Tag Archives: Maryland

Green and Lively Maryland

old and young feet

We’ve been living in the Maryland countryside for two weeks now, and only today did I have enough time to start a post here, time to even think of writing more than a shopping list.

We’re taking care of four grandchildren while Pearl and Nate are abroad. They are energetic and happy-family-robust kids between the ages of  eight and fifteen, who should help me stay young if they didn’t make me feel so old and tired by comparison.

The heat and humidity are enervating as well, though today when I was driving (alone, for the first time) a road that curves along under tall leafed-out trees and with lush bushes and vines on the borders, I was able to contemplate the agricultural resources of heat and humidity and summer rains. I stopped along the way at one of the numerous produce stands to buy big peaches and some squash, and drove into the driveway past the neighbors’ hibiscus with dinner-plate blooms.

a Natchez berry

Last week in preparation for Mr. Glad’s birthday we all went to the berry farm to pick giant thornless blackberries in stark contrast to the little wild things we usually have to pick for hours to make a couple of pies. We had more than enough berries in about twenty minutes, but it didn’t feel right to us, to pay with so little time, so we picked some more, and ended up with more than enough for three big pies that I spent most of the next day baking.

Mr. Glad fell in love with a German striped tomato at the farm store, so we brought it home for the dinner.

 

 

It filled two bowls and served the whole family deliciously.

That day Aunt Kate and Uncle Soldier came to celebrate with us, and their youthful energy was very welcome. Some of that energy went into making sushi for the birthday guy.

sushi

Lots of things are different here in the East from what we see on the West coast. A groundhog wandered across the lawn yesterday, a huge creature that we had only seen in “Groundhog Day.” And Mr. Glad found a large butterfly that was new to us. Fireflies and cicadas liven up the back yard in the evenings, when the temperature drops a little and we can actually stand to be outside with them.

Neither of us had been on the sort of Atlantic beach where people play and swim in the summertime, so we made the effort of a long drive to Fenwick Island State Park in Delaware and the grandchildren loved it. It had been a while since their last experience of the ocean and some of them had listened to many scary jellyfish stories in the meantime. The lifeguard told us that those unpleasant creatures aren’t a problem until the ocean water has been warm for a few weeks, usually not until mid-August.

We also loved being able to really relax in the warmth of the sand and sun — nothing like our local beaches back home. We wished we had more time for playing in the waves and watching the exuberant and laughing body-surfers we had brought with us.

The children are off in four different directions today, one of them with his grandpa down in Washington, DC checking out the sights there. It’s the first day I have had time alone other than a few minutes before falling asleep at night, and it’s been the most healthful thing. I feel like an olive tree that’s been getting a little too much fertilizer for about two weeks, and suddenly has a day with just water and sunlight. I may be old for a tomato, but olive trees live on and on.

Maryland Report

I’m back from my visit to family and friends in Maryland. Some things went as expected: Cooking and playing games and exploring the woods with the daughters and grandchildren…

Bed for deer

We walked along the creek, and then up to the top of the ridge where we flushed out a thundering herd of deer, and saw their resting place.

Many little plants were pushing up through the thick layer of leaves, but most of the trees were just budding. These mystery trees at the top were an exception.

Skunk cabbage coming up


onion grass

I took walks with Pearl and Kate and had cozy teatimes and visits with their friends: except for the warm day I blogged about, we had to bundle up like this to take our walks.

Maggie and I embroidered together, and Philosopher read to me many stories of Warrior Cats. Most school days I was able to rouse myself in time to walk them up the hill to the bus stop. The older boys have to get on the bus an hour earlier.

Rolling out gnocchi

When Kate came over, we cooked up a storm, including sweet potato gnocchi.

Me draining gnocchi
Maggie spying on whatever was in the oven.

There were surprises, too: someone’s back injury that made me glad I was around to help out more; meeting a fellow blogger face-to-face; and a rain shower we were unprepared for. Maggie had gone to great lengths packing a picnic to eat with me at Philosopher’s soccer game, and was loaded down with cloths to spread on the ground, her picnic basket, and a bag full of coloring supplies.

