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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Thursday Dinner. Some Summer Farewells.

Thursday night I came home from a very long day to cooks in the kitchen, putting a little extra twist on our usual farmers-eating-at-home Thursday night dinner--a summer farewell to Amelia, going back to college in Portland, and to India, heading off to Ecuador.

Casey and Brooke were the animating spirits--the rest of us chopping dutifully or just sitting around telling stories. ("So, yeah, I've heard the name--tell me who Will Campbell is.") Esme, a new 4, cycled between India's room, where mostly packing was going on, and the kitchen, where she sat on the counter eating bread and jam and dribbling the oil into her daddy's homemade mayonnaise fixings. DiAnne brought in a brilliant cluster of zinnias, perfect for the blue vase.

Homemade pimiento cheese toast, fried green tomatoes with Casey's mayonnaise, turnip greens (the best!), that fine ham from the Murfreesboro ham man, DiAnne's cauliflower, light little biscuits with sorghum, arugula and peach salad, "smashed" potatoes.

And our familiar crew: Tom, DiAnne, Rachel, India, Brooke, Casey, Esme, Eric, friend Laura who is visiting, Kevin, Evan, Amelia. Martha stayed home to take care of her ailing dachshund. We sent a mental toast to Buddy--we miss you!--and Dan and Evan, our reliables from last year. And Jeff the Barefoot Farmer, who has been tragically flooded out twice this year.

Our long table in the Church of Outdoor Dining was lit by a brilliant moon (and, ok, ok, lights), the white nightblooming water lily unfurled into its personal glory, and this long and complicated day tapered off into a long and complicated peace.

Tom did get called away on a neighborhood emergency, so we ate peach pie standing in the kitchen, and somehow a "massage circle" turned into a knot of about ten twenty-somethings, arms tightly wrapped around each other, staggering through the house like a drunken caterpillar towards the couch to watch "Ernest Goes to Camp", that perfectly silly Nashville-filmed confection (which, incidentally, features DiAnne and Martha's turtle props).

And then I had to get up at 4 a.m. to take India to the airport. And another full day of clinics and hospital work. Well, really, still, life is good. Not exactly minimalist, but good. And we're already looking forward to seeing India and Amelia again around Christmas!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Tractor. Seedlings. Hot. Hot. Hot.

Here's an actual picture of Tom's new tractor--see background.

Obviously farmers have been busy, busy--lovely seedlings for fall crops, in spite of breath-grabbing mind-numbing soaking-sweat-every-day heat--high 90's, with heat indexes of 110 or so much of last week.

Hats off to 'em all: hope they keep theirs on. At least until it cools off a bit.

Tom. Retired. Retreaded.

Back from the ritual Sunset Beach in August. But all those superlatives must wait for another day, another forum. The real news, of course, now not so new, is that Tom is really, totally, completely, without a doubt retired. No more Vanderbilt, no more VA, no more clinics.

No more dress slacks: it's suspenders every day all day. I have labeled his current state as one of "suspendered animation".

He quit on a Wednesday, and his new Kubota arrived on that Saturday--a large orange (non-UT) object squatting in our driveway. The spader is yet to arrive.

As the sole support of this operation at this time, I have registered small and tentative objections to this outlay, ladylike peeps of "Do you really think...?", and "What about...?" Tom points out, not without truth on his side, and not without justification (sanctification is a good ways off, alas), that this is indeed not a yacht, a small red convertible, or an expensive lady friend.

Anyhow, adjustments all around: suspenders, schedules, kitchen clean-up, and tractor education.

I'm envious. I think.