The month of June is always a busy time for me. But this year, I felt even more inundated with work to do. My summer work load is typically made up of weekly mowing, weeding, and watering of flower beds and various shrubs and trees. And, I add to it each year as I continue to put in wildlife-friendly plants and vegetation that will one day make this ten acres more of a sanctuary to birds and deer. Of course, all of these new plantings require special care and regular watering. On top of this, I have one big garden and a smaller raised bed patch that also requires regular weeding and watering. And in mid-to late June, some of the garden harvesting begins – onions, carrots, golden beets, and turnips must be dug up during this time and stored for later use.
This year, we also acquired orphaned fawns, Emma and Ronnie. Preparing formula for these two, and incorporating feeding times into an already busy schedule, made things interesting for sure! I managed though, with a good bit of help from FD. Inside the house, I spend a lot of time taking care of our three elderly dogs. This last year, with Bear’s increase in seizures, Zoe going blind and needing more assistance, and Mr. T’s stubbornness and anti-social ways, made me feel I was running a nursing home most days. Out of sheer exhaustion most nights, I found myself dropping into bed by 9:00. Many evenings, by the time I cleaned up dinner dishes and got a quick shower, I could not even keep my eyes open long enough to read a few lines in a book!
Needless to say, when one of FD’s childhood classmates was in town for a visit, and a group of his buddies decided to meet at a local restaurant, I thought I would just back out. But I could see that FD really wanted me to go, and when he said other wives and girlfriends would be there, I gave in. But it was still an imposition in my day to take time to fix myself up. I also had to make sure all of the animals were taken care of before we left – all so we could spend an evening out… that I really didn’t want to go along with. But I found that, once we arrived and I had a glass of wine and some friendly conversation, I rather enjoyed my evening out. I admitted that it had probably been a good idea to go after all, but I still reminded FD that it had made a lot of extra work for me to allow for a frivolous evening out.
Then the credit card statement arrived a week later. I had already been stressing a bit about the finances for June. We had just had the storm shelter installed, and I had ordered those fence extensions for the deer pen. We also had some smaller, unexpected repairs early in the month, including a water heater that suddenly needed replacing. So when FD asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I told him I really wanted those extension panels for the deer pen and that would be my gift. We had done this type of gift giving before, even though FD never could get used to my “practical” nature when it came to gifts. His desire was to get me romantic pretties. My ideas were farm girl oriented – a gift needed to reflect my lifestyle. And I found jewelry a frivolous gift – that money could be better utilized for something we really needed – something functional! Despite my stubbornness about celebrating my birthday and poo pooing gifts, FD always managed to find just the right gift. Sometimes it was jewelry, sometimes something special I wanted for our home, many times an elegant meal at a fine restaurant, sometimes pretty clothes, or maybe just a romantic evening under the stars having a beer together.
So at the end of June, when FD tried to sway me to have my birthday dinner at some fancy Italian restaurant in the Oklahoma City area, I put on my worst grumpy “are you kidding me?” face and looked at him saying, “No, I don’t want to do that. I want to stay home. I don’t feel like celebrating this year. I just lost Zoe last week, and I’m sad. We have deer to feed. I’d have to get all fixed up and ready early, just like last week with your friends, and then go out in the heat to feed deer before we leave and get all sweaty again. I appreciate that you want to do this, but I want to stay home!” Then I began to cry. We both knew I was just overtired and sad. It was just too soon after Zoe passed and I truly did not want to go through all of the fuss of getting ready to go out. I was exhausted just thinking about a drive to OKC and getting home late. I finally told him that if he insisted we go out, then we would just go up town to a small burger joint we liked so, at the very least, he could feel good about me not having to cook that night. Not to be defeated, he was still trying to persuade me to change my mind the next day – my birthday, but I would not budge, so he reluctantly agreed to the burger joint dinner.
Despite my cranky attitude and sad mood, I really did want to enjoy dinner out. It had been a hot and humid day, and I just wanted the simple meal to be relaxing. As luck would have it, we were the only two in the tiny diner. And, just after we ordered, FD announced he had left his phone and wallet in the car and would have to go retrieve it, or I would be paying for dinner! Wow, I thought, some birthday! But, upon returning from the car, FD deftly plopped a small bag onto the table in front of me. I recognized it as a jewelry store gift bag. “What did you DO?” I exclaimed, trying to give him the hairy “financier” raised-eyebrow look, but it didn’t quash the grin on his face. Inside, I found a velvet box with a ring I had long forgotten about. A year before, when we had taken a niece to the jewelry store to get her a special birthstone ring, I saw a simple, rose gold ring with an earthy-colored sliced diamond setting that I thought was absolutely beautiful. The woman helping us at that time, remembered me saying, “That looks like a nature ring. It says, “nature girl” to me.” Surprisingly, when FD stopped by the jeweler just a couple of weeks before my birthday, the woman remembered me – and the ring I liked – and it was still there!
Of course, I chided FD for splurging like that, and I still have no idea how he paid for it (I handle our finances and know where every penny is!), but you could have knocked me over with a feather that evening. I think it’s pretty wonderful that year after year there are still surprises and magic between us. And, I am glad that, despite my refusal of his initial plan to wine and dine me at a fine restaurant, he still managed to pull off a great, romantic evening out at the local burger joint – which was actually the perfect setting for this practical farm girl!
© 2016 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…