None of us had remembered to bring an umbrella, so while we were waiting around for the game, which was canceled in the end, Maggie used the tablecloth for a hood.

 
I was surprised to see a bear wearing the coat I sewed about 30 years ago for My Friend Mandy. He was hanging out with Lucy who was wearing her new togs.

The biggest surprise of my trip was on the way home, when I opened my wallet at the Baltimore airport and found that my I.D. and almost all my important cards were not there. I had left them back at Pearl’s in a purse I’d borrowed from her earlier in the week, as I realized eventually. I did get through airport security without them. First, though, I had the dreaded experience of rummaging through my giant suitcase on the sidewalk in plain view of a hundred people because I was sure the missing items were in there. I’m so glad I had packed most everything in one- and two-gallon ziplock bags.

It was a learning experience. Switching from one purse to another will demand a thorough double-checking from now on.

Two whole days of the trip were given to traveling. I got on the bus to the airport at 5:15 a.m. at the beginning of my trip, and it took me a couple of hours before I could get over being homesick that morning. I finally arrived at Pearl’s house about 8:15 at night, on the other side of the continent. It’s always a surprise, if I think about it very much, that I could cover so much territory so….quickly?

I actually enjoyed my time in the air. I was able to really get into the book I am going to start blogging about. On two of the four flights I had a one-seat row to myself, and could look out the window and not need to even say hello to anyone. But the long hours take their toll.

It’s only to be expected, that I am t-i-r-e-d. I know I sound tired. It’s odd that I am already home again, and not surprising that I am feeling the weight of all the work I have to do, in contrast with the easy life of helping with someone else’s housework, walking in the woods, and hugging people I now miss.

Lewis Carroll said, “Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end; then stop.” I have come to the end of my Maryland trip, and am at the beginning of a three-week period that includes Pascha — the feast of feasts! In three weeks B. and I are going together, Lord willing, on another trip, to see other family and grandchildren.

I should be revived by then.

A Thankful of Joys

Pearl’s sunroom

Firstly, I’m thankful for Jody who encouraged me today to think about what I am thankful for. It’s a perspective I need on a day when my prayers are all tending toward the “Lord, help!” sort and my mind is going along the lines of forty tangents. Because tomorrow I’m getting up at 4:00 a.m. to make my way toward the airport and fly to Maryland for a spell.

I’m thankful for
*family who want to have me with them
*resources physical and financial to make the trip
*a husband who is willing to do without me for the ten days

Today I’ll be flitting about trying to decide whether to pack the blue or brown skirt, making a batch of pasta with pesto for B. to comfort himself with in my absence, doing the last load of laundry, trying to get the house a little less pigpenny, and carefully loading my backpack for the travel, with the perfect selection of books, notebooks, snacks — well, maybe it won’t be perfect — and anyway, I might want to just sit in silence and be thankful for my own little private spot, jammed in next to a fellow human who is suffering the squeeze right there.

In my psyche I have been feeling the tearing away from home and church, and the homesickness that I always fall prey to before leaving home. But when I remember that every event has God in it, offering the grace of Himself in whatever work is before us, there is Joy for the taking.

Pearl in her yard 2 years ago

Today is the first day in a long while that I’ve had the whole day to be home and do my work — and so far it’s been mostly a slow labor of the mind and heart.  Maybe that’s one reason I’ve been able to process some of the truths and encouraging words I’ve been hearing, and put it all together so that I see my way clear. And it is clearly joyful!

I’m going to stay at Pearl’s, and spend time with four of the grandchildren, and see Kate and cherry blossoms. I’m taking snowball bush cuttings, books, and embroidery floss, among other gifts. We’ll go for hilly walks when it’s not raining, and I understand that I am to bake cupcakes with Littlest Granddaughter Maggie. Maybe we’ll watch the movie “Babies” that I love.

Once I arrive, it won’t feel like work, but there will be grace and peace. And I won’t be homesick again until the time comes that I have to leave them and come home. Isn’t it wonderful to have people to love?