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Judith Liebaert

Despite a cold start to summer, things have heated up and it’s been a busy season for me. Always there is the long running summer venue, The Homefront — A Presentation in Three Acts.

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Act I: Waiting, so patiently for the snow to melt, then hurry, hurry, hurry, rake and prepare the lawn for the months of growing and mowing. Clean out all the flowerbeds in anticipation of spring bulbs — but not too soon. A late frost could nip those bulbs and the riot of spring color will be more like a watercolor left out in the rain; very dull and lifeless.

Act II: Haul out the birdbaths, summer birdfeeders, lawn ornaments, wind chimes, flags, tables, chairs and umbrellas. Unwind the hoses and attach the sprinklers. Plant the gardens, vegetable and flowerbeds. Fertilize and weed, fertilize and mow, water and mow, mow and mulch. Don’t forget to prune the shrubbery, deadhead the flowers and edge trim everywhere.

Act Two is long and there is no intermission between scenes. Lawn and garden chores are interwoven with care and maintenance of house, buildings and other structures — sidewalks, patios, porches, fences — and includes scraping, pressure washing, painting, patching and repairing. The entire act is a fast-paced interplay of action with my hubby as co-lead.

Act III: Once the work is pretty well in hand, there is time for leisure — socializing, playing and traveling. These days I’m not chasing rainbows so much. I’m pretty content to hang right in my own back yard, grilling out on the deck, lounging in the sun and occasionally under the big umbrella (very occasionally – I like it hot!).

I don’t plant huge gardens anymore, producing bushels and bags of homegrown goodness for canning and freezing. I have a few tomato plants, some green beans, and a couple varieties of squash — enough to pick something fresh and enjoy for daily meals. I’m also feeding a voracious little chipmunk that is small enough to get through the wire fence (sigh).

I don’t do a lot of canning and preserving, but I’ve started buying what I need for “putting up” from the local farm markets. It’s homegrown and healthy and I’m helping to support local farmers.

Harvesting crops means that autumn is nearing and the third act is coming to a close. Fall sweaters will be coming out of the closet. Summer nights at the races will turn to fall afternoons of football. My time in the sun will dwindle to a few afternoon hours on the deck, sipping ice tea, listening to the voices of the children on the playground just a half-block from my back door, and soaking up the last of the summertime-warm sun. Wish I could preserve it like I do the produce, to uncap and enjoy on the coldest days of winter.

In the yard, raking will begin in earnest again. All the feeders, lawn furniture, hoses, umbrellas and other artifacts of summer will be carefully stored away. I’ll take a few days for a thorough spic and span housecleaning while I can still crank the windows wide open, letting the breeze blow a final fresh breath of air into every nook and cranny. I’ll wash all those windows until the glass is so clean it disappears, knowing that soon I’ll be spending all of my days inside looking out—for several long months.

Summertime and the living is easy — or at least it sure seems that way when the weather is so fine, doesn’t it?

Judith Liebaert was raised in Superior and now lives in rural Douglas County. She blogs on-line as the Mad Goddess™. Send your comments or story ideas to judith_ann@

madgoddess.com.

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