Summer projects

My project for the week has been repainting the two barn quilts that are on the side of my long shed, which I painted earlier this summer. It’s been such perfect weather that I was pretty much looking to find something I could do outside so I could truly drink it in. Barn quilts are a rather tedious project, to be sure, but I don’t even care.

Besides, the time spent on such a project lends itself to some good thinking. Like mowing, or bike riding alone. Most mornings I have been doing that as soon as I roll out of bed. It is a quiet time on the highway by my house, just an occasional car or truck whooshing by on the way to a job. Even in what has turned out to be a very dry summer, the fields of corn and soybeans are mostly lush and green spread out beside me in big squares of soft, golden tassels and green carpets.

Being up doing something that pleasant that time of day almost makes me feel sorry for the folks who choose to stay in bed. I wonder if they know what they’re missing.

This has been the first summer in about three decades that I’ve mowed regularly. Although it was a bit daunting the first few weeks-especially when it was hard to fit mowing in around the rain-I actually think that mowing isn’t a bad job at all. It’s a good opportunity to think, too, but it’s a lot noisier than when bike riding.

Tending garden in this lovely weather is another chance for a little contemplation. That’s a good early morning task, too. I am thankful that a) bugs don’t bother me in the garden, and b) rabbits haven’t eaten my plants. I’ve learned that planting on what has been a chicken pen for two summers is a pretty good idea. Now it is rewarding to finally have vegetables to harvest, yet already I’m at the point of wondering just what I can do with everything.

Another feature of my summer was spending two days every week on the kitchen staff of a nearby resident summer camp. Being on a camp staff is nothing new to me. I spent most of my 20s on camp staffs out of state, but that was so long ago it seems like a different lifetime. Yet I found out this summer that the community that grows in a camp really hasn’t changed a lot since back in the day. And I needed such a community this summer, perhaps more than the camp needed my services in the kitchen.

If I had to write a “What I did on my summer vacation” essay on assignment, obviously it would not be a very exciting paper. And that’s just fine with me, as long as there was a section called “I get by with a little help from my friends.”