Checking It Twice: Of Living A Summer

by Elizabeth on May 29, 2012

by nellt@flickr.

I’m still trying to balance out this whole blogging/life thing.

Go figure, right?

See, nobody really told me (though yes, all the books said it, and all the people I know said it, and there are probably billboards about it somewhere) that this whole garden thing was going to be such an incredible amount of time and effort and sore muscles.  Somehow, somewhere in my brainmeats, I thought it was much more simple:  put seed in ground, put water on dirt, PROFIT.  Or, at least, eat things that aren’t wrapped in shrink plastic.

Ah, silly folly of of the neophyte.

(I’ll give all the gardeners reading a few moments’ pause here so they can stop laughing and pointing.)

As a dirt-stained, sunburned dirt-herder, then, I’m still working on my list(s).

I’ve been breaking down what simplicity means to me.  Most of those things are pretty, well, simple.  And probably pretty universal.  Some of them are probably specific just to me.  (And despite the weeds and the bunnies that I’m about to declare actual war upon, growing as much of my own food as possible is still on the list.)

The list is taking a little longer than I thought it would.  (I’m sensing a recurring theme here:  if I think it’ll take a day, figure on a week, etc.)  I’ve got some basic categories — Physical Simplicity and Stuff, Procedural Simplicity and Getting Stuff Done, Impact Simplicity and the Footprint — those kinds of things.  Some, though, are hovering around the edges and haven’t been as easy to classify or list.  Things like sucking the marrow right out of life and connecting with neighbors and (if you’re so inclined) your spirit side.  Do they need categories all their own?  Is there a bunch of stuff I’m missing?

Am I totally overthinking this and should I just sit down and write and stop trying to make everything fit into some kind of little neatly-tied box?

(Yeah, okay.  Probably that last one.)

So today, my brain just decided to take a nice little holiday in the south of France.

Not really.  I like lavender, but not that much.  But it DID decide that rather than thinking about categorizations and information organizing and writing, it was going to go play in the summer breeze that’s starting to whoosh in from the west out here on the plains.  It’s only a few days until the start of June, which is typically when it goes from “Oh how lovely, it’s sunny out”, to “WHEN DID WE SETTLE ON THE SURFACE OF THE SUN?”.

Time’s ticking, I figure, and all I can really focus on is flip-flops, sun tea, and finding a pair of shorts that doesn’t make me feel like I might be revealing far too much of myself to the neighborfolks.

See, one of my big goals this year is a little nebulous:  ENJOY THE SUMMER.

I’m talking get-in-there-and-sweat-and-pick-berries-and-build-a-campfire enjoy it, not through some window from an air-conditioned office or from behind a laptop.

Last year, and for most of the years previous for a couple decades, I’ve been working all summer.  Like normal people do.  But not like normal people do.  (I don’t do normal all that well.  I do Overkill very well, however.)  The time of year didn’t matter — if I was awake, I was DOING SOMETHING.  All-caps, DOING SOMETHING.  Preferably something not-trivial and very, very busy.  Usually with several cups of coffee under my belt by 7 a.m. and often until late at night.  It’s just how I lived.

(Or didn’t live, as the case may be.)

Last year, I was sitting inside the world’s crappiest office, in semi-darkness, at a laptop, trying to wrangle down an unrealistic micromanaging property owner’s marketing plan.  I’d like to say I remember it all, but quite frankly, all the days kind of looked like all the other days.  I was a business-suited, nylons-wearing, practical-haired executive…in a crappy office with recycled air conditioning.

In other words, what summer?  Did we even HAVE one last year?

Not the way I want this year to play out, thankyouverymuch.

In typical Me Fashion, then, I’m making A List.

I know.  Part of me groans at my predictability, too.  Overlook that for a second.

Here’s what I’m doing:

I’m making a list of all those amazing, only-in-the-summer things that I haven’t been doing.  (Or if I have, that I haven’t been fully enjoying due to The Big Busy.)  They range from the practical (learn to milk a goat) to the whimsical (fly a kite for the first time) to the downright awesome (ride a collective hundred miles on my old vintage bike named “lulu”).  I’m aiming for about a hundred of them.

After all, there’s about a hundred days of summer proper and I want to live every single one of them.

So here’s my question to you folks:

What’s on your Ultimate Summer List?

I’ve got camping (and learning to build a fire finally), and making sun tea.  I’ve got learning to fish sitting right beside holding a neighborhood block party for my kick-ass neighbors and friends.  I’m finally going to take the time to go to our town’s big Fourth of July fireworks (which I’ve never done).  I’m determined to have at least one good picnic in a local park, and to wade barefoot in a river.

But I need suggestions.  I’m nowhere near a beach, and a lot of travel is out due to the dogs and the husband’s work schedule, but I’m open to those kinds of suggestions, too.  (I figure if I can’t use them, someone sure can.)

Leave me a comment.  Tell me what would be on your list, if you were going to grab this summer by the shoulders and shake all the fun out of it.

T-minus two days until June.  I’ll collect everyone’s responses (along with some of them from Facebook) and post them here soon-ish.  (I’d say tomorrow, but again — if I think it’ll take one day, we’re totally talking a week here, and I’ve got lettuce-eating bunnies to contend with in the interim.)

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

minnie May 29, 2012 at 10:08 pm

worlds of fun/oceans of fun/amusement park

climbing a mountain in loveland pass

having breakfast at the farmers’ markets by snacking on the nibblies

putting up a hammock under the big walnut tree in the back yard

finding new /different grilling recipes


Shalle Wolff May 29, 2012 at 11:53 pm

Dance in the rain. Not in one of the torrential downpours with sheets of pelting hail and pending funnel clouds that we’ve been having, but a nice light refreshing spring/early summer rain.

Spend an afternoon playing all those fun childhood games like hopscotch and jump rope.


Andi May 30, 2012 at 8:31 pm

Feed the hummingbirds (a state park here sponsors this starting July 1st. it’s so much fun when they actually come and eat, and there’s a great little nature center too)

Paint under the trees in the front yard.

TV free (as much as possible with two teenagers) July. So nice!

Papier mache sculptures in the front yard.

Picnic under the elms on campus.

Pick blueberries (preferably in Michigan ;)

Play with sparklers.

Catch fireflies.


Laurie June 1, 2012 at 9:59 pm

watch fireflies
catch a fish and eat it
ride the big swings at the fair
enter the fair – jam, chickens, photography, quilt
make a labyrinth in my field
go kayaking on a river (which requires planning – lakes we just go)
I’m raising baby geese, which are so much more fun than chickens! Personalities galore and so cute! Pics on my blog.


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