A Summer for the Record Books




herb garden

Like almost everyone else in the southeast, we are in a drought, and have shared some of the hottest weather on record. Behind the house, the Shenandoah River is as low as anyone alive has ever seen it. Normally we expect to see canoeists all season long; this year there have been hardly any.

Despite the grim weather, when it's really been too hot to do much work on the house, we've managed a good summer--lots of time with Jack, who has finally gotten the hang of throwing a spiral, lots of canning, many preparations to resume work on the house when the weather breaks....and, yes, a few things have gotten done....

potted herbs

We've started putting in a bathroom and working on the bedrooms upstairs. The first room has been painted, mostly, although in the process of going up and down the ladder I broke my foot, so work's been put on hold for a little while. If we can find a plumber and when the plasterers come back to work, the upstairs will be habitable. Sometime when we weren't looking, we moved from having every small job be an enormous improvement to measuring progress by gains of inches. Which is progress on its own, I guess.

Of us all, Jack has had the busiest summer. This year he joined the 10th Virginia Infantry living historians as a bugler, which means that I've been busy making his uniform. The 10th was the host organization for last spring's IVR Camp of Instruction, and there isn't a nicer group of people anywhere.

There are three steps, I'm told, to playing the bugle. First is to get noise out of the instrument, second to get noise out reliably, and third to play music. Jack is comfortably in the second step, and we're arranging lessons, both to spare him from developing bad playing habits, and second to spare our ears. We have 80 acres, true, but it's not quite room enough...

Finally, I'm sorry to say, last winter Bert, our old dog, died at 14. He died of old age, comfortably, and we were with him. In the spring we promised Jack that he could get a dog of his own, and he remembered.

dobby

Now....if only she had manners.....


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