I’m buried in PTA check off lists and emails and the flurry of birthday planning for Sara. I don’t have time to dilly-dally, nor will I for the foreseeable future. And yet…my mind and heart are decidedly elsewhere. Spending last week in peach orchards with my cousin, listening to the singing of the late summer cicadas, and getting our fill of the August sun has sent my heart to the best parts of my childhood.
I miss summers spent on my Grandparents’ farm, and living in the fields of the Midwest. I miss my large brood of cousins, and the ridiculous escapades that left me with memories of thrilling adventures and unbelievable tales of survival (think: 11 kids very close in age, motorcyles, ATVs, snowmobiles, and swimming pools…no adult supervision. It’s where I learned to be hard to kill.).
My childhood pal, Julie, shared with me unbelievable pictures from her grape arbors and tomato harvest, and my friend Linda’s bees just yielded 60 pounds of honey. My bridesmaid, Resa, shared gorgeous pictures from her farm, which I posted here this evening. Jayme and I picked so many peaches (they are HUGE, and my camera DIED, so I’ll have to wait for her to send some pics), the girls almost cried carrying them back to the wagon. While we stood in line, we chatted about locally-sourced meats, and Sara started to dance and sing, “We’ll have peach jam and peach cobbler and peach pie! Peaches, peaches, peaches!” Tonight I made pork with Lodis, a tart summer apple at its peak, and a peach and blackberry cobbler. My neighbor has a small berry farm on his property and we trade fruit for jam. Tonight he had blackberries. Gooseberry, red raspberry, mulberry, plum…you name it, he grows it, and I jam it.
The State Fair is in full swing, and the girls and I spent our last day with Avery chomping on buttery grilled corn at the downtown Farmer’s Market. They went nuts over their honey sticks…always the time spent pondering their selections of honey sticks. The fields are seas and mountains of green, and you can practically smell the heat of the growing grains. There’s so much amazing produce falling from the sky, I can barely zero in on a dinner plan every night.
I’m always a bit melancholy to see this season pass and school begin. I love fall, and I especially love winter, but late summer in Indiana? You simply can’t beat it. In late summer the Midwest is wildly alive, and yet extraordinarily peaceful, as its at the height of what it does best: it grows FOOD. Lots and lots of yummy food.
For now, I will get my head in the back to school game. I will wrap presents and gather volunteers and fill out the forms…so, so many forms. But my heart will be wandering down a lane with my bestest-of-all-time cousin, and we’ll be discussing the probabilities of Big Foot living in the woods near an area we called 5-acres (the size of my cousin’s YARD, by the way), and whether or not we’ll ever get our own horses. What should we name those horses? Keystone and Black Beauty. Duh. Will Aunt Mildred stop by today and pay us for the berries we picked? Of course she will. Will we be able to scam our oldest cousin into driving us into town for DQ Blizzards? YES!
Tonight, I wish for you the fulfillment of a Midwestern summer. They are rich, rarely in money, but in so many other ways. Godspeed for your late summer my friends. Godspeed.
*A special thank you to Resa for being so generous with her farm photography. She actually did grow up to get her own horse…horseS plural, to be exact. But not a single one is named Keystone, an oversight I would never point out to a woman who spent her Christmas Eve in a freezing barn, trying to save a newborn calf and its Momma from a certain death. I’m a farm tourist. She’s a farm actualist.*