On being green, and other ho-hum matters

It’s 6:30 in the morning and it’s dark outside. I’m a little bit shocked and a little bit excited at what this means: summer is over and winter is coming. I don’t feel like we even had a real summer. I only counted two hot spells, a few brief days when it was hot enough for me to wish for cooler weather, but the rest of the time was mostly sweat-free.

After August’s canning crescendo, I’m done with the garden. I’m ignoring the red raspberries, the hugely overgrown basil bushes, the few good tomatoes that are co-existing with the blighted ones. While we were in NY, the neighbor’s horses got into our property and into the barn and pooped on the potatoes that were curing on the ground and I don’t even care. That’s how I feel about the garden in September.

(I did plant some fall broccoli and lettuce, I will check on the butternuts, we harvested the dried beans, and I may turn the dried heirloom corn into cornmeal, but I’m not making any promises.)

I’m still not back into the swing of things even though we’re four days back in the land of scheduled bedtimes, chores, simple, mostly-vegetarian fare, and no multitudes of same-age cousins. I’m doing a round of sourdough baking, but aside from that, I’m not cooking … yet; this cool weather is giving me visions of chilis and donuts and squash pies, so I expect I’ll step into the culinary ring any day now.

Yesterday I sat down and went through the kids’ school books, trying to pull together some semblance of A Plan for the upcoming academic year. I already informed Yo-Yo (last year, last week, and again yesterday) that this year, his fourth grade year, is going to be a big year for him. Since he has mastered the art of reading, we are going to delve into some more extensive work such as writing and arithmetic. Miss Becca Boo is begging to catch up to Yo-Yo in math (she spent a good deal of time in the swivel chair yesterday, studying a stack of addition cards and using the face clock to keep her nines and sixes straight and to help with the counting, all of her own volition) and wants to learn to read. Sweetsie can not wait to read, so I have to deal with her, too. My teaching workload is growing.

I used to say that homeschooling wasn’t any big deal (there’s that infamous line of mine), that it didn’t take much time or effort and yadda-ya-ya, but that was then and this is now and now I know differently. It may still be simple and enjoyable (on the good days), but it sure takes a lot of attention on my part. Which, like I said, can be fun, but it’s definitely not mindless.

Last night I spent an hour ordering some workbooks on line (I didn’t order that much stuff, it just takes a long time for my computer to load pages), and it’s (mostly) all because of my sister-in-law Sarah. One NY afternoon, Sarah hoisted a giant canvas tote bag in my general direction and said, “Here. If you get bored, you can look through our homeschool stuff.” So I did—both the bored and the looking parts—and I found some gems of schoolbooks that I’m now ordering (once I get Sarah to email me the titles since I was too lazy to copy them down at that moment). Sarah has a knack for inspiring me.

She also is the reason that I am becoming green.

With envy.

Over a camera.

I’ve always admired Sarah’s photography skills and that casual professional look she sports so effortlessly, but then I sat down with her one afternoon to scroll through the pictures she had taken thus far, and I was totally blown away. The pictures were crystal clear, even the long-distance shots—beyond anything I could ever dream of doing with my dear little camera. And then on Sunday afternoon when we were all lounging about in the yard, she casually handed me her camera and said magnanimously, “You can play around with it if you want.” I snapped a few shots of the boys climbing on the old tractor and promptly got a ginormous case of the green gimmies. In fact, the camera lust was so completely unnerving that I only snapped a few glorious pictures before setting the sexy black box down in the grass between us. If I couldn’t have it, I couldn’t bear to handle it. Abstinence was clearly the only option.

I don’t usually feel this way about things. I think some things are cool, I like other things, and some I even jot down on a list to buy someday, but this flat-out carnal desire for a material object is rare for me. Is this how people feel about cars or new shoes or designer jeans? If so, my capacity for compassion has just been expanded.


PS. Don’t worry about me—I’ll get over my case of the green gimmies in no time at all. Or else I’ll convince Mr. Handsome to buy a certain something for my birthday—if I tell him that he is then released from any gift-giving duties for the next couple years, he just might do it…

About One Year Ago: Indian Chicken and Rice, your choice of brown or white.


  • Anonymous

    This is for Mavis,

    Did you ever lift one of those pots?

    I have a red 5 qt Le Cruset (10 dollars at an auction) It's quite heavy enough when full of liquid.

    Aunt V.

  • It's me ...Mavis

    #1…if you are able to bite your tongue in "real life"…. God Bless you….I have no ability to do that whatsoever.

    #2…. I think everyone has a "green" item…mine? a $400 Red Le Cruset 13 qt pot from Williams-Sonoma….I have been drooling over it for 3 years now….

    #3 Sadly…I will be running out of Hot Chocolate mix any day now and because of you now have a recipe to make it from scratch.

  • Anonymous

    I'm jealous of ANYONE who can take a good picture. You take lovely ones.

    The work picks up a lot with learning as they get older, it's true. And if they're saying creepy things like "More chemistry please, Mom!" a feeling of doom starts rising over me…

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