined to see as many of the tourist attractions that we could in a week’s time, so each day we set off on a new adventure in the Big Apple. Generally, we were all tuckered out by evening, but gleefully so.
The energy of the City that Never Sleeps was captivating and always brought something exciting and interesting to this group of small-town, Midwestern folks. And, on our last night in NYC, FD and I celebrated my birthday in grand style. This also happened to be the night our niece, Emily, played clarinet in the Middle School Honors Band Performance at Carnegie Hall. The performance and setting in the grand old music hall of NYC was spectacular! What an exceptional birthday it was!
As wonderful as our vacation had been, I was ready to be home by the last day of our trip. Oh sure, the week of eating out and enjoying fabulous cuisine, not having to cook, and no household duties and chores, had spoiled me something fierce! But already, my mind was swimming with thoughts of all that would need to be done on our return. Sissy said it had rained a couple of times, so I knew the yard and pastures would need mowing. And I would have a mountain of laundry to do. Sissy mentioned there was a lot of summer squash and zucchini, and the tomatoes were ripening by the buckets full. This meant I would have to get busy freezing my winter sauces and soups.
I worried a bit about the dogs that last day too. Sissy had to return to Dallas early in the morning of the day we were flying home. I hoped the three dogs would be fine until we got home that evening. It had been comforting to hear from Sissy Jo that it was apparent to her that Mr. T could see just fine getting up the steps at night. For years I thought his vision was too bad for him to see very well getting up the steps since he often refused to climb them at night. I always had to go down and get him, and sometimes he got playful and ran off, making me chase him! Sissy said he managed just fine and never once did she have to go after him. I was glad Mr. T did not go back to his old tricks while Sissy was there.
Of course there was Daisy and the twins for me to wonder about as well. I thought about how the fawns would have grown. Sissy mentioned that Daisy was nursing the fawns in front of the house each morning and at noon, and often brought them out together several other times during the day. I noted that Daisy was doing things different than last year, and was anxious to watch her new habits and observe the twins. I also thought about Spirit. I wondered how she was managing on her own. Happily, Sissy had spotted her several times during the week, and even managed to toss her a few cherry tomatoes.
Upon finally pulling up to the house, it was apparent the yard, gardens and flower beds had flourished in the rain. Obviously, mowing would have to be my main priority the following day. While I scanned the yard and garden area, and fretted about how I was going to get everything whipped back into shape, FD promptly parked the truck and took off for the woods. Daisy and the fawns were his main concern. I petted and loved on Zoe, Bear and Tori, and then began to unpack the mountain of clothes and start the laundry. Gads! There was so much to tackle. I stepped back outside in the scorching heat thinking I should pick all the produce in the gardens. Looking through heat waves rising up from the ground as I gazed at a garden full of tomatoes and squash, I remembered the cooler weather of NYC, with the gentle breezes tunneling between skyscrapers, and through the busy streets and honking horns. That was all just a memory now.
Sissy had been right about the gardens boasting a bumper crop. I came back from my harvesting with buckets of summer squash, zucchini and tomatoes. In the flower beds where I grow my herbs, my dill and oregano were out of control. My parsley, kale, lettuce, and cilantro had all bolted in the summer heat. Despite rain, some areas needed water again, so I knew that, after we finished mowing, I would surely be dragging the water hoses around.
As I laid down that night, I was thankful for the trip we had taken. It was an amazing time and I enjoyed the break from so much work here. But I also realized that, more than ever, I really love my life here. It is a busy life, and every day presents something wonderful and beautiful while I work outdoors and indoors. There are hard times and difficulties too. Still, it was good to experience something different – a unique place in the world, a whole different culture and way of life than what we know in the Midwestern US. We observe and learn from our experiences, and hopefully gain an understanding about a very different way of life. Then we come home to what we know and are comfortable with – home to all of the people and critters we love – and it feels right. What better feeling is there to lay your head down at night and know that you are where you belong?
© 2014 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…