After a few whiny complaints about rural living, I’ve been meaning to write about the benefits of rural living. Truly, there are many. And after a full day of outdoor fun—I have the gritty, sunburned skin and Nathan has the red-stained lips to prove it—it’s high time.
When I think about the pros of rural living I can’t help but think of the cons, too. It’s time for me to shut out the negative and breathe in the glory of a rural kind of life.
This morning we gardened…well, I gardened while Nathan played with toys in his baby jail…and finally finished planting my kitchen garden. (Side note: We don't have a fence and have ponds nearby, so the politically correct baby corral keeps him safe—read: alive—when I need to look away for more than 10 consecutive seconds. I know people scorn the baby jail concept, but it's a necessity in my neck of the woods, and I use it judiciously.) Despite getting my garden planted later than usual—several weeks of rain really slowed me down—it still feels like an accomplishment. And I forgot to take pictures while I was out there.
Try to imagine… two neat, long rows of zinnia seedlings, freshly watered and weeded. Six evenly spaced tomato plants with stakes at the ready. Zucchini and summer squash seedlings with growing buds on them. Morning glories winding haphazardly up curved bamboo stakes. It doesn’t look like much now, but in time my gardens will be bursting with blooms and fruit. I can almost taste the flavors of the fresh herbs and see the fresh cut flowers in vases throughout my home. I’m so grateful to have all this space for gardening…even if I can’t
farm it garden like I truly want to.
In the afternoon I took Nathan out on his mom-powered trike and cooled down afterwards with some ice pops on the deck. (It was the very short-lived photo shoot for my May socks. Very short-lived.)
And then we went strawberry picking at a nearby farm with some friends. I love this local farm, and love that it’s so close by. (One of the few useful businesses nearby, really.) This boy loves his strawberries, and I just realized that he must get it from me. Strawberries just started ripening in this area, and my radar picked up on it right away. I love berries so much I’m designing my July socks after them; July is when our wild raspberries ripen.
The strawberries were the best I’ve ever tasted, and I think they’re the best ones Nathan’s ever had, too. The farm is on the edge of the river, between the river and the canal, and it is the most fertile soil around. And it’s fun for little boys to play in, too. Good thing he wore his “Dirt Magnet” shirt.
The sweet boy in the black t-shirt is my friend’s son. I love that boy.
Lookit all the berry juice on this little boy’s shirt. I couldn’t keep him from eating the berries. I’d hear him go mmmmmm and before I could turn around another strawberry was down the hatch. I hope he didn’t eat too many, because in my friend’s words, we want the farm to like us.
We picked more berries than we could reasonably eat in such a short time frame, so after Nathan was in bed—despite how tired I felt—I baked Strawberry Summer Cake. It was baking in the oven as I typed, and just came out. Just look at it. My husband is too full from dinner and Nathan is sleeping…so I’ll just have to enjoy it…all…by…my…self. Be right back.
I’m back, and man, was that good! Pardon me for not taking any pictures of the cut cake or the slice…ahem, slices, I put on my plate. I didn’t wait for it to cool very much in my haste, so the slices broke up a bit on their way to my plate. And I scarfed them down way too quickly for photos.
I don’t need the roof of my mouth, anyway. It tastes really, really good still hot from the oven. I didn't even bother with the whipped cream -- it doesn't need it.
Maybe I’ll give Nathan a sliver after his breakfast tomorrow morning, while the cake is still really fresh. He deserves it after all the berries he picked. It’s hard work being a boy and living an outdoor, rural kind of life. I don't know about him, but I'm exhausted.