Summer Catchup and Reading Thoughts

Summer is moving along, and overall our efforts to create a summer full of fun activities that we mindfully choose, along with time for relaxation and spontaneity, seems to be working well. Some highlights of the past few weeks include:

  • A successful croquet party with refurbished vintage croquet set (dressup! silliness! snacks and drinks! perfect weather!)
  • Camping at the Oregon Country Fair (more dressup! Hippie fair fun! amazing music, art, activities, food! not very much quiet!)
  • Day trips to local towns for restaurant and neighborhood exploration
  • Many, many evenings sitting on the back porch bird-watching and wine-sipping
  • Lots of weekend bike rides
  • Gardening, mowing, fixing lots of things
  • Weekly travel-journal sketch class
  • Chickens growing up and being adorable!

It helps that this summer has been much more mild weather-wise than the last few. Lovely temperatures, cool mornings, some rain. Perfect garden weather although some of the plants had a late start, and we are getting lots of squash, lettuce, peas, and flowers right now. Tomatoes on the way, cucumbers just getting started. Our poor old riding lawn mower finally had a fatal injury, and is in the shop. Sadly, parts are no longer made for it so we have to decide if we want to have them install a new motor (which is expensive and possibly difficult to locate) or get a new one. If we get a new one, we will probably wait until next year and just make do with the self-propelled walk-behind mower for the rest of this year, which is just fine, it just literally takes almost 2 hours to mow the lawn! I’d like to revive the old one, it’s a great old machine and solid metal, but I don’t know. Expensive proposition either way, and hard to know what’s the right way to go.

The rest of the summer promises to be similar. More bike rides, a few low-key travels, some more easy camping, hopefully many more casual evenings on the back deck. That back deck is magical, I swear. I’m hoping to add in some more hikes, some more artsy-craftsy adventures, a bit more yard/garden improvements, and some interior painting. Oregon summer is so short and brilliant, it’s hard to ‘waste’ a day doing inside-chores so we’re trying to parcel those out and save some for winter (like painting) but the bedroom REALLY needs paint so we might move that one up. Overall, however, our plan to remain mostly relaxed and less-scheduled seems to be working. It’s nice.

I’ve been making good progress on my goal of reading 52 books this year, which is taking some dedication, careful choices and more mindfulness around bringing my book with me to read in line, etc. I just don’t have the time I used to, to read for hours, which is OK since I’m doing other things that I’m enjoying, but I do want to keep up with the reading. However, I find that I am making choices based on how quickly I can read the book (this usually means how much I like the book, as I read fairly quickly in general, but a book that I’m not totally into can take a VERY long time to get through) and how long the book is, and sometimes how ‘difficult’ the book is (for example, have continued to nix Umberto Eco, etc., because it requires a LOT of attention to the language). I don’t love this, so I’ve decided that next year I will LOWER my reading goal, but make an effort to choose longer books and more complex books. Balance is key, right?

How’s your summer going?


7 thoughts on “Summer Catchup and Reading Thoughts

  1. My reading is very up and down at the moment but I spent the whole of yesterday afternoon reading a book from cover to cover (one of the perks of being retired!) and that has helped me get my groove back. It sounds like you have a lovely balance going and I envy you the weather – here in London we’re in the middle of a mini heatwave and it’s possible temperatures could reach 36C today which is ridiculous. I’m hiding inside with the aircon :D

  2. So glad your summer is going well! Sounds like you have a really big lawn! What about replacing part of it with a small orchard and/or a wildflower meadow? That way you won’t have to mow as much :)

    • It’s an acre and a quarter… we DO have a small orchard AND some unmowed meadow AND some stands of bamboo for screening AND lots of it has gravel paths and garden beds… it still just takes forever! :) Don’t worry, we don’t waste any water watering it or take care of it in any way other than to keep parts of it (infrequently) mowed. In the summer I mow it maybe once a month just to keep the weeds down.

      • I didn’t realize you had so much land! Very cool! You could go all small farm if you wanted. Are you allowed to have animals besides chickens? I wish I could have goats or alpaca.

      • We could definitely have a small farm, but Keith, the online editor of Hobby Farms (and Chickens) magazine is now The Man Who Knows Too Much, as I joke… no farm mammals for us right now! (He knows WAY too much about all the things that can go wrong with farm animals! I’m lucky to have successfully negotiated for the chickens…) I’d love a small goat or two… cuddly lawn mowers! However, the big yard is GREAT for golf practice, so my dad loves coming over. :)

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