Now that I think of it, with all the exotic places I travel and thus long periods when I’m away from the ranch, I have more than the ordinary longing for summertime. It’s a period of green-ness and growth, of ease, light and lightness that fills my belly with a satisfaction matched only by an unusually perfect meal.
Low, prickly bushes bejeweled with wild roses line our mile-long dirt driveway. Their smell and color remind me of nothing so much as bygone days when my chubby childhood fingers were sticky with the pink sweetness of county fair cotton candy.
Most mornings I awake at first light (no curtains in our bedroom!) to the joyful concert of foraging robins. They’re at the worm-filled breakfast buffet that is my dewy damp meadow-grass lawn. Any fisherman intent on impaling nightcrawlers on a hook, to fling at the brookies in the river at the edge of the grass, has to compete with these sharp-eyed songsters. Myself I rarely fish. Too stand-entary an occupation for me…except for the swatting of mosquitos. But I’m happy to coat those succulent fish with cornmeal and fry them for dinner.
At this point of the summer, it’s finally haying time. In the barn meadow, grass is now so tall the heavy grass heads tickle the horses’ bellies. A swather creeps along the ditches like a burnt-orange alien bug of monstrous size, chomping the standing waves of grass in front of it. In its wake lies a dense ribbon of cut grass, filling the air as if a thousand neighborhood lawns had been mowed at once. Those swaths will take a couple of days to dry in the sun, helped by a breeze that can be as hot as dragon’s breath. If we get an afternoon shower, which is pretty common this time of year, it’ll take longer.
Next I’ll be bringing you more about the horses and some of the wildlife that share summer with me. So check back for more…