Just Enjoy It

Last night John shopped and hauled and arranged so that today three special ladies could join me for iced tea and strawberry shortcake under the blooming apple trees.

(Let’s pretend this picture has me, my mom, my granny and her caretaker (who feels more like a family friend every day) in it all happily smiling because we are outside together on such a beautiful day!)

We ate and laughed, bird watched and bee watched (that’s just like birding but with bees), told stories and I pretended there wasn’t anything else more pressing that needed doing for a few hours.

Because you know what?

There wasn’t.



The Pruning Challenge

We’ve been pruning our apple trees.

I like the challenge of deciding what to do with each tree. But not so much the challenge of standing on the top of a ladder.

What branches need to go? Which should stay for the long haul? And what branches should only stay for now?

Each tree grows with a different personality.

They have twisty branches or willowy branches. They grow with limbs that want to grow out forever and others that want to reach up forever. The ones that grow up forever are John’s job. 

Pruning the trees is a constant exercise in studying the details. Watching for rot and fungus while looking at angles that limbs grow out of the main truck. Checking to see how a branch responded to what was done to it last year to know what to try this year. And double checking to see if your ladder is stable. 

And then, at the same time, trying to hold a picture of the whole tree in your mind, not just today’s tree, but what today’s tree should look like in three years. This is better than holding a picture in your mind about how far off the ground you are, that’s ill advised.

It’s a challenge, and I like it. Well, other than that whole “heights” thing.

Except that today, a week in to the process and so close to done, my brain broke. I couldn’t figure out what to do with another wonky branch or just how many waterspouts to cut and how many to leave.  I left John plugging away at it and stumbled out of the orchard in search of a Diet Coke and dinner. Also shortly before this I may not have triple checked the stability of my ladder and while I’m sure I didn’t actually almost fall two whole feet to the ground and die – it felt completely possible at the time. 

Pruning is a challenge.

I always like a challenge, I’ll be back out there again tomorrow. Unless the last trees are really tall and then it’s all John.

All John. 

Picture taken for The Dogwood Photography Photo Challenge: Macro

Lawnmower Limbo

There are no winners in Riding Lawnmower Limbo.
In fact, Riding Lawnmower Limbo isn’t a thing.

No matter how tempting it looks, don’t do it.
When the branches start taunting you, trying to convince you that you can do the whole thing without ever stopping, backing up or getting off, don’t believe them.

The ducks and geese can organize their own orchard limbo. They'll probably do fine so long as they don't learn how to use the lawnmower...

The ducks and geese can organize their own orchard limbo. They’ll probably do fine so long as they don’t learn how to use the lawnmower…

You know why?

Because if you are mowing an area at high speeds (There are totally winners at high speed lawn mowing just so long as you have the reflexes to miss the dead cat!) and you start doing the lawnmower limbo, you will lose. You will lose your sunglasses and your ear muffs and a bunch of skin off your back and the only thing you will gain is a lump on your head for your efforts.
Because it’s the limbo.
And, as everyone knows, when you successfully limbo once, the bar just gets lower and lower and lower – until you bleed.

True story.

Apparently branches make me competitive. I went under this one, you know, the one the dog is walking around...

Apparently branches make me competitive. I went under this one, you know, the one the dog is walking around…

There is no such thing as Riding Lawnmower Limbo.

But if there were, I would totally be a star.

A high speed, bleeding, bruised star…but still a star!

How Do You Do It?

“How do you do it?” is a question that gets posed to me on a semi-regular basis.

It’s usually when I’m out in public where my three girls always behave closer to something resembling angels than the screaming devils I know them to be within the confines of our home. And it often follows on the heels of me talking about bees, or chickens, or blogging, or just having three children dressed and out of the house.

And though I’ve been hearing this, likely, rhetorical question for years now, it shocks me a little bit every time. Why is someone asking me that?

How do I do it?

With caffeine, alcohol and under eye cream.

With a deliberate lack of sleep, a great husband and good friends.

With afternoon naps, good books and morning tea.apple blossom

How do I do it?

I don’t care what the kids wear so long as they’re dressed.

Ditto for myself.

I don’t care if the girls have brushed their hair so long as they can see where they are going.

Ditto for myself.

I don’t care if the kids have shoes on unless we are in a restaurant or grocery store.

Ditto for myself.apple blossom

How do I do it?

I blog and bake and read.

I raise chickens and bees and pigs.

I workout and canoe and play capoeira.apple blossom

How do I do it?

With snuggly mornings, hugs in the afternoon and I love you’s at bedtime.

With book reading, coloring and baseball games.

With giggles, smiles and overly loud whispers in my ear.apple blossom

How do I do it?

My house is messy – and I can live with that.

My truck is a disaster area – and I can live with that.

I haven’t gotten a week’s worth of decent sleep in ten years – and I’m still alive.apple blossom

How do I do it?

I do it the same way you do.

I do it one day at a time.

One smile at a time.

One screaming tantrum at a time.

One stolen moment of peace and chocolate in the bedroom closet at a time.

One sustaining hug from my husband at a time.

One phone call to a friend at a time.

One moment of wonder at a time.apple blossom

And so, when someone asks me how I do it I tend to trip over my tongue and mumble a bit. I don’t know what to say, and I’m not sure why they are asking me. Because I do it the same way everyone else does, no matter what they have chosen to fill their lives with.. Some days I do it poorly and some days I do it well and some days it’s all I can do just to do it.

Just like you.


Walking in Circles Looking Up

The weather here has been nice and our days have been spent pruning the apple trees.

I feel that, in my relative apple tree pruning inexperience, I spend a lot of time staring up at the tree and walking in circles.

I forgot about the trail camera we put out to see if we could discover who ate the ducks.

pruning apple trees

Turns out that walking in circles while looking up is exactly what I do.

Only seven more trees to go!