How I spent my summer hiatus

How is it possible that seven weeks have zipped by since I last made notes in this column space?
I have, in fact, been gunning to sit down and tell you for the past three weeks all about what’s been happening in my neck of the woods. Yet somehow the critical time frame that I usually cordon off as writing space crumbled away again and again like a dry bran muffin while I was busy squeezing the last drops of juice out of my summer orange.
Maybe I should start by agreeing with fellow Times’ columnist Wendy Stewart, who last week wrote, “I loved the freedom of summer holidays—the lack of routine and the impromptu adventures. . . .”
Yup.
Nonetheless, I was feeling guilty about taking time away from my weekly writing session until I realized history was repeating itself.
Some 13 months ago, I wrote a column about being back to the writing table after—you guessed it—seven weeks of summer holidays! Go figure.
Once again I squeezed the juice out of my orange this summer. And no matter her short season, I’m thankful for every day of it. Yet it seems like only yesterday (though five months have passed) since I wrote about how I was wearing spring weather like a favourite old good luck T-shirt:
“I wore it like an old softened faded pair of jeans that fit just right. I wore it like a reunion with a best friend after a long while of being apart. I wore it well.”
And yet now, here I am rushing to beat the clock of chores before the sun of mid-September sets far sooner than the one I remember on that July day, just yesterday?
In the last seven weeks, I’ve filled my life with the adventures of my summer, sailed Rainy Lake to nearly my heart’s content, and penned my diary days with “August whatever 2014” because I was a free spirit and the date didn’t matter.
And I watched my old farmhouse get an amazing facelift. She has all new windows and new siding with all the trimmings and, best of all, a second chance.
I have been afraid of change, but not this time. This house renovation was a Cinderella project—round three times and more fantastic and gorgeous than I ever could have imagined.
I didn’t think I’d ever feel this way, but I do. I am no longer the caretaker. I am home.
And while my mind got to wandering through all the possibilities for more upgrading, my two cats (obviously more afraid of change than I) dug themselves under the freshly-restored back porch—and remained under there for nearly 24 hours until dragged out by the scruff.
And then it was the last day of August, arriving like a speeding train. And then, after eight years of living here, I discovered chokecherry trees in my yard.
Thirteen cups of ripe berries and nine jars later, I had my very first batch of homemade jelly, which actually turned out to be nine jars of chokecherry sauce for pancakes or ice cream because the pectin didn’t set.
Life is full of setbacks—little ones, big ones—and time waits for no one.
And here we are almost able to spot October on the horizon while reaching for a sweater and the electric blanket, and wondering where did the summer go?
I hope you squeezed the juice out of your orange. And keep squeezing.

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