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A most perfect day

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Trees at Fireflys Place Coming into BudI recall vividly, growing up in North Carolina, the wonderful feelings invoked by the environment all around me just after a summer rainfall. It is one of the richest memories of childhood I possess. I used to long for that feeling in California, the many years I lived there. It rarely rains in Southern California in the summer, and though I knew it was futile to wish for a summer rain shower, I continued wishing nonetheless. If you have not ever experienced the feeling, let me share it with you here: You are outside playing on a hot summer day. The sky is blue, bright, clear. The skin on your bare arms and legs is tight from the heat of the sun, your neck is damp where your hair lies on it, making you too warm but you don't care because you are a child and play engrosses you. The sounds of nature are all around you as you play without a care in the world. Suddenly you feel a bit of wind, the sky grows dark in the blink of an eye and you hear your mother calling you to come inside. Rain begins tapping you gently at first, but then hard and fast. Your mother implores you come in immediately because thunder and lightening are on the way. Pretty Blue Flowers at Fireflys FarmAll of the children scatter to the safety of their homes, and you feel a rush of terrible excitement coursing through your body and senses. Up the stairs you run as fast as you can and your mother is there at the door to usher you and your brothers and sisters inside ... one, two, three, four, five. All are present and accounted for. Thunder and lighting, pelting rain, rattling windows. The power goes out, and thrills you are having, all wide eyed and quiet, expand as a big balloon of living within your very being. Your mother gets out candles and lights them, and everyone waits for the storm to pass. Sometime later, the skies are clearing and you get to return to the outside world. That world is more magical than it had been a few hours earlier. Perhaps you see a rainbow. Big fat drops of water cover everything, and you see steam rising up from the hot driveway as rain evaporates into the summer air. The air is moist and cooler than it was, and birds begin chirping here and there. Throughout the neighborhood, children begin venturing back outdoors. There is a smell, a beautiful smell of wet grasses, tree bark, leaves, flowers ... a dear beautiful after-rain smell you will treasure the rest of your life and long for if you are pulled away from it. Fireflys Husband Doing Man WorkSaturday we woke to warmth for the first time in quite a while. My husband and I left at about 8:30 in the morning to deliver paint to the Habitat build site, because volunteers would be showing up to paint the interior walls of the new home at 9:00 that morning. We noticed as we drove through the village that everything was peculiarly quiet. With the sudden warmth and sunshine we expected to see people out everywhere, doing things, taking it all in. Saturday afternoon my husband removed the snow blowing equipment from his tractor, and reconfigured it for heavy lifting. He spent several hours cutting up the fallen trunk and large limbs of our old, dead elm tree out by the willow. He would load up a pile of trunk and branch sections on the tractor and drive them over, across the road to a piece of land we own above the river. That's where he will store the wood for now, and later he will cut it up for firewood. I spent some time walking around the yard and surroundings taking photographs of flowers and green buds on tree limbs and branches. I want to keep an accurate photo journal of each and every flower as they come to life this spring and summer. Every week there are new arrivals, and it continues throughout the spring, summer, and into fall. I am going to attempt to catch them all. My husband will help me look them up and identify each by name, to assist me with my journal. The sound of the birds out in the trees by the willow is tantalizing. Their calls and songs, combined with the chirping of the peepers, and the now occasional ribbiting of the more mature frogs creates an impression that we are living in a bayou. I relished that time in the yard hearing the sounds of our personal bayou, the sound of my husband's work with the chain saw and the tractor. All of it mixed together with the wonderful warm air and sunshine made for a perfect day and many perfect moments. Fireflys Rhododendron Coming into BloomThe third Sunday of every month we have a potluck lunch at church, after the service. This week I wanted to make something fresh and cool for the warm spring weekend. We decided on an idea I had to make a couscous salad with pesto, mozzarella, and tomatoes. It hit the mark, so this morning I posted the recipe on the I Live on a Farm website for you. Hmm, hmm, good. Yesterday was another warm day, but with a wind portending of rain showers to come. Most delicious. Each time I took Blu out for some time in the yard I got to experience the wonderful feel of that warm wind and the darkening of the skies creating the excitement I used to experience as a child. Oh yes, I have my weather back again and I soak up every moment of it. By 2:30 in the afternoon we got a pretty good drenching, and I had to run around the house closing windows as heavy rain was blowing in. The showers came and went, and came again. At 5:00 out power went out, and shortly after we headed out for a brief walk up the road with Blu. As we walked, a light rain breezed along from time to time. I gathered some materials for Thistleonians, and Blu found a deer antler just recently shed. Oh, how he loved that antler. It was slippery from the rain, so it took him some time to work out how to carry it. Once he got it balanced properly and could hold on it, he pranced proudly in front of us, heading back home with his trophy. The pride that showed in his posture and gait was unmistakable. We let him take the prize into the house with him, and then we headed back out for more of an exercise walk together. When we started down the road it looked as if the rain had mostly passed and was moving on beyond us toward the north. As it turned out, that first rain had moved on, but there was another larger storm cell moving down from the north. When we were up the road a little less than half a mile, it started raining pretty hard. As we headed back it started pelting us pretty good. Fireflys Pesto Couscous SaladBy the time we reached home we were drenched through every layer of clothing, hair dripping wet; even our socks were wet inside our shoes. When I was a little girl, that was what I always wished I could do during a storm--stay out in it and get good and drenched. Mama was right to bring us all in--we were children afterall, but I have to say that as an adult it was wonderful to be out on that walk getting a good drenching, holding hands with my husband and walking along pretty much as normal despite the heavy storm. Back at home we changed into dry clothes and snuggled into warm positions in the living room to enjoy a quiet evening with Blu and each other as we waited for the power to come back on. Power was restored just before we were ready to turn in for bed. All in all, it had been a most perfect day. I hope yours was too. And by the way, I wanted to say how much I have appreciated the interest many of you have shown in my paintings and Thistleonians. The auctions have been going well, and it is exciting to be shipping my creations off to some of my wonderful readers and friends. I almost get the sense of being out there with some of you now, because these treasured things I have created as an artist are now in your homes. :) ~firefly


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