After almost a year of country living, Studley and i are kept rather busy with maintenance, updates, and various projects to make the new place our own. The current heatwave here in the midwestern U. S. of A. coupled with a home that does not have air conditioning, has us moving a bit more slowly at the moment. We can only work outdoors in the early morning before becoming completely soaked in our own sweat.
The work to be done isn’t just outside. The “bones” of the house are good, but the decor is in dire need of an update. There is a seemingly endless collection of wallpaper that must go. i got a start on it earlier this summer, taking down two walls of green floral Victorian-style print in the master bedroom. Got the walls cleaned, patched, and painted and then it got too hot to keep running the steaming machine.
The prior homeowner swore to us that the place stayed cool enough without air conditioning. Lack of ductwork (or an attic or crawlspace for ductwork) left few options for such a system – which i suspect is one of the reasons the prior homeowner was so stubborn about the issue. We decided last year to tough it out and see just how hot it would get. After the first heatwave in July we said “fuck. this. shit.” and found a contractor to install a mini-split system. We also bought a portable unit for the bedroom, as it didn’t get below 80 F some nights!
Electric work for the new system is done, and now we wait for the equipment to arrive via slooooow boat from Asia. Hopeful that we’ll be fixed up soon, i’m using the hot weather lockdown to clean up my office, organize photos, and excavate the electronic desktop… Which includes this here abandoned blogspace. Only neglected for 4 months this time, i am overdue for an update.
For most of May and June, we were working outside. Studley organizing the barn woodshop – also hauling, stacking, and cracking firewood for the winter. i pulled a lot of weeds and played an endless game of “what the hell is that plant?” using various apps. Learning to divide iris, and fighting a battle with unwanted thistle and garlic mustard.
We were lucky to have a chance to visit with Studley’s children in early June. The shared graduate school graduation for his son and daughter-in-law got us all together for a long weekend. His daughter flew in from Alaska. It had been quite awhile since we’d all been together.
In July we took advantage of a momentary break in travel restrictions, making a run to Turkey to visit The Girl and her family. It had been over 18 months since i’d seen them (over two years for Studley). With The Girl’s summer teaching break as a target, we started the gauntlet to get there while managing risk as much as possible. It was fairly challenging to make it happen, but we did it. One challenge – finding someone reliable to mow the lawn while we hit the road again – we’d trained up a new pet sitter earlier in the year. Time with The Girl, her husband, and this little nugget was worth it.
Along the same lines, i was tweaking to spend time with the two mini-sprogs out west, so a second trip was planned. We are just back from a short visit with The Boy and his clan. A bit less challenging logistically to get there and back, we enjoyed some low key time just being together. Much more relaxed than traditional holiday visits, we had time to just play.
i have struggled a bit with distance. Studley and i both raised children who are living lives of deliberate choices – which in all four cases have them living thousands of miles away from us. i have worried that the three grandnuggets won’t know us. Afraid that we will only be characters that exist in video chats on parental phones. These two trips have quenched those fears a bit. Much like the gardens at the homestead, the relationships with the littles are blooming.
Late in life, i’ve grown to appreciate the joys of gardening.