In just a minute or two, the longest day of the year will dawn and summer will officially arrive.
Someone had better tell Mother Nature, though. If her rendition of summer is as cockeyed as that of spring was, don’t expect the rhapsodic example of which Henry Wadsworth Longfellow gushed: “…then followed that beautiful season…summer…filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light and the landscape lay as if newly created in all the freshness of childhood…”
But June does indeed have its own personality, like homegrown strawberries, like the first firefly twinkling in the maple trees, like sipping a cool libation while reading on the front porch — at the moment the furnace is running and forget the front porch! — and like listening to the conversation of the swallows who swoop and whirl through the barn.
As much as they annoy me by their numbers and grating voices, I do have to laugh at the hulking “baby” grackles which harass their frantic parents who are trying desperately to feed all those gaping mouths.
And I laugh at the baby sparrows that perch on the rim of the bird bath, afraid to take the plunge. They’ll duck their heads in the water and pretend they’re taking a bath until finally one will be brave enough to go all the way and the rest will follow, splashing most of the water out.
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For years, June was the month in which my sister, Barbara, would arrive from New England for a three-day visit and we’d cram in as much reminiscing and eat as many strawberries as we possibly could.
Since her passing, June has become the month in which her dear son, Joe, and his darling wife, Marilyn, come, also from New England, and again we’ll cram in as much as we can.
They will arrive the day after summer’s debut and if this column gets a little off schedule you’ll know why.
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Such a nice note from Kathy Bennett of Salem. Her dad was the late Elden Groves, longtime editor of Farm and Dairy, and we’ve known one another for many years, beginning when she wrote a weekly column for Farm and Dairy and later in her several capacities on the Canfield Fair Board.
She wrote: “I was so pleased to read what you wrote about Ora Anderson. (I had included one of his sweet poems in the column.) You may be aware of some of his history, and if so (I wasn’t) sorry about the repetition.
“Ora Anderson was editor of the Farm and Dairy in the early 40s, maybe the late 30s. His family lived in Salem, with no room for a garden, so they came out to our farm on the edge of Salem, to have their garden. The families saw a lot of each other; their two girls were about the same age as the two Grove girls. His wife, Harriet, was an accomplished artist. Both were creative, interesting people.
“In 2007, Ora’s book, Out of the Woods, was published by the Ohio University Press. It is a collection of his musings and some poetry. He died in 2006 at the age of 94.”
I must share with you one of his poems, To An Old Farm, a copy of which Kathy sent. All of you who love your farm will relate to it. As it is a bit long, I’ll just present it in prose style.
“This land is now a part of me, the slope of every ridge mirrors my shoulders. In spring, pollen of pine spices and colors the air that fills my lungs. My heart beats to the roll of thunder, in the crack of a broken limb in a December ice storm.
“My veins share rainfall and crystal pond water with beaver and bluegill, with heron and dragonfly. I know its pulse and flow, the chill of its ice cover, the balm of its July wash, moonlight and starshine. Sun and long shadows bond this land to me, delineate my boundaries, imprison and set me free for surely one more spring.”
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I keep finding these great quotations to share:
“The purity of a person’s heart can be quickly measured by how they regard animals.”
“A dog is like an eternal Peter Pan, a child who never grows old, and who therefore is always available to love and be loved.”
“No one with good dogs is ever truly alone.” (Amen!)
And I love this one: “Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap.” (Again, amen!)