This and That: A Mid-Summer’s Madness

This And That
This And That

We’re in the dog days of August but time still seems to be flying by. So many chances of fun have passed without actually seizing the moment. Those few moments of fun that actually happened stand out like jewels in the cluttered mass of routine that hardly vary from one season to the next. It seems there’s just not enough time to do fun stuff, but always enough time to do the chores of daily life.

That’s not to say this summer has been a total loss. Winnie and I have taken up swimming as routine fitness training and an activity we can do and enjoy together. It ties in with our boating activities. Winnie still doesn’t enjoy getting bumped around in our power boat when running out on the Potomac, but she does enjoy hanging out in a quiet bay while anchored away from the mass of other boaters that inevitably appear like seagulls. We’ve had several very nice events of getting the boat out on the water in early morning, anchoring, and then spending the day floating and swimming and snacking.

Kayaking has suffered this season. After a promising start during the spring, I’ve only managed a few summer day trips including one memorable outing with my niece Tiara. I haven’t gotten out nearly as much as I would like to. I’ve developed ideas for some kayaking trips involving overnight camping, but those plans never came together. I actually did purchase my kayak permit for Pennsylvania this past spring as there are some nice paddling and camping locations only a few hours’ drive from home. I need to plan on weekend kayaking trips for “next summer.”

Since I just changed jobs, again, this past May I don’t have any accrued vacation time so I’m not able to take a proper vacation. I did fly out to Tennessee a couple of weekends ago to visit family there. The highlight of that visit was supporting my nephew Terry and his family in getting a rather large shed moved from a seller’s backyard to Terry’s remote property, for future use as a micro-cabin. I also met my new grand-niece Ava Bly, all of three weeks old. Mom is still doing well in her new home state, with lots of her grand- and great-grand-children around her for company.

Moving A Shed
Moving A Shed

My sister Melinda dropped by for an afternoon visit along with another niece Melissa and Melissa’s two children Eric and Elisa. It made for a nice afternoon of getting all of us out on the Potomac for the standard three-hour tour, with a stopover at Tim’s Shore Side Restaurant for dinner.

Winnie’s garden is doing really well this season despite a bumpy start. Planting season had arrived while Winnie was still in China caring for her mother, so with her permission via e-mail I picked up starter plants from Lowes and created our garden. I picked an area that looked promising, weeded it, and planted tomatoes and peppers. When Winnie returned home a week later I proudly showed her my planting, and she had a significant emotional event. It seems the “weeds” I cleared away were her prized Chinese Chives that she had been tending to and expanding for the previous several years.

Early Harvest
Early Harvest

Fortunately I had tossed the Chives in a compose pile protected by lots of shade, and we’d had a lot of rain during the week, so the Chives were still viable. Winnie dug up everything I put in and replanted her Chives. They’ve done well since then, in no small part since I’ve been kept far away from them. I did design and build some new trellis poles for Winnie’s prize long beans. I used ten-foot metal conduit with screws inserted every two feet along the length which provided anchors for hanging nylon netting that the beans climb on. This system has worked really well, better than anything Winnie has used in the past, and I see a project for next year in building more trellis rods. Designing and building these trellis’ almost made up for attempted destruction of her Chives.

Winnie's Long Beans
Winnie’s Long Beans

Other vegetables she’s grown this year include her kangkong (Chinese water spinach) okra, sweet peppers, oriental eggplant, Shanghai Greens, tomatoes, squash, zucchini, and some type of long melon that looks like cucumber. At one point we had harvested 17 pounds of long beans over a three day period, along with peppers, eggplant, okra, tomatoes, and a bag full of kangkong. We get to eat fresh veggies every night and there’s still enough for Winnie to give away, thereby winning friends and influencing people.

So that’s our summer so far. Lots of water sports and gardening with a touch of family visiting. It could be worse.

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