Pupsicle Fun

Summer has truly hit Michigan.  It was 94 today according to hubby’s car and although not humid as it typically is, it was certainly a bit uncomfortable in the sun.  At least the clothes on the clothes line dried quickly — almost instantaneously.

After a tough day of cleaning and organizing my canning area in the kitchen, hanging laundry in the hot sun, and watering my garden since the weatherman got it wrong again when they predicted rain all day, Bell and I sat on the patio for a sweet treat.

Mama always shares with me.

Mama always shares with me.

I'm not spoiled -- I'm loved.

I’m not spoiled — I’m loved.

You know, grape is my favorite.

You know, grape is my favorite.

This really hits the spot.

This really hits the spot.

Really?  The rest is for me.  You're too good to me!

Really? The rest is for me. You’re too good to me!

Even though my garden didn’t get the rain I was hoping for, it was a great day to hang laundry, hide out in the house in the air conditioning while preparing for the upcoming canning frenzy, and taking a moment to share a popsicle with Bell, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

Summer Beginnings

Today was the first “summer-like” day of 2014 here in Michigan.  The bugs were buzzing, the birds were singing,  the flowers blooming, and the sun was shining.  A perfect day to be outside enjoying the gifts of nature.

A ladybug checking out my laundry hanging on the line.

A ladybug checking out my laundry hanging on the line.

Hanging laundry on the line, spreading fresh mulch in the flower beds, cleaning out the gardens — and way too much sun.  I always forget the sunscreen on the first summery day of the year — one of these days I’ll remember, just not today

Mr. Robin watching as I worked.

Mr. Robin watching as I worked.

It was amazing how many birds were hanging around and chirping.  It was borderline “loud.”  The game of chase that the wood sparrows played, the red-tailed hawks soaring high above my head, and the blue jays squawking in the trees, and the chimney swifts darting about kept me company all day long.

The first open blossom on the plum tree.  Looks like I'm canning plums this summer!

The first open blossom on the plum tree. Looks like I’m canning plums this summer!

There are a ton of flowers itching to bloom.  I bet by tomorrow there will be lots more blooming.

There are a ton of flowers itching to bloom. I bet by tomorrow there will be lots more blooming.

The bloom I took a picture of opened up early afternoon and I had to stand on a ladder to get it.  It was the only one open on the whole tree.  By the end of the day the tree had at least 50 blooms wide open.

The bulbs around the plum tree continue to grow and although they are few, their scent fills the back patio with sweetness.

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The lawn needs cutting, but because of the terrible storms we had last night, it was too drenched to try.  My husband is not going to be happy because the dandelions are getting ready to seed.  I think it looks pretty, even if it does mean we’ll have yellow in our lawn all summer.  Some weeds are just too pretty to be without.

Maybe tomorrow this dandelion will have a puff for a neighbor -- then I can make a wish!

Maybe tomorrow this dandelion will have a puff for a neighbor — then I can make a wish!

The lilacs are still not blooming, but one particular bumblebee keeps visiting — waiting for those tiny flowers to open up for him to suck out the sweet nectar.  I tried really hard to get him to turn around for a picture, but he was not very cooperative.  I sort of felt like he was mooning me.

It was a great day to add fresh mulch to the flower beds and clean out a few small garden spots.  If the weather holds, tomorrow I’ll tackle the big garden so it will be ready for planting mid-month.  For now, I am happy that the plum tree has flowers so we’ll have plums for fresh plum pie, plum pie filling, and plums in syrup, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

Like A Good Neighbor

Whatever happened to the days of borrowing a cup of sugar from your neighbor?  We have lived in the same house for the past 20+ years and not once has a neighbor come knocking on our door to borrow anything.  Me on the other hand…well I must be every person’s worst nightmare when it comes to being a neighbor.  I’ve borrowed eggs, sugar, spices, noodles, milk, hedge trimmers, power saws, and drill presses, just to name a few.  I always replace the food items and am sure to return the tools, but have never been asked to reciprocate.

I grew up in neighborhoods where neighbors were always borrowing things.  Some things were borrowed because one neighbor might not own that particular tool while other times it was because a neighbor was in dire need of something they didn’t have time to run up to the store for.  That was what neighbors did.  That is how neighbors acted.

My neighbors are great.  They have always been open to my borrowing and I have done my best to thank them by sharing my canning wares and surprising them with home-baked goods. Still, no one has ever knocked on my door and as far as I know nor have they knocked on anyone else’s door.

Am I the worst neighbor ever?  Or, is everyone else more prepared, less forgetful, or just down-right better?  It has bothered me to the point that I am leery to borrow anything.  One saving grace is that my neighbors are very caring and when they see me struggling to do something in the yard because I don’t have the right tool or the skill, they come right over offering help.  My husband and I do our best to stay alert to our neighbors needs as well and are always available to walk dogs, shovel snow, or even help assemble a new shed. This neighborliness has made living in the “suburbs” bareable, even enjoyable at times.

I remember a few years ago a snow storm left us with more than 10 inches of snow.  Driveways and sidewalks were shoveled but the land between our home and our next door neighbor was piled high with snow.  We have a medium sized dog and at the time she was just a year old.  Our neighbor John loved Bell.  He had alergies so did not have a dog of his own.  From the day we brought her home, John made it a point to call her over every time he saw her to give her treats.  Being Bell’s first winter, she was leery of venturing very far off the shoveled path in our backyard.  When John saw her standing next to our house staring at him, he called to her.  She took two steps into the snow then jumped back.  It was too deep for her.  John called her a few more times, but Bell was just too little to make the long trek to his house so she sat there and barked.

I watched as Bell stared at John and then as John walked into his garage.  A few moments later I heard a snowblower start up. Looking out the window across the yard John had his snowblower and was making a path straight across the grass from the side of his house all the way to where Bell was standing.  As he turned to widen the path on his way back to his house, Bell was on his heels.  Once back at his house, John gave Bell her treats and she returned home on the freshly cleaned path.  All winter John kept that path clear for her.  How did we get so lucky as to have a neighbor like that?

Whether or not my neighbors believe in borrowing, has yet to be determined, but they have been open to lending and going that extra mile for us, and for this I am Simply Grateful.