Monday, July 23, 2007

Lazy Summer Days

There's not much new here as we've slipped into our relaxed summer schedule of waking, eating and sleeping pretty much whenever we want. Ah, I love that about summer. I feel it's a necessary part of life: down time. We push the kids along the rest of the year with school, homework, sports, lessons, practices, concerts, etc. It's good for them to have a short part of that year to just relax, refresh and just be.

We visited a home recently that was impressive by most standards; lovely garden, large, expensively furnished rooms, enviable antiques and collectibles. The whole house was a trophy case, despite the family photos, numerous pets and surprisingly thick layers of dust. It tried too hard to seem like one of those gracious, old homes that have been in the family for years, but there was no disguising its young age and new money. I walked through the rooms, admiring many things on my way. But when I came back to where I had started I looked around and realized there was no place to just be. There was no space that called out to me, no nook that drew me close. I didn't long to stay and curl up with a book from the library or linger in the garden, gazing at the flowers.

I realized, that is one of the things I like so much about our house. It's small and has its many flaws, but it's cozy. In most of the house you can just sit and be. The kitchen, dining room, bedrooms, even the shabby living room, all call out, "Come and sit and be." To me, that's what makes a house a home.

We're throwing around a few new project ideas for the fall. Man-Cub's closet needs to be finished. When his room was built he was only 2 so there wasn't a great need for much more than a large cupboard with a door. Now that he's 6 and going into 1st grade I'm finding he's accumulating a lot more clothes that need to be on hangers. I'm hoping we can finish this before school starts, but with funds as low as they are, I just don't know.

We'd also like to do something about the living room. With the kitchen and dining room now to our liking, the poor living room looks shabby and frumpy in comparison. We did get a new sofa and recliner at Christmas and the rest of the furniture is in fine shape, but new paint and window treatments are in order, and we'd really love to refinish the hardwood floor underneath the Berber carpet. But that is a HUGE undertaking that I don't think we'll be ready to deal with for at least another year. Of course, the biggest improvement we'd like to add to that room is a real, wood-burning fireplace. We've been dreaming of putting one in since our first winter here. This house just screams for a fireplace and every Autumn I shake my head in despair that we still don't have one. Sigh. Someday.

So, in absence of other projects to drone on about, I thought I'd share a few recent pics:

The Viking's Black-Eyed Susans have burst forth. I admit, they're not my favorite flowers, but they do bring a cottage look to the flower bed and they're easy to maintain. And they're striking against the picket fence. We'd still like to add a few more perennials along the front of the bed, but we'll just keep picking away at it, little by little.

The flowers in the window boxes have filled in too. The Viking picked the plants for those this year, putting his foot down about the Vinca Vine I had put in them every year up till now. Apparently he cannot abide Vinca Vine and was having none of it this year. In my bratty stubbornness I told him he was on his own then. Didn't he do a nice job?

Finally, an errant sunflower, left over from last year's planting. The Viking had a full-fledged vegetable garden last year that he neglected this year. We have a nice, square plot of weeds protected by chicken wire out there now. But, somehow, this determined little sunflower pushed through. Red Headed Snippet brought it in today and put it in water in a place of honor next to the sink. I have enjoyed looking at it all day today, while washing dishes and rinsing my hands. There's just something...poetic about it that I can't describe.

Well, that's about all I can squeeze out of this day. Our little bird family is doing well. Mama is sitting her eggs and we've been hearing peepings so they've either started to hatch or are about to. The children have been given strict instructions to leave the nest alone, but I've caught them several times terrorizing the poor Mama in their curiosity about the babies. One of them are going to get pecked on the head if they're not careful. If I can get pics of the wee babes with their necks outstretched for yummy worms and beetles, I'll share them.

For tonight, I'm off to iron and mend in front of the tv. Hope there's something good on.


TTFWEB said...

I really like the window box and garden fence pictures. Have fun relxing this summer.

eon said...

Recently discovered your blog. I've enjoyed looking through your posts. I agree with you so much about what makes a home. There are a lot of "trophy" houses out there, but I love my "work in progress", very imperfect home.

Angela (Cottage Magpie) said...

I know what you mean about Black Eyed Susans. Very cottagey, and I always consider them every summer when I see them in other people's gardens, but usually end up axing them from mine because I don't love them most of the time. Thanks for sharing the pretty pictures! ~A :-)

mary said...

Hi Pippajo,
I'm new to your blog and enjoying it very much. I'm glad to find someone else who prefers an older, smaller home. I've been in some beautiful, big new houses (including my sister-in-law's) and find them to be grand but cold. We live in the small Cape Cod I grew up in, and I guess that's why I feel most comfortable in cozy rooms.

Love your window boxes and black-eyed susans!