Over The Fence: Come On Over!


O Hello, dears!  You've caught me in the garden deadheading roses and dianthus and petunia trying to promote more blooms.  Its very hot...Probably not exactly the time to go outdoors but the side of the house I've been working on is in shade and really with the breeze rustling the leaves it does seem more than bearable to be out here.  I noticed though that when I was working there near the back steps that the sun beat down with real old summer time heat on my back.   Is it a sign of being older that it felt good?  My!  I could use something nice and cool to drink!   Would you like to come to the porch and sit in the shade with a cold glass of iced water?    

We started our day early this morning.  Before I'd had tea, the children were here.  I ran to take a quick shower and then I made breakfast.  Isaac rubbed his tummy, looked mournful and assured me he was hungry even though I knew full well he'd eaten before he arrived, lol.  He is part Hobbit and his golden green eyes can look very sad indeed when he's convincing you he's starved.    Millie just expects if there is food about that she's due some of it regardless of when she last ate.  

After breakfast I fed the pets,  Millie and I sat on the porch and admired the doggies.  She likes the dogs and they like her.  She petted them and they licked her feet which tickled and made her snatch her legs up.  After I put her down indoors I went back out to water the gardenia and Hydrangea and cut some  flowers to bring indoors.  I made sure she was occupied and she was.  She had taken one of the play cookware pots and was stirring and stirring a spatula around and around in it.   I knew she'd be safe with Grampa for a few minutes.  Isaac, in the meantime, was in my room and had apparently decided that our big garden tub was the perfect spot to sit and watch the Kindle, lol.   I let Grampa attend to him.

The Hydrangea is beautifully full of blooms and our little gardenia has just began to open buds yesterday.  It's looking very healthy.     This is not my first yard bouquet of the season but this time it is the fullest.  I have daylily and Hydrangea arranged together because I think blue and orange are beautiful together.   I cut two Gardenias to make a small bouquet for John.  It is his favorite flower, one of the few he can smell.   Granny used to bring him a bouquet each year when her bush began to bloom because she knew he loved it so.  I think it was one of the things that won his heart for her, though honestly, just about anyone who knew of her loved her dearly.

After the children went home, John and I sat in the kitchen and reminisced over our wedding day twenty-seven years ago.  We both remember it well.  He even remembers what I wore (well he knows the color anyway and we both know that is remarkable for a man) and we laughed over how shabby the wedding venue was and how hard our first five years or so were.  Not the full first five years of marriage but the two years before we married and the first three years or so after were difficult.  We had more things to deal with and come against us than it fathoms thinking of.   There were children who moved in and children who moved out, changing custodial parents.  There were financial struggles and people who came against us hard and unemployment and financial difficulties, and career changes.  There were deaths of family and friends and failed marriages of friends,  children who moved in with us and then out again who were our own and the death of John's youngest son.   It was a difficult five years as I said...

And then we moved here and things continued to be hard but in a different way.  We were proud of our home even if it remained mostly free of furnishings for the first ten years and it took every penny we had to keep it going.  There were more career changes and family adjustments to be made but it was easier overall.

I'm not saying that we had unusual difficulties.  We had none that weren't common to most couples.  Some of our crises were personal and we went through them on our own and the other could only stand by.  Even if you're in a good supportive marriage as we are,  there are just places where the journey is meant to be solo.  It's like one of you is  on shore following along as the other one is taking a white water rapids ride.  You know that emotional support is there, but it's not much use to you at the time.  Still, there's something terribly  reassuring about it.  And at the end of the harrowing experience there is the joy of reuniting and holding on tight.

This week also marks the sixth year  of my near death experiences from pulmonary embolisms.  I will not rehash the thing but will say that all in all,  I'm grateful to be here.  I'd have missed a lot in those six years.  Mind you, some of it I'd have preferred to miss, but overall the balance of the bad things  brought the good things that happened: Isaac, Millie and Caleb came along to name  just three.  Sam and Bess moved here and Katie eventually moved here  for at least a season of time.  I'd have missed the good parts of the story of my own life  and I am so enjoying this story!

So we kept kids this morning and when the parents returned we announced our intention to go out to lunch to celebrate our day.  We talked over the marriage itself and we talked about that health crisis season on the ride over.   The whole time we're talking I'm thinking we're going to Burger King and go eat at the fairgrounds but no, John pulls into the parking lot of our favorite steakhouse and said "I guess we've good reason to go in some place nice to sit and enjoy our meal."  I agreed.  Our marriage is worth celebrating.    Later he made me laugh out loud when he said to me, over key lime pie and coffee that he hoped we'd have 27 more good years.  "How old will you be then?" he asked and I did quick math and told him "Oh I'll be 89..."  "Well...in your family you're only just getting broken in good!"  LOL  Women in our family do tend to live long and strong and God willing I shall add to their number. 

