July 15 – It has been very hot and humid here the last several days, and since the weatherman has predicted a high in the nineties for the next week or more, we decided that we had better turn on the air conditioning. That’s something that we didn’t have back in PA, but we didn’t really need it because we didn’t have the same kind of summer weather there that we do now. Even now, we aren’t keeping the “air” going straight out all day, but just turn the dial up to about 75 degrees.
As usual, we have been doing a lot of work outside, mostly in the morning before the nineties make their presence known. The usual mowing, hoeing in the garden, cutting the blackberry canes, chopping off the yuccas which had such beautiful white blossoms for several weeks, and mowing under the fence along the roadside.
That last job turned out to be a bit more difficult than I had expected since with all of the rain we have had this summer, I just couldn’t mow there. Because of that, the clover has grown much more than in previous years, and the Queen Anne’s lace is so abundant and very tall with thick stems that in most places I had to be satisfied with just knocking it down with the mower after I had cut down hundreds of stalks. Now I will need to mow on the other side of the fence to clear it all out. When the poor overworked mower just plain quit and wouldn’t respond to my yanking that starting cord for about ten times, I decided to stop that task, pushed the mower to the barn, and decided to stop for a bit.
The wild flowers are becoming more and more abundant in the pastures with all of the rain and heat that we have had. I trimmed the bright orange day lilies this morning, and cut back the no-longer bright pink coneflowers. The black-eyed Susans are very prolific, showing their bright yellow faces all over in the fields, while the purplish bergamot enjoys being partly in the shade along the path. I have never before seen so much pink clover along the fences and all through the pastures. Their stems are much stronger than usual, and they are taller, too, as the bigger weeds try to crowd them out.
Lots of smaller white and pink clovers are blooming in abundance as well. We find lovely blue chicory all along the road, as well as in the fields. The abundant rains must have had something to do with the great surplus of Queen Anne’s lace. Never before have we seen such tall ones that tower over the grasses and shorter plants. Instead of three or four of lacy heads, there are now eight or ten on one stalk.
On our way to a church meeting recently, I had my camera ready to take some pics of one of my favorites, the beautiful golden prairie coneflower. Why? Because we don’t have any among all of the lovely bright pink variety. We had planted some, but they did not grow more than one season. We had just stopped so I could take a picture, when a car drove up and stopped in front of us. As the driver’s side door opened, a young guy got out and called, “What ya doin’?” “Just taking a pic…” I answered, but never did finish the sentence, as I recognized the voice of one of the young men from the Kingsville School where I had volunteered for sixteen happy years.
After a big hug or two, we were talking about things we had remembered through the years. “What grade are you in now?” I asked. Talk about shock! When he proudly said, “I’ll be a senior when school starts.” A SENIOR! How could time have passed that rapidly? I had worked with this friendly kid all through the years of his school life till the year before when I retired. After talking with Dale for a bit, he announced that he had to leave because he was driving someone to the hospital. Several hugs later, and he was gone. But kids like that will never be far from me in thoughts and memories.
There are so many kids and young folks in the world today who need somebody to make them feel good about themselves, somebody who will accept them for who they are, and cheering them on. During all my years of teaching I made up my mind that there really aren’t any “bad” kids, just some who need more guidance, those who need to believe they really are worth something and that they can achieve. There is so much beauty in the world today, just waiting for you to enjoy–flowers, trees, sunsets, squirrels and turkeys, and people. Just keep your eyes and your heart open! – CHRIS