The end of July, I cannot believe the summer is almost past here at Our Little House. Sure, the long term weather forecast says we still have at least a month left of these oppressively hot and humid temperatures, but once July is gone, I feel the summer slipping.
This too, is ingrained in my DNA from childhood. July 31 marked the end of my Dad’s month long vacation from his long-time railroad job and August 1 marked the beginning of school clothes and supply shopping (the railroad paid once a month on the 1st) and the dentist and doctor check ups.
While there were still plenty of days to run, bike and play and evenings to catch fireflies the end of summer was just around the corner, as school usually started by the 3rd week in August (as it does here now). My staying up late with my mother also came to and end as she tried to get me back into a routine.
It was a time to begin to hunker down, spend more time indoors and get serious about life again.
I had a wonderful childhood in the sense that I grew up in a time when kids still had to actually go outside in order to have real fun. The freedom I was allowed as a child to explore and create new adventures partly led us to our adventure here at Our Little House.
The fact that so many of my friends and relatives children have posted that they’re “bored” as their status on their Facebook pages just made me sad this summer. And this article in The Kansas City Star this week, by our own Living Large community member, Kathleen Winn, has had me reflecting on my own magical summer childhood memories and how childhood has changed so drastically in just a little over a generation.
My summers consisted of:
Today, I'm pleased once again to have Alexandra Grabbe as a guest poster. She runs the Chezsven Bed and Breakfast in Wellfleet, Mass., a green B&B and I'm proud to say is also a regular community member here at Living Large in Our Little House:
I run a green B&B and am very fortunate to have lots of guests who care about the environment. Why fortunate? We often pool our knowledge. I tell all my guests about Slow Death by Rubber Duck, whose authors set out to prove body burden exists. The book made me understand what consumer products to avoid, and why. Today Kerri asked me to share a few tips on how to eliminate toxic chemicals from our lives, a timely topic what with oil gushing from the broken well in the Gulf of Mexico, and so very important as the Safe Chemicals Act comes before Congress. Toxic chemicals are everywhere: in the air, in water, in the consumer products we use and the food we eat. Installing a filter will bring immediate improvement in the quality of your water. If you cannot afford the expensive type of filter, go with a simple PUR or Brita. Unfortunately the installation of a filter will not be enough to protect you from all the synthetic chemicals that are now floating around in our environment.
The mysteries of canning have finally been revealed to me.
As I’ve written before, I’ve wanted to learn to can since even before we moved to Our Little House. I had written a story several years ago on an older woman, her garden and her canning and although she invited me back for lessons, I never took the time.
When we moved here, I knew I wanted to learn and this year, I even included a bunch of canned jars of fruit on my vision board.
I asked our friends who are sharing their garden space with us if they can. “Oh, no,” Alicia told me. “I freeze everything, canning is just so much work.”
Rae, our end of the point neighbor, told me she would teach me if I supplied tomatoes from our garden.
This week, however, she supplied a bushel of peaches of which we made peach jam. On the first day, we made sugar laced jam, on the second day it was sugar free.