July is gone: whiz, bang and goodbye, like summer.
The first peas and carrots, first cauliflower and cucumber, new potatoes and yes, first cabbage: all these have been eaten. We looked up from poolside heat after a farmer’s market and saw leaves changing colour in the cottonwoods. Yikes.
I’ve taken to setting the timer for 25 minutes and moving the sprinkler every time the buzzer sounds. Lots of walking, sunshine and summer.
Farmer and I fought with a hay bind section; he was swearing and, in between hammering, answering my questions by naming the parts of the header. I was looking straight down into his flared nostrils, the sweat dripping off us and thinking, oh, how I love summer.
One night Princess, the cousins and I slept outside in tents. Summer is the only time we see our Swedish cousins, and this marshmallow roast and dewy sleep must be squeezed from the hottest season of every year.
Our blackbird, Treasure, is fed by anyone who hears him squawking, and drinks water from a cup left for him on the barbecue. I’m pretty sure this is a male bird, as it only gets more beautiful by the day. The black, shining feathers grow ever longer, especially at the tail. We’ve nearly forgotten the naked, ugly, chick he was.
I carry a small container of food for him in my garden pants’ pocket, because wherever I am working around the yard, he’ll find me, and like the gaggle of girls making sand cakes throughout the yard, he’ll tell me he requires a snack, too.
The oldest cousin and I moved the chickens, from their roosts inside the chicken house, to their new summer run under the cottonwoods. I call it their cabin in the woods and turn rotting logs for them in the grass so they can reach insects underneath.
The cousins named some of the layers, and surprisingly the old hens don’t complain at all when carried about or called Ice-cream-comb.
Each day we gathered eggs in Easter egg hunt fashion, since the woodchip-laced laying boxes I prepared inside the shelter aren’t nearly as interesting as the grass lined nests they prepare for themselves. They are in celebration mode and getting to know the spring-hatched hens in the luxury of an expansive, shady, grass and insect filled wonderland, while singing “We love summer holidays” in chicken language.