Heat. It's all I can think about these days. It's been a long, hot, and dry summer. And it's not over yet. All week long Joey works in the heat, I escape it in the library, and then we return to our hot house and try not to make it any hotter by cooking, washing dishes under hot water, or even moving. My legs stick to the leather couch. When I don't know where the dog is I find him sleeping in the bathtub. Maybe it's cooler in there.
Our pasture, corn field, gardens, yard, and checking account have been dried out and squeezed within an inch of its life. Every weekend has been full of weddings and running back to the suburbs. Too much concrete, too much heat, and too much money. I am grateful for the time spent with family and friends. But I am also ready to spend more than a few days at my own house, work a full workweek, tend to my parched gardens.
Last week, we got a little respite in the form of a long weekend vacation with some friends, a couple and their little boy. We drove 12 hours through the night after work last Wednesday, out of the state of Illinois, through the North Woods of Wisconsin, to catch the 7:30 am ferry to Madeline Island on Lake Superior. We spent the next few days kayaking, canoeing, and relishing many hours swimming in the cold, clear waters of the Great Lake. We walked barefoot in sand and green grass, made sand castles, and threw a tennis ball into the water for Jip to retrieve, over and over again. We lounged on the screen porch and finished good books, ate baked beans out of the can cooked over a campfire. I ate two grilled lake trout, with lemon and tartar sauce. I slept in an cottage with 5 screened windows and a lantern for light. I took a solitary bike ride. I became closer to my friend Anna. I watched Back to the Future with her nine-year old boy who had never seen it before and then talked about time travel. I came home with tan lines and bug bites.
And a little bit of clarity.
True, our air-conditioner is broken. But our energy bill was waaay lower than usual. And I guess it was low enough so that I still haven't found the time to call a repair man. Plus, we need the extra money to pay for all the water we're giving to the sheep and the gardens.
Yes, our acre of sweet corn that we were hoping to sell at the farmer's market looks like we are growing baby corn for Chinese restaurants. But, our hungry sheep have willingly been eating all the corn stalks we can give them. (and broccoli plants and green beans...)
No, we haven't seen any rain for weeks going on months. But, I haven't had to use my dryer to dry laundry once this summer (another reason our energy bill was low...and maybe also the fact that we've been gone more than we've been home this summer).
So you take the good with the bad. Also, I bought myself a pair of flip-flops on vacation that are made out of yoga mats and they are so heavenly comfy I can't feel bad when I'm wearing them. :)