Summer is officially a full-go around here — both in calendrical terms (Happy Solstice, All!) and in the sense that we are all settling nicely into our favorite seasonal routines.
We got our Bella back. And our Xi, too, for that matter. Since we returned from our time in Santa Cruz, we’ve only been with Xi for a few overnights (as part of the schedule balancing-act we arranged so that she could come with us for part of the Santa Cruz time and be with us for more of Bella’s Summer time); and we haven’t seen Bella (other than our skype dates) since the Winter holidays. #holycoparentingjugglebatman…
Scenes like these always make me sigh. When all three of our girls are with us, it’s like home is more home; family is more family. Where I am and what I am doing in the universe makes more sense. The world is friendlier, fuller of promise, and made of fresher atoms. And when the days yawn out before us, and we have no concern for how soon Bella has to be back, or how to make the days count double — then there’s no doubt that Summer is on.
Another sure sign of Summer in our house is the parade of Grandparents! This year, Grandpop Michael kicked off the celebrations, showing up just a couple days after Bella and Xi. We wasted no time getting him to his favorite spot in Missoula — Big Dipper Ice Cream.And, in fact, we made sure he got back there at least once, every single day for the week that he was with us. We got split single scoops each time. He got 5 or 6. Oh yeah, and Bella is 13… See… ^^^
Grandpop, on the other hand, is still only 12…
Nevertheless, in between delivering his nearly constant supply of jokes, and impromptu wrestling bouts with the girls, he also rebuilt our renter-injured door frame, repaired both our incomplete and ornery gate latches and our sprained garage door, took us to our first roller derby, lavished the girls with clothes, and took us to about a dozen of our favorite local restaurants, among other silly adventures. Our last stop on the way to return Grandpop to the airport — not Big Dipper (as one would do well to expect), but the ranch supply store for some good old fashioned Montana cowboy boots… Now that’s how you finish off a Summer trip to Big Sky Country!
Also as part of our Summer kick-off, we undertook a wonderful science project the last few weeks which culminated over the last few days in the release of 5 new Pink Lady Butterflies into our neighborhood ecosystem. We’ve been researching pollinators a fair amount lately, studying the habits of the several species of bees that we have in our yard and planting bee-friendly flowers for them, and the butterfly project fit perfectly within that subject area. We got this kit, partly pictured below, that came with everything but the caterpillars, which we ordered separately and were sent to us in a little sealed plastic cup with some special food for them. We watched them munch and wriggle and crawl around the cup for about a week until one by one, and almost instantaneously, they affixed themselves to the paper lining on the lid-ceiling of the cup in snug translucent chrysalids. Even after zipping up their transformation (not sleeping) bags, they would occasionally give an odd swaying jiggle, as if they were really 5 tiny Houdinis slipping out of their caterpillar straightjackets while hanging upside-down in burlap sacks. And then, miraculously, each to their own impressive and triumphant musical score, they suddenly emerged unscathed from their daring reinventions. Then after allowing their wings to “harden”, we set them free in our garden and marveled as they hit the wind like skilled flapping hang-gliders and soared over our heads and into their own Summer epics.And speaking of “our garden”… here’s the flash version of what’s been up out there:
Currently the peonies have full reign of the yard, but the columbines, irises, poppies, and fruit blossoms (cherry, apple, strawberry, and raspberry) were no less impressive.
Also “out in the garden” we now have 5 teen chicks just settling in to their new digs in the enclosed run and newly remodeled coop. Natalie, who fashioned the last coop out of an old garden hot-box made of even older windows, took the previous model and stood it up on one end and reoriented everything so that now it’s warmer, has more room for the chickens to roost and has an additional nesting area. Instead of a ranch-styled home, these fancy ladies get to live in a high-rise condo.
This week is a bit of a “lull” between major events, more exciting escapades, and another round of grandparenting — Bella is in theatre camp all day, Xi is having a week with her mom, and Echo is making audio-files of her current game narration(s). And Natalie and I are bobbing and weaving between work projects, gardening, and play. In a word, we’re all gleefully Summering!
I hope you’re all finding your seasonal sweet spots too!