07 August 2014

A few moments in time

 
Bucks County, Pennsylvania (more pictures below)

We have been unlucky in the fact that our temporary apartment building is undergoing countless  different loud construction projects. Rather ironic that the place we are renting while our own home is under renovation should be almost uninhabitable during work hours. There have been moments when I have been at the end of my rope and have uselessly screamed at the top of my lungs for the noise to stop. My temporary insanity is known only to myself because the noise is so loud no one can hear me scream.

We have been extremely lucky in the fact that we have good friends who have a lovely farm house in rural Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Lucy gets to run around, chase cats, stare at bunnies, and chickens and horses. John gets to talk gardening and sit by the pool with a glass of cold rosé. I get to chat, and eat and read. And believe it or not, I get to help mow the lawn. I love to mow lawn. We play bocce, watch birds, try to figure out the species of all the trees.

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This summer has been wonderfully mild. I've lost count of the number of nights, and even many days, that we have been able to turn off the air conditioning and open the windows. For DC in the summer this is unusual indeed. Even as the temperature has climbed occasionally into the 90s and the humidity ticked up a bit, we have yet to have a typical DC summer day. The kind that leave you sweating like a pig at 7:00 AM on your walk to the Metro.

On these cool evenings, with lovely breezes making Lucy's last walk of the night feel like a childhood summer idyll, it is hard not to feel a bit cozy. As I contemplated what to read on one of these nights, I trundled down the hall to the closet that is serving as my main book storage while we are displaced from our home. When I opened the doors it was like the smell of a hundred used bookstores had been concentrated into that 4' x 4' space. If it wasn't for the rather precarious stacks of books I would have crawled inside with a blanket and pillow and taken a little snooze.

A blurry picture of one of my temporary book closets.

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One of the books I am reading at the moment is Gladys Taber's My Own Cape Cod. It's been a few summers since we have been to Maine, and while I know that Massachusetts and Maine are not the same place, there are enough similarities that I'm letting the two places mix in my mind. Published in 1971, the memoir of Taber's life on the Cape reminds me a bit of some of May Sarton's journals. The book is arranged by season. I've gotten through spring and started summer. I love the way the book chronicles every day life and shows how the year unfolds through flora and fauna and weather. I've often wanted to keep that kind of journal. Taber seems a little obsessed with Vietnam and the arms race, but those are only minor, if frequent blips in the otherwise cozy and look at a seemingly simpler, quieter, less plugged-in time.





Lucy wants to help me mow the paddock.

Bocce ball


 












23 comments:

  1. Sorry to hear you must endure construction projects even in your temporary quarters... but what a perfect retreat!!

    We haven't been to Maine in a couple of years either - must look for Taber's book.

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  2. I now have extreme piggy weather vane envy.

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    1. My friend said he almost got rid of the weather vane when they bought the house about a year ago.

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  3. We're having the same temperate summer here in Ontario, Thomas, and I like it. It sure beats feeling (and looking) like a wrung-out sponge after a walk with Deacon. The pictures of the farm are lovely; I would never leave!

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    1. Darlene, I keep waiting for it to get hot and humid here in DC and we had a taste of the humidity yesterday but not the heat. Now today is supposed to be in the low 80s again with low humidity.

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  4. I want to live there. It is a wonderful place. Loved the photo of Lucy by the rock and of the chair near the field all by itself. Would be nice to sit there with Lucy next to it. Such a beautiful place. Enjoy. Loved the photos.

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    1. Would you believe Lucy can climb over that fence?

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  5. Oh. my. 8th picture down from the book..."stealth Lucy on a mission coming out from behind the rock" made me laugh out loud. Such good friends you have - glad y'all could get away for the quiet and Lucy could get out and roam. I just discovered Taber a couple of months ago with Stillmeadow Calendar. The only one of hers our library had, I'm on the lookout for more. We, too, have had a very mild summer compared to normal. That said, we returned to triple digit heat this week (with at least another 7 days coming) and it is miserable! Here's hoping it only lasts a couple of weeks. Happy reading to you.

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    1. Funny thing is Lucy sits by that "rock" (it's a planter) in one spot where she is almost entirely hidden by plants. All you can see are ear tips and occasionally the eyes.

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  6. What a beautiful farm that is, I'm jealous (except for the part about mowing, ugh). How funny that just last night I picked up 'my own cape cod' from my condo building's bookshare to read in Ptown next week. I try to only bring one book so I don't feel guilty going to the many used bookstores there. I leave room in my suitcase for what I may find!

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    1. I would love to comb the used bookstores of the Cape, but I doubt I could limit myself to taking just one book no matter how many I might buy.

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  7. If you like the Cape Cod book, you might like Henry Beston's book The Outermost House. He went to the Cape in 1926 for two weeks and stayed a year.

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    1. It would be especially interesting to compare Taber's Cape of 1971 with Beston's of 1926.

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  8. My husband is from Buck's County, PA - beautiful area indeed. Sorry about all the noise and chaos you've been dealing with - Lucy seems quite happy in her temporary digs.

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  9. Lovely pictures. Glad you have a refuge. Just added My Own Cape Code to my own to be read list.

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    1. Taber also wrote about her farm in Connecticut. It's called Stillmeadow.

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  10. I'm sorry your temporary apartment building has been so noisy! But Bucks County is just beautiful and lovely and can still have those cool nights this time of year. I actually just moved back to Northern Virginia and we've only had one of those oppressively hot days so far. Unfortunately it was my first day down here after leaving NYC, so it was a bit of a shock! I'll get used to it soon enough :)

    It looks like Lucy is enjoying the farm and I hope you are too!

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    1. Welcome to the area! We will have to meet up sometime.

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  11. Lovely summery photos, Thomas. Your mention of Gladys Taber brings to mind Susan Branch - do you know her books and website? She gave the main talk at the Friends of Gladys Taber meeting at Stillmeadow this year (I didn't go myself - I mean, why leave Maine, really...), but I did read all about it on her blog. She is funny and super cozy, with recipes. And cats.

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