You might notice he didn't tell me how old he'd be or ask me to tell him, either.  John doesn't 'do' age.  This weekend, Taylor was asking my age and then wanted to know how old Grampa was.  I told her that Grampa didn't discuss his age and she said she'd just ask him.   Katie looked at her and said "I'll tell you just what he told me when I was your age and asked him....He's 29!"   "Wait!....Mama you'll be 29 on your birthday, how...?  What?"  Taylor's confusion made us chuckle but it's true.  John will tell any of the children and grandchildren he's 29 in a heartbeat.  

I reminded Katie of how she'd tell everyone she met "Mama had me when she was 32 and she had JD when he was 15 and my daddy is just 29 years old!"  Oh the looks we got from people!  No one knew quite what to make of us.  Then they'd meet John or Jd and realize we were a blended family.

I've been looking over my plants and things in the yard.  I should walk out to the shed and have a look over the seed bed.  The Touch Me Nots are all sprouted and coming up but the Achimenes have done nothing just yet.   The Rose campion died back.   I'm keeping my fingers crossed they will suddenly 'take' or that the roots are doing their thing underground and will come in next year.   I refuse to give up hope because this year I've had more stuff bloom that hasn't.   The gardenias that did nothing last year have buds everywhere and beside me right now is a tiny fragrant bouquet of them.    The Amaryllis all bloomed and some bloomed twice.  The hyacinths put on a show in the early days of spring.   So I shall hang on to hope and we'll see.    Last year it was weeks and weeks before the seed bed even thought of looking like it would produce a single flower even though it gets plenty of sun.

In the meantime, I'm clipping a few hydrangea blossoms and daylily and gardenia to enjoy indoors.   I so enjoy the season of cut flowers, or even of cut weeds that bloom, in my home.  I'm thinking it's time to go out early one morning this week and look for blackberries.  Surely some have ripened in all this lovely sunshine!  And last year, I'd waited until nearly too late.

Were Granny alive, I'd no doubt still be crawling up ditch banks and stepping in tall grass and going over questionable looking ditches to get to the wild huckleberry bushes at the edges of roadside woods and gather those for her.  It was something I loved doing when I was married to my first husband.   We'd travel all sorts of dirt and gravel and barely there tractor trails into the woods and find huckleberry bushes to pick.

I recall one night finding a bush that was easily 7 feet tall and almost as large around and it was just loaded.  The whole while I picked berries, I kept hearing something stomp and snort.  I honestly thought it was my husband.  When he came into view I said "Why were you making that fuss?"   "It wasn't me...It was that big old buck deer on the other side of that bush you were picking!  He wanted you to go away, but I noticed you just stayed and picked anyway."     Oh goodness!  I'd forgotten that until just now.  But I still recall how lovely it was there off an old former stage coach road that was no longer used in the deep shade of the woods.  I don't know how old that big old bush was but it must have been mighty old to be so very big.  I recall I filled many a bucket that night on that one bush.    

John and I have never foraged together.  I've mentioned before that I have done it in the past and he's happily eaten my blackberry cobblers from foraged berries but he's still convinced the grocery store is the best place to get food.  

We've compromised a little.  I take whatever fresh grown produce anyone will give me and he eats it as I cook it whether or not he's fond of it.   That works for everything except Okra.   This year, I shall get produce bags from the farming family in the next county again.   I've asked her to skip Okra and Microgreens but we're game for everything else she can produce.  Just like last year I mean to 'harvest' anything I can and put it by for later in the year.   We're just finishing off the pickle relish I made last summer...

I confess that I was nervous about that jar of relish which was fairly densely packed.   Every time we've eaten any of it I've waited for us to turn our toes up to the sky, lol, but it's never happened yet.  I like the recipe well enough to attempt it again this year if there are cucumbers enough to be had for it.  John says each time we have slaw or potato salad how good it is and I'm convinced it's because the relish in each is homemade.

Oh did you notice?  Across the road they are pushing up the peach trees.  I've no idea why.  They are full of ripe peaches and they've pruned them and sprayed them right along but now they are pushing them up.  I knew they'd likely do it this year but I thought surely they'd wait until after harvest.  Perhaps the last cold spells stunted them too badly.  You know we had frosts right into end of April this year which is highly unusual.  

 For that matter, I wonder if there are even any blackberries that survived that?  Oh I shall definitely have to get outdoors in the morning and see.   Sam might even have mowed them all down...

I hear John returning on the mower.  I wonder how big a supper he'll want tonight?  I've got leftovers and more leftovers in the fridge so no cooking for me again tonight.  What are y'all having?

Well dear time for me to hurry indoors and get that man a nice cool drink.  I'll talk to you again soon!

(C) Terri Cheney

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